Upon noticing the door of what used to be my room flying open, I saw a boy with a very familiar face. A vision of my childhood days gushed before me. “Oh well, a new boy in town,” I said to myself. So I scampered off to work ignoring what I saw minutes ago.
As I departed my residence, things I habitually do seem to change that very moment. Instead of taking the jeepney and say that monotonous “Manong, bayad oh…” and the usual “…sa lugar lang ‘nong.” I realized that I was walking towards work. Because of that, I arrived later than expected.
At the office, I can’t take my eyes off from the clock hanging on the wall behind me. My manager noticed it and squinted. Raising her eyebrow, I squirmed inwardly. There was silence. My officemate grew scared of the silence that surrounded us.
“Mr. Reeds, please stay after work,” she announced breaking the stillness. I groaned while my manager’s almond eyes flickered on me. She picked her book and got on with the meeting. When she finished a line, the bell rang and everybody went out the room. The manager looked at me and sighed.
“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Reeds? Is there anything wrong? I have noticed that you’ve been so conscious about the time. Hurrying to go back home?” she asked me as her throaty voice penetrated the deafening silence. I gave no answer.
She kept on seeking me out until I finally said, “I need to go back home as early as possible. My goldfish died.” A morbid reply. But that was not the reason, really. I needed to go home because I was mystified by that boy who was staying in my old room. I feel that he needs me.
That event came to pass unnoticed. Months after, I realized that I was following that boy wherever he went. One can even be misguided by that actuation. There I discovered the life he lived.
When the clock struck six, the boy left without a word. I tip-toed down to his room and was surprised to see his diary open on top of his study table. In it said, “I am walking on the long road of life. I can clearly see the beautiful sun pasted on the heavens.” Curiosity enveloped my being as I started reading every word written on it. “As I would continue walking on that road that was leading me to nowhere, there was this feeling of emptiness. Something seems to be missing. And so my mind ordered me to look back and not continue this endless journey. But it was hopeless. The road started to cover itself with thick mist. The clouds turned coal-black, the sun vanished, it started to rain. I started to run hoping that I would escape this horrible sight. At that very moment, the road went crooked until I saw myself and realized that I was standing on a crossroad. With so much confusion on what road to take, my heart began to beat faster. I can do nothing but helplessly cry in vain.”
“Is there no one cares? God help me!” These were the very words I uttered. Then, at a snail’s pace, the rain stopped, lighting vanished in the great beyond, the thunder’s roar disappeared.”
“Sitting on the road, I stood up and wiped away the tears that welled in my eyes. Then, I saw somebody walking towards me. He held my hand, helped me stand, and comforted me. Knowing I’ll be safe, I did not dare look at him, not even a glance. With His presence, the road became clear again despite the trauma I had with what had happened continued to eat me."
“Do you know how much I care for you?” He asked as we sat on the grass underneath a tree. Then, He continued, “When you woke up this morning, I exploded a brilliant sunrise through your widow hoping to get your attention. You were unperturbed. Later, you were walking with friends, I bathe you through thunderstorms and painted a beautiful rainbow. But you didn’t even take your time to stop and gaze at the heavens. I hope you’ll talk to me soon. I’m just near. I love you!
Reading these lines, I was deeply moved. I decided not to finish what was written. My body shook. I was guilty. I was slapped with so much humiliation that I did not know what to do or what to say. I was left hanging in the air and was tongue-tied. As I slowly went out of his room, shame enshrouded my body. Shaken, I went back to my room, called some long lost friends, and thanked them for their unconditional support.
The following morning, I woke up early. I was surprised to see myself so excited of hearing mass after fifteen years. I went next door to say my apologies for sneaking my way to his room. Again, the door flew opened.
No one was there.
He wasn’t home.
It was empty.
This is the same old story my grandfather used to tell me when I was young. For the past twenty years, the only father I have come to know was my grandfather. It left a void in my heart when he died. “Now, I’ll never know what a father’s love is,” I said to myself. For the past twenty years, I haven’t seen my father – not even knowing who, what and where he was. I grew recognizing no man as my real father. Maybe it was part of God’s plan for me. Reminiscing the story, I slowly felt a yearning – a yearning for a father’s love. Time after time, memoirs of the story still haunt me. Tears form in my eyes as I recall the very lines my grandfather said – it was the very soul of my being before I breathe my last.