Thursday, November 27, 2008


Demy was standing outside for almost an hour now. It was almost midnight and it was freezing outside but he didn’t care. His old hands were holding a bouquet of red roses which could have already withered by his stare.

He knew the kids would be arriving in the morning. Even if he couldn’t hear a slight movement, he knew there was still somebody inside waiting for them. He peeked through the heavily curtained window once in a while, desperate to get a view.

He made several attempts but ran out of strength to move a few more muscles to make that press on the doorbell. Fear, together with the cold breeze, wrapped him. He began to become more anxious. He was afraid of how he would be welcomed, if he would be at all. He didn’t even know how he got the courage to be there.

He was about to leave when he heard a door being opened. Sensing the noise created by the screen door that probably had not been replaced for years, Demy knew that it was the back door.

Quivering, he made a few steps towards the backyard. The porch at the back was dimly lit. Hearing the silent rush of waves, he paused. He closed his eyes, remembering how good it felt to be there once again.

He stopped upon seeing a rocking chair move from the other side. He stared at the old lady facing at the beach, slowly rocking the chair back and forth. He guessed she was reading one of her hundreds of books.

With a few more deep breathing and fidgeting, he quietly said, “Merry Christmas, Betty…”

The rocking chair stopped and he could see the lady froze. Betty slowly turned her head and her eyes instantly welled up.

Demy moved toward her and handed her the flowers.

“You remembered…” Betty almost whispered.

He hesitated but made one more step to reach out for her hand. “I’ve made mistakes in the past and it took me this long to realize I shouldn’t have left you. I’m sorry…” He was trying to fight the lump in his throat.

With more effort, Betty stood up shaking her head. And with those same loving eyes, she said, “What matters is you’re here…”

Demy hugged her, hoping it could make up for the lost years. “I will never leave again…now that I’m home…”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Didn't You Like Daddy's Gift?

Three days before Christmas. Mom was busy preparing the dinner. Knowing that I was not allowed near the kitchen while they were busy, I used my strategy. “Mom, can I mix this for you?” I asked sweetly, eager to help out in making the flan. I was four years old.

But my mom knew better. Maybe she remembered the last time that I “helped” her I just broke the bowl and spilled everything on the floor. “Thank you honey…But don’t you think it’s more fun to be part of the game team?”

It didn’t work! With a defeated look, I walked away. I knew my sisters wouldn’t let me help either.

“Can I help?” I boldly volunteered anyway. My sisters were wrapping the prizes for the games.

“You don’t even know how to use the scissors. Plus, it won’t be a surprise then.”

“But…what will I do?” I was helpless. Everyone had their assignment for the party but nobody would let me help.

“You can take care of the gifts. Arrange them from the biggest to the smallest.”

I can do that! That’s the best part! So I hurried towards the tree and stared at the huge pile of gifts slumped beneath. Squeezing and shaking each gift, I had guessed them all.

Another pillow for mom…
Stuffed teddy for my sister…
A toy car for my brother…
For dad…Maybe something for his car…I can’t guess this…
And mine is…Where’s mine?!
I finished arranging the gifts but I couldn’t find mine. I was already in panic searching for my gift.

Then I found a tiny box at the farthest corner by the tree. It was so tiny that it didn’t seem like a gift at all. But when I checked it, oh boy, it had my name on it! And it was from my dad!

I sneaked at my sisters and saw everyone still busy. I hid at the corner and hastily opened that tiny box from my dad.

“There’s nothing here!” I squealed loud enough to stop the entire household from doing their thing. I threw the box away and marched outside, grumbling.

I left them all bewildered. But seeing the wrap of the tiny box torn open, they began to laugh.

Outside, I was still in shock. I couldn’t believe my dad would give me a box of matchsticks for Christmas! It was the most ridiculous gift any person could have. I didn’t even know how to light one.

My mom followed me outside and tried to pacify me. I was acting like a total brat.

“Didn’t you like dad’s gift?”

Instead of answering, I pouted and stomped heavily. Mom burst in laughter. I was so pissed off. My mom’s terrible. How could she laugh at my misfortune?

She showed me the tiny box of matchsticks and opened it in front of me. Two bright pink Hello Kitty hair clips were inside. I froze. It was the hair clips that I had been bugging my mom about. She said I already have dozens of Hello Kitty items and she wouldn’t buy it for me. I looked at my mom then back to the hair clips then back to mom.

Mom wiped my tears and kissed me on the cheek. “Daddy bought it for you…”

In the middle of my silent sobs, I heard a voice behind me. “Didn’t you like daddy’s gift?”

I ran toward daddy and hugged him tight. “It’s the best, daddy! I’m sorry…”

“What’s inside is what matters, right honey?”