Have you ever tried walking in knee-deep flood with a frail live wire hanging over your head, the wire threatening to fall any second?
- Why why did I commit myself to this trip in the first place?
- It’s my Uncle Mar’s first death anniversary (babang-luksa). I wasn’t able to come to the funeral, so I told my father I would like to come. But god, aren’t family reunions like swimming in a fish tank with no oxygen.
- On the way to Zambales, ten of us were crammed in the van (which came late, with a driver that drove too slowly), so it really was like swimming in a fish tank with no oxygen.
- My relatives asked me where I work and went Whoa, while I was like, It ain’t no thang.
- I don’t normally say It ain’t no thang, so we can still be friends.
- In the van, I sat beside my father’s eldest sister, who’s twenty years-plus older than him.
- She said: It’s all right to have boyfriends, lots of boyfriends, just think very very carefully if you want to get married.
- And I thought: I can’t believe I’m hearing this from my sixty-eight-year-old aunt.
- In the backseat, two of my fify-plus-year-old relatives, erm, flirted with each other.
- It rained and rained and rained as we drove through Pampanga and Bataan. It took us roughly three hours to reach Zambales.
- I thought: I may be experiencing rain-related depression.
- A new thing, because I love the rain.
- Then I realized I was just hungry.
- Food, banter, a bunch of unknown cousins looking at me and saying When I last saw you you were just this tall!
- I wanted to go talk to this cousin of mine who works in Italy, but he was too busy drinking with my father.
- So my brothers and I just drank with them.
- We didn’t get drunk.
- It’s a bit sad.
- Here’s a tip: Study the certificates on the wall. It always works. Take note of the college/course/year and go, So Ate Marivic, why did you take Psych?
- I am such a bad cousin.
- The subdivision had transformed into Venice when we got home. The van was entering a street when a bunch of men went, Just go ahead, straight ahead. My father said, But we live here, we turn left here. The men said, But you might get electrocuted.
- We looked out the window and lo and behold. Fireworks in June.
- We got off on another street, dry land, and my father said, We have no choice but to walk through the flood. My siblings and I pointed emphatically at the live wire. That’s far from the house, my father said. I said, They tell me water’s a good conductor of electricity.
- My father called my mother up on her cell phone and told her to stay the fuck away from the water.
- Then we got bored and waded through the flood anyway, but we took the longer route, as far away from the fireworks as possible. I still don’t know if there’s any logic in this.
- My youngest brother, ever the joker, pretended three times that he was being electrocuted. When the joke got old he pointed at the mud at my feet and said, I think that’s dog shit.
- There were three boys walking ahead of us. Every now and then we would whisper to each other, Are they having seizures yet?
- We got home, safe and sound and wet.
- I am never ever going to do that again.
- The sun shone.
- We dropped off my brother’s things (the original plan was to drop them off along with my brother, but classes got pushed back due to the swine flu scare) at his boarding house. His landlady was so talkative I wanted to slap her across the mouth.
- My parents went up with me to the unit I was renting. I prepared for this: folded my clothes, cleaned up my room, hid the porn*, etc. My mother sat down on my bed and said, Why are your things so messy?
- My brother had finally seen Slumdog Millionaire.
- Now he screams “Amitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabh” whenever he has the chance.
* I’m kidding. I have no porn, because I am the moral center of my family. **
** No, really. ***
*** No, really.