This is a very short experimental piece. Dedicated to those who are taken for granted or have taken someone for granted.
Apo - grandchild; sometimes used by older Filipinos to refer to a much younger individual.
Langit Lupa - a children's game akin to tag.
Kuya - address for older brothers.
Mama's voice always brightened with recognition whenever she heard my voice over the phone. And it never failed. She always asked questions I didn't want to answer.
"Apo, will you be coming over for lunch?"
I frowned at the telephone as I glanced over at my father who was getting ready for church. "Dad, it's mama," I called out to him, irritably tugging at the itchy petticoat my mother loved to make me wear. My pigtails bobbed as I skipped away from the phone to catch a glimpse of Super Book.
"Apo, will you be staying over while your parents are away?"
I suppressed a sigh and covered the mouthpiece as I turned to my mother who was packing bags. "Mom, mama wants to talk to you," I said to her before running out to the street to play Langit Lupa with the neighborhood kids.
"Apo, will you be playing mahjong with us today?"
I shrugged mutely and waved at my brother who was studying the computer screen intently. "Kuya, mama is asking you something," I informed him before going back to the mountain of homework that high school students tend to accumulate over the weekends.
"Apo, who are you?"
I frown slightly and suppress a sigh. There is a spark of recognition in her tone as though her ears remember the sound of my voice. But her question belied that her dimming mind had already forgotten me. Squaring my shoulders, and breathing again, I begin to speak to my grandmother with the hope that her brain would remember what her ears did.
"Mama, it's Tintin, your son's daughter. You know, the teacher? We're coming over for lunch today and we could play mahjong, if you're up to it."
I try hard not to choke on my own words. It never failed. Mama always asks questions I didn't want to answer.