Life, Personal, writing

A Tale of One Christmas Afternoon

While other people are in the comforts of their home, families, and friends on Christmas day, a woman gets out of the car at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. With a matchbox in one hand and a pot of flowers in another.

She asks her son to bring the pot of flower for her as it was heavy and she has no more strength to spare after two days of hard work.

Her son takes it from her as they start to walk the alley leading to her destination. She makes small talks with her children – commenting every now and then to some said stories.

Then, along the way, she meets Boy – the supposed caretaker of the place. Small talks, light laughter, again – side comments about the condition of the alleys every now and then.

Finally she reaches her destination and greets her husband – Hi Pa. Merry Christmas, she would say as she puts her hand on the cold concrete and lay down the matchbox beside the candles she brought.

She sits by the concrete bench a few feet beside his grave while her son puts down the pots and her daughter arrange the remaining bouquet on his flower holder – the suso  as they are called.

Candles are lit and silent prayers are said. Suddenly she says, dalawang Christmas ka na pala, Pa. Only to be corrected by her children that it’s three and not two – 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Her eyes began to water, lips forming in a thin line. He’s always watching you ma, her daughter tells her as she gets a pat on the shoulder.

Still, the wetness in her eyes never seemed to disappear until she stood up and said, let’s go.

She puts her hand one more time on top of his grave as she whisper Merry Christmas, Pa. I love you, before turning on her heel and walked.

While she walks, their children said their own Merry Christmas’ I love yous, and the promise of coming back in the New Year.

With one last glance on this visit, the three of them walked back to the car, a bittersweet recollection of years’ past Christmas celebration and the memory of the man they always thought as their own Superman.

And just like that, their Christmas celebration felt almost complete.

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