Thursday, November 27, 2008


He's not the demonstrative kind of a parental unit; he's the total opposite of my mum, who's all hugs and kisses and cooing doves and unicorns and sparkly things. He's gruff, he's weird, he's anti-social, he's moody (must be his artisté temperament), he's stubborn as hell, he's got a dry sense of humor that rarely pops up (as in one in several million light years) and he's mostly silent, save for the rare slightly sarcastic or rough comment. He's quick, decisive, a good strategist, eternally curious about trivia and current events, level-headed and dependable when natural disasters strike, very resourceful, and very loyal. (He might have been a good surgeon or a good military officer, but he decided he was too good for those careers, so he pursued art.) Some might say I might have inherited some traits from him, so perhaps it's the reason why of all the people at home, I can best translate the monosyllabic grunts that suffices for conversation on his part. (It's all in the pitch and the body language, dear household members.) Or because I'm his pet, that I best understand the phrase that he probably inherited from his own dad, "...kunin mo yung ano sa ano..." (I can only translate it as some form of "get the what from the what..." Ano is a used noun here to refer to anything that cannot be named at the moment.) Perhaps it is also our shared traits that sometimes sets my temper off, so sometimes I can be as hostile as hell towards him. And with what, three other females in the household, he sometimes doesn't stand a chance; maybe that's why there are stuff in the house that vaguely resemble phallic symbols-his way of asserting his masculinity perhaps? I was wondering for the longest type how my mum would have fallen in love with a grumpy bat of a man like my dad; of course, I discount the fact that he still charms my mum in some way. He's not the glorified type of dad one sees in those commercials for ice cream, fastfood chains, or telecoms, the type whose arms are the pillars that hold up his kids' worlds, whose chest is for crying on or whose ear is for listening to tales of woe. (The only times I've been held by my dad was during my grandfather's funeral when I was irrationally screaming to be cremated alongside, when my nanny died, and when I was to be restrained to get a shot.) Or the type who was this stern authority figure, the god of the household. Growing up, I envied the kids who had those kinds of dads who would openly show their affection for their sons or daughters or who conducted themselves with a thread of authority normally seen in royalty. Perhaps the best ways that he demonstrated his love were in treating me like a pet or treating me like a substitute son or treating me like an adult. A pet because he treats (or treated) me just like our cats at home - he's (and has been) so content to be my partner in sports, he's happy keeping me "leashed" like cattle (more like imprisoned like a piece of chattel-friends know I don't exaggerate when I say "strict ang parents ko,"), and he's even happier feeding me good food as though he overheard in the radio that ice cream/chocolates/pasta/sinigang were to disappear the next day. A substitute son because he's been teaching me traditionally masculine things like being a sort of a grease monkey, tinkering with household electricals, carpentry, downing spirits during new year's eve, assuming responsibility for the other females of the household, etcetera. (Nope, he hasn't brought me to a strip bar or anything like that. I'm still so much of a feminine creature to 'enjoy' those baser pursuits and he's not really that a vulgar type of person to engage in such.) An adult in the sense that ever since childhood I've viewed him as and he allowed me to treat him as an equal, given that his term of endearment for me was "Ate." (Ate means big sister.) Yup, he allowed me to get mad at him, challenge him, and fuss over him, when other dads would instantly whip out their belts for a spanking. It took quite some time, but I finally realized that my dad does love me, if not in the way that fathers stereotypically do. Just two hours ago, he came to the dorm to pick up some clothes. Hearing me whine about my mild stomach flu, he immediately offered to buy me some lugaw and bananas to soothe my stomach. After I lost a verbal tennis match of refusals on my part and incessant offers on his part, he bought me goto (rice porridge with tripe) and a single banana. Now I know it was only an excuse to get his money changed into smaller bills, but I really appreciated his gesture. Now, I'm also taking his advice not to eat the remaining food in my dorm room's fridge; they might be mutating into alien life forms as I type.

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