It’s another post about home, at a time when I am again about to leave. It’s dark and the crickets’ concert is in full swing. It’s like a long song of farewell. They will be one of the things I will miss most.
I will miss the days of calm, of waking up early and listening to the wind hit the trees, of breathing in that fresh, cold morning air.
I will miss eating simple fare–veggies and fish and red rice, and Bicolano snacks–baduya, pansit Bato, balisuso, toasted sio pao, kalingking most of all. I will miss the sound my mother makes in the kitchen as she prepares all these. I will miss her musings about the family and especially me and my future, if only to listen to her voice, which is dear to me now and not annoying as in my teens. Yeah, I’m getting old.
I will miss our forays into the public market, that stab of relief I felt when I finally saw her coming down the crowded stairwell. She had been gone for almost an hour looking for fish, cheap mayonnaise, and that special kind of flour while I kept watch over the other stuff we had bought in a corner.
I will miss our frequent trips to church. I have never been as devout as her; I went mostly so she’d feel reassured that her youngest has not gone too far astray. Yet I found our sojourns into the holy reassuring, too. There is comfort in the familiar rituals of religion and in the sense of community when the faithful come together. I can only hope those moments in church brings my mother peace. Her prayers must be about her children. We’ll be okay.
I will miss the dogs, especially Duduy. He’s old: his hair has lost that brown sheen of youth; his legs shake as he stands; and he is not as quick to play as before. I wonder if he will last the year, if I will hear his excited bark as the gate creaks to welcome me back. I hope so.
As the night deepens, a lizard (at least I think it is) lets out four singular calls. There are always eight or ten of these loud “tu-ko” sounds at night. They are the cymbals to the steady cadence of the crickets, almost a signal for our village to sleep.
I will bid them good-bye soon. I take the rhythms of home with me.