Monday, August 29, 2022

National Heroes Day

My mother’s high school friends are coming over for dinner. On this Saturday evening, they will eat at 6 before they visit their classmate’s wake. It’s going to be a simple dinner, she assured her Notre Dame batch who didn't want to impose. Earlier today, however, Manong, Sean, and I got our instructions to buy a tub of ice cream, prepare lasagna at the last minute, and make sure the house is spotless. We have thrice the amount of food we need. Clearly this will be a party.

There have been many deaths this week, Nanay observed. A dentist she knew from another town passed away. Her distant nephew, who was my age, died in his sleep. I told her that a thirty-something doctor also died because of stage four cancer. She internalizes these news with, “Nauna pa sila sa akon.”

To escape the Batch 73 crowd, I am in the neighborhood café where I reviewed for the internal medicine board exam. I’m rarely here, because the place reminds me of my late father—a weird term to call Tatay, who was always punctual when he was alive. He sat by me as I took notes from Harrison’s. But I have things to write and submit. I welcome the relative peace and quiet, the company of strangers and the Adele playlist.

I’m comfortable in my shorts, t-shirt, and slippers until I hear familiar voices emerging from the other table. There’s my patient, still with her wig, and her high school barkada—younger sisters of my elementary school classmates—enjoying the normalcy of this second life, this life of cancer remission. I wave at them, then go nearer to have a quick chat.

I’m back in my corner of the cafe. I will leave in a few minutes. This is how I’m spending National Heroes Day. I realize that to live, and to do it well, is almost like heroism.



Post a Comment

<< Home