|Photo by Heizel L.M. taken in Lawigan, San Joaquin, Iloilo|
I have two homes now, the one where I spent my more than 20 years with parents, now long gone, and a new place where locals even speak different vernaculars; the AE pronunciation as an alternative to L is confusing, alienating me and making me more alone. But staying and clinging on the memories I spent and enjoyed in the old home is still painful; it is just barely a year when nanay (mother) left. Death ended her humanly suffering but it started mine.
So, Armor, my anchor and my love, whisked me away to this new place. Hundreds of miles and sea separate the two places, leaving behind the teka, dini, dire, dyan, ayan, etc of the tagalog. While my new home is filled with tongue twister AE in almost every word, a bird-like singsong vernacular that I could not even decipher. Late afternoons until the wee hours of nights is filled with the sounds of crickets, frogs and the occasional humming of planes going to and from Kalibo. While my old home is filled with vibrant spirits partying, until sunrise kissed their tired but happy faces. The two places are of two different characters--the new place is so laid back that my rebellious spirit is constantly nagging me while I am missing the rush hour and the vibrant colors of Manila. I constantly miss my friends too.
But I am here now with the lone person I am sharing my life, and it is where he wanted us to be. Even though my heart aches with the memories of coffee breaks with mother, talking and laughing for many long hours, and the memories I still have to create and live in this new house is tearing me apart. Where should my heart live if I am torn between the memories of the past and the happiness that I still have to live?