Monday, September 30, 2013

The Mascot

He loved watching war movies. He taught me about the warring countries long before the history books bored me further than names, dates, and details than what I was willing to remember for the tests. He spoke of cruelties, torture and traps, violent and gory details I could never counter check with my plain textbooks. I learned of strategies I never thought could be possibly useful in daily life. I was a kid? Drawing a picture was more of a mental challenge. He wanted to become a soldier. He ought to make a career out of it. I recall Mama even teasing him of taking extra units of ROTC then but never really attempted to sign up for the PMA. Whenever Papa gets to meet strangers who lived during the WW2, he would always make it a point to set up a drinking session to engorge himself with more stories of the past. 

When I got into highschool, got more exposed to World History more than what I felt was necessary, I finally found a workaround through my social life (to be part of a group, almost any group), please my Papa, and be closer to Fed

"I made it to S3." I told him one morning.

I should've taken a photo of his face brightening up. A minute later my hair was all scruffy and he was hugging me tightly. 

"Bili na tayu uniform mo!" he exclaimed.

That same day we got pretty much everything I needed including shoe and metal polish. He felt so proud that I could comprehend the "commands" even if my voice wasn't deep enough to sound strikingly convincing. I showed off that I could handle a rifle, though I told him I liked the sword better since it was light and shiny :)

Papa also fancied martial arts. All of it. He would be pretty much be watching in jaw dropping awe when the protagonist is a soldier with hand combat skills after running out of bullets. I was impressed. But I'd really prefer to be an audience.

Some afternoons when I'd rather sleep or play outside (teka, I was 8 ulit, reset! LOL) he'd force me to watch tapes of tutorials and read scrolls (scrolls talaga?) of Aikido techniques. I never really paid attention. He never stopped. 

One morning he woke me up earlier than usual. It was a Saturday. He asked me to take my shirt off, assume the stance, and start punching with matching "hiyaaah!" for emphasis ... in the balcony, in full view of the rest of the neighborhood. It wasn't long before the other children noticed and started pointing and laughing at me. I was small and lanky and I started crying. I begged him I wanted to stop.

On some occasions, he'd test my will by asking me to punch him in the face and he'd just use one arm to deflect it. It was tempting, but I'm sure we all knew how that would end.

I got my chance in school though? One kid punched me in the face and cracked my front tooth. When I recovered I broke his nose and he ran off crying. I just thought of my Papa's face and since this boy didn't have such huge arms he couldn't possibly deflect mine.

I still got bullied on some days, but they always formed in groups. If I managed to grab one of the guys they know I can do an arm lock and they'd be face down on the floor. Why oh why doesn't the enemies attack one at a time like on TV?

Whenever I came home dirty, torn uniform, school stuff missing, I always kept it to myself. Unlike the other kids, I don't have a bigger older brother to run to. I was the bigger older brother of myself. I started to resent Papa because he wasn't there to defend me at all. He leaves home early morning, come home for lunch, then would only be back late at night. He was busy working, he often explained.

I just stopped caring.

Once a year, the subdivision would hold a Christmas party. I loved parties especially games with prizes. My Papa was one of the organizers and on his spare time he helped plan and decorate. I'd seen him come home tired but I'd prefer to watch TV. Hey, whatever distracts him from talking to me about boy stuff fine with me.

The day finally arrived and while I enjoyed all the food and games, the highlight was always the arrival of the mascots. 

"Wow si Jollibee!"

This guy was cool. His entrance was waving at the crowd while latched onto the handle bars of a jeepney. I was so slow and all the other kids swarmed around him. 

(if someone knows a better translation of "sumabit sa jeep", I want to know)

I wanted to get to hold Jollibee as if he was some sort of celebrity.

I held my hand, calling his name, hoping he'd see me though. If I could only keep my ground from being pushed back I'm sure he'd see me. Little by little the mascot made his way, and he was coming straight towards me! I must've been very lucky to be on that spot! What surprised me more was when he got in front of me, I hugged him, and the mascot hugged me back.

It just felt so good. He was too big my arms couldn't possibly locked in that embrace.

The other kids envied me for receiving that kind of treatment. There was nothing special with me at all?

I was so ecstatic about it that when the party was over I came home running to tell everyone about it!

I held on to that happy memory until I was 12 and Mama told me it was Papa all along...

I'm almost 29. I'm living with Munchkin and three noisy dogs.

I never really got along well with Papa, especially when he threw a beer bottle at my door after finally confirming I was gay. I ran away from home that same day.

I seldom visited. We still spoke very little. I got so comfortable never talking to him. 

He's still very much alive. But how we treat each other is a lot different.

I think I know what I want now for my birthday.

I wanna give the mascot one big hug this time before it's too late.


  1. Father's day na ba? Tapos na di ba? *hehe*

    Napangiti ako dun sa 'sword'. Di ko mapigilan isipin yung figurative meaning. Gustong ipilit ng utak ko na may iba ka pang kahulugan doon. Di ko tuloy magawang mag-seryoso. :P

    Do what you gotta do Seth. I don't think need mo ng any advice. I'm just glad that you shared this story. :)

    1. hay naku. nag eemo ako pornographic memory pinapagana mo? LOL

    2. Sorry naman, ganito talaga ako. *hehe*

      Seth, please write more stuff like this. Well, if may time ka. ;)

  2. Lakas maka-drama anthology hehe. Kidding aside, this is touching. I can't really relate because my father died some 20 years ago, but this pinched my heart still :(

    1. LOL BOOM

      I once fucked the guy who wrote for MMK. Anyway, I was just feeling low earlier

    2. That Carlo Aquino-Joem Bascon starrer?

  3. Don't let the moment pass you by. Like what happened to me and my dad.

  4. As the soothsayer said in Kung Fu Panda 2, the moment is now...

  5. Ang sakit naman nito! Maybe it's not too late, Seth. Naniniwala ako na kaya ng mga tao magbago. Balitaan mo kami! :)