Sunday, March 21, 2010

you brighten all my nights and make my day.

Cute,no? This was but one of the many songs my sister parodied which still cracks me up to this day. Yet watching it again tonight initially brings not a laugh but a misty eye; then to laughter again when reaching part 3:09 as the revised ending by Joy comes to mind.

I write this with the laptop perched on the armrest of the sofa bed in my new room. I have a picture of myself on this same sofa bed in this same room in my jammies with a balloon on each hand -- I think it was on my 2nd birthday. The old set of house keys referred to this room as the "girl's room", but it became my kuya's when he moved in from Malabon. When my sister and I became too old to stay in my parents' bedroom, the 2-car garage was converted into a spacious room for us, where we spent almost 15 years on 2 single beds pushed together to make a huge bed where we jumped (and cracked the plywood underneath), did our homework, and laughed ourselves to sleep. The lock-less sliding glass door left us with minimal privacy, with Mom and Kuya Dacky suddenly entering the room at any time, regardless of what we were doing or wearing (or not wearing). Sometimes, Joy or I would retreat to the den/guestroom adjacent to that room to escape and be undisturbed. Yet soon we find ourselves coming back to our room and sleep soundly, comforted by the feeling of one's back against the other.

When Ondoy struck, it was our room that was flooded first. Returning the day after, I saw my pre-digicam pictures, CDs and DVDs floating on the murky water, the beds overturned, the wooden dresser with the small locker filled with old mailed letters from my best friend, warped and ruined. Little by little, we saved whatever articles of furniture and clothing we could, and made our room livable again. Joy and I were the first ones to go back into the house, sleeping on what would become my parents' new mattress laid out on the floor of the room we shared, unmindful of the combined stench of wet wood, paper and paint. Soon after, we had our old bed set up as before, and our room was almost fully restored. Somehow, despite advising Mom to change the color of the room to anticipate its use as the newlyweds' nest, she still had it painted pink. I didn't mind it that much anymore, because I was excited to have Kuya Raul's room for myself. I had the walls done in periwinkle, moved my desktop pc and Dad's old rocking chair, and removed one sofa bed to give me a bit more space. For the first time in my life, I was to have a room of my own. But I was supposed to move only after Joy got married.

Two weeks before that big day, I saw a mouse inside our room. Terrified of rodents of any size or kind, I was forced to prematurely occupy my new room while Joy chose to stay in the old room. I found it to be my personal preparation for the days to come. I had to go back after a week, though, because we had relatives staying over the house for the wedding. Still, I barely slept during those days and oftentimes I would be creeping into our room just to take a bath and change clothes for work sans a good night's rest.

On the first week of March, I officially moved into my new room. I filled my mind with thoughts of relief: I have a wardrobe all to myself, my door finally has a lock, I can keep the lights on while I'm up late websurfing, and I don't have worry about waking someone else with my alarm clock and snooze forever. Yet I found myself oversleeping a few times because there was nobody to remind me to get up and turn off the alarm. And some nights, I wept, not unlike that time I was alone in Tagaytay in the summer of 2008, nursing a broken heart in the drama of a violently windy evening.

One of the things I am called to give up this Lenten Season is my Mupy. Soon, the cricket-like chatter of sisters in baby talk will be a thing of the past as she enters this new phase of her life. She is now a wife, and soon (or sooner, as Mom hopes), she will be a mother with a real infant to coo and baby talk with. And the once blurry line that defined an Ate from the Bunso will have to be defined as both of us take on new roles and responsibilities, independently. We promised to each other that we will remain close, but I also reminded her that now, siblings and parents will have to fall down the priority list to make way for her husband and her future children. It is a reminder for me, too, that she is already grown up and will have to face certain challenges on her own without me, Mom or Dad.

I am still not done trying to get used to it, but every day I struggle to contain that I miss her, especially in the evenings. Yet I am hopeful that with God's grace, I can finally accept that Mupy will have to go, but Joy will remain. And I pray that as I cease being a little sister to her, I may live up to her need for an older sister she can turn to.

In the meantime, I
set the alarm on a clock that buzzes so annoyingly that "snooze" is no longer an option, and prop a pillow on one side of my bed for my back to lean against as I sleep tonight in the girl's room.

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