I rarely see him, my father. Once a year, perhaps. (Once every two years to extreme the rarity.) I was actually excited about meeting him that I needed to leave my instructor and my geology classmates while trekking the hinterlands of Negros Oriental.
I was dirty and all. Name it. Mud stains all over my shirt. I soiled my pants. The bus passengers, no doubt, must have concluded that I was a hinterland boy going down to the more civilized town to buy some goods. I sat on the center aisle of the bus because there were no longer vacant seats. Everyone looked at me.
When I got off the bus, I saw him directly, sitting in a chair along with my uncles and cousins. He, too, saw me, and looked at me for a brief period of time. When I say brief, it means three seconds. He smiled, a bit. That's all. No words at all. I wanted to kick him. Nevertheless I was happy because I saw my grandpa. I haven't seen him for a while since he remarried. I wanted to kick him, too, when I have learned that he'd marry another woman. I hope he still remembers my Lola who now resides in heaven.
The helper of the house offered me something to eat. I chewed the meat like bubble gum because it was not properly steamed-cook. Father, on the other hand, sat beside me and ask me this lame question: "Nus-a ka uli yan? (Ryan, when are you going home?)" I just arrived and you want me to go home right away. Damn you! I wanted to tell him. But I didn't. Instead I answered him politely.
Father is tall, a six-footer. My cousins are all tall, too. They range from five-foot nine to six-foot four. I am the smallest, not to mention the thinnest. But my father and I almost look the same. He has a mole on the left outer-lining of his nose. Fair-skinned, a bit chinito. It's just that he is the silent type while me, on the other hand, is not really that silent. He is also a Chick Boy, the certified one. Me? I like women. Just that.
He is my father. I like him that way. :)