Phone Call

Monday, 23 November 2009

It’s very rare that I get a phone call while I’m still ensconced warm and snug on the bed.

Around six this morning I did get one from home. And any call from home at such early hours generally would mean something’s amiss, that this could already be a part of a flurry of events hurriedly unfolding in our small lives, charactersitically urgent, invasive, and life-changing. This, also is the precarious situation that every OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) is loath to encounter. A call that presages a lot of possibilities: a sudden death of someone, an accident, a house break-in, some assault by strangers or neighbors, a fire or earthquake that registered inconceivable losses. Conversely, it could mean a lotto winning that sends everybody hyperventilating or dazed, and could lead to my invitation to pack up my bag, take a flight home, and start an enterprise that would multiply more the family’s new found wealth, or better yet for me to take a long vacation through a Transiberian journey that will finally free me from the weariness of daily grind.

However, the call this morning, although far from being catastrophic, is one of the current minor aggravations that besets my mother. This time it has to do with father’s urgent request for fund to cover the starting cost of his foray into politics in his hometown in Bicol. He is set to be sworn-in with the Liberal Party on this coming Friday, the 27th,  which happens to be his birthday also, and launch his possible political career in their tiny municipality albeit in the waning years of his life. With the finances related to this money-sucking election gambit, my father’s coffer is just begging to be filled within the course of campaign season. There were commitments and promises of support from a host of relatives and friends, but when it comes to showing the money, this is one department that remains hazy and critical.

That’s why I had this early morning call from mother. Listening to her despairing voice as she recounted the dilemma and problematic areas of father’s situation, I actually felt a sense of calm, maybe an unconscious mechanism to comprehend well the developing family story and be able to react in a positive and life-affirming way as opposed to rejection, anger, and recrimination. I could not possibly be leaving my father high and dry at this point where things have just started rolling. I had given him my full support based solely on my wanting to let him have his dream come true even if it’s happening at the last stage of his life journey.

We were still in the middle of conversation when the line went dead. My mother’s load has gone kaput. I didn’t call back right away as I needed to reload my phone as well but chiefly to buy more time for my reflection. I have long steeped myself into believing that there’s always a solution to every problem, even if the solution comes in the guise of a non-solution or a dead fix.

After breakfast and organizing my tasks for the day, I sat down and called my mother. And when she got back to me, an unexpected turn of event already came up. She told me that the problem at hand has just been fixed after her talk with my father on the phone (who still doesn’t carry his own cell phone and gets to use one only after any of his nieces or nephews would come running to wherever he is at the moment of call). This has immensely lifted some burden off my mother, her voice with more life this time, and this allowed me to bring my brand new day to a level of deeper appreciation of the way things figure themselves out.

Koh Kong, Cambodia

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