21 February 2012

Home and the Homeless


I remembered it as clear as the morning sun: "I promise we'll go there one day, son". Looking at her there, lying in bed - sick, weak and crippled - I can't help but ponder "Will she ever make it?". She smiled ever so softly. Her smile is the only thing unchanged, the only part of her still alive. I couldn't do anything, instead I smiled back and took her rough hand in mine. We stayed like that for hours, until late that night when I felt her hand grow cold. I looked up to find her at peace at last. "But you promised...," a low croak came from me accompanied by a single bead of pure grief at the lost of my last family.

Everywhere I looked, I saw them. Vivid memories kept playing in my eyes. The living room where we would lounge on weekends. The mess on the kitchen floor after we decided one time to bake together. That night when we watched ghost stories and got too scared to go to bed, creeping like little monsters to my parents room to sneak under their covers. All gone. All taken away.

If living here means torturing my mind, I'd rather leave and never return. Which was exactly what I did on the day I turned 8. I didn't know where to go. I don't have anyone to turn to. But I knew deep inside I needed to run away in order to keep my sanity. I did spare one last look at the old wooden structure that held memories of my family - memories to painful to live with. "Just one look," I told myself out-loud, more so as a means to stop me from rethinking my actions. It worked and I never took a second peek.


How long has it been since that night? 10 long years if I'm not mistaken. I can't believe I'm here at last. "Just as you promised, Mom, we're here at last". Observing the park got me laughing a small laughter for I was probably the only guy there for himself. Others were there with their kids. I wonder if all these people made such promises too...

Finally reaching my goal, I had nothing to do. I was at a serious standstill. I decided then and there to just watch. Somehow, i found it soothing. But only at first. Soon after an uneasiness started in the pit of my stomach. If anyone had been a little less oblivious, he or she would've seen a young man crying silently on the bench. That young man was me. Crying at the loss. Crying in pain. Crying due to longing.

In that moment, fate decided to put a small girl in front of me. I knew her all too well. Alice. A girl paid to act lost all for the sake of making kids happy. "That's Alice!", they would point out. Their parents would then take pictures of their kids with the classic character. I don't have a camera. I don't even have parents.

"Sir, can you help me sir? I am lost and I need to find my way back home. My mother must be worried sick. Please, help me sir," she said in a voice all too real. She's good. A young girl paid to act. Also a girl placed there to help me see the obvious truth. I kissed the girl's forehead after that moment of revelation leaving her awestruck - she has not rehearsed for that act.


These streets. I know them. These lawns. I miss them. That house. It was still the same house I left all those years back only older and not as tall and proud as it used be - all grandeur lost licked by rain and wind - but somehow, it looks more inviting than ever. I hesitated at the door. Right hand halfway outstretched to grab and turn the knob,I touched it.

" Mom..."

I'm going home,
To a place where I belong,
Where your love has always been enough for me.
But these faces and these places are getting old,
So I'm going home


"I'm home, Mom..."

(This is not even close to .1% of how beautiful the original piece was.)

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