BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, March 16, 2009

the only answer

I remember that early morning, not so long ago. I held this little being, so tiny and fragile. For the first time after carrying her for nine months, I finally saw her. Her big round eyes stared piercingly at me. They’re the biggest I’ve seen – so much bigger than mine, so much rounder than the giant crimson sun setting in Manila Bay. Oh so perfect. I touched her thick black hair – as black as an owl’s dark eyes. Her face is clean now. The flood of my blood as I brought her out of this world, has been washed away by the doctors and nurses. Her mouth, so tiny and amazing, moves into a perfect pout. She has her father’s lips, I remember thinking then.

I held her close to my breast, wanting to feed her but not having the slightest clue how. There inside the nursery, I remember being filled with courage and fear. Amid the wailing of other babies in the room, I think quietly of this life I am holding.

Will I ever be able to be the mother that she needs? Will I ever have the courage to mold her into that human being who will never stop to struggle for what is best for her and for society?

She is a big girl now, growing so fast. Later, when she is in her twenties or thirties, I know I will not be able to smell and embrace her much. She will not stay long. She will be in the arms of others, more important than I am. I know the child’s laughter will be gone. She will be busy with her own life. And maybe, just maybe, I will be alone, restless and worried, waiting for her to come home at night.

In the morning, she will say “good morning Nanay Iris!” (She will be able to pronounce my name by then). And leave again for another busy day. Perhaps, she’s off to practice for a piano recital. Or she’s off to a writing workshop. Or she’ll be gone for a fact-finding mission. Or she will shoot the day’s events with her camera’s lens and shutters. Or maybe, she’ll be giving some art lessons to some kids. Wait, maybe she’ll be dancing the time away.

She will smile when she steps out of the door. I will look at her dimples and see her father’s smile. And I will understand perfectly that she has a place in this world. I can take the pain. She had to be born. The world needs this woman.

And then I know, it’s perfectly fine. I will be fine.