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HONORING MY MOTHER | Frogs at the headlights

Late one evening, I overheard a neighbor loudly tell her housemates “don’t panic”, as I distinctly heard the lamp post outside started to creak and sway. Easier said than done, I thought, while I tried to coolly assess the situation. It was only then that noticed I was still immobile and squat in my bed; only spurred into actually getting up when I saw my son emerge from his room to fetch me. By the time he and I walked to the front door and unlocked the gate, we had already spied another neighbor sitting alone in the middle of the empty street intently watching their own gate move, as though swaying to a music we couldn’t hear. A few seconds more and I told them, all was still again. (not a mouse was stirring, I was tempted to add, to lighten up the evening.) Truly, it was quite surprising all the dogs from the houses were eerily silent, as we went back to each our houses.

A few minutes after that, social media was abuzz with “huh”, “linog” and what-not, imprinting on everyone that this was indeed one shared moment. At least this Facebook phenomena of everyone wanting to be first-to-report, was by itself not only predictable and anticipated but made fun of, unlike the earlier tremor that “rocked my world”, as one friend had posted. Much later, when my first-born messaged me from Manila to ask how we were, I admitted that indeed, for the first time, I have never been more worried. I recall the earthquakes of many years ago as being more in terms of intensity but they never really got me stirred in the least. Now, years older and with bones more brittle, I got up to go, though hesitantly at first.

As we headed back, I had whispered to my son, fortunately, the mum was out of town at the time, otherwise our hesitancy at gathering go-bags at a moment’s notice and running out the gate would surely have been met with a 6.2 intensity level of reprimand. In the end, all was well, but for the time being. Who knew that in the days ahead, we would be a captive audience to a few more ‘I feel the earth move’ moments.

Really no fan of getting super gaga or dwelling into the aftermath of things, such as earthquakes. Que sera sera methinks. I have heard of friends who have gone in droves, installing apps after apps that they deemed these would make an early warning device out of their cells. As for myself, I only have to watch out for the sudden silence of the dogs of my neighbors, look out the window to see if the DLPC post is dancing and lastly listen intently, if the beams above me were creaking louder with each mill second. Then it’s go-bag, papers and out the front door.




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