As early as I can remember, my mother and father were almost inseparable unless my father was at work. After he came home in the afternoon, they would have coffee then went to the U.P. Coop store to buy groceries. When my father repaired TVs on weekends or evenings in people's homes, he brought my mother along. When he went to Manila to buy electronic parts from Raon St., they went together too.
Because we lived close to where my father worked, he was able to go home for coffee break at 10 am and for lunch break at 12:05 pm, work day after work day.
Occasionally, my father's job sent him out of town. When I was in high school, this became more and more frequent until many years later. During these times, my mother worried a lot even if she did not talk about it. I sensed it. She wasn't the same. Her spark came back only when my father was safely back.
In the letter that follows, it seems that she had been this way from the beginning. Read about it in her letter to my father...
Los Banos, Lag.
Dec. 9, 1948
Ling, mahal ko,
Bago ang lahat ay bayaan mo munang kita’y kumustahin. Marahil ikaw ay nasisiyahn pagkat ikaw ay napawalay sa salbahe mong asawa. Kung kami naman ay huag kang magalaala. Si Mama ay lalo ng napakakomik ngayon. Awa ng Dios siya ay hindi nagkakasipon. Ako naman ay paris din ng dati na walang nararamdaman. Lamang ay hindi maalis sa akin ang pagaalaala sayo. At alam mo Ling, kung ako’y nagiisa na sa pagtulog ay nagiiyak ako. Talaga yatang hindi maari ako na malayo sayo. Pati ang mga araw ay kinaiinipan ko. At kahapon alam mo, pag ako ay kumakain, ay naaalala kita. Kaya hindi ako nasisiyahan.
Hoy Ling, halos ako’y himatayin sa galak ng dumating sa akin ang iyong sulat. Ang sarap-sarap eh.
Siyenga pala Ling, si Pareng Cinto ay nagsadya dito sa bahay at sinabi na si totoy ay bibinyagan na sa Dec. 18, 1948 araw ng Sabado. Ngayon kung makauuwi ka sa araw na iyan ay umuwi ka. Kung hindi ay si Mauro na ang hahawak ki Totoy sa pangalan mo lamang.
Siya Ling, hanggang dito na lang at tanggapin mo ang maraming halik namin ni Mama ha?
Los Banos, Lag.
Dec. 9, 1948
Ling (Darling), my love,
Before anything else let me first ask how you are. Maybe you are glad to be away from your bad wife. As for us us, don’t worry. Mama (Fremma) is even more comical these days. By God’s grace, she isn’t catching a cold. Me, as usual I am fine. The only thing is I can’t stop worrying about you.
And you know, Ling, when I am alone in bed at night, I cry. It seems I cannot really bear to be away from you. I am impatiently counting the days. And you know what, yesterday (during the feast), as I was eating I was thinking of you. That’s why I did not have fun.
Hey, Ling, I almost fainted with happiness when your letter arrived. It felt so good. By the way, Ling, Pareng Cinto came here to our house and said that Totoy will be christened on Dec. 18, 1948, Saturday. Now if you can come home on that day, do so. If not, Mauro (my mother’s younger brother) will hold Totoy in your name.
Ling, this is all for now and receive many kisses from Mama and me, okay?
Frema Lana (their combined first names and last names)