No One Stays

I know when was the moment my childhood


it haunt me for the rest of my life

After class

On my third grade in the barrio 

Classmates one by one opening

their lunch pack under the shade of talisay and

I opened my food whom my father sealed carefully on banana leaf; it was fried fish, staple rice and fresh ripe mango

I ate

the smile on my lip 

never spoke to anyone

or tried to make friends

I had that feeling that I don’t belong 

insecurity and who blame me

we keep on moving from one place to another

my father was a professional drunkard

an easy going man back in the 70s

had hippie long curly hair who wore white shirt and blue denim jeans

time flies

now he was old 

some people hate him

some love him

but I adored him 

I never tasted food as good as the one he prepared in all these years

Christmas were approaching and my brother and sister, all of us were scattered, they were in my Ma and I was here on my Pa, but it’s alright

we had too

life is hard and we need to understand

When the class is over

I run on the rice field

jumped on the brook

on the talahib grass

I can’t wait to see the face of my Pa

Chasing the dragonfly hovering the cows dung

along the way

my heart is filled with joy and I looked into the sky

every kid love to stare at it

we all are

red fiery clouds with gentle smudges of purple cream

rolling foam-like red and hazy gray, the sun was far in the west side 

smiled and I smiled back

the wild leaves of acacias

sea and the fishermen starting to paddle

darkness and the dying light

why we need to hug the night

and the story of our life changed we don’t expect

like cold wind reaching our face

Pa will cook my fried fish and sweet rice again tomorrow and look at me from outside the window

raising it beside his young face 

I reached the house, 

brown discolored door and pushed it sweetly to take my Pa hand into my forehead

for my respect

no one was there

the house were empty

I know

all of us had tried to felt this emptiness

when all our love wasn’t around

it made you immersed inside the cocoon 

the clock on the wall ticking gentle

and the pendulum moving slow

the curtain caught by an evening breeze 

move slowly like a river on sunny days

the fly flew sideway slow

breath slow

blinking of the eyelid slow

moon ascent slow

the song over the radio slow

anchorman announced of new typhoon

moving slow from the Pacific

and heading slow in the land by Sunday

my childhood end and I thought we stick to each other no matter what

it was only my grandma saying Pa went into the city and it seem I felt death for the first time

I sat on the sand

for such a long time

the child continue sitting

refusing to accept the things had happened 

just like that

just like that

while boat lights dwindled from a far  

grandma were calling my name

come inside now

the night is already deep

I stood and promised to myself

once I had a family of my own

I won’t leave them 

like Pa did betraying the innocence of my childhood

with that quick

no more lonely child crying in the dark

but life is harder as I grow older

I need to break my bow

I had too

and on third grade of my son 

I left 

holding an empty bag

hugging first my daughter and my wife 

and my son whose frail hand refused to give up

like I been stab a dozen time in my heart

the country where the sky is blue

I left

the sea is love 

I left

and memories fading fast

I left

like a black and white photograph in the cabinet of my Ma with the dust of time

I left

how many Christmas I sat outside in the winter cold clutching myself on the thick jacket 

watching the stars 

how many times I heard my son pretending to sound okay at the end of the mobile phone on his lips

kissing it and saying how much he love me

and that he cry in silence trying to make his voice normal pretending everything seem alright

like grown up

how cruel I am as a father 

crueler than my father did on me without saying goodbye that he be gone for few days while I waited him to come back 

life is harder more than we expect

perhaps it was things to happen first 

that we need to accept

even we don’t want too

that no one will stays forever

Herbert Siao

OFW Kingdom

Saudi Arabia


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