MEMOIRS OF DOUGLAS

It was on the 22nd dawn of August I was awakened by the blow of the cool breeze that had freely passed through the open wooden window of my grandparents’ house in Unidos. Upon glancing on the ticking clock that had been hanged freely onto the unpainted wooden wall, it was positioned at half past four in the wee hour of the early morning.

The two story old house was silent. All I saw were my other three siblings who were still soothingly asleep on the wooden floor that was merely covered with a woven “cogon” mat and a mosquito net that was tied-up to sturdy high-back and intricately carved Narra chairs.

I hurriedly rose-up and came down the stairs knowing my parents were still awake because the beddings were neatly intact and obviously untouched yet. Perhaps – in my mind – they were still busy preparing for a fact that it was the day of the Fiesta Celebration. While slowly tapping down my bare feet into the flights, I was stunned by the horrendous news that had suddenly struck me.

My father can be described as a stocky man, generous, hospitable, a loving husband and friendly.

I was eleven years old then when he ran for a public office. Thankfully, he was luckily elected as a town councillor in our town. It was a crucial election on his part to become a member of the magic eight in the Sanguniang Bayan. There were only few lead votes apart from his other struggling opponents. He was the last elected official among his batch though but he was not the least during his time.

In his tenure years, he was designated as a councillor honcho in Barangay Unidos. This barangay is one of the many barangays in Tago where my grandparents live when they were still alive and the place where my mother had spent the rest of her her youthful and vibrant years when she was still young.

I could still vividly recall how flamboyant the Unidos Fiesta was during my father’s reign. There were carnival, a series of different sport competitions, a “bayle” and a disco, a hired Adela Serra Ty Band, and a Drum and Bugle Corps from Gamut National High School that gave an additional friskiness and attraction as being the highlights of the celebration.

Fortnight before the Fiesta, my father had already been finished inviting all his friends, relatives and fellow public servants. He invited them for an advance banquet at my grandparents’ house the night before the big day. My family intended it to be that way so that they can be accommodated properly compared if they would be joined together with the masses as one on the day of the celebration itself. But then again, the house of my grandparents was still swarming with people and vehicles like bees.

After the dinner, when his other invited guests were already heading back abode, my father went to the disco to entertain his other remaining guests. The disco was located at the Barangay’s Basketball Court. It was highly fenced with a woven bamboo that served as a wall and at the same time the court which was being used as the dance floor had looked like a galaxy of lights that were flickering overhead.

While they were enjoying the party, there was a young tipsy man who would want to enter the disco without paying the entrance fee. The servile cashier certainly did not allow him to enter inside until it reached to a point that it lead to an argument.

My father saw what happened. Being a type of person who’s impulsive and indignant, he went to the gate and lambasted the man with words that made the man silently boiled his blood. I was already asleep then when the incident happened for it was already midnight.

After the party, my father wasn’t aware that the man whom he had once scolded was patiently eyeing him outside the murky street. While he was walking on his way home, he was hastily attacked and stabbed with a sharp pointed object to a point that it had pierced his heart. He was managed to deliver into the provincial hospital but due to its poor quality service, he unfortunately died hopelessly. It was later then discovered that the sharp object that had been used by the perpetrator was an ice pick.

It was the saddest part of my life. I was always crying especially if I see my mother steadily glancing toward the horizon while her eyes trickling with tears. I can’t endure the pain watching her knowing she was one month pregnant with our youngest.  Our ordeal had worsened when we entered college because she has no other half to support us anytime although my relatives have always been supportive ever since. But then again, it’s still different if you have a complete family.

If I would recall those difficult situations, I couldn’t imagine how all of us siblings triumphantly survived it. God is always good. He always finds a way.

Sometimes thoughts would suddenly pop-up like bubbles into my head with some questions like “what if” but the mystery of life has never been predictable. We can never truly tell what will happen next. But then again, those memorable memories of my father are still kept deep inside me. They are like someone’s favourite lullaby that has filled with sweet memories. Once it played, it thoroughly brings back the old time together.

In loving memory of the late Hon.Gregorio Douglas J. Portillo:

Born  :         October 1, 1946

Died   :         August 22, 1988

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~ by sherwinportillo on August 18, 2012.

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