Friday, March 27, 2009

Apo Lakay

"Who is your grandfather to you?" - Pancho Villanueva

He taught me about stillness. One afternoon when I was five, he embraced me all throughout my parents' worst fight. Years later at the onset of Parkinson's, he called out for me all afternoon. I sat by him and talked about my day. I wondered if his hardened body could still comprehend tenderness. As when reason fails us, that is all we can strive for. He accomplished much in his ninety-six years. Got four orphaned brothers through school, and the war. Winning over Grandma, which is no easy feat. Becoming a man of the Law. Some time ago I promised myself I'd live by his example, but so far I haven't done much. I can only hold on to those short hours when I was certain we came from the same place. Wonder if I will end the same way. Surrounded by love, and grief, and greatfulness. I watched his embalming and noticed how they had to force his knees to lie straight down. I remember his empty face and mine full of tears. I remember his faint gravel voice mumbling my name, as though it were something important he had forgotten. I remember his cold hands and my arms around him. I remember his quiet demeanor and from where I got mine.

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