Look Back, Move Forward

I just learned that one of our long-time neighbor in the province moved to another barangay. I could not believe it at first so I sent a private message to the matriarch. She confirmed about their transfer last summer and told me that it was probably just right timing when one of the big-time developers bought the large idle land at the back of the family’s ancestral home. The land was unintentionally enclosed by the houses stretching two barangays thus leaving it idle for almost 4 decades.

Our barangay has always been affected by flood during the rainy seasons. I grew up walking through makeshift wooden bridges because of the floodwater inside the compound. Street children loved to play inside the compound because it looked like a big fishpond with milkfish and small fishes.

I stopped appreciating the flood in our area as soon as I hit puberty. It was just uncool to be walking along flooded streets and then crossing through an old makeshift bridge just to get home. I dreamed of college and getting a job after graduation. I dream of buying a new house elsewhere where typhoons and storm surges would never be able to intimidate me. That start of my life journey started in 1994 and since then, I became distant to my own place.

“Actually, another neighbor will transfer soon, too. They have sold their house to the developer” our neighbor’s mother added.

What?! Why are they leaving? How much was the deal for them to just give up decades of living in our beautiful barangay? Hey, those houses are the landmarks of my childhood!

Wait! I stopped thinking to start feeling how I really think of the situation. I was sad for their exodus not because I would miss them because it has been ages since I settled in another place. I was sad for their exodus not because I was jealous of their new home but because I wanted to see their old homes just as they have always been. Then I realized, it was all about me. The sadness was all about missing my childhood. The pain came from the realization that the place would never be the same again on my next visit.

“Mare, it is better to leave the house. It’s old, anyway, ” PM’d my friend.

Yes, it is better to leave the house. It is not practical to live in an old house with flooded streets when your parents are old and vulnerable. The sadness was all about me, my feelings, my memories, my childhood.