by Lakan Uhay Alegre

In Cinco Apartment, Burayan, Tacloban City—third house—is the son. The son is half-awake;  he forces himself to climb the attic where his father writes a last manuscript. The father carries  his son downstairs even if he has gout. Downstairs, the mother cooks breakfast and tells the two  of her new play. The new play is about a magical bugsay. The magical bugsay play is staged at  Holy Infant College. Holy Infant College is the son’s grade school. The grade school is where  the mother directs the play and casts his son as a crab. Being a crab is embarrassing.  Embarrassed is the mother not. The mother is proud. Proud is she to also graduated from the  same grade school. This school is also where the father usually sits on a bench near the  playground. The playground is where the son spends a few minutes before going home. Home is  where the father continues to write his last manuscript. The manuscript is to be a book, a book to  be launched in UP Tacloban. UP Tacloban is where the father and the son surprises the mother  on her birthday. Her birthday is a weekday. A weekday means class. The mother was in class  when they brought the pancit and puto. Pancit and puto are food the father has to lessen consumption. There is no celebratory pancit and puto in Divine World Hospital. Divine World  has an emergency room. In the emergency room: the son is half awake, he forces himself to  witness a catheter plunged into his father’s penis. The father is asleep. Asleep are the joys absent  from the room. A room on the third floor is where the mother explains to their son of what has  happened. The son does not want to be awake in Holy Cross Cemetery but forces himself to be  strong. Strong is his mother, beside him, when his father rests in his eternal sleep. Sleep is what  the son does not get. Getting ready to move out of the Cinco Apartment is what the mother and  the son do. The mother and the son move to San Gerardo. The house in San Gerardo is a house 

build by the father. The father left his last manuscript with the mother. The mother takes care of  the son. The son now studies in UP Diliman. UP Diliman is where the father and the mother first  met. The mother was the father’s student. Being a student, the father started writing his last  manuscript. The last manuscript is about being Pinoy and what that means. Being Pinoy means  putting life first before literature. Literature is what the mother guides the son towards. The  mother and the son are in Manila, where the son misses his mother too often. The mother and the  son launch the father’s book, the last manuscript, years in the making. The mother tells his son of  her new play. The play is about a giant crab eating a couple. A couple of years is what it took for  these simple sentences to write. They are not complicated as how the son assumed it would be. It  would be nice if the father were here but let the father be proud of how the mother took good  care of their son. The son writes now, just like his father, hoping to reach the end of his life with  his own last manuscript.