Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Paamoy nga," I said and embraced her. Her perfume smells of lilac, and old roses, just like I remembered. "So are you ready? Baka mapuyat ka."
"I'm prepared to go home by 6:00 a.m.!" she told us.
One more year, I thought to myself. So this is how it ends. When you're younger, you dream of wealth, travel, love, a great job, a great man, great sex and a lifetime to enjoy them all. And at 86, all you ask is for one more year.
I suddenly realized the vast distance of almost six decades that separates my Tita and I. She looked at me and at that moment, we both knew she knew she was approaching the end of her life. How does she feel, I wonder? And when that time comes, how would I feel?
Our finiteness being human is what ultimately gives our lives meaning, I think. It is because we know things do not last forever that we value them. It is the time we spend with our loved ones knowing death comes, the joy of watching children grow up knowing they will not be children forever, the struggles of today knowing there is a promise of a better tomorrow.
The years fly by.
As the poet Andrew Marvell put it in his poem, “To His Coy Mistress” – “And at my back I always hear, / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”
Maybe one day I will be 86 and someone will ask me what is my wish. I would remember my Tita Deng, and smiling I'll say, "One more year".