"Perhaps you cannot see a marriage. Like those giant heavenly bodies invisible to the human eye, it can only be charted by its gravity, its pull on everything around it. That is how I think of it. That I must look at everything around it, all the hidden stories, the unseen parts, so that somewhere in the middle — turning like a dark star — it will reveal itself at last."
---"The Story of a Marriage", Andrew Sean Greer
"Mommy, how are you?"
"Uy, anak. Ikaw pala yan. Mabuti. Ikaw kamusta? (Oh, it's you my son. I'm good. How are you?)"
It was nighttime in America. I suddenly missed my mom so I called her at her work at the nursing home. I wanted to chat a bit before I sleep.
"I'm good. O, 11 na ah. Susunduin ka na ng asawa mo (It's almost 11. Your husband will be fetching you soon)," I teased her.
"Ay. Oo nga. Yang Daddy mo talaga Kane, talagang every night andiyan talaga siya para sunduin ako. Favorite talaga ako niyan. (Oh, you're right. You know Kane... your Dad, he's really there every night to fetch me. I'm really his favorite.)"
She laughed and I heard the genuine pleasure in her voice.
"Sabi ko nga sa kanya, malapit lang naman ang bahay. Kaya ko ng lakarin para makapag rest na siya. Pero gusto pa rin niya ako sinusundo. Ay teka, andiyan na siya. O mag ingat ka lagi ha. I love you (I keep telling him the house is near and I can just walk home pero he insists on fetching me from work. Oh wait, got to go. He's here. Take care always. I love you)," my mom said.
"I love you too Mom. Give Dad my love."
My mom and dad live in a small apartment in Los Angeles. They have been married 31 years. My sister moved in with her boyfriend last year and they have become closer since then. I guess as what people say, it's like a second marriage.
"Yang mommy mo at ako, talagang 'til death do us part kami," Dad told me a few months ago during one of our conversations.
My dad arrives home much earlier than mom who has two jobs. Ssometimes he would fall asleep at the couch while watching TV but he makes sure he wakes up to fetch mom.
Sometimes I think of their nightly ritual and what it means for them. Perhaps for Dad, it's a daily gesture of his love for Mom. He's there ... every night for the past eight years an hour before midnight. Whether it's summer or fall. Winter or spring. There were days he wasn't feeling well. Or had a bad day at work. Or was simply tired.
But he always shows up.