Sunday, February 8, 2009

AN AFTERNOON WITH MY BROTHER

Mother and Child
size varies
limited edition print


“I remember the yellow mosquito we’d hang over the bed each night we go to sleep when we were kids,” I told my brother while he was hunched over an old wicker chair he’s been fixing for the past half hour.

“Yeah, and you’d always be the one hanging it,” he said dryly with his back still turned to me. “Would you hand me those scissors behind you?” he asked without even turning.

“That’s because you suck at it. You never knew how to stretch it well enough so that it won’t droop over our faces when we sleep,” and I poked his shoulder with the scissors. He took it and snipped some loose wicker strands sticking out from the bottom of the chair.

“Do you remember that bright red woolen blanket we used to sleep on which had those four naked mermaids on it with huge breasts?” I asked as I saw little Zach coming out of the door wearing a huge smile on his face as he squeaked in his baby voice “’ito ‘an” (Tito Dan). Somehow this child of three still can’t pronounce his D’s and T’s yet to complete my name.

“Uh-huh. You used to rub your feet on that blanket every night in bed and you’d put that big hotdog-shaped pillow between us,” he replied as I took little Zach in my arms and I could smell pee all over him, but baby pee isn’t as bad smelling as adult pee.

“That hotdog pillow was nice to snuggle with. And besides, it helped to prevent you from putting your foot up my nose when you’re asleep,” I said in my defense while he took a couple of wicker strands to wove into the hole left by the ones he just pulled out. And Zach started to poke into my nose.

“Do you remember being breastfed by Mamu?” I asked him while I had to hold down Zach’s hand before he gets the bright idea of poking my eyes next. He giggled and he wiggled his hands out and started to play with the buttons on my shirt.

“Nope.”

“I do. And somehow, in my memories, I remember the smell of her milk, how it tasted. I also remember the mosquito net when I was still a baby* was also yellow and that red blanket with the mermaids, it was already there when I was a few months old. I remember these things,” I told him as I could hear Zach breathing beside my ear as I held him in my right arm while he kept on fiddling with the buttons of my shirt.

“Hmm,” my brother remarked as he straightened up, looked at me and said, “You know what?”

“What?”

“You have too much on your mind and too much time in your hands. Grab that other chair and help me fix these things,” he said with a dismissive wave of hand. At that instance, Zach flashed a big smile and grunted. He farted.

“See? Even Zach farted at your thoughts.”

We laughed.

____

* My brother was born four years after me.


6 comments:

luna miranda said...

i smiled while reading your story. i have similar conversations with my brother and sister. i can even remember the morning when my 7-year old cousin wet the bed and our aunt made him wash the blanket. we found him sobbing while washing the huge blanket, and we called him "pangsot" since that day.:D

palma tayona said...

@ luna: oh yeah! lol, those "tele-novela" moments beside the faucet. i too, as a child, had those uber-dramatic spiels. now that i am an adult and would remember those "the world is against me" blah-blah's... i laugh. we all have a flair for drama when we're children.

Bella Sinclair said...

Oh, I love your illustration. The composition of mother and child is tender and beautiful. They fit like puzzle pieces.

You're a wonderful painter, not only with colors and lines, but with words as well. I can just visualize this little moment with your brother and Zach. It's sweet that you remember these snippets of time, turning something seemingly mundane into a great story.

Really?! You remember that far back? Wow, that's really impressive. I have trouble going back to the age of 3.

palma tayona said...

@ bella: yes, i do. i remember how it felt when i was suckling from her breast. i also remember a particular instance when an old woman was reaching into my crib. i could see my small hand trying to grasp the old woman's "stampita" (it's a picture of a saint or the Holy Mother worn around the neck) that was dangling from her neck. i remember an old rubber doll of a football player beside me in the crib. and i remember the color of my blanket. turns out the old woman was my grandmother who visited us when i was two years old. i realized who it was in old family pictures taken at that time.

Eric Barclay said...

These are awesome! Really like how you combined your line work with single tints.

Love reading your commentary, too. Your work is brilliant, my friend. Thanks for your visit on my blog-- I love and respect your work so your comments mean a great deal.

palma tayona said...

@ eric: there are only a few illustrator's sites i find myself going back to again and again to check out and be awed, and yours is one of them. you've got humor, and an easy air about your works and i simply love it. :-) i guess that's something innate in people who are close to children and their own inner child.

thank you for visiting here too. i appreciate it a lot.