Sunday, December 30, 2007


A Boy and His Notebook
10" x 14"
acrylic on cavas

“Why don’t you just relax instead of straining your noggin reading that reviewer. Ikaw rin, blood will ooze from your nose.”

“Eh Tito Dan, some of these math questions here might come up in the test,” Wiggy insisted

“It’s stock knowledge. It’ll eventually pour out of your brain if it has to.”

I was looking at how my nephew was slumped at the backseat of the car reading his reviewer and intently absorbing some mathematical formulas and science facts in his reviewer that might be in the entrance exams for the state science high school.

He’s turning 13 soon, the same age as I was when I started reading Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude while hiding in the bathroom thinking it was a porn novel tucked underneath my older brother’s bed.

It was also the same age when I burned a favorite t-shirt during a religious retreat organized by my school conducted by a Belgian priest who pronounces Titanic with a long “eee”. Emblazoned on the front of that shirt was the face of a grinning man with horns, but if you look at it closely, it’s actually formed by a bunch of writhing naked women. Wearing that shirt, a gift from my older brother, made me feel cool and part of that glorified breed of “rebels”.

I was also growing hair in the wrong places and wondered why James was already using veto. It would always leave a white, gooey deposit in his armpits after PhysEd class. He also had a funny odor that Ronald started calling him “Mang Ador”. The name stuck on him way until high school.

It was in our last year in grade school that my friends and I were caught cutting class because we were playing with our water pistols near the school’s premises. Our class adviser caught us in the middle of our wild water shootout. As punishment for our truancy, he confiscated our water pistols and had all of us stand for the rest of the day beside each column on the fourth floor of our school building. Regardless of the punishment, we still had fun. Someone produced a spitball, took shots at each other and we just giggled the whole afternoon away.

“Tito Dan, did you take the exams at this school?” asked Deus, Wiggy’s younger brother.

“Nope, I took the one in Manila.”

“Did you pass that one?”

“Nope. Like your dad, I went on to the same high school that I took my grade school studies in.”


“So Deus, you’ll be taking the same entrance exams next year too?” I asked him.

“Maybe,” he shrugged.

“Why maybe?”

“For now, I’ll just be Kuya’s spiritual mentor,” he declared.


“Tol, Wiggy passed. He’s going on to the next qualifying exams,” my brother told me in a text message.

“Told you. I always knew your son can ace it. Let’s hope he passes the second one,” I responded.

“Basta, I still am the proudest father,” even in text message he beams with pride.

“And I am a very proud uncle,” I answered.

Damn, I also feel old.


Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...


atticus said...

man, your family is blessed with a god gene pool.

ganyan talaga. we turn our backs and suddenly the nephews we used to make formulas for are in high school weaving dreams of their own.

Anonymous said...

Nephews and nieces... they all make us old. Yep. Every time, no fail. But I just refuse to feel old.

atticus said...

good gene pool.

*hits herself*

Anonymous said...

Wow, congrats to Wiggy and good luck on the next screenings. (I think there are three sets?)

I love that painting. Reminds me of my son who is to take the board exam next year.

Wishing you and your loved ones the BEST of the NEW YEAR, Daniel! :)

palma tayona said...

Happy New Year to all of you!

Kiks said...

i wish i could do that: write and draw well and remember everything i did back in high school.

nephews and nieces make us feel old. and make us feel young as well.

palma tayona said...

@ kiks : i actually wonder if my friends from high school get to read my blog.

Toe said...

I love your art work... like Botero. And you were able to relate the boy with his notebook to your nephew. You're really artistic. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

@ Toe: thank you toe. happy new year to you too!!!