For the nth time, you go into exile and estrangement. Again.
Again and again.
You are back into the land of some milk and some honey by sneaking out of the lives of your sleeping children, at three in the morning, when all three of them are entertaining their young dreams of the good because decent life for themselves and for all those who have been deprived of the warmth of a parent's love because there are bills to be paid and fast and soon and the starvation wage in the home country even for those who have the grand dream and the doctorate to show is still starvation wage.
You stare at famine and want each day, on the table and on cupboards and in the rice bin.
At the UP, for instance, where many of brightest and brainest are, many professors cannot even afford to buy a decent book such that, either they (a) declare war against the soldiers of anti-copyright law--there is law here if we refer to 3rd world countries that needed much of the soft tech in 1st world?--and buy the photocopied books from photocopying entrepreneurs, or (b) wait for their book author colleagues for their gift, the complimentary copy that is not courtesy of the publisher but courtesy of the author who buys his own copy of his book from his publisher.
So at three in a warm morning, before the cock crows, you sneak out and go into the dark to traverse that C-5 that links you to the airport where you are made to pay for the terminal fee and the travel tax, one other robbery that you have to go through as an exile.
It is past four as you get to the airport.
And there a drizzle--or gloom.
But you think of the drizzle so rich with an Ilokano symbology: the drizzle of new wetness, a promise of rich rain coming to wet the earth and promise a harvest of bounty.
You hope for this, of course, as you get past the road that links you to the departure area of the NAIA which you missed the first time because the wife who always knows more missed telling you where to turn.
You said you did not want the wife to accompany you to the departure area.
You said just go.
You said last night that you did not want the tears flowing so freely as was the case the last time.
You cried rivers on that Monday night, with the daughter and the you wife commencing the ritual of exorcising the sorrow and pain of leaving and being left behind, the first which is your act, the second their own: your wife, your children, the fist two literally on their own as they find a way in the entangled road of life, the last born a baby tentatively happy with her Dora and her little classroom in that small living room in the family house that has kept all the memories of living a life as simple and decent as you can afford.
O you miss those scenes.
And you pray in your sleep even as you also cry, tearless and silent.
A. S. Agcaoili
Los Angeles, CA
May 16, 2006