Monday, September 24, 2007

Childhood Afternoon Memories

My mom told me that I was a naughty boy. She said I do not sleep every afternoon and I just play outside with the other kids - tumbang preso, balat-kendi, patintero, card games, langit-lupa - these were some of my favorites.

I never had the opportunity to unravel the physical boundaries of the street in our barrio where I was born, raised and exposed, until such time that I learned how to walk with my feet and reach a total of a hundred miles per day, with sunlight's too much exposure on my skin. At first, I was kind of vacillating whether to explore and discover for myself things I haven't seen and places I haven't been to. Way back then, an area named Purok 6, used to be called as 'drug pushers' and drug addicts' haven', was the most avoided but at the same time most popular place in our barrio. Every children were afraid to go there. Rumors have been spreading out that children who reach that area were being caught by conglomerates of prohibited drug users and pushers, and they were never returned back to their homes. That was the most frightening story for me because as the last child in the family, I am the one who is loved by everybody, and I will be very sad and they will be very sad too if I were to be caught by those people. So whenever I try to reach the kanto, I never walked to the left, because that's the way to Purok 6. To the right is the way to my elementary school, the park, and the church.

Because I hate sleeping during the time where the rest of my family members were asleep, I preferred to play outside with my favorite playmates. Usually, the crowd-taker game was patintero. If we do not have the chalk to mark the lines on the ground for the path of the people who block the players on reaching the other base, the dirty water in the furrows would be sufficing. I can easily reach the next block (square) without being reached by the taya due to my agility.

I remember I also had collections of different candy wrappers. Expensive and uncommon candy wrappers are considered collector's item. When you sell that or exchange for another candy wrapper(s), it would usually entail a lot.

Teks, or cards of popular children TV shows then (some to mention are Masked Rider Black, Zenki, BT X, Cedie, Princess Sarah, Charlotte, Heidi, Bioman, Shaider, and many more) were usually things for trade, as usual, to another teks. Also, teks are used to place on the palm in giving a high five. When a card faces front and the other do not, the one who owns the front-faced card gets the other card. I can recall I had a collection of different teks wrapped on a rubber band. Later on, all my teks were gone and I migrated my passion on collecting POGs (circular, thicker, and bigger cards) and NBA cards.

Some of the older boys then constructed a mini basketball court in front of our house. I was so happy and I even requested my Dad to buy me a ball that will fit into the ring. Almost everyday I never failed to dunk and lay-up. Until my mom noticed that I was getting too addicted to it that I forgot to study my lessons. What she did was cut the ball with a stilleto so I cannot play with it anymore. I cried a little loud but I had nothing to do. I thought about my mother as an antagonist of my desires. But when I forgot how to make a free throw and my passion for basketball totally dissolved, I understood why she did that.

Even if the night hasn't come yet, we still play taguan or hide and seek. Usually, there were cheaters who just hide beside or on the back of the it just to save himself on being the next it. But I was not a cheater. In fact, I hide on bushy places and I even get cuts because of plants' and flowers' thorns. That's what I can risk just to save myself on not being it.

After long hours of playing outside during afternoons, my ate used to refresh and wash me up. She used to clean my feet and hands full of dirt. She used to scrub my dirty little body. And when I am finally cleaned over, it's time for me to take my dinner, stay just inside the house, locked and prohibited on going out, with the fear of people from Purok 6, manananggal, and werewolves.







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