By EMMA P VALENCIA, MD
of this house.
And for the first time, I realize that I am surrounded by big things. Things that did not seem big before are now huge before my eyes.
Take the round dining table. When my sisters and I sat around it many years past, it was just another round table. Now, I sit here alone and it seems I’m swimming in a big, round pool.
I look under it, and the table leg looks like the pillar of the post office building in Lawton. It is solid narra, the whole trunk of the tree cut across in half and transplanted into the dining room.
Next to it is the” platera”, an antique cabinet where my mom kept/displayed her precious tableware. This “platera” has been with my family for close to a hundred years.
Its top reaches up to the ceiling so it must be about 5 meters high. The mirrors have not been replaced for the same number of years.
At my back, against the wall is the big bookcase and cabinet. It spans half the wall of the living room. The hardwood dresser cum aparador upstairs, which four men could not budge sits in the room once occupied by my sister, but now is empty.
Perhaps the propensity to acquire big and hardy things that would last for many, many years is a mark of my parents’ generation. It is a mindset that puts premium to things that are grand, and lasting. I surmise the big hardwood furniture that my parents and my grandparents liked to acquire are really metaphors of the grand ideals they held dear: lasting relationships, authenticity, faithfulness, honesty , industry , integrity.
This house is too big for me now. I may, one day, decide to sell it and all the things that are in it.
It will be goodbye to these big things, but not to the metaphors they stood for.
They will always follow me, wherever I may go.
(Dr EMMA P Valencia, MD, is a Health Policy analyst, writer, poet and journalist, who shuttles between Manila and California. She once worked with Senator Eduardo J Angara to assist him on important health policy legislations.)