Daily dose of radiation from the television instantly changed ricefields into a city planted with buildings and roads. Cows and carabaos along the street were replaced by passers-by who were as busy as ants. The bamboo walls of the bahay kubo became stone-tiled walls of a mansion, and I saw my muscles develop as I wore the batman costume.
Yes, I am the batman who flies on the rooftops of the buildings of Gotham city as I chase burglars and criminals. I am the batman who run after my enemies with the bat mobile. I am the batman who saves the day. Yes, I was the batman, until the day my grandmother pulled me away from the television screen.
Slowly, the buildings, the roads, the passers-by and the mansion were erased from my sight as my grandmother carried me to a chair about 7 meters away from the television. I tried to resist her force with my muscles but on that instance, I realized that it was also erased together with my costume.
I thought my grandmother has totally erased the world I have seen on television. Every meter away from it makes an object disappear. It was like being taken alone in the middle of the rice fields, having only dragonflies to chase.
After my grandmother left, my close connection with the lines, the colors and the pictures of the television pulled me back in front of the screen. Again, I saw myself develop muscles and I wore the batman costume. I was about to chase a burglar and re-establish my connection to the radiation when a set of arms pulled me back that brought me inside our room to sleep. Then the voice of batman fighting the criminals of Gotham faded as she closed the door and turned the television off.
If there was anything I got from my grandmother’s genes, it was persistence.
Since she set proximity boundaries to the television, I have resorted to squinting as means of establishing connection with the moving lines, colors and pictures. For quite some time, squinting has brought me back and fourth to Gotham although the city was already shrouded with mist.
My squinting ability brought me closer to things I wanted to see. It breaks over mists that blocked my sight since birth whenever I tried to establish connection with something. But there were things in life that requires more effort than squinting in order to be seen.
It was way back in first grade when life first taught me to exert extra effort if I wanted to see things as I ought to see them. I stood amidst the towering mists sorrounded with echoes of laughter from my classmates. I stood for almost 15 minutes to decipher what was written on the board. I tried squinting, but the board would not establish any connection. Not a bit of line, color or picture dared to move in front. I used the sight of my imagination thinking that it might help me see the message my teacher was talking about but the board I saw was still under deep sleep and would not make contact.
Before I could advance my feet to wake the board myself, my teacher pulled me by the ear and chained me with questions at the office of our registrar.
On that day, the worlds of my parents and the school administrators clashed as they debated over my ability to read. At that moment, my teacher pushed for my exile, claiming that I am incapable of connecting with words and letters written on the board.
To settle the dispute, my mother grabbed the admission officer’s collection of words from God and asked me to breath life to the text by reading it aloud.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17
And just by that, the administrators seemed to have seen the mists blocking my sight. The following week, mists were gone, and the blackboard started to speak words and sentences to me even if I sit at the back of the classroom; my 1000 grade eyeglasses cleared the day.
Eyeglasses brought me closer to the world. The mists I saw since childhood were cleared and I sensed lines, colors, pictures and life moved all over the place everytime I wear the glasses. Becoming the superhero I wanted was as easy as changing channels on the tv. Wearing eyes that allowed me to see beyond the mist bred inside me the confidence to resist my father.
The moon has showered more light on the streets since I got my glasses. Moon beams directed me to paths where I can hide from the echoes of the anger of my father. Since we moved from the province to the city, I never recalled having any close connection to my father. Our mere connection was his voice stirred with anger and depression whenever he would see me. Although the mists have subsided from my sight, walls appeared between us.
It appeared as if each of the walls on the streets of Gotham suddenly bore my father’s name on them. My every visit to Gotham as the muscled batman was not merely for chasing criminals; my visits were also to find my father behind each wall.
Time flies like the shards of my broken glasses. Insatiabilty started to cloud my sight after years of not seeing my father behind walls. I searched for more powerful tools that could bring me more closer to the world, and I found that power in contact lenses.
Unlike wearing glasses, contact lenses present the world in a sharper perspective Indeed, the world has extended its hand to me for the first time. Visits in Gotham were clearer, but the walls became stronger. It appeared as if my batman muscles were no match with the towering bricks and rocks bearing my father’s name.
The walls appeared as if they will never succumb to fall, but the voice of my father passed through them like wind. His warnings about travellling late at night echoed at the streets of Gotham.
Confidence breeds inside me as I break each wall I Gotham. I knew I was close to my father. I saw my biceps developed in coordination with the strength that I felt. My batman instincts seemed to have sharpened like my vision, and the fleeting feeling of invincibility started to drown me.
Already drowned in overconfidence that the world would secure me at all times, I rode a jeep one night fell asleep to the lullaby of the gush of wind. The flickering street lights instantly brought me back to Gotham city. Again, I found myself clothed with power and invincibility as I crashed through walls, with hopes of finding my father.
As I continued with my pursuit, an invisible criminal pricked me in the chest. In a sudden, the walls, the streets and the colors of Gotham disappeared. I was back in my jeans and shirt and the muscles were all gone.
Two men in tattered clothes stared at me and pulled my bag away. In an instant thought of an act of resistance, confidence slowly evaporated with the wind as the other guy pointed his gun on my face. Slowly, fear crept back on my veins and silenced me the whole time.
For a fleeting moment I tried to get back to my batman costume but the world ceased its connection. The contact lenses slowly became blurred with mist as the burglars ran away with my bag.
When everything around me was again covered in mist, I tried to connect with my father through the telephone. His words suddenly cleared the mist and crashed the walls between us. On that very moment, I realized that the lenses and the glasses I used blinded me with pride and confidence.
Like glasses and contact lenses, I have to remove my pride and confidence in certain instances in life to see what I ought to see.