return mail

i tore open the white envelope slightly damped with sweat from my right hand. i tried to maintain the half-excited, half-nervous look to mix with the room’s ambience. as the deafening silence started to embrace each person in the room, i tried my best to hold my tears on the verge of rolling down my cheeks. i kept myself away from others so that i could read the letter thoroughly. emotions were intensified by the weather outside. rain poured down in a frenzy as if it was a projection of the collective emotions in the room.

i read the letter on the off-white paper near the window where an ample amount of light managed to make its way through the window sills. i wondered if my eyes were fooling me again. jumbled words appeared before me as if teasing me to decipher their hidden meanings. in an instant, i have read words, even sentences i usually hear from my father.
    wala kang patutunguhan
    ang yabang mo
    sino ka ba sa akala mo? anak lang kita!
    ang haba ng nguso mo

    akala mo kung sino kang matalino!

random flashes of flashbacks started to hit me. the impact was so hard that it felt as if my internal organs were about to erupt. i felt the swelling feeling of heat brewing inside me as i tried to digest each word, each sentence i read from the retreat letter written on the off-white paper. the swelling feeling on my head was commanding me to tear the letter apart to release my rage. when i felt my patience was only inches away from giving up, a cold, wrinkled hand calmly pat my back and told me it was ok to cry. it was father peter’s hand. his look on me was more freezing than his hands. he smiled as he whispered on my ear god loves you.

i hid the paper from his view as if he’s a wolf preying on my letter. cry? yes. i wanted to cry during that time but my tear glands were manufacturing. maybe the vapors of rage somehow disrupted it’s normal tear production. but i did cry, internally. it was hard to read a blank letter. it was even harder to pretend that you feel almost the same as most people in the room- people sobbing, crying, and smiling because of the actual letters they’ve read. letters with actual words and sentences written by their parents or guardians, not a blank off-white paper full of illusions of having actual words and sentences.

i was the one who submitted the letter sealed in a white envelope to my class adviser back then. i remembered the night i asked my father for a retreat letter or even a note. i was not demanding him one; it was a class requirement. after a week, a night before the spiritual retreat, i asked him the letter but he replied in a stoic tone,
    ano ba yang kalokohan na yan? wag mo nga akong guluhin!

it was then that i managed to find the of-white paper on my room, folded it into three and sealed it in a white envelope.

lately, while clearing my file basket, i managed to find the white envelope with the blank off-white paper. i thought disposing it would be great since it was an added junk on my piles of files, but i ought not. i opened the letter and again, flashes of flashbacks enveloped me. amazingly i can still read words, sentences, and paragraphs from the blank paper. the letters appeared as if they were talking to me, telling me to write with them, be with them. without any hesitation, i grabbed a pen and started to fill up the off-white spaces with the spontaneous flow of black ink.

i wrote:


    thank you.
    salamat dahil madalas niyong sinasabing wala akong patutunguhan.
    salamat dahil lagi niyo akong pinupuna at pinapagalitan.
    salamat sa madalas na pagpaparamdam na ang liit-liit kong tao.
    salamat sa pagsasabing ang haba ng nguso ko.
    salamat nung minsang sinabihan o akong walang kwenta.
    salamat dahil akala mo mahiyain ako.
    salamat sa pag-aakalang adik ako, payat at basagulero.

    salamat, kundi dahil sa’yo, wala akong patutunguhan.
    salamat, kundi dahil sa’yo, hindi ako magiging matapang para harapin ang buhay.
    salamat, kundi dahil sa’yo, hindi ko mararating ang kinatatayuan ko ngayon.

    salamat sa pagpapanday sa akin.
    salamat kayo ang naging ama ko.

    salamat sa sulat niyo dati.

    mahal ko kayo.


i placed the letter on the white envelope but did not sealed it.
i placed it near his cabinet in our room.

one of the greatest lesson he instilled in me was humility.

his constant nags and beating taught me that no matter how good you think you are, you are nothing but a speck of dust in the vast universe, the world will revolve even without me and that my name does not even appear as a footnote in history.

thanks papa.


Talamasca said...

Aaaww! So emo! But well-written, as always.

Hindi naman insensitive at mapanglait ang tatay mo noh? Hehehe... Kidding. :-p

Happy Father's Day to him! :-)

Anonymous said...

I hate you!! You made me cry!!
I lost my dad a day before my 16th birthday.. I was too young then.. I'm wondering what kind of relationship would I have with my dad had he not died so early..

I feel for you.. *sigh*

Good thing you grew up as a strong person despite of all the humiliation you got from your dad..

May God bless you always!!

Anonymous said...

syet ka buleeetz! pinaiyak mo ko! pero di ko pwedeng ituloy kase nasa shop ako. ang daming tao! eheheh...

alam ko ang naramdaman mo! i felt the same then..i can somehow relate. wala rin akong letter from my parents nung retreat nmen nung hayskul.waaaaaaah! i know how it feels. ung tipong alam mong silang lahat is reading a letter from their parents. tapos ikaw....waaaaah! naawa ako sa sarili that time.nung nagbibigay na ung facilitator ng mga letters, alam ko na wala akong matatangap.

well, magkaiba nga lang ung sitwasyon naten kase i did not pretend na me letter ako. my adviser knew na hindi ako nagsubmit. (i didn't insist my parents to write me..natatakot kase na mangyari ung eksena na nangyari sa inyo ng father mo)

naiyak ako kase sinulatan ako ng adviser ko (which supposed to be a letter from my parents) pero ok na rin kesa wala. natuwa naman ako at natouch sa adviser kong un.

at sa tuwing nababasa ko un..naiiyak uli ako. di lang dahil sa laman ng letter kung hindi dahil rin naalala kong hindi sina mama at papa ang sumulat saken...

but i still love them though!

Anonymous said...

nga pala! applause for this post...tama.. ang galing ng pagkakasulat...

i lab it!

nag pala thanks for the space!

hapi father's day sa dad mo....

hapi bertdey nman sau!

Kiro said...

All I can say is WOW!!!...

Anonymous said...



played with words like jugling botlles of whisky


ano daw

basta all i can say is nicely done... tama yan... looko up to your father and appreciate his effort... nice...

Jigs said...

We always tend to disregard our parents and what they say. Sometimes we feel scared that they might embarass us. They scold us every chance they get. It is sometimes in the end that we realize the value of every word they utter... Happy Father's Day.

j said...

Happy Fathers' day sa iyong Papa :)

/iambrew said...

that was really a tear-jerker...

grabe naman yun... huhuhu...

G said...

i was saddened by your blank letter. grabe, kung ako yun, iiyak talaga ako. i really can't imagine how i'll react when i open a blank paper that i sealed myself, and gave it to the adviser thinking and believing it was from my dad.

so sad. but the letter you wrote was beautiful. it struck me, but in a weird-unexplainable way.

the last part was true, only, most people would not admit it.

from me to your dad, a happy father's day din!

Dantes said...

This so far is the best post I read during fathers day. Not in a negative way. I thought of it in a positive perspective.

You're a good son. He's so lucky to have you.

Peace out!

jho said...

gosh! teary-eyed ako don ah.

naniniwala ako na may talent ka at ipagpatuloy mo lang ang mga ginagawa mo. makikita mo everything fill pay-off someday. ^_^

vaN said...

aww...i wanted to cry! i wish my dad's like that... even though he'd made me feel i'm shittiest ass... at least he communicated with me..

happy father's day to your dad. :)

vaN said...

he's so blessed to have you. :)

Anonymous said...

astig yon. i loved it. it almost made me cry. haay. sana someday i would also realize those... hehe. hope to talk to you soon. feeling ko xe ur so mature. sana we cud get to know each other.. byee. yngatz prati.

duke said...

we spend our childhood fearing them, thinking that they are the most powerful beings.we don't understand a lot of things but we don't question them because their word is the law. then we grow up and they grow old. and then we understand.

nice piece by the way.

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