It Happens on a Saturday

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Dear JC,

I don't know if I was dreaming last night or it was you telling me not to worry because you will sin no more. Today is Saturday, and there is something inside of me that wants to explode every time I remember that afternoon. I just want to shout and let the shock, the agony and all of these feelings out of my system. How I wish it didn't happen. I felt so devastated. Going back to that moment is unbearable. How can we ever get through it? I still don't know how to deal with it.

I was so shocked, so lost, so hopeless, so frozen, so numb, so hurt, so sad, so mad and like a child, so furious and so helpless. All of these feelings at once.

I was kind of asking the Lord if He was sure that this is what He has for us. He might be making a mistake. But He wasn't. I can only trust that everything is happening for our sake. I am so confused. How can that be?

The thought of that Saturday is too much. I'm freezing. I cannot do anything. I'm screaming inside. I cannot understand. I am so lost.

Please God, just help me surpass this moment.


The prospect of attending a seminar on buying foreclosure that Saturday excited me. It was giving me a new kind of hope. I could not wait. Venturing into this new career was an entirely different path from preparing lectures for nursing students and accompanying them on exposure trips before they could enter the caring profession. Mentoring aspiring Florence Nightingales used to be a fulfilling job until one day I felt butterflies in my stomach with every thought of going to the hospital. Getting out of it gave me a different rush of adrenalin.

The expectations of what I would be learning at the seminar and anxiety about getting ready made me jump out of bed and miss my morning ritual of connecting with my Higher Power and putting a to-do list for the day. This rarely happens. I quickly picked up the dirty clothes and loaded the washing machine while giving instructions to my kids who would be left at home.

My husband, Boy, came with me since I was not familiar with the seminar's venue. I felt a little discomfort leaving the kids alone even though they were old enough to take care of themselves. It has always been an unsaid understanding that there should always be one parent at home with our children.

Before we left, the house needed to be cleaned since there would be people coming. Nanay, my mother-in-law who lived beside our home was going to be visited by friends from hundreds of miles away. Nanay wanted to have some kind of catching up session and conduct a prayer meeting which they used to do. She needed a bigger space to accommodate her guests and we offered our place.

After her guests arrived and settled, JC, our eldest, offered to bring us to the highway where we could hail a bus ride going to Manila. He was driving Scoopy, Honda's newest edition of scooter.

Waiting for the bus, my husband reminded JC,

"Dalhin mo na 'yung battery ng kotse para ma i-charge" (Bring the car battery for charging) JC just nodded, driving away from us until he was out of our sight.

The travel time from Calamba to Ortigas normally takes an hour if there's no traffic in SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) or EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). We got off the bus at around noon and had our lunch. Boy brought me to the venue before he proceeded with his own itinerary that afternoon.

"Sunduin mo ako ng mga 5:30, tapos na ang seminar n'yan," (Pick me up at 5:30, the seminar will be over by then) I told him while he was leaving me like a kindergarten kid being sent to school by her dad.

The venue was warm and comfortable. The receptionist gave me my name tag and a few tokens from their sponsors before ushering inside. There were quite a number of attendees. The woman sitting beside me was into a pest control business. She got interested in real estate but had no idea where to start. At my back was a seaman from the province of Batangas who looked confused. He was just invited by a friend and I was wondering if he was aware of the seminar he had gotten himself into. I was a little curious whether he could relate with my enthusiasm.

I love and enjoy the real estate business. I made it my part-time job when I felt that teaching students to care for the sick was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was looking for something, money perhaps.

Real estate was a promising field and easy to understand. I just needed some more ideas and techniques that would help me go with confidence. The speaker caught my interest and I hung on to every word he said. Then my phone rang. It was around 4:30 p.m.

"Ma'am Au nasaan ka?" (Ma'am Au, where are you?) "Naaksidente si JC! Walang tao sa bahay nyo"(JC had an accident! There was nobody at your house) I recognized the trembling voice. It belongs to Clodet, my neighbor.

"Nasaan sila?" (Where are they?) I wondered to myself.

"Pumunta ka kay Nanay"(Go to Nanay) was the only instruction I could give Clodet. I knew she was just there.

My anxiety increased because I still had an hour to wait for Boy and I had no way of reaching him. That was the only time I got furious for his total dislike of gadgets. My heart was beating so fast and my phone kept ringing.

"Ma, wasak na wasak si Scoopy, hindi na natin siya magagamit."(Ma, Scoopy is so wrecked, we cannot use it anymore.) It was our middle child, Nikki, on the other line this time.

"Si Kuya?" (What about your brother?) I was already shouting.

"Hindi ko alam! Nasa ospital siya."(I don't know! He's in the hospital.) Nikki sounded nervous and confused.

"Nikki, please, gusto kong malaman kung anong nangyari kay Kuya."(Nikki, please, I want to know what happened to your brother.)

I told the receptionist that my son had had an accident and I couldn't bear answering my phone. I requested one of them to answer calls for me to which they agreed. Some of them even prayed with me. I went to the ladies room, rattling, crying, pleading to God, walking back and forth.

It was already 5:00 p.m.

"Ma, sabi nila na-fractured daw si Kuya" (Ma, they said brother has a fracture.) It was Nikki again on the phone.

"Thank God," I whispered.

The beating of my heart started to slow down. I came back to my senses and focused on seeing Boy and going back home right away.

Thirty minutes later, I received another phone call from Nikki.

"Mama, sabi nila unconscious daw si Kuya." (Mama, they said Kuya was unconscious.)

The panic hit again. I felt like my heart was breaking into pieces.

I waited for Boy at the lobby, holding my cell phone, not wanting to speak to anyone else. What I was going through was unbearable. I was losing control. Going back home alone was not a wise move. I had to wait for Boy and let him know what happened to JC. At 6:00 in the evening he finally arrived.

"Huwag kang mabibgla, naaksidente si JC" (Don't be shocked, JC had an accident) as if my warning could control how he would react. "Saan 'yung pinakamalapit na pwede tayong sumakay ng bus?" (Where is the nearest place we can ride a bus?) I asked him.

I reassured him that our friends were doing their best to take care of JC and they had taken him to the best hospital in town. Aside from their promise over the phone, I didn't have anything to tell him.

The bus ride home felt like the longest I'd ever taken. That Saturday turned out to be the most unforgiving far beyond anything I could have expected. It changed my career and my whole life as well.

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