”Mamang, it’s time for dinner.”
“Who are you?”
“Mamang, I’m your second child, Hinaru.”
“I don’t know you.”
It took me a while before I recover from what she just said.
“Anyway Mamang, it’s time for your dinner. Here–”
“I can eat on my own.”
I did nothing but watch her as she eat her dinner.
It was Io. He has been silent until now.
“What is it?”
“Can we talk?”
“Yes we can.What do you want to talk about?”
“Not here. Anina, look after Mamang for us.”
Io sound so serious to the point that it scares me. We even went out of the house. What is it that he wants to talk about that he doesn’t want others to hear?
“Spill the beans, Io.”
“Let’s have Mamang be admitted to an asylum.”
“WHAT?!? Do you even hear yourself, Io?”
“I’ve thought it over, okay?”
“Listen, Haru. Mamang needs proper care. We can’t give that to her.”
No. We can’t just leave Mamang in an asylum. Never!
“Why bother yourself taking care of someone who can’t even remember you?”
“Because she’s our mother. Now tell me. How can you just let your mother be left in someone else’s care? Do you think they would even care for her there?”
“Haru, it’s been five years. Mamang never recovered even since Papang went missing. Our concern for her not even once healed her broken heart. Even Niisan gave up on her.”
“That’s why you’re giving up on her as well? Why should we get tired? Do you even know how much tiring it is to take care of you when you were young? Did Mamang get tired? No. She even risked her life giving birth to us. And now you’re tired?’
“She did get tired! Can’t you see? She was not even strong enough to hold herself together when we needed her the most! She can’t even remember you!”
“Do you think there’s nothing more painful than being forgotten by your own mother? Do you think I don’t bother when she remembers all of you while she has forgotten me? telling me that she doesn’t even know me? Do you think I’ve never got tired of taking care of her everyday? Have you heard anything from me? None! Never did I complain! Why? Because she’s my mother, and no matter how much she disowns me, I will never give up on her!”
“Neechama, are you two quarrelling?”
“Anina, go back inside.”
“Don’t worry, Anina. Just look after Mamang.”
“Oh c’mon, Io. Don’t pretend as if you care for Mamang!”
“I do care for her that’s why I suggest she should be admitted. All I want is what’s best for her–”
“For her or for yourself?”
“Are we giving away Mamang?”
“Anina, I said go back inside!”
“Io-chan, is Mamang leaving us?”
“Anina, don’t shout at your brother. He’s still older than you.”
“Why do you want to take away Mamang from us? Don’t you love her?”
“I love Mamang, but–”
“I hate you, Io-chan! I hate you!”
“Anina, stop it!”
“I wish Io-chan had never been my brother!”
“Anina, I said stop!”
“I hate you! I hate you! I wish you would just die! I–”
I hit her lip the instant she said that.
“I already told you to stop. He’s still your older brother and you don’t speak to him like that.”
Anina didn’t answer back. Instead, she just ran back inside the house crying,
“You shouldn’t have hit her.”
Io did nothing but stare back at me.
“Leave. We don’t need you here. If you don’t want Mamang, then I don’t want you as well. Leave.”
“I said leave!”
He stayed silent for a while before talking again.
“Time will come you would regret not listening to me, Haru.”
After which, he left.