There must be something for us in this valley of tears, something of a calling. . .for us to cheat death twice. And would there be a third?
When we were kids, after the school break, we would hie ourself toTabon-tabon where our oldest sister and her family resided. It was not that we disliked Guinarona, only that our parents would goad us to go. Of course, Guinarona was a lot better than anywhere as far as sabbaticals go. We had all sorts of invented games to occupy our time; whereas Tabon-tabon was a strange land altogether.
It so happened that Tabon-tabon was along the Guinarona River, and one deep swimming hole there attracted the kids. And going there again never happened after we almost drowned–as in almost dead, kaput, gone. The hole was thrice as deep as we were tall. We kept bobbing up, then sinking down–we thought it was an eternity of bobbing up for air. We thought we were expert swimmers, but maybe we were panicking, and our swimming prowess escaped us. Good thing Rosie was near us and noticed our predicament. Forthwith, she grabbed us and dragged us to the river bank. What happened after was a blur–or worse, we could not even remember or just chose to forget. For being near-death is just horrible. (Rosie, wherever you are, thanks for being our angel.)
* * * *
The year was 1975. We were more or less on our own, trying to be independent by having a small business in our old house in Guinarona. Holy Week it was, and the mural of the 13th Station of the Cross, which was in our care, was ready for installation. In the meantime, we kept the mural near the stairwell. At about eight in the evening, while we were to go upstairs, and our hands laden with two jugs of water, we noticed that the mural was moving and blocking our way. A dreadful shriek came out of our mouth and we dropped the jugs of water, which thudded and broke on the cement floor. We were catching our breath as we dashed outside the house. After collecting ourself, we ventured back, this time with Turoy, our assistant.
We don’t know if it was from the all-encompassing fear, but we fell ill thereafter–we could not hold water or food. For four days we were comatose–they said that an ambulance fetched us for Bethany Hospital in Tacloban City. But we could barely remember.
All we could remember was the IV drips attached to our body and Mother by our side.
We know that once you cheat death, you are supposed to have a mission. If you cheat death twice, would you have a double mission?