Barangay Talon, Roxas City, Capiz, West Visayas, Philippines
I was fetched by Tito Guenie at 9:30 AM before I had a chance to brush my teeth. I had just finished eating breakfast when he arrived at Tita Elna’s. Tita Elna and her helper, Lynn Lynn, had prepared an impressive spread of chicken longanisa, boiled purple chamote (sweet potato), suman with mango, and Edna cheese omelette served with rice, buttered and toasted pan de sal, and a plate overflowing with citrine colored tambis. And to my delight, there were macaroons and cups of brewed coffee for dessert.
She was sheepish, “tahimik” when I first met her. She couldn’t have been more than a head and a half tall, only having just turned two or so.
Now, still just as tahimik, she stood up to my ears— an exact replica of her older brother, her eyes kind where his was stern, her smile playful where his was absent.
“You’re Manang Jeel-yahn,” she whispered.
“Do you remember me?” I asked. She paused for a moment, as if she already knew the answer but needed a second to figure out exactly how she should answer. A while passed before she decidedly shook her head.