Nagkasalubong kami ni Lola Polet kanina. I am texting Aves when I see her shuffling her way towards me on the way to the kitchen.
I approach her, and she happily links her arm around mine, as though we were strolling through the mall (one of her favorite things to do). As we walk together, she asks, as she’s regularly done every time she sees me, when I arrived.
I do an OK sign. “Three days?” She asks. I shake my head gravely. “Three weeks?” I nod. She is startled. She taps my arm apologetically. “Pasensya ka na. Matanda na ako. 94!” she says. I hear her obvious and incredulous pride at this fact. Then her face crumples, her sorrow endearing in its desire to be noticed. “Malapit na akong mamatay!”
I smile my biggest smile, from my heart, and rub her back. “Matagal pa! Ang lakas-lakas niyo pa nga, eh.” And I elbow her (very gently, of course. She’s become so tiny and frail, so fast).
It works. Her face brightens and she shyly nudges in, giving my arm a sniffy kiss, a grandma kiss, they kind of kiss you find yourself giving to beloved children, beloved because they are children.
Love feels funny, doesn’t it. It is felt by and in the body: a sharp, quiet pain that radiates from the center of your chest, creeping up to squeeze your throat so you are made mute, filling your eyes so you are made blind. If only for a moment we are as we are.