Tantan has grown up to the point where he starts to annoy me sometimes. He has never called me names before. When he was so little, I was just Tito Vince for him. Now, out of nowhere, he would get to my face sometimes just to say, “Hi Shrek!”

That pesky boy. He was much more sweeter than this. It is as if it wasn’t that long ago when I first saw him, his head resting on my sister’s shoulder because it was too big, too heavy for his neck to carry. The memory of the time when he first called me by my name (“Tito Vince”) was still so vivid. I was just playing with him upstairs at my parents’ house, when all of a sudden he stopped. Then he started enumerating all of the people he knows inside that house: Mama, Papa, Lolo, Lola, Tito Vince. My younger sister, her Tita, wasn’t there at that time, so unfortunately she didn’t make the cut. But hearing him do that for the first time, hearing him recognize that he was part of a family, was probably one of the highlights of my life as a Tito. And so you can only imagine how bad I felt when this ridiculous young man started calling me Shrek.

On the first day of May, I was preparing to leave after more than a week of vacation at Baguio and Pangasinan. It was the first time my sister’s family went home to Pangasinan in two years since the pandemic started, and Tantan was reunited with his grandparents. He extended his vacation for another three days after his parents and two siblings went back home to Baguio, so he was there with me in the morning of my trip back to Laguna.

Since I have a few hours left before my ride arrives, I decided to do another journaling session at the small kubo overlooking my uncle’s rice field. I frequent that kubo every morning whenever I am in Pangasinan, to journal for a few minutes. Turns out, Tantan’s phone has ran out of battery and he had to charge it. Aside from calling me names, Tantan has been on his phone for the most part of our time together, so it is starting to get really difficult to connect with him. But he can’t use his phone now, and he was obviously bored.

“I am going out. To the field. Do you want to come?” I asked him. He looked at me, smiled, that nodded his head in agreement.

I took my bag, put my journal and ballpen in, and carried a chair. I started walking out of the gate and Tantan followed me.

What Tantan and I saw

  • A lone dog, fluffy brown, walking on the road/
  • Two boys flying a kite.
  • Two kid goats ran towards their mother and suck her milk vigorously.
  • We saw a black kid with a black goat mother.
  • Tan tan and I sat under the mango tree, where I also sat with Lea.
  • When we left, the kids went there and played.