Aki had no idea that this was his last dance with Manang.
Normally, he can nap by himself. However, on Manang’s last day, he was not showing any signs of sleepiness even if it was already 3 hours past his nap time. It was as if he knew that he had to make the most of the next hours. I asked Manang to rock Aki to sleep for the last time.
Growing up, we always had yayas. There was Manang Ading and Ate Paz. I loved them dearly but I don’t remember crying when they said goodbye. With Manang, even if she was with us for less than a year, I could not help but cry. I did not want to show her that I will miss her, that we need her and that we really want her to stay, but when I handed her the envelope of the print outs of her pictures with Aki, tears uncontrollably fell. I did not want to show her how sad I was. I bowed my head and turned around so she would not see me crying. But she asked me a question so I had to show her my crying face. And when she saw me crying, she started crying as well. I told her we will miss her and we know that her family needs her more than we do. She then confessed that she had been crying for the past few nights because she would be leaving with a heavy heart. She said she already has the blessing of her husband to come back after the construction of their house which would be in 2 or 3 months time. Of course, hearing that made me really happy but I felt very guilty. I know her family needs her. She should be thinking of her family instead of worrying about us.
Before she left morning of the next day, she surprised me with her last gifts – sewn hems of my office pants, a monogram pillow that I have been wanting to do, and a traditional sipa for Aki.
I could not watch her leave. Instead, I distracted my broken heart by taking pictures of my broken-hearted son.