“Baykoy and The Only Something”
This is a gripping and magical tale of a little Filipino girl who goes by an endearing nickname, Baykoy.
It’s a wild-bursting battle against her beliefs in angels and the powers of heaven as she gets to confront and experience the supernatural realms that may hold the supreme truths of death and life cycles while coping with grief and loss.
The story is told through the heart-convulsing letters of a woman to her niece, detailing her childhood in the Philippines.
The Beautiful Cherub – 1
Age: Four years old.
— Indomitable —
Your mother and I had a little brother. His name was Jiji.
These were my vivid memories of him.
I was sprawling on the front steps, cradling him in my arms. I wanted him to cry. Because I never heard him cry. Not even once. So I kept on begging him for a whimper. Nothing. Oddly enough, I can’t remember his face anymore. Though I remember him staring at me. Just staring. Smiling a little bit. Mostly, just the bedazzling spirit of a two-year-old boy, beholding my presence. It still baffles me to this day, believe it or not. How could I recall a special memory? A special memory of the beautiful cherub whose face had faded away.
We visited him in his hospital room. I gave him a yellow toy bell. He was ecstatic. He played with it like it was the most magical thing in the world. He was entertained by the clinging sound. His giddy chuckles enthused me. I would chuckle along, too. I couldn’t help it. We would take turns. As he struggled to breathe. As he fought for a good laugh. As he pretended that life was okay.
Your grandma and I were riding a public jeepney, heading home. Our home was grandma and grandpa’s house. It was in a country side.
He was wrapped around your grandma’s arms. Frail, ready to give up. I was seated right beside them. The jeepney was packed. The insufferable humidity would even tighten up my chest. I was gasping. I looked at your grandma, and her face was brawling against enormous pain. It must be the insufferable humidity, I thought. It should be the insufferable humidity.
A knock on the jeepney roof. We had arrived.
We hopped off. Your grandma, with Jiji wrapped around her arms, sprinted towards our church. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which your great great grandmother helped build and run.
She knelt down and collapsed into her deepest cry. A mother’s grief. The grief that still lingers on to this day. The grief that only shattered me later on in my life.
I was standing next to them. Confused. Yet heartbroken. I knew something horrible had happened. I knew I should cry just as much as your grandma. I just didn’t know what it was all about yet. Though I knew it had something to do with the beautiful cherub. I just didn’t know what happened to him. All I knew was he had been really sick. The way I understood life was about playing and laughing. Crying must only be heard time and time again. And crying was seldom heard in our home.
Perhaps, it was why I wanted him to cry on that day. Because I’d seen and heard other kids cry so hard. In church, especially.
So there it was.
Your grandma, on her knees, with him wrapped around her arms. Tightly yet lovingly. Kissing him all over his face. Whispering something. As her grief echoed all around.
Relatives swarmed over. Panic ensued.
I stood there, watching the commotion. As it unfolded before me.
Jiji had already passed away halfway through our home journey.
— Indomitable —