Baykoy Series

A Little Girl’s Gripping and Magical Story – 12

A memory is remembered for its significance.

A little girl's gripping and magical story. Baykoy Series.
Literary Fiction/Epistolary/Drama/Fantasy

Baykoy

Baykoy and The Only Something

This is a gripping and magical tale of a little Filipino girl who goes by an endearing nickname, Baykoy.

The story is narrated through the heart-convulsing letters of a woman to her niece, detailing her extraordinary childhood experiences in the Philippines.


The Long Walk – Part Two


Part Two

Age: Five years old.

Year: 1984.

— indomitable —


Dear Sage,

As we were about to reach the town center, grandpa and I ran into two young boys who were in the middle of a brawl.

Grandpa intervened and broke it off. The two young boys whose faces were now scratched-up red… glared at each other… with ripped shirts and soiled pants… wheezing mad!

“First, tell me your names, so I’d know which one deserves the reward more,” grandpa said.

Reward?

It was the magic word. Instantaneously, the two young boys paid attention. The wheezing-mad faces slowly drifted away. As they stood side by side before grandpa, with their lowered heads and apologetic eyes.

“My name’s Dante,” one young boy said.

“Joselito,” the other uttered.

The problem: they delivered a sack of cotton fruits to a merchant. They should have been paid four pesos for it. They should have taken home two pesos each.

But then the merchant secretly cut a deal with Dante, one peso and fifty centavos off. Because he was short on money. He needed to buy a new pair of shoes for his daughter.

Dante agreed on it, and it made Joselito go wild with rage.

Joselito made his point, “I promised my little siblings that I’d buy something nice for them today, and the rest was for mom. Now I’ve got no face to show to my brother and sisters! And I’m not going home empty handed! I can’t! I don’t want to! I just can’t!”

Grandpa turned to me. Uh-oh. “Four pesos minus one peso and fifty centavos,” he said, “how much do we have left?”

I shrunk away. I hated numbers. “I don’t know.”

“Two pesos and fifty centavos,” grandpa informed me. “So then… out of that… how much does Dante have… assuming they’ve split two pesos and fifty centavos into equal amounts?”

“I don’t know!” I cried. And I did really cry. I cried like I had been punished in the most horrible way!

Grandpa gave me a quick hug and a kiss on the head. “Ssshhh…”

He then pulled out some coins from his pocket, counted, and truly… gave the two young boys their reward.

Their jaws dropped… amazed! It blew their minds! They whooped a lot of ‘thank yous’ at grandpa, then dashed away… screaming at the heaven!

Screaming in gratitude and bliss!

While I was still sobbing. Out of fear and humiliation.

Numbers had traumatized me all of a sudden. Grandma had never taught me Math problems yet.

I was already destined for a major Math failure.

Grandpa picked me up and carried me in his arms for comfort. “You want some sorbetes?”

It waned my tantrum down. I nodded ‘yes’ and clung around him.

He rubbed me in the back as an ‘I’m sorry’ gesture.

I forgave him. For sure.

There’s a nice reward for forgiveness.

This.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

The zinging rush of people, young and old, invigorated the town center. Hustling merchants, swamped stores, restless food shops. Zap! Zap! Zap!

Now an unsettling memory snuck on me. Was this really my first time being here? If so… then how did I get to grandma and grandpa’s remote place? Who took me there? Who picked me up from the old home? Who was with me? What happened in between? Because I had just realized that you had to go through the town center first to get to where grandma and grandpa lived.

It was all blurred up.

The sorbetes vendor was a cheerful middle-aged man. He said he had four different flavors available: mango, avocado, melon, and chocolate. Grandpa asked me which flavor I’d like to have. I said chocolate. Then the sorbetes vendor said I could have all of them if I wanted to. One scoop of each flavor on one cone. I said ‘no’. I just wanted to have one kind. Grandpa said it would be a good idea if I would try them all at once, so I would know which one to go for next time. I still said ‘no’. I didn’t want anything else anymore. I just wanted to have that one flavor that I asked for. Nothing else.

Grandpa smiled at the sorbetes vendor. “One huge scoop of chocolate on a cone, and I’ll have the rest of the flavors in a cup.”

I gaped up at him, with a ‘no fair’ look.

He winked at me.

As soon as we had our ice cream, grandpa asked, “Would you like to have a taste of these flavors?”

I shook my head ‘no’.

“Are you sure?” he teased.

I nodded ‘yes’.

“All right, then.” And he started guzzling it all down.

The race was on!

I crammed down my frozen sweet, and…!

Brain freeze!

I dropped my cone, and the throbbing pain blustered me into a raging cry!

Grandpa took me aside, and we sat down on a bench. I was pressing my hands against my head, pressing them hard enough.

Then he sang a funny song. A funny folk song, ‘Dandansoy’. Something that I had never heard before. He did it in a whoopee tune. He was also making funny faces as he goofed on with the melody. And the brain freeze started to soothe away.

Just like that.

“It was supposed to be a really sad song, you know?” he said.

I wouldn’t believe him. “Ooh really? That’s impossible!”

“No, really,” he said. “It was about a boy named Dandansoy. A girl was saying goodbye to him ‘cause she had to go back to her hometown right away.”

“But they’d still see each other, though? Right?” I glumly asked.

“Not anymore,” he replied.

“I lost my chocolate ice cream,” I suddenly remembered.

“I lost my mango, avocado and melon, too,” he reminded me. “Don’t forget that.”

And so… we will always lose our first sweet. A cone of life that we shall never forget.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Picking up groceries with your great grandfather was an easy beguilement. He had a list in his hand, and he was holding a funny-looking basket, with small holes in it. We were inside a crowded small store that seemed to carry pretty much everything you could think of.

He handed me the list and asked me to read it through for him. Some were written in our dialect, the rest was in English.

I still couldn’t read most of them. So instead, he made me enunciate all the letters found in a word, along with a reminder: pay attention to the speech sounds.

Example: kape. ( — coffee — )

K – A – P – E! Though I took on the letters the way the English alphabet was supposed to be pronounced as taught by grandma.

A four-letter word. But it wasn’t important to him. He asked me to utter the vowels aloud, and grandma had already shown me the difference between vowels and consonants. Thank goodness.

So I did.

A… E… Repeat… A… E… Repeat… A… E…

He said, “Consonants simply obey the vowel phonetics along with their respective speech sounds.”

So then…

KA… PE… Ka… pe… Ka… pe!

KAPE!!!

Then he corrected me how to pronounce the letter A right in Filipino. The flat-out letter A. Firm yet graceful in a way.

Kape! And I did it perfectly.

My confidence fired up, so I kept on going. With some struggling here and there. But I would still get them right somehow. Without grandpa’s help.

I was steaming up, and I would read all the words being slammed in my face from then on.

Now I couldn’t wait to get home and bury my face in those books. To read them all, catch their meanings, and be really great at it. Since I had already fallen in love with words for as long as I could remember. So it wouldn’t be like an actual study for me, really. It would become one of my good friends.

Apart from Kidlat and Kuwago. And I’d be plunged in to read stories to them now, too!

My life was one sensational magic!

As soon as we were done with grocery shopping, grandpa asked, “Got a little heart for another long walk? Or would you want us to get home fast now?”

“Get home fast now,” I quickly replied.

“A little heart for a funny song? Or an interesting story.”

“An interesting story.”

“Got a little heart to help me with a Math problem…?”

“Never!”

“How about a little heart to read that sign over there?” he challenged me.

A huge sign above a small restaurant. Vowels: E – O – E! I was reading the consonants in my head… along with the vowel speech sounds… But… hang on…

“Remember kape in English? How’s letter C pronounced?” he said.

“Like K,” I replied.

“Its constant speech sound in words is K,” he continued. “Now go for it.”

WEL — COM — “What about the letter E at the end of the word though?” I asked.

“The E makes the word sound pretty,” he said, “though it’s silent. It makes it sound like a lullaby. Like a soft song. And it also helps with an important grammar rule. But don’t worry about the grammar rules for now. Just read the word. So what does it say?”

Welcome,” I said.

Grandpa was taken aback. “Again?”

“It says welcome,” I repeated.

“Your heart is getting big for this now, huh?” he commented.

A little heart is already enough to keep things going.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

As grandpa and I trekked through the shortcut, he entertained me with some pieces of wisdom. He knew I was already out on my feet, with only a plastic bag of biscuits and candies in my hand. It was light, but my frazzled face was ready to give in any minute.

He said everything in nature carried itself a special secret.

To learn how to read is to identify the speech sound patterns.

Singing is never a skill. It is the passion that creates the beautiful sound.

To be a good pupil is to appreciate what you’re learning.

Playing is never a physical exercise. It is a relaxation of the mind ground.

A memory is remembered for its significance.

The lost ones are just that unimportant.

Worry about your heart more so than your mind.

Because your truth and worth know exactly what to find.

A good friend always makes you feel better.

And reminds you which ones need care.

Whether a book or a pet, a parent or a stranger.

Happiness within must only matter.

I paused to catch my breath. Grandpa grabbed the plastic bag from me and dunked it into one of his heaps.

“Would you want to munch on biscuits?” he asked.

“I want grandma’s cooking,” I panted. “Hot meal and all. With rice and everything. Served on a huge plate. With hot chocolate.”

“We’re home in about thirty minutes,” he said.

“How long is thirty-minutes gonna take?” I asked. “Is it the same as one of grandma’s classes?”

“Each subject runs for forty-five minutes,” he said. “That’s a little longer.”

“It’s not a little longer, grandpa. It’s a dead-end forever.”

He bent over. “Hop on to my back.”

“Then you’d be tired,” I said.

“I’m already tired. Let’s get going now. C’mon.”

I obeyed, then we moved along.

Baykoy!” he blurted.

I laughed so hard. “Baykoy!”

Baykoy, baykoy, it’s time to go baykoy…” he sang in an upbeat and catchy tune, and I laughed my heart out! “Here goes the joy… Call them, ahoy… Baykoy, baykoy, koy koy… Can’t be destroyed… Woo-hoy!”

Baykoy, baykoy, it’s time to go baykoy…” I sang on, “… Here goes the joy… Call them, ahoy… Baykoy, baykoy, koy koy… Can’t be destroyed… Woo-hoy!”

We sang it together now: “Baykoy, baykoy, it’s time go baykoy… Here goes the joy… Call them, ahoy… Baykoy, baykoy, koy koy… Can’t be destroyed… Woo-hoy!”

And…

In a flash!

We were home.

It only takes a ‘baykoy’ song to compete with time and space. However long.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Grandpa ran out of breath as soon as we got home. He slumped down in a chair on the front porch, then hissed on with a ‘woohoo’ to clear off his air passageway.

“And what did I say?” grandma reprimanded him. “What did I say? I was right, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I?”

I looked at grandpa, and we just smiled at each other.

Grandma put the groceries away, then started setting the table for us. She made vegetable stew and grilled okras. Yum.

Grandpa and I wolfed it all down. Quietly. Ravenously. As grandma gawked at us, like we were a historical spectacle.

Meanwhile, Kidlat and Kuwago missed me! They still couldn’t stop rollicking around, brushing their heads against my skin, with their paws up on my thighs, moaning, barking, and barking around some more.

Now they were big enough for us to launch up those secret adventures.

The… secret adventures!

But oops.

Grandma gave me a chore. A big chore. And I wanted to cry.

From now on, it was my duty to wash the dishes. All dishes. Every after meal.

Every. After. Meal. And it was some serious business.

Such cruel punishment. But I had to obey the order regardless. Politely. Without even a breath of groan.

Not even a breath of groan. Like I said… It was some serious business.

You must understand… I was five years old. And I had already been assigned to do some kind of a difficult home task, with a dreadful feeling that… More nasty work was still heading my way. I knew it.

I knew it — I knew it — I just knew it!

The kitchen sink was too high for me. So I had to stand on a step stool to get the work done. Properly.

Grandpa stood beside me. For inspection. A very serious inspection. Though I knew he was only fooling around, so…

“The baykoy song wouldn’t work, huh?” he said.

I shook my head ‘no’, pouting.

“And what do you think is the right age for you to do these things?” he wondered. A tease. And I was aware of it.

“Probably, twelve,” I replied.

“Why twelve?”

“Because I’m already tall by then.”

“What about nine?”

“I’m only starting to grow at nine.”

“So you don’t think you’re growing now?”

I shook my head ‘no’.

“If you don’t think you’re growing everyday,” he said, “then you can’t play, you can’t read, you can’t appreciate stories, you can’t understand things, you can’t…”

“Grandpa!” I burst into tears, wobbling.

Grandma rushed in. “What happened?”

“She refuses to grow,” grandpa explained, “so I told her stuff that she wouldn’t be able to do anymore.”

“Okay okay okay,” grandma comforted me and kissed me on the cheeks. “It’s fine now. You’re fine now. It’s okay.”

“Is that really what happens?” I asked grandpa.

“Yes!” he replied. “Right away. Todos muertos. Can’t do anything anymore. Nada.”

“Then I wanna grow now!” I cried.

“So delight in your chore then,” he said, “just as you delight in books, stories and playing with Kidlat and Kuwago.”

Delight in anything that also delights in you.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


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