A Little Girl’s Gripping and Magical Story – 19


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

A little girl's gripping and magical story. Baykoy series.

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.

Written by

J.J. Ireneo


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The Dare to Die – Part One


Part Three

Age: Six years old.

Year: 1985.

— indomitable —


Dear Sage,

I found myself going hysterical around grandma and grandpa’s arms. As my consciousness had taken me back.

Back to everything that I knew.

Back to everything else that was significant.

Back to everything that I remembered and dreaded.

Back to who I was, what I wished for, and who I loved.

Back to loss and grief.

Back to all the sad understanding.

Back to all my tears.

Back to my crying heart and tormented mind.

Back to the truth about angels.

Back to believing that magic could still exist.

Somewhere. Somewhere in my life. Somewhere in time.

It was in the middle of the night.

Kidlat and Kuwago were also in panic. As grandma and grandpa struggled to calm me down.

Baykoy! Baykoy!” grandpa pleaded.

My chest tightened badly. I must have run out of oxygen. I took a long gasp. A frightening gasp.

My vision was going dim. My body shook. I heard grandma and grandpa’s cries and squeaks.

I heard a snap. A single crackling snap.

I saw a flash of familiar images:

Sprawling on the front porch with Jiji on my lap.

Looking on as your grandmother knelt down in front of the church, with Jiji’s deceased body wrapped around her arms.

Sitting beside your mother in a funeral van as we took a peek into Jiji’s casket.

Hiding under the bed with your mother and your grandmother as the ruthless typhoon was wiping out our home.

Sitting on a floor with a bunch of kids as we listened to your great great grandmother telling the story of Baby Moses.

Clasping onto your great grandfather’s back as we were taking the shortcut to get home. We were happily singing the baykoy song.

Nestling under your great grandmother’s arms as she put me to sleep.

Kids in school refusing to play with me and showing me their cuts and wounds.

Meeting Reynan for the first time.

Meeting Kidlat and Kuwago for the first time.

Meeting Angel for the first time.

Meeting Angeline for the first time.

Meeting the great awareness for the first time.

Baykoy…” grandma sobbed.

Baykoy… can you hear me?… BaykoyBaykoy…” grandpa pleaded.

I snapped out of it. Eyes wide open. Panting. Clearing out my chest.

They felt my forehead.

Grandma caressed my hair. Grandpa made me drink some water.

I gasped. “I need my shiny pencils. I need to write a letter. I need my shiny pencils.”

“Do that tomorrow,” grandpa said. “You need to sleep now. It’s been a really sad day.”

“I need my shiny pencils now!” I cried.

Write a letter on a sad day.

Magic could spark out of it.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

The natural gas light flickered with enthusiasm before my obliging face.

I was sitting at the desk, with the shiny pencil in hand. The blank page of my pad paper was anticipating magic to happen.

I was alone in the room now. Grandma and grandpa were on the front porch, having tea. They gave in to my wish. As the gloomy night was putting up a fight to fade away… for daylight to come in.

I thought of Angeline’s letter. I shouldn’t read it yet. It was meant to be kept. For a long while. Until the good heart was ready.

Here I was. A six-year-old kid. Praying for a little bit of magic. Her first magic. A lovely letter.

What was I gonna write about? Yes, it was for Angeline. My first real angel. Though I was still not convinced that she was one of the angels now.

Grandma and grandpa had never spoken of it. I didn’t know anything yet. I hadn’t even heard of Angeline’s name being uttered yet. Nothing had come to light yet. But I just knew. Somehow I knew.

I knew that the angels had taken her away.

I knew it seeping into my bones.

I knew it just by listening to the wall clock.

I knew it through Kidlat and Kuwago’s hair-raising howls.

I knew it at the exact moment when grandpa snatched me out of the classroom and kept me away from the world.

I didn’t even want to know how it happened. How did the angels take her away? Leukemia? I didn’t have to know. It wasn’t important for me to know anymore.

I just knew I would only see her at the waterfalls time and time again. She would give me a chocolate bar. She would sing me a song. She would take me to a flying tour over the crystal whites.

We would sing the baykoy song. My baykoy song. My happy song.

Now I wondered… what was in her letter?

She didn’t look like an angel. She looked like one of the girls out of a fairy-tale book.

I had just figured out what to write about.

For Angeline,

‘I’m six years old. I’m always sad. I always feel sad.

Kidlat and Kuwago try to make me happy.

Grandma and grandpa try to make me happy, too.

But I can’t be happy. I want to sleep.

I want to sleep like Jiji fell asleep.

I can’t see you sleeping yet.

I don’t want to see you like that.

I want us to fly and sing.

My baykoy song is waiting.

Love,

Baykoy.’

We need a baykoy song.

To keep a good heart beating.

Dare to find hope. In times of mourning.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Kidlat and Kuwago’s hair-raising howls provoked the night again.

“Shut up!” I yelled out, shaking.

Rage barged in again.

“Shut up shut up shut up!” I shouted.

Grandma and grandpa scurried in.

Baykoy,” grandpa yelped.

I looked up at them, panting. Grandma caressed my hair. “Are you done with your letter yet?” she asked.

Grandpa lifted my face and looked at me closely. Whatever he saw right through my deepest sadness… brought tears into his eyes.

Grandma poked him in the shoulder. “What’s the matter with you?”

“Do you want to know what happened?” grandpa asked me.

“It’s in the middle of the night!” grandma protested.

“We’ve already had the longest day!” he countered. “We might as well just get it over with…right now! ‘Cause if she keeps on doing this, god knows, what would happen to us all next!”

He paused to sigh.

He put all his courage together, then looked at me again.

Against the flickering natural gas light, his tears toppled down.

“The angels made a good decision,” he said. “They picked Angeline to be your good friend. Even just for a day, but… it’s something lasting for you… and for her as well.”

He held my hand. “They also made a good decision…” he continued, “to take her away in her sleep. So she wouldn’t have to go through all the pains anymore…”

So Angeline went to bed last night, excited to see me the next day. She even wrapped a present for me, and planned on taking me to a picnic by the waterfalls after school.

She didn’t mean to leave me. She didn’t mean to go away too soon. She was also looking forward to sharing our beautiful moments together, a lot of laughs. A lot of cries, too.

The angels made a good decision. They picked Angeline to be my good friend. Even just for a day. But it was a lasting friendship. In my heart. In her heart. In a real angel’s heart.

Though I couldn’t trust the angels anymore. I couldn’t trust magic anymore. I couldn’t trust life anymore.

All I wished for now… was to sleep. The way Jiji fell asleep. The way Angeline fell asleep.

I could go to her wake. But I didn’t think my heart could take it.

I could read her letter. But I didn’t have the courage to do so.

I could go to the waterfalls. But I didn’t want to revisit it yet.

Perhaps, in time, I would have the heart and courage to accept it all and understand why I had to go through all this.

As grandpa delivered his encouraging speech, I didn’t even drop a tear. My heart was too exhausted to feel anything. My body was too weak to go hysterical again. I could still recognize the emotions that would constantly overwhelm me. But rage had reclaimed its throne. Without warning.

All I wished for now… was to sleep.

The way Jiji fell asleep.

The way Angeline fell asleep.

Recognize your emotions.

But pick the best one to sit on your throne.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

I hid my first letter in my school bag. It was neatly folded. Not signed. Discreet.

Grandma nestled me in her arms, caressing my hair. Her transcending love was putting me to sleep.

I closed my eyes, with a heartfelt prayer. I didn’t want to wake up anymore.

Then I thought of the kids in school. I wondered about how they would feel about things that I was feeling… or what they would think of the things that always bothered me.

Had they ever felt the same way? Had they thought of life and friendship like I would?

Why were they happy all the time? Why was it easy for them to be happy? Why were they more special?

They played like the angels loved them so much. They laughed like they owned all the most beautiful things in the world. They loved and respected grandma and grandpa like they could do magic.

I hated them now. Oh, I hated them.

I could also do their games. Their dangerous games that gave them power and fun.

Dangerous? No. It was just a word.

A scary word to trick me.

A trick that simply meant… ‘We don’t like you! Go away!’

Oh, tricky tricky tricky!

I hated them now. Oh, I hated them.

Watch out! Watch out!

I could trample all of you down! Rage, keep me stronger!

Jiji was dead. Angeline was dead. Reynan couldn’t be found.

Angel. I had to look for Angel.

She was thrown out the window. Angeline said grandpa found her, and she was resting in bed, waiting for me to come home.

Lie!

Even in dreams, angels would lie!

Why would they lie to a kid? Didn’t they think I had already had enough?

Maybe they wanted me to die. Maybe it was their way to make me really angry, so I would find a way to die!

Maybe that was it! I got it!

Jiji was dead. Angeline was dead.

They wanted me dead, too.

Now I must figure out a way to die! I had a feeling that it wouldn’t happen in my sleep anytime soon.

Dangerous games? Grief? What else?

Subtle hostility? ‘We don’t like you! Go away!’ Was that what they meant?

Yes, it was.

No, they weren’t protecting me! Cuts, wounds, scratches, scars? I could have them all.

Who were they kidding? They weren’t protecting my delicate skin! I didn’t think so! And I wasn’t as fragile as they thought I was!

It meant… ‘We don’t like you! Go away!’

Hey, I was smart enough to understand that. I should have understood it early on.

Why did I even let them fool me, anyway?

Angels had been fooling me! Magic had been fooling me! Everything else had been fooling me!

My heart was already numb to all the trickery.

I had been hurting too much already.

Enough. Enough.

I wouldn’t wish for a good friend anymore. I didn’t even want to have a good heart anymore.

So be it.

Rage, keep me stronger.

It was time to go bad.

Really, really bad.

Rage is a test of character.

Take heed.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Morning.

Kidlat and Kuwago woke me up for the first time. Grandma and grandpa’s trick. I was fine with it. They were not the enemy. Not the source of my rage.

I couldn’t wait to get to school and see the kids. I couldn’t wait for recess. I couldn’t wait to play the games.

The dangerous games. Cuts, wounds, scratches? I couldn’t wait to have them all. My skin couldn’t wait for scars.

Which reminded me of the faint scratch in my elbow during the full moon falling scare.

I still made the bed. It might not look as pretty as the day before, but I was satisfied enough.

I joined grandma and grandpa in the kitchen. Breakfast was set. My cup of hot chocolate was waiting.

Our usual breakfast: garlic fried rice, vegetable dish, boiled bananas or boiled sweet potatoes, fresh tomatoes, grilled eggplants or grilled okras… and occasionally, fried eggs. With hot chocolate for me and coffee for grandma and grandpa.

I was famished. I was guzzling it all down like I needed a lot of energy to take on a monster.

Discomfited, grandpa took a soft grip of my hand. “Easy, easy. You’re choking yourself… Easy, okay? Easy…”

I slurped down my hot chocolate. “Grandpa, are we rich?”

Grandma smirked. “Yes. We’ve got a lot of books, a huge vegetable garden… We’ve got this house made of bamboo trees…”

“Don’t forget the logs…” grandpa chuckled.

“I make your clothes,” grandma added.

“And I’ve got shiny pencils for you,” grandpa said.

“Then how come I can’t be like any of the other kids in school?” I whined. “How come they don’t like me? How come they don’t like to play with me?”

Their faces darkened. Along with a contemplation drill.

“They just don’t want you to get hurt, that’s all,” grandpa reasoned.

“But I’m hurt ‘cause they don’t wanna play with me!” I replied.

“They’re just scared that grandpa and I would get mad if something happens to you,” grandma said.

“Then you’ve gotta tell them that you wouldn’t get mad,” I said.

Grandma proclaimed her staunch principle in human connection and friendships. Again.

I was sick of it.

It was still wrong.

I was a kid, too. I wanted to play with other kids. I shouldn’t be treated differently.

Those kids shouldn’t shove me away like that. They should see me as just another kid around. Because I was just another kid around.

What did they see in me, anyway? Did I look like one of the ghoulish entities? Did I look like a ‘tik tik’? Did I look like a viscera-sucker?

All right, then.

Let’s play.

Human connection. A hard work. A price to pay.

The only something.

— Indomitable —