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.
The Special Breath of Death – Part One
Age: Six years old.
— indomitable —
Thorny sticks. Pinned in my back.
No. Rocks. Sharp rocks.
Or evil hands were stabbing me with a whole bunch of pointed objects. Like grandpa’s shiny pencils.
But I was submerged by something else. A lot of splashing. Waterfalls splashing. It could be the waterfalls and the running river.
Though the waterfalls had a more distinctive presence.
Then the running river paddled its weight into my nose. Clogging it up.
And I was falling under water.
In numerical sloshes.
Down… All the way down…
Air passageway was clear. Careful and rhythmic breathing.
“Open your eyes,” the familiar voice said.
Angeline was in front of me. Smiling. In her pink dress.
We were under water, feeling safe from the pitch dark world.
“We can breathe underwater,” I said.
“Yes,” she giggled.
The muffled voices ruffled through.
We looked up. “Who’s that?” I asked.
“Them,’ she replied.
The horrific hysteria harassed us some more, raking me out.
I screamed. “Ssshhh…” Angeline warned me.
She held me in her arms, and we swooshed out into wide open air.
The pointed objects were poking me in the back again. “They’re stabbing me!” I cried. “They’re killing me!”
“No,” Angeline replied. “It’s just a sensation from feeling really sick.”
I gasped out of it all of a sudden, with my eyes wide open.
Where was I? What was happening?
I was in bed. And grandma was damping a wet cloth all over me, and it smelled like vinegar.
Grandpa was at the foot of the bed, in shock.
“She’s burning up,” grandma panicked. “This is a really bad one. We’ve gotta go.”
“Dadong!” a frantic man yelled from outside.
“Who’s that?” grandpa wondered, then dashed out of the room.
My eyes threatened to close again. My body felt like all my bones had been smashed around. My breathing was going fast.
I could still overhear the world’s fuss.
Grandpa was exchanging words with the man. Some time later, he stormed back in with a piece of news.
“We’re going,” he said.
“Town center?” grandma replied.
“Yeah,” he replied. “That’s Angeline’s father out there. He borrowed his brother-in-law’s tricycle. He’s driving us to the hospital.”
“Did you hear that?” grandma whispered to me. “They love and care for you very much here.”
The last thing I remembered was passing out on Reynan’s back.
Reynan. Where could he be by now? Had he left yet?
“Where’s Reynan?” I groaned.
“He went home,” grandma replied. ‘But he’ll be back for visits.”
… my eyes closed.
Pitch dark. The world was pitch dark again.
Grandma and grandpa’s voices sounded more audible now. Yet in tensed strikes.
The breaths felt like a scorching oven pit for roasting pigs.
The head was spinning and falling. Like the full moon.
No more gravity magic to keep it still.
To hold. To hold my hand.
What would happen to me in life beyond?
In sickness and in troubles…
… humanity’s love always rules.
The only something.
— Indomitable —
I was wrapped in a thick blanket as grandma held me in her arms.
The biting cold was still trickling its way in. It wouldn’t leave me alone.
The head was still spinning and falling. Like the full moon.
The breath still felt like a scorching oven pit for roasting pigs.
The bumpy tricycle ride was making it all worse, and I wanted to throw up.
Angeline’s father was driving. Grandpa was seated behind him.
The weather was bright and clear now. I shouldn’t feel cold at all.
But death had been brushing against my face, with a soft call.
We drove by Miyong’s pineapple farm, and I hoped he was around.
For the good man had never enjoyed life. The life he himself had found.
“Miyong!” grandpa called out.
“Looks like he’s not in,” Angeline’s father said.
“Miyong!” grandpa bellowed.
I could sense his worries for his friend now. “Let’s just get going,” he muttered. “I’ll come see him some time.”
We drove on.
And I dreaded the bumpy ride. I couldn’t take it anymore. So…
“Grandma…” I moaned, gagging.
And the vomit thwacked out of my mouth. Grandma shrieked a little, then snagged out a cloth from a bag.
“Bad flu,” she said, wiping the vomit off.
“I’ve heard he’s got cancer,” Angeline’s father said.
“Lung cancer,” grandpa replied.
“How much longer does he still have left?” Angeline’s father asked.
“Hopefully, a little longer than what the hospital had told him,” grandpa answered.
“Sad,” Angeline’s father said.
It amazed me as to how a father who had just lost his beautiful child would still have a heart for someone who was insignificant in his life.
I threw up some more. And grandma simply caught it with the cloth.
“She’s throwing up?” grandpa rattled.
“Badly,” grandma replied.
How could I have caught a bad flu so fast?
When I would devour bowls of vegetable stew. My appetite was always good.
How could I still be so little, so tiny and so frail?
When I was full of life. I had enough physical energy to run as fast as I could into the wicked woods.
Reynan must be right.
He was right about God.
About life and death. About being a sacrifice. About how we were all connected.
No matter what.
Well, I had already seen life beyond. Was there something else that I should know about? Was something missing?
What else must I see? What else was out there?
Who else must I see? Who else was out there?
Eyes closed. Pitch dark.
The head was spinning and falling.
The air was biting cold.
The breaths were scorching.
Would there be another day for me?
Or another world that I must see.
However you believe in God,
It is, He is, She is…
… always showing you life.
The life that’s only meant for you.
The only something.
— Indomitable —
The biting cold had already been dissecting my veins open.
And it was pitch dark again, with all the muffled voices and horrific hysteria sirening over me.
Caring hands, staggering hands… were all set to perform miracles on my shattered tiny body.
I wanted to open my eyes. I couldn’t.
Where was I now?
An eerie buzzing sound cried into my ear. A pinch in my finger was felt.
Something popped. A pop of a soft touch. I heard it sharply.
A blinding pink light greeted me. But it didn’t hurt my vision. It was a series of blinding pink lights.
I wasn’t in my physical self. Nothing was concrete. Just a clear thought. A marvelous consciousness that was giving me life.
I was in great anticipation. Overwhelming. Delightful.
I was aware of a divine presence. It was breathing gently. It was preparing for an advent. It was in a concerned mind.
The divine presence spoke, “Baykoy?”
It didn’t sound like a man nor a woman’s voice.
It was a baby. Or a toddler.
It had a cheerful tone. Heart-warming. Doting. And it felt like it had been looking forward to sharing moments with me.
“Who is it?” was my reply.
It whimpered smoothly.
“Who is it?” I asked again.
It giggled. “Jiji!”
“Jiji?” Even without my physical self, my heart was still present. My good heart. My happy, tiny heart… that once upon a time… was an older sister to a beautiful cherub.
The beautiful cherub who never cried.
Now for the first time, I heard him cry. Faintly. Cheerfully.
“I cried when I left you,” he said. “And I’ve been crying here, too, a lot of times.”
“Why have you been crying?” I asked.
“Because you’ve been hating my angels,” he replied. “They’ve been hurting, and I can’t be an angel to do my job if you keep on hating them. They have to feel happy first to make me happy. ‘Cause once I’m happy, then I can be an angel and do my job.”
“What’s an angel’s job?” I replied.
“An angel’s job is to guide people’s spirits to do the right thing,” he said. “We give them warnings if their thoughts go bad. They’re only supposed to have eighteen warnings all throughout their lifetime, but they’re given two more warning cycles to accomplish something good everyday. Once the first warning cycle has already been used up, then a loved one dies. If they keep on creating more harm on themselves or on others on top of their first warning cycle, then another one dies. And once the third warning cycle rolls around, then their time is finally up.”
“What about you?” I asked. “Why did they take you away way too early then?”
“Because I was the loved one chosen for a loved one’s first warning cycle in their lifespan.”
“Which loved one?”
“We’re not supposed to disclose it.”
“Have I already used up my first warning cycle?”
… good everyday.
No matter how big or small it may be.
The only something.
— Indomitable —
The warning cycle would start at eleven years old, which still put me at a vulnerable stage of being chosen to keep a loved one alive.
In some cases, an untimely death must happen in exchange for a loved one’s greatest happiness to come to fruition.
A loved one’s greatest wish to come true because it had the sweetness of the common good.
This life-and-death theory was supposed to be challenging for me to grasp. But I had been entrusted with it in order to reach an understanding.
The understanding to welcome life as just another kid around. Without grief to worry about. Without being trapped in sadness longer than she should.
Because if I would keep on grieving and living in deep sadness, it would make me more vulnerable to a loved one’s warning cycle. Or I could have been a sacrifice for a loved one’s greatest wish to come true firsthand.
My angels would then make a decision to take me away. As enduring my suffering would only mean defying the great purpose of why I had been born to begin with.
The great purpose would have to be discovered before the last warning cycle would end.
The warnings, once realized, would lead me to the great purpose itself.
An instinct was a combination of the heart, the mind and the spirit.
It was the most powerful element in humans.
The heart would remember all the good, the mind would remember all the bad, and the spirit would remember their significance.
Every person I would meet was a reflection of either my heart, my mind or my spirit.
Every family member was a mirage of the past, the present and the future. Not all of them should be loved ones.
Every loved one was a guide of my heart, my mind and my spirit. If they had fulfilled it before my warning cycle would start, then my heart and my spirit were enslaved to them for the rest of my life. My mind, however, must be left behind.
Death was an extension of another life that must be accomplished.
Human life was an extension of another life that had failed the other.
An angel was an accomplished life.
God had been created to provide all the greatest understanding of good and evil. For humanity needed an omnipotent reason as to how to live a fulfilling life.
There was only one God. This God was the accomplished good.
If one’s god would disrespect his fellow’s god, then the former’s god was an evil god.
A religion was created to make peace with one’s spiritual quest or evolution. However, if one’s religion discriminates against his fellow’s, then such religion is an evil one. Therefore, it must stop preaching its false beliefs.
Any accomplished good was beautiful magic.
An accomplished good was the life to live.
Aim for the accomplished good.
Your own accomplished good.
The only something.
— Indomitable —
Being in the blinding pink light with Jiji heightened my consciousness. It made me feel a lot older. Like an elder. With the highest intelligence in an unimaginable solace. Though divine knowledge was limited.
Physical self never mattered. His divine presence was already a magical existence.
“How come it’s pink everywhere?” I asked.
“Because it was how you saw your good friend,” he replied. “It was how she made you feel.”
“Everybody knew. Everybody knows.”
“What does pink mean?”
“It means all the comforting beauty there is.”
All the comforting beauty. Yes, she was.
“Jiji, will I have another chance to find a good friend one day soon?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “Once you’ve released yourself from deep sadness. Because what deep sadness does is you stop accomplishing all the good that you’ve set out your heart for. Grief will never go away for as long as you live. But life warns you to never take it along with deep sadness. The good friends that your heart wishes for shall only come along once you’re ready to meet them. That goes along with other important things.”
“But I can’t help it, though,” I cried.
“You may cry buckets of tears,” he said. “It’s okay. But once you wake up and face another day, just remember that the day is given to you as a present. There’s something good and beautiful in it waiting for you. But if you refuse to uncover this present yourself because you’re still sad about yesterday, then the next day wouldn’t come anymore.”
Jiji, I love you very much. And I miss you all the time. I’m just really sad that we didn’t get to share more beautiful moments together. I’m also sad that there was nothing that I could do to keep you with us. I’ve been sad everyday because your peaceful and pale face is all I see. If only I had shown you more love…
You showed me more love. You just don’t remember it. But I do.
Now a yellow blinding light shimmered all over.
“Why is it yellow all of a sudden?” I asked.
“Because it’s how you remember me,” he replied. “And it’s how I remember you.”
“What does yellow mean?”
“It means all the bright and happy days.”
All the bright and happy days. Yes, he was.
He also said:
An angel could only hear the minds. The accomplished good could hear the hearts.
A good friend must not be wished for. For a good friend would just come in as a surprise, like a beautiful present.
Deep sadness meant the heart cared more than it should. The heart must also care for its bearer’s accomplished good.
Love was all the comforting beauty there ever was… all the bright and happy days it could ever last.
All the pink and yellow shall be yours…
… even without a fellow.
The only something.
— Indomitable —