Baykoy – 32: Nene’s Uncompromising Life Principle, Enduring Evil, and the Magic of Full Moon


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


The Beautiful and Bad Surprises – Part Two


Part Three

Age: Six years old.

Year: 1985.

— indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Supper was a glorious feast.

Escabeche Lapu Lapu turned out to be a sufficient treat after all. Mom, dad and Nene watched me in amusement as I slurped down a huge bowl of vegetable stew. While grandma and grandpa’s proud faces would light up.

Kidlat and Kuwago were also living high on hogs over their meals set in the corner. Dad said they were not the typical dogs around. As typical dogs would only eat after their humans.

Nene was just as famished, too. I was sitting next to her, and our elbows would clash at times. And in between the clashes, we would snatch a piece of food off each other’s plates, intensifying our appetite.

So the elders chatted away all throughout their meals.

I found out that:

Mom had been finishing her degree in Education. Grandma and grandpa had sent her back to college.

Dad was working at a construction company.

Nene was in kindergarten, and her school was only a walking distance from the house.

My three aunties also lived around the same area, and the youngest was going to be transferred to a private Adventist college on a nearby island next school year. Though in respect to them… why would they only show up during Christmas holidays? Why did they have to devote most of their free time to church? Why couldn’t they stick around a little longer?

About mom and dad… just wrong! And none of their elder-like justification would satisfy my feelings towards good hearts and angels… at all! Nene had been hurting. They had been hurting. Why endure evil?

For what? Who were dad’s folks? What made them important?

For what? Why endure evil? For what?

Oh, rage. I wouldn’t want to meet you again.

I had been good. I had been released. I had to stay alive.

For grandma and grandpa. For mom and dad. For Nene.

For all the other beautiful things. Like writing letters and reading.

For dreaming and discovering. For all good and evil to understand.

For delighting in chores. For being just another human.

For pinks and yellows. For bright and happy days.

For Angeline and Jiji’s legacies.

In the heart, in the spirit and in the mind.

In all my instincts, let them all be kind.

In all my truths, who I was.

Just another kid around. A little girl who frowned.

All the deepest sadness, all the grief.

All in the thoughts I shouldn’t keep.

All the deepest sadness, all the grief.

No more. No more. No more.

Please. Oh, please.

The mind. The culprit.

Beware of its mischief.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

I caught an adverse nature in mom and dad. It must be why it took a while for Nene to be receptive.

They had a knack for openly flaunting their tenacious cloaks. Regardless of the hardships, oppression and all the grievances, they would rather display grins across their faces, break into laughs and perk around with feigned cheers.

I had a nagging feeling that there were more troubled truths than what Nene had told me and what I had heard over supper.

Why endure evil? For what?

Their secret strife would stick into my skin. Like the most rancid cuts, wounds and scratches. I would let them rot away, with their pus crawling out, along with despicable worms making their prestige known.

As there was nothing I could do.

I thought of what Nene had said. ‘We were very little then. And we’re still very little. Then we shouldn’t remember all the bad stuff this much.’

Let alone feel and understand them.

Her deep sadness and grief were more profound than mine after all.

How could I have been so selfish?

As a little girl, who had been given immense love and care in the midst of coping with trauma, my only wish was simply to have a good friend.

Just to have that special human connection for a good friend.

That was it. Nothing else. And nothing could be more special than that as affirmed by the heart and the spirit themselves.

Once fulfilled, then I would have been fine. I wouldn’t have hurt grandma and grandpa. There wouldn’t be sleepless nights. There wouldn’t be restless days. There wouldn’t be alarming fears and horrific hysteria.

Maybe there wouldn’t be spiritual encounters and magical hoppers either.

It appalled me to have been ordained with celestial knowledge, have experienced sanctified wonders, and have been saved all because I was a little girl who had to wrestle with grief and extreme loneliness.

It appalled me to have felt the most powerful emotions, have understood betrayal and wishes, and have desired good hearts in all people.

It appalled me to have honored genuine love, have recognized its rarity, and have fought for it to stay.

It appalled me to be aware of it all, to have earned innocent bliss myself, and to claim my content existence.

It appalled me to have realized some reasons behind fate, to have met some miracles, and to have prayed for happiness.

I wanted to find out more about what my little sister had been going through, what mom and dad had to battle up against.

Why endure evil? For what?

I sat on the front porch with them, understanding it all. Listening to their banters, laughs and funny anecdotes.

As my heart had crushed like never before. I could only wish to keep them around more.

As the mind would whisper, ‘We were very little then. We’re still very little now. Then we shouldn’t remember all the bad stuff this much.’

But why?

Why endure evil?

For what?

For what?

Never endure evil.

Never, never, never!

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

I showed Angeline’s present to Nene.

We sat on the floor, shivering to open it.

I was ready. What could it be?

Three… two… one…!

I unwrapped it, and…

… a perfumed scent ushered its enchantment into the air.

“Hmm!” Nene giggled.

It was… It was…

A pink stationery letter paper pad. With floral and cheerful designs, enticing me to fill them out right on.

“Beautiful!” Nene and I shrieked delightfully.

I kissed it. Nene kissed it, too.

“I write letters,” I told her. “Have you been writing yet?”

“I’ve been learning the alphabet and some words,” she replied.

“Grandpa and grandma are great teachers,” I said. “They should have been your teachers, too.”

“My teacher is nice,” she said, shrugging. “I listen to her all the time. Except when she yells at big people.”

“Why does she yell at big people?”

“Because they’re bad people, and they show up and do bad things to some kids in class. They’re moms and dads, and they’re angry a lot of times. And then the kids cry.”

“Ooh really?”

“Our mom and dad don’t do stuff like that. Bad people yell at them, and they just keep walking. Like dad’s folks. They shout and yell a lot. And mom and dad just keep walking.”

“Ooh really?”

“And I keep walking, too. So when a bad kid hurts me, I walk away. I don’t cry. I just walk away. When big, bad people yell at me, I also keep walking. I’m not scared of them, and I don’t cry. I just keep on walking.”

“Ooh really?”

“Mom said you’re supposed to just keep walking. Dad said you’re not supposed to look at them. So that’s what I do. I keep walking and I don’t look at them.”

“Doesn’t it make you feel bad at all?”

“No. ‘Cause I’m just walking. And they’re yelling and they’re angry about something, and all I have to do is keep walking.”

Then I thought of the kids in school. They had never yelled at anyone at all. And the only time that they were frustrated about something was to find out the truth about the little boy in grandpa’s story.

Their innocent bliss was the most beautiful surprise that the angels and heaven had given me.

I had also realized, my little sister was an absolute definition of strength and courage. The absolute definition that I had been looking for all this time.

Such epiphany, a tangible surprise.

I gave her pages of the stationery paper. “We should write to each other from now on.”

“But I don’t know how yet,” she said.

“Mom and dad can help you. Also, you must learn how to read ‘cause it’s fun.”

“Okay.”

“Do you want me to read something to you?”

“Okay.”

I set my heart out to read Angeline’s letter.

To my little sister.

Whose strength and courage would always be unwavered.

Sometimes, a wish for yourself

is mirrored in someone.

Someone unexpected.

Whose good heart

simply resonates.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

I held Angeline’s unopened letter, with a quivering hand.

Nene gaped at me, with her striking eyes. Her strength and courage bounced out into the heart and the spirit, like the bright and happy days that Jiji preached, like the beautiful sunshine in Emmy Lou’s smile and like Reynan’s adventurous burst.

“Hurry,” Nene said. “We can’t play outside anymore if it gets really dark.”

I was forced to open it, with a drum rolling through my chest.

I didn’t take my time to inspect it through anymore. I just proceeded to read it, down to the last word.

As Nene listened with a heartfelt glow.

Dear Baykoy,

It was really nice meeting you.

When I saw you sitting by the waterfalls for the first time, I thought I saw an angel who would make my heart warm.

I knew I had to bring some chocolate bars with me today because the sun told me that a very special person would need them.

In the moments that we were together, those were the moments that I felt alive and loved even more.

It must be your loneliness that made me feel that way, but you made me see the waterfalls and the river and the trees in beautiful and happy colors.

Don’t be sad and lonely anymore. Don’t be sad and lonely once I go away.

You just don’t know how special you are yet.

But I know. And I knew the moment I looked at you because I saw your lovable heart.

You’re the cutest little girl I’ve met, whose heart is full of wishes.

And all your wishes will come true because they’re all for the good.

I would like to remember you as baykoy.

The most special doll that the angels have brought to life.

I will remember you once I take my last breath.

I will remember you once I fly with the angels.

I will always remember the love that you’ve made me feel on this day.

I will always remember my first little friend who was also the first one to listen to my joys.

I promise to continue serenading you from heaven.

Live… like the baykoy that you are.

Live. Smile. Listen to the waterfalls and the river. Enjoy the sunny days.

Write some more. Read some more. Warm hearts no matter what.

Most of all, savor a chocolate bar once in a while.

Then in your lonely moments, an angel will send you someone who may also need a special chocolate bar slipping out of your heart.

And it was true what they said, they look at you and it makes them want to sing.

Believe it.

From the one whose life you’ve moved and touched,

Angeline.

I folded the letter and hid it inside my school bag.

Nene wiped my tears away with the tip of her dress. “I’ve never had a friend,” she said.

“Ooh really?” I replied. “How come? ‘Cause they’re all bad?”

“‘Cause they’re so loud,” she muttered. “And they cry a lot.”

“Kids here don’t cry,” I said. “They just play, and do school stuff. And they listen to grandpa and grandma. And Lolo told me that by the time they get home, they work on farms and in rice fields. They also work when school’s out. They work a lot here. And they play a lot, too. I’ve never heard them cry at all. And the elders here are caring and loving.”

“They also work and play a lot there, except there’s so much yelling and shouting and fighting and crying.”

“That would kill me for sure.”

World’s argument:

how to keep innocent bliss?

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Full moon tonight. Full moon bright.

Grandpa, grandma, mom and dad lounged on the front porch, having tea and boiled sweet potatoes. On a vigilant watch, of course.

As Nene and I played ‘ins’ in the front yard.

We drew one horizontal line with water to make it more distinguishable. And with just one line, the game was on.

During the first run, I was in charge of the line. Now she had to work on her wits and quirks to cross, making sure she wouldn’t be tagged.

Kidlat and Kuwago were also playing their own game. Their wild and buoyant chase would catch my attention sometimes, giving Nene the opportunity to leap over.

And she would then jump around, cheering, with all the teases that she could think of to throw at me.

I had never won a game yet. Not even close.

I was already drenching in sweats, angst and frustrations, but I could never be quick enough to tag her at all.

She was fast, and she knew how to get the clever drills to work.

How could she do that?

Then I ran out of breath. I had to pause to tend to my air passageway for a moment.

Nene observed me for a bit, then felt my back. “Your back is soaked from sweat. I think you’re not supposed to play this long at all.”

“I’ll be fine,” I gasped.

I sat on the ground and looked up at the full moon. And she sprawled down beside me, tilting up her head.

Then Kidlat and Kuwago joined us.

And we just sat there to admire the wonder of the skies. In heartfelt silence.

“Looks like the moon is spinning and falling,” Nene moaned.

“No,” I replied. “It’ll never fall. There’s gravity that holds it up there. And this gravity is called magic.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I believe that. I believe that magic exists somewhere somehow.”

Me and my little sister. Magic.

Us and the two dogs. Magic.

Grandma and grandpa. Magic.

Mom and dad. Magic.

Our modest house. Our vegetable garden. Magic.

Memories. Good and bad. Magic.

We were very little then. We were still very little in this beautiful moment.

But to remember… to remember and to endure…

… would have to be the best magic of all.

The bright and happy days.

The beautiful sunshine bestowed in smiles.

The heart and the spirit.

The mind. Oh, the mind.

This innocent bliss.

Regardless of the deep sadness and grief.

Will always be… now and forever…

The lush magic.

— Indomitable —