I had a memorable brunch this morning, not just because of the steamed rice with fried tulingan and fried egg, but mostly because I had a warm spontaneous conversation with my nephew-and-housemate Joshua who’s turning 21 on the 26th. He did most of the talking while I cherished the pleasure of just listening and occasionally asking questions.
He started talking about his concern for his BBC (best-buddy-and-cousin) Jireh who’s now confined in hospital because of a second-degree burn from a freak accident last night. We were both feeling sorry for Jireh and imagining the pain he’s going through. He remembers that Jireh loves tulingan and that Lola Paz would usually fry tulingan for Jireh and him when he spent summer vacations at Lola’s house in Lipa.
Joshua then told stories of his own share of childhood mishaps. He remembered when he was 7 or 8, he ran fast to his mom who was holding a cup of hot water, and the water spilled on his chest, and how it was so painful he cried. But, thankfully it was not that bad so they didn’t need to go to a hospital. I reminded him of the time I had to rush him to hospital because a playmate sprayed chemical on his eyes, they turned red and swollen. Two bottles of a certain solution (was that saline?) had to be continuously watered on his eyes to drain the chemical causing the irritation. And how, at another time, I had to rush him to the hospital again because he broke his temple when he hit his head hard on the faucet while taking a bath. Then, the classic childhood moment of imaginative super-heroism when he flew from the top step of our stairs and landed on the floor with a crash, but with no bruises or fractures, miraculously. His Tito Marvin who was a medical intern at that time saw it all and was stunned, he could still remember it vividly to this day.
Then we remembered Jireh’s super-hero moment when he was also 7 or 8. He imagined Lola Paz’s wooden rocking chair to be his horse, and he kept rocking and rocking it till it reached the edge of the top stairs and slid down, down, down by 8 steps or more till it stopped on the wooden floor, broken into pieces! As for the little boy, he was lost in his imaginary world, laughing unstoppably, with no clue about the accident that just happened. Miraculously, he had no bruise nor fracture. But his older sister, Janina, who saw it all, and his mom who rushed to the scene after hearing the crash, both panicked and couldn’t believe Jireh was not hurt a bit.
Joshua and I couldn’t help laughing remembering all these. I said to him I believe that angels assigned to playful boys like him and Jireh had to work double time, and always on alert mode.
From the topic of accidents, Joshua then talked about books, mostly about C.S. Lewis’s, maybe because he found just yesterday my long-lost C.S. Lewis collection hidden away in an old cabinet in our garage. I was surprised to know that I have both an old and new edition of Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters. Joshua said he finds the new edition of Mere Christianity an easier read than the old edition maybe because it has bigger letters. He also said he’s glad he was forced to read all the books of Narnia in his high school English literature class and that he started enjoying reading these classics as a result. He said he plans to read them again soon. I told him a have a new set of Narnia in the office and that I’ll take them home next week for him to read.
Then, Joshua talked a bit about first aid and how it should be taught to all adults so we know what to do in cases of emergency. He’s been volunteering with the Red Cross since a few months ago and is learning a lot from the experience and enjoying it much. I think he’s blest with the gift of helps.
He also said he thinks he’s an ambivert, but he prefers mingling in a small group than partying with a crowd. He said he tends to be selective of people he engages in conversation. I told him I’m an introvert forced to do extrovert activities at work, or in social functions. But that I have managed well and made friends in the process.
Somewhere in the middle of our happy conversation, Joshua mentioned that he has noticed how his female elders at home (that’s his mom and me!) have been having mood swings lately. But, he understands it could be because of stress at work, or menopause! No blaming, no complaining, just letting us go through the hormonal changes of getting older
The boy I used to read stories to has his own personal stories to tell. And he’ll have more as he enriches his life meeting more people, gaining more experience. I’m just glad that he’s still home with his mom and me, and that we still have conversations like this over Saturday brunch or Sunday lunches.