I awoke with the humming sound of the jet engine.
I was dozing off. I realized I was on a plane on my way back to Manila. There she was, sitting right next to me, looking somewhat surprised by the confused look on my face.
I thought about the reason that brought me here on this travel but I can’t remember. I guess at that particular time I was still half-asleep. My brain was busy trying to reboot itself while at the same time trying to remember the sordid dream.
I tried to go back to sleep but a nagging feeling suddenly grabbed my senses. Something was awfully wrong. And as if to answer my question, the seat-belt light went on. And all the lights and bells follow suit. I felt some twists and turns and a loud shudder. Claps of thunder filled my ears. I can hear the engines roaring so hard that reminded me of an old man trying to catch his breath. His last breath.
Indeed, we were about to crash.
Chaos, fears and tears filled the whole cabin while the flight crew tried their best to pacify everyone, themselves included. Someone even dared asked if we’re going to hit the water, or land. It never mattered to me. I can only see our imminent, however inconceivable, death. Eerily, this must have been a bad dream. I shook my head several times to make sure that it was. I looked at her, her face surprisingly calm. Having no other recourse, I sat in her lap, put both my hands on her face and told here how much I loved her. Then I wrapped my arms around her and used my own body to shield hers from impact.
I awoke with the smell of something burning. Bad dream. She must have overcooked something, I thought. Anyway, I felt really hungry, so I went up. It took me a few seconds to realize I wasn’t dreaming. I saw her open her eyes and was probably thinking the same thing as I was.
The plane crash landed. To where, I had not the slightest idea. What matters now is that somehow we made it alive. We came out from the wreckage unharmed. I had a few bruises, while she sustained no injuries. She suffered nothing but mere discomfort.
I looked at what used to be the cabin and I could only see wires and broken pieces of metals everywhere. Sparks flew somewhere but I see no one and cannot hear no one. There were tons of debris all around us. Smoke rising from every shattered pieces of the plane.
For a second I don’t want to come out and look for survivors, all I wanted to know was that we made it, contented that by my sheer will of trying to protect her, we were both spared. The rest does not matter.
Until a crackling voice came, it identified himself as the pilot saying that we are finally doing our final approach to Manila. I woke up. Man, it was really a dream after all.
Only then did I realize where I was. Now it was suddenly clear to me. She was not with me on this trip.
I was on a plane to Manila to bury her.
While most Pinoys on the plane got their collective sigh of relief for finally coming home, my feeling is entirely different. For my chest suddenyl felt heavy. I had come back to bury my mother.
I had no recollection of how I got the saddest news, I only remember that I am on my way to pay my last respect to the only mother I could ever have.
I wish I could do to her what I did and could only do in that dream, wrap my arms around her and shield her from pain. But like most mothers, it would always be the other way around.
I really don’t remember how many years had passed since she died. It helped that I live in a different state, I can always imagine that she’s still in California, basking in the sunlight. That’s how I still see her, and dream of her as she watches her favorite soap operas.
I dream of her still.