June 4, 2015

The Plaques

Jenna* and Carlo* were my childhood friends. They are siblings. We attended birthday parties together, we went to the cemetery together during All Soul’s Day, we exchanged Christmas gifts and so on. Needless to say, we went to the same school.
I knew them inside and out. Jenna was a lanky girl, rebellious and stubborn while Carlo was puny and obedient. I have also known that their parents were conservative and authoritarian. Jenna was required to attend the mass wearing a long skirt with her face covered with veil. It was during the time when girls my age were wearing denim mini-skirt and sleeveless tops. Carlo, on the other hand, was required to serve as altar boy.
When we went to college, I wasn’t surprised to learn that the siblings took courses they didn’t like. Jenna took up Nursing and Carlo took up Accountancy. Jenna, I knew, wanted to take up Tourism and Carlo wanted to take up Fine Arts. But their father’s word was law and they had no choice but to obey.
Three weeks ago when I went home to the province, I passed by their house and saw two name plaques, Jenna’s, a Registered Nurse and Carlo’s a Certified Public Accountant. I was happy for them and for their father. It seems like the siblings made their father’s dream come true. So, I asked my cousins about them. I learned that as soon as the two of them passed the board exam, they left their father’s house. First, it was Jenna, then Carlo followed suit.
The next time I saw the plaques, I stared at them and thought of my friends’ father. He may have gotten the plaques he always wished for but it seems like he wasn’t able to make his children stay.
 *not real name


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