In one of the ordinary noon breaks, while in the school’s comfort room, I was checking on myself whether I still look appropriate for the eyes of my first graders – the hair, not much of the face because I expect no disheveled makeup (I just wear it occasionally); that when I noticed the quite a big scar on my leg, almost on the side of the left knee. It’s barely noticeable since it’s almost the same color as my skin but unknowingly my eyes just led me to it. Flashbacks of when, where, when and how I got this flashed like a series of book leaflets blown by a strong wind in a sudden instance. I believe it was there for more than a decade to serve its purpose today.
A memento of the nearly forgotten past.
I had a very exciting childhood years which I spent most in the rice fields. Being a pastor-farmer’s daughter, I grew up playing in the muddy puddle (I sounded like a piglet here saying proudly “I got wet, I got dirty but see I learnt, oinky oink oink” lol), in a newly plowed rice field and in the trees swinging with its branches or hanging from them upside down like baby monkeys in a jungle. Those days were when I was still quite flexible. I missed the gymnast side of me.
As I look at it, I remember how I acted like a boy. As the only girl child in the family with two boys before and after me, I would always imitate my elder brother. My mom would make an effort to dress me up like a princess and neatly tied up my hair with a red bow as I rebelliously acted as one of the sidekicks of my elder brother in a shooting game or as I play as his base camp general. I am not fond of Barbie dolls or cooking ware toys. While other girls of my age played with them, I found myself playing with a bamboo shooter with small balls of wet paper as bullets or a homemade slingshot or a pulley-car made out of sticks craftily attached onto four inedible green fruits which until now I do not know the name. My elder brother is so much knowledgeable about these.
I never had a flawless legs when I was growing up, my legs are full of abrasions, lacerations and punctures. These legs are part of my physical insecurities. The scars created by these wounds are quite interesting now. They serve as reminders of how exciting my childhood days were and of whom I often played with and how scenic was the place where I usually play. Simple life in a very simple rural community with simple lifestyle and humble living – simplicity at its finest.
As I look at the scars again, I contemplated. Wow! What great years I had during those times! This is another reason for me to thank God Almighty for giving me those priceless experiences which I wouldn’t trade for golds. Not all grown-ups of my age got to be hugged by the earth and be bathed by the stars under the umbrella of the misty night sky while playing “patintero” or “agawan base” (both are traditional outdoor games). It was a perfect environment to make friends, to build relationships with mutual understanding, to learn to respect and to obey rules. It was perfect for the appreciation of the great past which led to who I am now, to who my playmates are now, to who we are in a situation where we need to stick with the rules as our games dictated during those years, to how we respond to those who leave us for reasons like our old friends who transferred to another town and to what will we cherish from that experience beyond compare.
As one puts it, childhood is a short season. It is always fun to reminisce, to dive into those memories again and to freely feel and embrace the true emotions living in those memories. I wonder whether this scar will ever be gone. However, so be it if it choose to stay in that corner of my knee. I would love to glance at it once in a while to remind me that inside me, there is a child who wants to play.