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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My One and Only

Once again I was mindlessly channel surfing in bed on a Tuesday morning. It was 3 am, I was forcing myself to sleep and I was drunk again; I had gone out when I knew I was supposed to be studying for an exam. I started browsing my Inbox to delete messages from my friends inviting me to a night out, and then i stumbled upon my Mama's message from earlier that evening. It said that she had set aside some dinner for me which I could reheat once I got home. I checked the fridge and there it was: a plate of java rice and some breakfast food (that was probably the only thing she had time to cook with her busy schedule).

And as I was staring at this plate, I realized that she was waiting for me. Tonight, unlike any other night, I might come home early to spend some time with the family, and she could talk to me, ask me how my day was or how I was feeling. And even if she probably figured that I would come home, yet again, in the wee hours of the morning, this plate symbolized that hope. This plate was for me: her eldest son. The son she had given birth to when she was only 20, a year younger than I am now. I could not imagine how she handled the responsibility of having a child as a college student, when I could not even be responsible enough to concentrate on my studies. Yet, here she was, 21 years after, still trying to be the best mother she could be for us, for me.

I ate everything she had set aside for me even if I was stuffed. To me, this was my "thank you", my sign of gratitude, my symbol of appreciation. I ate my Mama's meal to show her that after a hard day, I still needed her; not because I want her to feel loved, but because I really do. I need my Mama. And although I don't admit it, although I try to convince myself that I have managed to become independent, the truth is I need her as much as I needed her when I was still inside her womb.

In the club scene, the world I move in, where everyone is measured by what they have, who they are associated with, or how they look, I realized that Mama is my one true friend. She accepts me for who I am, regardless of what I have become, who my friends are, or how I look like when I wake up with a bad hang over. I do not know if all mothers are like mine, or if they are supposed to be, but mine is, and to me, that is enough. As I washed the emptied plate, I had this gut-wrenching feeling, and my eyes began to well up. I started thinking about me, and for the first time, in a very long time, I was sorry for the way I have been living my life.

I was sorry for all the hurt I caused her, for all those sleepless nights she spent worrying where I could be. I was sorry that I could not force myself to finish Law School for the sole reason that it would make her proud. I was sorry for all those mornings when I came home drunk. I was sorry that I never bothered to reply to her when she texted me that I had dinner waiting at home. I was sorry that I was never the perfect son, and I never even tried to be. I was sincerely sorry, I was sorry with every part of me, but it doesn't matter now. When she wakes up tomorrow and finds that I had eaten the food she prepared just for me, I would make her feel, for the first time in a long time, the way sons should make their Mamas feel: needed, appreciated, and loved. And when she sees that clean plate, my Mama will have forgiven me... she always, always does.