I hate to attend but my mom forced me to.
Attending one of my mom’s social events are one of the things I hate being the mayor’s son. Socializing people above my age bores the hell out of me. Since I was a child, she took me to her meetings at the City Hall and introduce me to the council. At first, I really thought it is cool to be tagged as the mayor’s son but when you became a regular attendee, you’ll never know what hell you’re into. Interviews, greetings from random strangers I didn’t know, and oftentimes shaking hands along with a temporary friendly aura sicked me out every time. Everyone will be counting on you, like you’re a mayor too. My mom encouraged me to be friendly with these people because in the future, they’ll be my reference. I know that she meant to say “the secret gate pass to your career because these people will help you out,” but I already read her mind.
Anyway, local beauty pageant is one of the highlights when it comes to any Philippine fiesta. Usually it has four parts: traditional dance, traditional costume, the evening gowns and Q&A. It is said to believe, that there should be someone who represents as the Queen of the area–someone who can nurture and teach the people around her like how a mother would nurture and teach her child. It’s sad to think that the real message of having a Festival Queen would mean business to others.
My mom knows all about these but she’s just giving people the chance to be entertained. Providing them entertainment would give her the chance to win the election, too. Here in San Remigio, the Lapyahan Pageant is one of the things that citizens would look forward to annually, aside from the street dancing of course. Without it, people may lost the spirit of the festivity and they also tend to be disinterested to some activities offered lieu to the pageant. I oftentimes loathe the narrowness of their minds about these so-called entertainment rather than preserving the culture.
I declined my mom’s invitation a couple of times to attend with her on this particular event. This time, she outsmarted my emotions by attacking my love for her. Her drama worked out this time along with a testimony that I was ashamed of her being my mother. She added also that I was annoyed to be interviewed with someone else. Yes, I really hate being interviewed but I really love my mother so much that I finally let down my guard and agreed to chaperone her to that event.
San Remigio is known for white sandy beaches and the provincial life that you can imagine. Stores and people will usually open up around six in the morning and do their ritual chores. During Sundays, people are hanging out to the nearby beach, have a swim or even gather sea urchins for breakfast. That’s what I like about this place. No one can replace the simplicity of it.
Five minutes away from the market was the gymnasium. This is where mostly the events were being held. People were lined up two hours ahead from the time of the event, afraid losing of seats. The gymnasium is small, built only with lower decks. One of the weirdest things I observed around people is that they bring along meals with them, a gallon of water depending on the family size just to see the event without missing a single minute of it.
This time, the organizers are extending the stage with a catwalk. In front of that where my mother is sitting along with other three judges. I was seated along with the event organizers beside the catwalk in a single line of chairs. I can see my mom gleefully watching the participants rolled their evening gowns as they ramp down the catwalk.
I checked my watch and it’s 10:30 already in the evening. Boy, how I wish I could have studied instead of being here. I looked around and saw some of my mates were at the pageant. Few of them waving hands to their bet ladies. I thought of them failing the exam tomorrow since they’re here. Fear rushed through my veins thinking that they have studied before they watched. It would be unfair to me. It would be.
Looking around, I searched for ways how to get out here without catching my mom’s hawk-eye. It made me feel that I am the gentleman in distress and that, I need my musketeers to help me out. I was thinking of contacting my mates and shut off the outage for a while but I know it will be a bad idea. There are a lot of securities as well who would contact my mom as soon as they find out I’m out.
Tick..tick..tick.. I can hear it grew louder every second pass. I still can’t strategize ways to escape. For a moment I thought she would understand that I need to study for my exams tomorrow and yes, it takes guts to stand up, say that to her without hurting her feelings.
For a moment, I waited for the juice of courage to be fully mixed along with my blood. I eyed at the catwalk and saw a girl walking down the aisle wearing a mermaid-like white dress, beads were scattered all over making it shine in the evening. She waved her long silky light blue linen around her, emphasizing her curves as she walked gracefully down the catwalk. Her expression was strong, eyes focused. She took every step with grace, allowing her hips move like the waves in San Remigio, so effortlessly. I remember that kind of walk I saw in television.
She’s beautiful, I thought. Unexpectedly, as if she heard, she looked at my direction.
She paused as she reached the center, arms down with the linen. Afterward, she turned but it followed by random gasps of horror as she accidentally stepped on her linen. Imbalanced, she fell of the stage and I hurriedly went to her.
People started to rise from their seats trying to get a clear view at the candidate who fell off. I hear sudden whispers of curiousity filled the ambiance. The security were trying their best to have the people back off and the organizers immediately turned off the lights. The emcee apologized to the viewers for incovience and promised the show will be back on after a moment.
I immediately took her arm and help her get up but she turned around and looked right at me. I was astounded for a second, as if the time has stopped. There’s something in those eyes that I really can’t explained. I thought that maybe because of those led lights who bought light to the upper side of the gymnasium but no, it’s totally different. It’s deviant from others. I imagined it was just a simple art that would harmonize to the color of her gown. At some point in time, I remember one time in Biology class about a person whose eyes are so different than they normally would. So different that you could see clouds forming over it.
Are you okay?
Before she could say a word, her make-up artist hurriedly came over and got her up as soon as possible. They fixed her gown immediately and one of them thanked me for helping her out as they slowly walked back. I saw her face catching a glimpse right through me, trying to tell me something deeper, something so secret that only I will be the one to know. I was eyeing at her until she was out of the darkness.
I stood there silently and trying to read her body language, trying to read those simple expressions of longing. After thirty years, I went back to the same gymnasium, standing there silently as I recollect how I felt those butterflies in my stomach like it was just yesterday. Boy, you’ll never know you’ll be in love after a walk like that.