Last night I already turned off the light and was ready to sleep

And then, just when you think your eyes are tired enough, your mind isn’t

I reminisced and reflected on what had just happened

And those conversations at that birthday dinner kept playing in my head

And it was about the mum (who’s the celebrator) and her youngest kid leaving

And she just mentioned it in passing and not really dwelt on it

Just a few sentences about her kid leaving

It was a fleeting moment

But I looked at her longer than everyone else did, like I’m used to doing (I look at people longer than I should and study faces. Anyway)

And I thought I saw her eyes a bit teary

Then that night here in my bed, I just looked up the sky, whatever was visible from my window

And I had my thoughts in manila, miles away from here, where my parents were probably still in bed, alone in the rather big house for only the two of them

And wondered how they were, if they were thinking of us, of me specifically being away for this long and I’m supposed to be the last one to ever leave, and I already did

And how are they coping, adjusting to it so to speak

Then I remember the other line that caught me spoken by the birthday-celebrator

That the years are shorter when you’re older

And I thought about how old my parents are now

And then it confused me why I don’t remember them being younger than 40

That I never really got to know my parents as young people

That I will never know them as much as anyone can possibly know another

Because they will always be parents to me only from 50 and above, and no younger than that

Do I make sense?

I wasn’t even born I think

My dad was 41 when I came into this world

And life probably just flew by before their eyes because they were busy making a living

Every day

For five kids.


*This is part of a 68-Day Travel Diary called Reflections of a Nearly Thirty. Read the full Reflections Series here.

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About hellopenville

Writing is my one true north. (The other is eating spaghetti. I make the best pastas in the whole world I swear!) I have been writing since age 10. I remember being in another school a lot because of Campus Journalism contests. I was a grade-school copyreader, headline-writer, and feature writer, who emerged to be a college editorial writer and eventually a TV news writer. However, I have always been an insecure artist. These constant condescending thoughts always stopped me from creating: “No one would read this.” “This has been written before and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not interesting enough and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not relevant, or factual, or trendy enough and therefore no one would read this.” But I learned to risk to write even if no one reads it, than not to have written anything at all. To resist writing is to resist truth itself, to betray that which comes freely to you when you do not allow it to be manifested through you. I didn’t think writing was serious work. But every time I thought about writing, it would make me nervous. It would rattle me and frighten me. I would shake the ground under me. Aren’t dreams like that too? Read more at


Europe, Holland, Travel Reflections Series (3 months in Europe)


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