This is my mom back in her salad days, no older than 26, I think. She’d been slim, tan, and gorgeous during her youth, with long black tresses that reach down to her narrow waist, and which she chose to crop into short, flirty waves right after graduating from college. She lived in her own rented apartment during her early twenties, managed a gasoline station, and had a small-time entrepreneurial venture which allowed her regular air travels from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro, and back.
In stories which I love to hear over and over again, she was into biking, tennis, night swimming, and road trips during her young days. She used to enjoy midnight swims at the beach with her cousins and girlfriends, and had a string of suitors at her feet. Well she may have been exaggerating a bit here, who knows, but she still has the red tin can that used to contain the colorful candies one of her suitors gave her, and she’d been engaged to be married once and broke that same engagement a few years before meeting my father. My Mama lived a colorful, independent life, and although she’s had her share of heartaches, and lost my father to diabetes complications nine years ago, she remains to be one of those people whose strength I admire the most.
Which explains why we almost never get along on so many things. We’re both headstrong, independent-minded, and stubborn. We are cut from the same cloth after all. She’s had a full life before she married my father, and that’s what I want for myself, too. So that one day I can talk to my children and tell them stories of my dreams and exploits, of my heartaches and frustrations, of my one true love, and of the day when I finally got my happy ending, roses and tiaras and all.