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Monday, July 13, 2009

Someone is not going home tonight

As our HMO provider's contract has expired, we are now in the process of selecting our next health card. Last Thursday would have been an ordinary presentation of the various contenders for our school, or so we thought. Amid the hohums and hrmphs we gave out as we listened to each presentors, we did not expect to be shocked for the unexpected ending.

The last presentor could have been ordinary except for a minor slur in his speech and the fact that he was sort of hurrying up his presentation did not help any. It could have been an Ilocano accent, I thought. However, just as he finished and handed the mike over to the emcee, he collapsed! I did not notice it. I just got to realize something was happening when I saw a colleague rushing out of the auditorium and the guy was being carried out. We looked on puzzled but stayed inside the auditorium for the closing prayer.

When I got out of the auditorium, I happened to pass by the clinic and curiosity got the better of me, went inside to check how the guy was doing. He was still unconscious. I just got a glimpse of the school doctor unwrapping that thing she uses to take my blood pressure. I heard her suggest that the guy be taken to the hospital immediately. Since I was there already, I helped carry the guy to the vehicle. That being way past the dismissal time, the ambulance that stays inside the campus has already gone.

He was very heavy. I thought it was a wrong move on my part to take the head part. I may not be able to sustain enough strength all the way to the van. Thank God, I did. As we loaded him to the vehicle, I noticed that he has already wetted his pants. That was not a good sign. I remember the time when I took an unconscious neighbor, to the hospital one morning in 2007. He had a heart attack and he did wet his pants. I remember the doctor saying that was not a good sign. My neighbor was pronounced dead after several attempts to revive him. So you can just imagine the horror I felt when I felt the guy had wetted his pants.

As my car is still out of commission, (now they tell me it's the piston rings that do not function well) I had to stay with my friend to whom I hitch a ride all the way to my place. It was raining hard and we decided a couple of beers could be handy. It was there when my principal called me up to tell me the guy has expired. God bless his soul.

I wish the circumstances were different but experiences like this one makes my creative juices flow and it triggered my poetic instincts anew. Here is one poem I dedicate to the man who shall forever be unnamed to me. May he rest in peace.

Someone is not going home tonight

I can imagine how your morning went.
You probably calculated how much toothpaste
you shall put on your toothbrush.
Parted your straight hair with your favorite comb,
favored your black shirt over the red one
and meticulously checked if your white pants
have been ironed out well before putting it on.

I bet you never knew
you were not going home tonight.

You must have sat down quietly on the table,
said grace before your meal. Spread butter over
your toast albeit mindlessly.
Your thoughts were on your work
and a thousand other things.
You probably gave out reminders
to your kids like not to stay
late for after all

you never knew
you were not going home tonight.

You shined your shoes and put them on.
You kissed your wife goodbye
and headed for the door.
With your hand holding on to your youngest,
laptop clutched on your other shoulder,
you stepped out of the gate, walked a few steps
and turned around to look back at your house.
You missed your wife’s wave of goodbye
for she was engaged with household chores.

If she only knew
you were not going home tonight.

I noticed the slur on your speech
how your tongue rolled out the syllables.
Maybe it was just an accent you had
or so I thought. Then, all of a sudden
you melted like a candle.
Never got up until you expired.
To me, you may be a stranger
who shall remain unnamed except
for the thought that

you were someone
who was not going home tonight.

rolly

19 Comments:

Anonymous Panaderos said...

That was a beautiful poem. I just wonder if there's still a way for you to find out who he was so that you could repost this poem onto your site with a dedication to him.

Just curious. By your best estimate, how old was this gentleman? The slurring of the speech was probably a sign that he was about to have a stroke. I extend my deepest condolences to his family. Very sad.

8:53 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

panaderos Well, I'm sure the committee handling the HMO selection would know him. He could be in his late 50's. The slurring could have meant he was already having an attack.

Named or unnamed, this poem is for him.

3:18 AM  
Anonymous BlogusVox said...

It is strange sometimes when we felt some sort of affinity with a total stranger.

That poem, Ka Rolly, is sad, very sad. But not as sad as his loveones feels tonight.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Everlito (ever) Villacruz said...

hayaan nating baunin nya ang isang napakagandang tula nato...

2:56 PM  
Blogger Gilbert Yap Tan said...

The irony of it. An HMO presentor dying before your very eyes. Sad indeed, but ironic still.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ka Rolly,

Musta na. Just happened to pass by and read this one. How ironic... as Gilbert Yap mentioned.

Anyway, musta na kaya ang mama? Ang family niya and all that. Kaka-awa naman.

BTW, musta na uli...

Kiwinoy

12:36 PM  
Blogger a.r.d.y.e.y. said...

ganda ng tula tito rolly. kung siya na araw araw umaalis at umuuwi ng bahay eh bigla na lang na hindi na makakauwi, pano pa kaya kaming OFWs na buwan ang binibilang bago makauwi? kaya sobrang salamat na lang kung makaraos sa araw araw.

sabagay, kahit sino naman kung oras na talaga. walang makakatutol kung it is His time na.

2:08 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

blogusvox Yes, I know how it is to lose a someone.

ever Salamat

gilbert Ironic indeed. Just proves that we can go anytime.

kiwinoy Ikaw ang kmausta? Balita ko lumindol daw jan.

ardyey Oo nga ano? PErop bata ka pa naman at athletic pa. AS of this time, lungkot lang talaga worries mo, I'm sure.

8:23 PM  
Blogger auee said...

I read this on the day you posted it but I found it hard to leave a comment.

Haunting yung poem mo kasi totoong-totoo. And I do feel sorry for the guy. Honestly I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, I don't think I'll be able to shake off that experience easily.

We're so lucky we have the medium for release.

8:26 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

auee I had to release that. Geesh, I just held a dying man in my arms!

Minsan nakaka guilty rin. It's like finding inspiration out of other's misfortune. But I'm sure it's not really like that. It just came to me. I had to write it down or it's forever lost.

8:35 PM  
Blogger cbs said...

this goes to show how we all need to do workshops on cpr, or defibrilation (is that what's it called?)..the knowledge could have come in handy in situations like these...

your poem reminds me of dennis o'driscoll's poem "someone"

someone if asked would find nothing remarkable in today's date/
perfume and goodbyes her final will and testament/
someone today is seeing the world for the last time/
as innocently as he had seen it first

yours, and driscoll's, poems tell it the way it is about life and death. or as don delillo would put it: every breath we take ends in two distinct possibilities

11:30 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

cbs I never heard of Dennis Driscoll. Thank you for sharing that one out.

Tagal mong nawala ah.

6:32 AM  
Blogger bing said...

very sad indeed. and the poem made the whole scenario sadder.. (*sigh*)

at least he died kaagad. i mean, he didnt get to stay long sa hospital and make every one suffer from heartache seeing him suffering. i had always asked that when God will take me, i pray that it will be quick and painless.. pero wag na muna sana ngayon ha ha

7:27 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

bing Actually, that is also my wish. Of course that's only a second to dying in my sleep.

As usual, I am not yet happy with the poem and so expect a revision coming soon. But the revision will have to be placed in my other blog na. :-)

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

napaka gandang tula Ka Rolly....

nga pala..di ba overheating lang ang problema ng sasakyan mo? wala namang kinalaman doon ang piston rings...

4:49 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

anonymous I am at the mercy of mechanics at this point. Wala na kong idea kung bakit pa rin nag ooverheat yung kotse atsaka nawala ang hatak nya. I think nag loose compression na rin. Dahil dito, hirap yung makina kaya ayun, nag-ooverheat. Of course, I've gone through all the possibilities. Overhaul ng radiator, tapos, hasa ang cylinder head. Ganun pa rin. Ngayon nga, piston ring. And lately, ni-remount yung radiator ko at malayo daw masyado. Hopefully makukuha ko na siya bukas. Why didn't you identify yourself?

Thanks on the visit and thumbs up on the poem.

7:55 PM  
Blogger watson said...

Hi Tito Rolly. To see the final moments of a person on earth, and for his family to have not been there, it does put things in perspective, doesn't it? When your time comes, that's it.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Dinah said...

Sir, nakakaiyak ang poem mo. I dont want to go like that, amidst strangers, pero wala naman tayong magagawa.

2:48 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

watson yes, no matter what you do or where you are, when it's time to go, you will go. I hope my time is far from now.

dinah well, at least, he never knew what happened to him. that was one of my wishes. For death to come instantly and, most of all, painless. Thanks for the visit.

7:07 AM  

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MGA TURO NI TITO:
Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.


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