Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | November 30, 2006

Autumn in New York

I would have wanted to write some sort of a sentimental postscript to Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Erik Morales in the final chapter of their storied rivalry. But having covered this Grand Finale of sorts since Nov. 8, my mind could no longer kick into Pacquiao mode anymore.
The brain simply refused, as a child would when faced with mixed vegetables that resemble something out of a gory alien movie.
For all the patriotism his victory inspires, there comes a point when you say enough is enough and simply point the reader to the direction of the articles that already came out regarding his victory.
Besides, the moment Morales looked at his corner and shook his head to convey his sincerest wish to surrender, my mind began to wander off to New York.

In fact, my mind reached New York long before I did, since I stayed in Vegas for two more days after the fight and was stranded for about an hour at the Dulles airport in Washington—a stopover of my trip from Vegas to the Big Apple.
New York, of course, was where my mother was waiting for me last Nov 21.
I hadn’t seen my mom in 14 years, not 15 as I had previously miscalculated in two earlier blogs.
So I was kind of cranky in Washington when the flight attendant manning the United Airways gate asked for a little patience because there would be a 20-minute delay in my flight. My mom was already at JFK International, waiting for me to arrive.
I asked her what the delay was for and she said: “The pilot’s not here yet.”
There was another 20-minute delay and this time, her reason was: “The pilot’s going through safety checks.”
And then came another delay because: “The plane is parked in the wrong gate and we’re moving it here right now.”
To which I snapped: “Why don’t we just bring out the turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving here while you’re trying to find your plane and pilot?”
And then quickly added: “I’m sorry.”

The plane and the pilot were finally ready. We boarded and before I knew it, I was unloading my stuff from carousel 5 and high-tailing it out of the arrival area. My phone rang and my mom said she was waiting right at the exit and that I wouldn’t miss her, apparently scared that I would not recognize her from the pictures that had become the substitute for her presence during those 14 years.
I was filled with a lot of anxiety because I did not know how the first meeting would go. But like they always say, there’s something about mothers that allow them to tap into the inner thoughts of their children.
She seemed to sense the anxiety, the awkwardness that was gnawing at me and thus broke the ice as casually as possible when we finally saw and hugged each other.
“I didn’t even recognize you,” she said, and cracked a few jokes.
There was laughter and just like that, it seemed as if we had not seen each other for just a month or so.

She took me out to a drive-through because I had mentioned that I hadn’t eaten the whole day and it was already midnight NY time.
When I was in Washington, she told me, in motherly fashion, to grab a slice of pizza just to ease the pangs and then we’d have dinner once I reached New York.
“There’s a good pizza place there. Just have a slice first okay?”
I said yes.
She wanted to take me to a resto for a full meal, but there was none opened that night, hence the fastfood drive-through.
After which, she took me to my grandparent’s place where a room waited for me.
Nothing overly dramatic. Nothing awkward.
If I had a choice as to how we would go through the motions of reconnecting for the first time, it would have been that way. Just perfect.

I woke up early in the morning and crossed the street to where she lived to say good morning.
It felt really good. The words came out of my mouth naturally, like saying good morning mom was something that I had done for the past how many years of my drab existence. She offered breakfast, which I politely declined, having not been a breakfast person since college. Of course, there was no way she would have known that hence the polite declining.
No reason to open old wounds, especially when you only have three days to catch up on the years that were lost.
She told me to prepare myself for a day in the city so I left her place and got ready to cross the street back to my grandparents’ place to shower and get dressed.
But before I did, I glanced at the row of trees stripped of their leaves by the onset of the cold, the prelude to winter.

It was autumn in New York.
But somewhere inside of me, summer was blooming like it never had before.


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