jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

first smile (haiga8 for Rick Daddario’s challenge at19 Planets Art Blog)

haiga 8 composed on Microsoft Publisher with my sister's first baby picture at 5 mos old

first smile nothing else

I remember that early morning light, which illumines the bedroom. It could have poured in through a window facing east where deep dark leaves of a star apple tree soaked most of it, leaving a young mango sprout pale in its struggle to grow. Or perhaps it was just uncared for. And why do I now blame the more luxuriant star apple? No one could pay much attention to the mango seedling then, since the birth of my sister and only sibling.

It could have been a Saturday morning. My mother could have been home that late and didn’t leave for school across the stream a block away, a post-deduction I’m making from the angle of the light. If it were a weekend, I must have been sleeping late. It couldn’t but be a Saturday or this picture wouldn’t have been taken by an uncle who also taught at the parish school. So why am I making a fuss this late?

Because I wish I could relate a more credible story as to how that first smile was caught. I remember my sister more as fretful. She cried when she felt sleepy or couldn’t sleep. She cried when she woke up and felt hot. When I carried her, I could not hold her facing me for long; I would have to make her face outward with one arm supporting her butt as in a seat, her legs dangling, and my other arm, bracing her close to me so she would not fall forward. She hardly smiled. She seemed to size up people as if already making opinions as they talked though she still couldn’t except to say, ‘Mama’. Which is why this smile for me sparkles as a gem.

I know that hand carved wooden bed. On it, I nuzzled on my mother’s side under a crook of her arm as deep as my memory dips. I watched my sister suckled from my mother’s breast, perhaps like I did, on this bed. I remember bumping my head on the headboard against carvings of huge blooms, hearts of gardenias in a swirl of leaves leaning away as if blown by their redolence. Lying on it felt like easing into silken strands, the hand woven rattan strips, which stretched and retracted with each un-recalled movement in dreams. I know that slightly creased sheet, too, which is actually a native heavy woven cotton blanket I had dived into as a child myself. It must have been really a Saturday morning because I see no pillows, which my grandmother would have gathered to put out under the sun to disinfect and deodorize.

The story I recall of this morning has to do with impulses. An uncle who lived on the other corner of our street, apparently just happened to drop by with his camera. He just suddenly wanted to take a picture of my 5-month old sister. My sister just then was learning to turn on her side. That morning, she happened to do a full turn to lie on her belly. She just happened to smile. Or maybe I was there to clown around when my uncle clicked his Kodak Field camera. But the truth is, I remember nothing else but this first smile.

Fifty four years gape between that morning and me today. I am now an elderly woman hankering for details I missed. But then again because I have none except this moment caught, I can spin webs around it to catch any morning light, and perhaps one like that Saturday morning.

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September 25, 2011 - Posted by | haiga, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Enjoyed the haiga as well as the write.Lovely photo, lovely smile of your sister and the memories…!

    Comment by sanjuktaa | September 25, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks so much, Sanjuktaa! I love all your haiga, too, and tried to leave a comment but couldn’t figure out how; I kept getting rejected with my attempts to tell you how good you’re getting at it! Keep it up!

      Comment by alee9 | September 25, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks a lot for your encouraging words, Alee! Yes, I’ve been getting these complaints about not being able to post a comment.Will try to sort out this issue.

    Comment by sanjuktaa | September 28, 2011 | Reply


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