Freedom is being complete, feeling safe, having no fears or worries, even just for a while. Being able to breathe in and out without having to think, when will I have to hold my breath and endure something again. I could think of a few times when I felt free. . .
Freedom was when I was 4, sitting on the school yard tire swing under a santol tree , I could swing for hours staring at the sky and singing Cyndi Lauper songs.
Freedom was when I was 6, my dad taught me how to waltz and tango, he says those are the two most important dances for my debut and my wedding.
Freedom was when I was eight, we lived in Bulacan and I was trying to learn how to ride a bike. My dad tried to teach me without training wheels and I ended up on the tar. I switched to a bike with a side car, my dog Jimbo helped me balance and we would zoom around the quiet neighborhood, past the house of the lady who makes coco jam and the old couples’ who makes rice cakes with cheese. I drove at lightning speed past the crazy old witch’s house, of course.
Freedom was when I was ten, still learning how to ride a bike, catching dragonflies,climbing trees and learning how to shoot a makeshift arrow with my niece. No, she wasn’t the target!
Freedom is when I was fourteen, sitting at McDonalds for hours and hours eating sundaes and fries talking with my friends about boys, as if it was more important than gravity. Forgetting the fact that I can’t ride a bike without a side car or training wheels.
Freedom was when I was 17, I was stupid enough to elope with a REALLY stupid boy, I felt more relieved than hurt that he did not show up! Thank God, there was no way I was gonna give up my V to him, eeww!!! I came back home, my parents , none the wiser just thought I came from the mall.
Freedom was when I was nineteen, I moved out against my parents and brother’s will, to go to college 355 miles away from home.
Freedom was when I was 20, I met a REALLY smart boy, who always knew when to show up, when to back down, when to make me laugh, when to tell me I’m crazy, when to hold my hand and when to ask me to marry him.
Freedom was when I was in my 20’s with the REALLY smart boy, walking in the rain, holding hands, and feeling warm and cozy inside. (mush, mush, ick!)
Freedom was when I was 27, I held my baby in my arms and I knew I could do anything. Everything was right with the world.
Freedom is what I wished for my mom before she died last year, and what I wish for my father, the man who taught me how to love, as he slowly and painfully slips away. Grace is another thing I’m praying for, as he goes through kidney failure and memory loss.
Freedom was when Sofie patted my face yesterday, telling me not to worry and that it’s okay.
I am still here, I am still able and I can still remember the dances my father taught me. Even if he doesn’t, I can still remember for both of us.