Written by Sean Elijah Siy
I have been living with my mom since I was a child. But sometimes my dad visited me and sometimes, I visited him. Every time I stayed in his house, he tried to turn me into a real man. He taught me a few things about being a tough guy such as how to use bro, ‘tol, brad and, p’re. He also taught me how to play basketball (which was not my sports, actually), how to court girls, make friends with guys, etcetera. But the thing was, I was not the kind of person who is friendly with guys (they were always bullying me), and I was not a “babaero” either. So my dad failed and he got mad when he found out I could do a split.
But of course, my dad did not give up. He pushed me more to become a real guy! He let me read his magazines with girls in bikinis, he let me watch “American Pie” even if I was just 6 years old then. He gave me some toy guns and toy cars and many more. But he turned red when he saw me petting a small kitty and playing with my Ate Ja and her girl playmates. Then he stopped. Maybe he lost his patience for me.
Anyway, when I went back to my mom, she taught me creative writing. She just let me write my daily journal and some poems and I had more time to practice my real sports, “wushu” (maybe my dad didn’t know what wushu was). The more I spend my days with my mom, the better I get in doing splits and the more I get in touch with girls. It was not my fault, my mom’s friends were all girls.
The second time I visited my dad, it was summer, he gulped when he saw me sitting in crossed legs. One night, he let me choose the movie to watch: The Grudge 2 or The Notebook. He scratched his head and started crying, “Why? What happened to my son?” I don’t know what bothered him, I just pointed at The Notebook. But since he was the boss, we watched The Grudge 2. There was this part of the movie when I screamed like a girl. There was no drama part in the movie but my dad was close to crying when he heard me scream. My grandfather (my dad’s father) acted like the way my father did. He saw me doing a split at the corridor of their house and I was smiling at him just to look cute. He tapped my dad’s shoulder and turned his head side to side.
One day, my dad brought me to the mall. He said we were going to buy a toy for me. He showed me two toys. One was three Dragon Ball action figures in one set and one was a five-Barbie-dolls set. I was thinking of choosing the Dragon Ball set, but the doll set was bigger than the action figures and it was cheaper. So I chose the dolls. My dad told the cashier, in a very loud voice, that it was for my sister.
The next day, he saw me practicing wushu and he asked me where I learned my moves. He bought me Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies and he was teary-eyed when he discovered that I was interested in action movies. He let me punch and kick my cousins and bought me more action movies.
The summer was over and I had to go back to my mom. My dad said that I should fight back if someone tried to hurt me. Then he gave me some perfume that he used to spray all over his body and all the movies he bought for me before I went home.
When I went back to my mom and started schooling again, one of my classmates tried to bully me. He always kicked me and knocked my head. I got mad so I slapped his face and kicked him hard. My mom and I went to the guidance center with the guy I slapped and his parents. I wondered why he got bruise and I didn’t have any even if he was the one who was always hurting me. My mom got mad not because of me, but because of my classmate who bullied me. She kept shouting over and over again and I was doing eye to eye contact with my classmate and smiled at him like a devil. When the meeting was done, my mom and the parents of my classmate did shake hands. They wanted me and my classmate to hug like friends but I did not want to. When my father heard all of these, he was very proud. He taught me more self-defense and how to use his airsoft guns.
I’m a teenager now. The last time I was with my father was two years ago. One of the things I learned from him was cooking. He knew how to cook any kind of food. Every time I cook for myself, I think of my dad and all the 197 days I was with him.
Copyright of the first photo belongs to Joshua Dominic Siy. The copyright of the second photo belongs to Ronald Verzo.