A lechon (roasted pig) on the table implies a grand celebration in the Filipino culture. And we had that last night. It was my Mama’s 51st birthday and after a long time, Papa is home to celebrate it with us. The clan was invited and we all stayed up until midnight to drink, chatter, and laugh.
We woke up the next day exhausted. Each member of our family, our aunt, and some long-time helpers contributed something for that get together. You see, a reunion with a lechon doesn’t happen often. As the self-appointed floor manager, I swept and mopped at least thrice yesterday. The expenses and the effort we gave were more than the usual, but the hangover from the excitement last night is enough consolation.
Of course, the pictures ended up online and boy, did my Mama get a lot of likes. The lechon got the attention it always demanded. But you see, reunions are typical in our middle class family, only the lechon isn’t. We love each other’s company and it’s always with sumptuous food on the table.
What others don’t know is that, the same day, more than two decades ago, my Papa saw my Mama for the first time. That moment, he told himself that one day, he will bring her to his hometown… as his wife.
They met on her birthday. He never took his eyes off of her. She was fanning a pile of charcoal to grill green shells with butter and garlic for a modest birthday celebration. Not long after, she said yes to a man 11 years her senior. A man who, 30 years after, will buy her lechon in this economically challenged country just to make her feel special.
I never get tired of listening to my Mama tell of the prologue of their love story. The sparkle in her eyes and her amusement when she confesses still get to me every single time. The number of years astounds me.
Theirs is a legit love story that I will gladly share to others as mine is still on hold. I wonder what my own backstory will be. Hmmm. If I can only decide how and where it begins… I’d never pick the internet.