The sky was smiling as if greeting the town of Angono for a special day. Almost everyone headed out of their houses to wait for the parade.
“Get dressed, Maya! We have to find a good spot to watch the parade!” my mother shouted from the kitchen but it sounded like she was just beside me. She always insisted on watching the parade as if it was not the same every year. Well, there would be probably new higantes but maybe nothing more than that.
I rolled my eyes as I stomped my way to my room. I plopped on my bed, waiting for my mother. I knew she would come. As if on cue, I heard her footsteps on the hardwood floor.
There was a pause.
“Is Maya in her room?” she asked.
“Opo,” my brother answered.
The footsteps continued and it was getting louder.
“Maya.” She did not have to say anything other than my name to emphasize that tone of impatience. It was overflowing. Neither of us spoke. The tension that hung between us was awkward. She was about to say something but she left the room instead.
Other than the annoying mumbles that I could not tune out from the outside world everything else was quiet—or maybe it was just our house that was quiet.
Not for long though.
“She can’t always stay in her room. She shouldn’t even be staying in this house anymore,” she sighed heavily, “She’s twenty-two years old and she’s still unemployed.”
I heard the door open then shut. I let my upper body drop on the bed as I let my legs dangle at the edge of the bed. As I relaxed, I lost control as well. The mumbles grew louder and the noise started to flood the empty spaces in my room.
“That sash doesn’t match with the other colors.” There was impatience in her voice. Probably, she has been insisting on changing the sash a lot of times.
“Can you call Miguel and ask him to prepare the food because Maricar and her kids will come over?” She reminded me of my Aunt Lourdes, who never failed to prepare more food in case someone would come over.
“I have the pancit. I am on my way there.” I suddenly felt hungry.
“Flor won’t be able to join us. She said she has work to do.”
“Are we going to cook dinuguan? Tessa requested it.”
“I didn’t prepare much food. If your aunt, uncle, and cousins come, I have nothing to feed them. I only prepared enough for us.”
“Nanay insists that I watch the parade with them. I’m so sorry, babe.”
I laughed at that. Who would go watch the Higantes parade as a date?
“Stop talking! I want to sleep! I don’t care about the festival.”
At least I was not the only one who did not care that much about the festival.
“Can you check the other higantes?”
“That higantes looks like that corrupt senator.”
“Clean your room! People are going to come!”
“Let’s go! They are waiting for us.”
“My project is more important than watching a stupid parade of giants.”
“He said he’s sorry but he has to stay late for work.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to tune down the voices from the outside world. I wanted to tell everyone to stop talking, but no one would understand. If I would explain myself, then they would probably just laugh at me.
I opened my eyes and looked around. My college books were still piled up on my desk. A few of my test papers were scattered on my desk and some were on the floor. I still used my rainbow bed sheet. Nothing changed in my room since college.
I stared at the ceiling. In a string of whispered words, I asked myself, “What am I doing with my life?”