Danny: The Rock Of The Family

My father, Doc Danny, will be turning 62 next week and as my way of celebrating his birthday, I decided to publish an excerpt (from the book that I am trying to finish) of my fondest memory of him.

peace-of-mind...prayer-for-pa... Dr. Danilo Mercado Ramonal

Below is the excerpt from “A Terrible Idea”

It was while I was eyeing this quack doctor when my father arrived. I didn’t know that the hospital staff had contacted him. I was so certain that all I had to deal with was my step grandmother who I assumed I can outwit with my naiveté.

My father, my mother’s Lancelot, was a doctor too. The real one, I supposed during that time and yes, like my mother, I knew of my impending doom if I could not convince my father of my lies. My father was always like that. If you could not convince him the first time, then there was no point to try again because he will never believe you. His principles were as black and white as his political beliefs. Stop or go. All or nothing. Truth or untruth. He believed in the importance of doing what is right and will not tolerate any kind of deceit. I learned this because I saw how my father never raised a hand to defend my mother against his family when she has her spouts of upheaval for the kind of life she has with him. He will give you his silence, amalgamated by a screen of smoke that masked his piercing gaze, which is your only intimation of his contempt for whatever you have gotten yourself into.

PapaI was going to be humiliated in front of every spectator of that theatric I mounted. He took one look at me and asked permission from the other doctor if he could light a cigarette. Thankfully, the other doctor nodded and opened the only glass window of the room; letting in a gush of that once familiar scent. The fire trees were abloom. I could not describe the kind of dance they make before they permeate the body, all I know is when I smell that scent, I knew that the monsoon will claim our small town in next to no time. Just like how I knew that a storm was brewing after smelling the cloud of cigarette smoke hovering above my father’s curls.

Again, at eight years old, I imprudently thought that I could convince my father, who was a doctor by profession, that my not being able to walk was real. I feigned a painful walk, like how actors in the movies usually did it, and used the railing for the disabled as my support in getting from one corner of the room to the other. I partnered my silly attempt with grunts and ‘ahs’ while my father watched from the chair he has positioned near the window. I couldn’t make out what he was really thinking because the smoke of his cigarettes made it impossible for me to identify if there was a hint of irritation or a smirk plastered on his face. After almost an eternity, my father told the other doctor that he was taking me home and apologized for taking too much of his time. He then told me to get my bag and that he will wait for me outside.

I started panicking. Wasn’t he going to help me? Wasn’t he going to defend me against the quack doctor? Wasn’t he going to assure me that everything will be okay? At least, even if it was just in front of the people in the hospital. Despite of knowing my looming fate, I was willing to make a deal with him and was ready to seal it with hours of kneeling on salt in front of my grandfather’s colossal portrait of Maria – the blessed virgin, the mother of perpetual help, the one who I desperately needed at that very moment.

DSC_0058Always with that brandy and a cigarette, it has to be Hope for nothing else will do. 

My father did not carry me despite my Oscar-winning efforts. He knew I was faking it and he was not going to fish me out of the murky pool I got myself into. He didn’t verbally rub it in my face but it was rubbing enough when I was forced to let go of the railing and give up my fake limping to accommodate walking out of the hospital with eyes glued to the marbled white floor that was occasionally smeared with blood and alcohol.

 

Of course, my father is this and all other things and to borrow a thought from a friend, I may meet and fall in love with countless princes but I will only have one king in my life. I love you, Papang.

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