This is a story about an unforgettable summer, 20 summers ago.
In our clan our parents partnered us with a cousin -- someone who's about the same age and sex. So there was my Ate and Ate Tess, Kuya Koko and my Kuya, Ate Joanne and Ate Angela, Ate Jolyn and Ate Lindy etc. and then me and Tina. Tina lived with my parents when she was baby and my Tito Tony and Tita Josie only managed to get her back when I was born. So it was but natural for us to be "partnered" and she's been a partner in crime eversince.
Tina and I are complete opposites. Beside Tina, I'm the quiet, fair and thin one. Beside me, Tina's the talkative, loud and chubby one. We both always got in trouble -- something I usually tried to prevent, but we still always did. We both had a kid at the age of 18. She's got three now, I only have one. Well, we always have a crazy time and always have a special gift for each other during Christmas even though we don't get to spend time together anymore.
Tina and I spent a summer at Shell Tabangao, Batangas where my sister worked. We were ten years old and were left to our our devices the whole day. My sister, ever the OC and planner, would leave us a list of tasks every single day on the fridge. After completing the tasks we'd go out and play and attend our Red Cross swimming/life saving classes. And every day we'd scour around the beautiful golf course and make up stories.
One hot summer day, Tina and I with my sister and some of the other Shell engineers went around the golf course and came upon a Duhat tree. The tree was full of fruits so we started picking them. Tina and I were both short (at least I grew hehe) during that time and she insisted on going up the tree. I warned her that the bark didn't look sturdy, but ever the pasaway she got up the tree to pick some fruits.
And then I heard a cracking noise and saw Tina fall from the tree. My sister and her colleagues rushed to her side, did first aid and brought her to the hospital. My sister left me under the care of Lito (now Fr. Lito, a Jesuit priest in NY) who I fondly call "poodle" (he was balbon!) and I ended up spending one night in the guys dormitory.
So that was the summer I learned about being cautious. My cousin Tina has ever since used that incident as an excuse for her pango nose. Crazy as ever, I'm sure I'll get a beating for this on our Christmas reunion.
**I miss my bangs!