Monday, April 4, 2011

“Sam? What does music looks like? Does it have a color? What is its color? Is it red, yellow or blue?” Tom asked me as we are sitting underneath a maple tree. He is helping himself with a sandwich that mama had prepared for us. I and Tom always went to the high hills of Crustville every weekend for picnic.
“It doesn’t have any color, Tom. You can just hear it, but you can’t see it. It’s invisible”, I answered, smiling as his eyebrows crossed in confusion. His eyes didn’t even blink when a butterfly is flying in front of his face.
“What’s invisible?”
“It’s something that you cannot see.”
“Like Jesus?”
I laughed. He crossed his eyebrows again and asked, “Why are you laughing, Sam?”
“Jesus isn’t invisible, Tom? He’s also like you. He has a body, a head, legs, arms …”
“But you said you can’t see Him.”
“Yes, because He lives up there, in heaven”, I answered, chewing my sandwich gently. He put his toy car on the blue, cottony mat and scratches his head. I could feel the grass prickling on my butt underneath the mat.
“What is heaven? Is it also a village like Crustville?” he asked again. He’s hand searching for the basket. I grabbed his hand and laid it to the basket’s handle. He smiled and took another sandwich from it.
“No —”, I answered and looked up as a white feather danced in the zephyr and finally rested on my lap. I took it and looked up to Tom. “— Heaven is…uhm… Nah! I really don’t know what it’s like. I’ve never been there, Tom. But there were millions of angels in there.” He giggled as I tickled his ear with the feather.
“Stop it, Sam! Stop it before my pants get wet.”

We laughed and laughed until we gasped for our breath. My heart always jumps in happiness every time I see him happy. I wanted him to be happy, always. I don’t want him to feel unfortunate because of his disability to see. He was born blind. He didn’t have the chance to see how beautiful the world is. He only at least sees things in his mind every time I describe him anything he asks. I am his eyes.
“I wanted to become an angel, Sam” he said while nibbling his chocolate cookie. He took the feather away from my hand and closed his eyes. He pressed the feather to his face as if feeling its warmth. He breathes deeply and released a heavy sigh.
“Angel huh? And why?” I asked, smiling as I look into his almond amber eyes.
“I wanted to fly and go there in heaven. I wanted to meet Him and asked for new eyes”, he answered and giggled.
“Nah! It isn’t easy as you thought.”
“How would I become an angel?”
“Just be good. Always.” I answered and pressed his nose with the tip of my pointing finger. “Let’s go. Mama might be waiting for us.”
I helped him to get up and led him out of the mat. I grabbed the basket and put it on a flat stone, beside the mat. After I folded the mat and put it in the basket, I gripped Tom’s wrist. We started walking.
“Thanks for everything, Sam. You’re the world’s best sister.”
I paused, and Tom, too. I looked into his face and smiled. “And you’re the world’s best li’l bro”, I said and kissed his forehead tenderly.
I guided him and tightened my grip on his wrist as we went down the steeps hillside. The zephyr was filled with the scents of blossoming daffodils and lavenders on the meadow. The birds were making melodious songs as they flew from tree to tree. Behind us, the sun is setting, making a beautiful silhouette of a mountain that reaches towards the ivory sky.
* * *
Mama prepared a roasted chicken for our dinner. After papa had said the grace, we started eating, in silence. Only the sound of the spoons and forks rustled to the plates was echoing inside the kitchen. The silence was only broke off when papa asked how our picnic was.
“It’s very great, papa. Sam and I had fun, really”, Tom answered. His face was flashed with big smiles and his amber eyes were joyous.
“That’s good. Where are you planning to go tomorrow, then?” mama asked as she poured Tom’s glass with lemon juice.
“At the forest near Crystal lake, mama. I heard there are lots of animals in there; deer, bunnies, squirrels… I wanted to see them mama.” He laughed at his last sentence. “Err— I wanted to feel and hear them, mama”, he added.
“But it’s dangerous in there. It’s a pretty huge forest”, papa said.
“Don’t worry, papa. Sam will take care of me. Won’t you, Sam?”
“Oh yes! I will take care of him”, I said and patted Tom’s hair.
After we finished our dinner and brushed our teeth, Tom and I headed to our bedroom. We shared the same bedroom. My bed is on the east side of the room and his is on the opposite side, near the wardrobe.
“Don’t forget to say your prayers, Tom.”
“I’m done. And you, too.”
I sat on his bedside and throw the Sponge Bob comforter over his body. I heard him muttered something that sounds like thanks. I got up and turned off the lamp. I sauntered around our moonlit room, and then went to my bed.
“Sam? What have you prayed to Him?” Tom asked me and I rolled over to face him.
“I prayed for you, that you will gain your sight someday. So that when I’m gone, you won’t be lonely.”
“Nah! I prayed for it, too. How I wish I could see you, Sam. We could have played together if I could only see.”
“Hey! It’s our birthday next week.”
“Yup. I would be ten and you’d be fourteen. Will Jesus came on our birthday if we’ll invite Him, Sam?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. He’s too busy.”
“Ow! I see”, Tom said in disappointment. “Aye! No. Not see. Ha-ha!”
I laughed and said, “Don’t worry, Tom. He might send His present for you through one of His angels.”
“Really? You mean, He would put a pair of brand new eyeballs on a box, wrap it and give it to me? And can you imagine it, Sam, an angel, a guest on our birthday? That would be the best birthday ever. Yay!”
“Oh yeah! That would be the happiest birthday ever.” I released a yawn. The mattress felt warm to my body. I looked up into the window and muttered, “Good night, Tom.”
“Night, Sam.” He answered.
A few minutes had passed and Tom began snoring. I laughed silently as I think of the pair of eyeballs wrapped for a gift, and an angel as a birthday guest. I looked to Tom. His face was in peace. I wished that God will always make me the best eyes for Tom for a longer time. He still needed me. I love my brother, forever and a day.
I just listened to the owl that is hooting outside. I looked up into the window and see the silhouette of the trees. Their leaves were gleaming underneath the bright moon. Then I felt my eyes were itched with tiredness. A few more ticks passed and I’m gone to the world of dreams again.
* * *
I could feel the sunlight heats my face, which made me realize that it was already late. I heard the birds’ twittering outside, seeking worms, maybe. It was already eight, or nine o’ clock, maybe. Nah! I really don’t know. I’m blind.
I wondered why Sam didn’t wake me up when it’s already late. We are going to the forest today. Maybe she got tired babysitting me, or answering my question. I felt there was something bothering her lately. She’s silent most of the time. Oh God! I shuddered at the thought that Sam got tired of me. After all, she’s my only sister, friend and most especially, my eyes.
Suddenly, I heard the door creaked open and someone stepped in.
“Sam? Is that you? Ugh! Why didn’t you wake me up? Aren’t we going out and have some fun at the forest today? Are you tired of me, Sam?” I said. But she didn’t answer me. “Look. Sam, I’m really sorry if you can’t have fun with your other friends anymore.”
I sat up slowly and stamp my feet on the wooden floor. Its smoothness sent tingles to my nerves. I sought for my slippers. I stood carefully and she breathes deeply.
“Just sit down, Thomas”, the voice said and it was not Sam’s. He put both of his heavy hands to my shoulder and pushed me to sit down. “It is papa”, he added in a whisper.
“Papa! Where’s Sam?” I asked and squeezed the sleeves of his jacket. I stood, waiting for an answer. But it took a moment before he answered me.
“Ahm. She went to granny Emma’s house at Rhoskallies, the next town”, papa answered.
“Why hadn’t she woken me and bid goodbye?”
“She doesn’t want to. She said she might cry”, papa said and he laughed.
“Ow! And when will she come back?”
“I dunno. Maybe next day.”
“Ugh! We’re supposed to go to the forest today.”
“Don’t worry, Thomas. You could still go there today. With me.” Papa said. Although I cannot see him, I know he’s smiling.
After I took a bath and eat hotdogs and eggs for breakfast, papa led me to the front seat of his car and we drove. The forest was just a few miles away so we got there less than a half our. Then I could smell fresh earth and woods as papa opened the door and led me out. We went deeper and deeper into the forest. Every now and then, I could hear animals’ sounds and I asked papa what was that. He described to me their appearances and what they’re doing. There were squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, wildcats and more. I just wished Sam was here. Well, I just tell her everything.
It started to drizzle and we decided to get back to the car and drive home. I know papa loves this idea because I felt he was bored. If only Sam was here. She never gets bored. She always loves to let me see through her eyes.
* * *
Three days had passed but Sam hadn’t come back yet, and only mama keeps on visiting her everyday. Maybe Sam loves it there, at grannies. I wanted to make her a call but papa won’t allow me. He said granny would be angry if disturbed with her gardening.
Gardening! Oh! I shuddered at the thought. Maybe Sam had loved gardening than babysitting me. Oh! Holy Mary and all the blessed saints in heaven. That isn’t true. It can’t be. I am nothing without Sam.
The next day, Thursday, was I and Sam’s birthday. I wondered if Sam would return home. Yesterday we went to the hospital and I am so excited to tell Sam that I still have a chance to see. I just need eye donors. But more than that, I want her home. Days were really boring without her. I just sit here in the couch listening to papa playing his piano. Sam used to play piano, too, and I love her pieces. Oh! I really, really missed her so much.
“Hey, Thomas! Do you want to play piano here? I’ll teach you”, papa said. He’s voice was audible enough for me to hear him beyond the music. His music was lonely. Maybe papa was lonely, too, because he misses Sam like I do. Then he played “happy birthday” and sang. My tears ran down to my cheeks. I heard the music and his singing stop. His footsteps approaching me and he sat down beside me.
He hugged me tightly, and I know he was crying, too. Then suddenly, the door creaked open and I shouted, “Sam? Is that you?”
“Its mama”, papa whispered to my ear.
“I have good news for you, Thomas, dear. It was a very, very beautiful birthday present from someone. You have an eye donor.” Mama said happily.
It took me a moment to speak. Papa elbowed me and said, “Congratulations!”
“Oh really? Who donated their eyes mama? Did they get bored seeing everything?”
Mama didn’t answer me. She just said, “Just be ready, Thomas. In no less than an hour we’ll go to the hospital and have your operation”, she kissed my forehead. “Okay?”
“What about Sam? Is she coming with us? She’s still at grannies, I reckon?”
“Of course she’s coming. She’ll just catch us up in the hospital.”
“Oh this is great. This is the happiest birthday I and Sam ever have.”
My heart was filled with overwhelming happiness. At last! Jesus heard our prayer. Sam would no longer suffer because of me. I would see her, mama, papa, and everything. I would see the sky, the animals, the rolling hills, everything that Sam had described me.
* * *
I was lying on a very soft bed. I heard a lot of voices speaking. There were nurses, doctors and mama and papa. They are putting i-don’t-know-what-are-these-things all over my body. I felt physical pain but its okay.
“Mama, where’s Sam?” I asked, making my voice louder to rule over the noise.
“I’m just here, Tom”, she said, her voice coming from my right side.
“Sam! You don’t have an idea how much I missed you. Happy birthday!”
“Yes, I know. And I missed you, too. And happy birthday to you, too. So will you just keep your mouth shut and behave yourself? The doctor might inject your nose instead of your shoulder”, she said and laughed. Her voice was weak. I wonder if she’s okay. Maybe she got really exhausted gardening at grannies.
“Okay! Yes, ma’am!” I said laughingly and saluted.
“Good luck, Tom.”
“Thanks, Sam.”
* * *
“We’re going to remove your bandage later, Tom. Are you excited?” the doctor asked me happily. It’s been a long time since the operation. I don’t know how long exactly. I lose track of the time.
“Yes, I am excited, doc. Very excited, indeed.” I answered and they all laughed happily.
“Oh! Ha-ha. So let us start, then.”
The doctor began removing the bandage wrapped around my head. As the bandage is thinning, lights pressed unto my new eyes. Then the bandage has been removed. I opened my new eyes slowly. All I see was extreme light which hurts my eyes. I keep on blinking. Everything was a blur. Then my eyes came into focus. So this is it. Four people stood in front of me.
“How was it?” the doctor asked.
“It’s a big success, doc” I said and thumbed up.
“Oh! Thomas!” mama burst out crying and embraces me. Papa followed and embraces us, too.
“Hey, wait! I can’t breath”, I said and they freed me from their deadly hug. “Where’s Sam?” I asked.
“I’m here, Tom.”
I looked into my right side. There on the bed lied Sam. Her head were also covered with a bandage. Then, realization came into me. So, she’s the donor. I got up and papa guided me. I sat beside her. She smiled and I hugged her very tight. Tears were streaming down to my cheeks.
“Take a good care of my eyes, Tom”.
“Why did you do this, Sam?” my voice trembles. More tears were streaming down to my cheeks.
“It’s okay, Tom. I’m dying anyway. I have a blood cancer. Leukemia.” She said. She’s very weak.
“I love you, Sam. I see you.”
“I love you, too, Tom. Sam loves you, forever and a day.”
All of them had lied to me. I learned that Sam hadn’t really been at granny Emma’s. All of those times, she’s here in the hospital, confined. If only I knew, I would not steal Sam’s eyes.
* * *
“What’s the color of the butterfly, Tom? Is it white, black or yellow?” Sam asked. Her head were still covered in bandage. We are sitting underneath the maple tree. Same place where we sat two months ago. The situation is inverted, though. I am now the one who tells her what I see through me eyes. I mean, through her eyes.
“Nah! None of your guesses, Sam. It’s green. Yellow green. Yeah, right!” I answered. I am gently nibbling a chocolate cookie which mama had prepared for us. I and Sam always went here, the high hills of Crustville, from where all the old laughter had dwelt.
I got up and sauntered around. The meadow was full of blossoming daffodils, lavenders and white roses. I picked one daffodil and give it to Sam. She smelled it and smiled.
“Thanks, Tom.”
“So, what do you want to do now, Sam? Do you want me to dance? Oh no no no! Do you want me to sing?” I asked her and laughed,
“Oh no! Don’t sing, Tom. Your voice will just destroy my eardrum” she said laughingly, but weakly.
“So what now?”
“I just wanted to rest. I’m so tired, Tom”
“Here. Wait. I brought a small pillow.” I put a small pillow on the blue cottony mat and help her to lie carefully.
“Thanks.” She said.
I lied beside her. I stared at the beautiful cloudless sky. I could see the birds flapping their wings with the rhythm of the wind. I hummed Sam’s favorite lullaby. I composed it. I knew how to play piano now. Papa had taught me. Sam always loves to listen to me playing his favorite lullaby.
I looked at Sam. She is the most beautiful I have seen when I opened these eyes, her eyes. I patted her hair away from her face and kissed her cheeks. She was in deep sleep now, and she will never wake up, forever.
“I’ll see you again someday, Sam.” I whispered.
The End!!!


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