The Reality

Another long lonely night, eight o'clock in the evening, sitting in front of a television watching some silly, boring soap opera. I am not even paying much attention as I wonder where I would spend the rest of the night again.

I have been to the same bars almost every night. Hanging out with the same bunch of not so special friends in videoke bars where I would spend all my five peso coins in my pocket and sing every song that is in the list. Listening to some unpopular folk musicians until their last set. Watching stand-up comedians perform their most corny jokes while people laugh their heart out, as if they are living in a perfect world where problems do not exist. Going to several disco bars where I would dance with some party friends to a fast beat or dance with a stranger to a slow beat under a funky, techno lights. Dosing off with different liquors: cocktail, brandy, vodka, tequila, beer, name it and I can drink it 'till the last drop. Getting high with the most expensive cigar on earth. A night of just partying with the same not so close friends.

And now, I stand in front of a child tucked soundly in his bed. As I look at his angelic face, my tears just come down off my cheeks. I come to my senses now as the voice behind my conscience starts reminding me the things that I should be.

I should have been playing the right role to this sweet, innocent child instead of hanging around with not so important people. I should be the one to attend to his needs instead of attending to somebody else's personal needs. I should be the one preparing his milk, scratching his back and singing lullaby when he sleeps instead of me singing in cheap videoke bars. I should be the first one he sees when he gets up in the morning and carries him while he cries about some horrible, bad dreams instead of getting up beside a drunk stranger. All those things come to my senses now.

For the past few days I forgot that I am a mother. I forgot that I was the one who carried this child in my womb for nine months. I was the one who labored and gave birth to this sweet, handsome child. Besides, motherhood should not stop here. It should only be the beginning.

I feel so small now for not always staying the rest of the night beside my son. I am ashamed of myself for not being a responsible mother. I am so sad for being with the wrong people when my son most needed me.

I was the world's worst mother. But now, I thank the Lord for bringing me back into reality. The reality of being a mother, the reality of motherhood.

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Joko Jun features Filipinos from around the world... musicians, writers, photographers, and other creative people.