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"A Gift"

John Rendel Pateña 2000 (Rizal)

Jane received a powerful slap on her face when she came home.
"You shameless child!" Her drunken father shouted, "Is this the time the student comes home?"
Fearing that whatever might happen, Jane hurried into her room, regardless of the pain caused by her father's slap.
"Hey! I'm still talking to you!"
She saw her brothers in her room. They were lying on the mat, worried and waiting for her arrival.
"Ate, we haven't eaten yet." A twelve-year-old Mark cried.
"Huh? How about the money you earned?" Jane worriedly asked.
The siblings sell sampaguita on every streets of Quiapo. They do that to meet their daily needs.
"Father took it," Mark responded.
Jane just heaved a sigh. This happened to them very often. When their father is so drunk, he forgets to take care of his children. Jane's two siblings have already grown up and are able to do the household chores and buy food on their own. But the money saved by her siblings from selling sampaguita is still taken by their father for the liquor, because when he and his troops are drinking, he can't help but to spend money for their drink and can't even think that he still has a family to feed.
"One thing Ate... John seems to be sick," said Mark.
"What?" Concerned, she approached the youngest brother and touched his forehead. He is inflamed by fever.
"Come on, Mark. Wipe his body with a wet towel. Watch over him."
At that moment, she was even more worried. Jane did not change her uniform and quickly bid goodbye to her brothers.
"Just stay here, okay? Ate will buy some food and medicine," she said.

"All right, Ate. Be careful."
Jane hurried out of the room and saw that her father was drinking a bottle of alcohol again. She had intended to vent out her resentment on his father because they had been neglected, but she suppressed her emotions and just held back. She was more concerned about the welfare of her siblings at that point. "Hey! I was asking you where are you from, you're getting hard?" Her father noticed her coming out and she stopped.
"It's none of your business." She replied languidly without looking at him.
Her father immediately approached her and pulled her by the hair.
"You're answering now!"
"Release me!"
Jane struggled and lost her father's grip, she hurried out of the house. She didn't even care if she got wet in the heavy rain that time.
"Don't come back here! I told you!" Shouted by her father.
Since their mother passed away, two years ago, their father has been like that. He did all the bad vices. Gambling. Drinking. Smoking. Lost a job. He also became a hot-headed and when that happened he turned his resentment on his children. They are beaten shut when they are answering or resisting their father, so they just let him do what he wants, they just became very careful in their actions so that there is no further trouble. Jane often could no longer understand her father. Yet, all of them were affected by the loss of their mother.
"Manong, please hurry up, my brother is sick, then they haven't eaten yet," she is sobbing as she talked to the tricycle driver wiping the tears that kept running down her cheeks.
Jane is a high school student. Even though they are poor, she tries to finish her study for her siblings. Jane wants a good future for the family when she graduates and gets a job. And for his father, he is still part of her dreams, because she knew that their father could still change. She knew in herself that their father is not like that when their mother was still alive, and she hoped that it would happen again, that their family would be well and that they would live peacefully.
Three days later, Jane's father is really exhausted asking the whole neighborhood. Then one neighbor went to their house and told where Jane is.

He helplessly fell down when he saw the corpse of his daughter. She found in a ravine along with the tricycle driver who is also died in an accident.
"Sir, maybe this is your daughter's belongings." A police approached him and gave a bag.
When he opened it, he saw medicines, food, and a box with a pair of shoes inside and a letter.
Father, I know it's not easy for you to lose mother, and we understand you. But hopefully the day will come you will be okay, our family will be okay, because we are still here, your children, who love you very much. Also, please forgive me if I often come home late at night, I'm still doing laundry with the neighbors. I'm doing that to save... to buy you a gift for your birthday.
Happy Birthday, Father.

About this poem

This is a family matter.

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Written on October 01, 2021

Submitted by rendelpatena78 on October 01, 2021

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:21 min read

Quick analysis:

Characters 4,711
Words 855
Stanzas 3
Stanza Lengths 16, 12, 7

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