“I’ll write something about you and this meeting, ma’am, and will ask my friend to have it published on Monday.
“That is too much.”
“No, no, no, it’s nothing.”
I imagine her asking her maid to wake up so early in the morning today to buy the Monday edition of Panay News. Opening the part that contains my column, she will find an entirely different article, not the one I promised her.
The worst form of betrayal is not keeping a promise.
I met her a week ago in a local diner waiting for her breakfast. That time I was reading a local paper where I write a weekly column. I was writhing in shame because of the missing final letter s in the verb of my last sentence. This old woman coughed softly and gave her comment about the headline of a news about a socialite campaigning for her son who is running for congress against a powerful politician in one of the districts of my province. “Daw indi man ni sila taga-Iloilo, ano sagad nila kapadalagan diri haw?” (These people are not from Iloilo, why are they running for an elective post here?).
Feeling that I’ve not been appreciated as a writer, I showed her the column I wrote which moments ago I was already thinking of burning because of the missing s. She read my column like how my mother does. I think all teachers have this way of reading, same expression on their faces, same reaction especially if the writer of what they are reading is seated next to them.
She introduced herself and wrote her name using beautiful cursives on the back of an old business card given to me by a Macedonian friend. Mrs. Delfina Gerochi is a 76-year old retired grade one teacher who used to teach at Dawis Elementary School in the municipality of Zarraga. Sixteen years after retiring, she related that she does not find her life boring. She has chickens, a dog, and a cat in her house that she takes care.
“Kanami gali sa imo magsulat. Ako nagasulat man sang mga poems.” (You write beautifully. As for me, I write poems.)
I thanked her and suggested that since it is difficult to find a publisher for poems, unless you’re nationally recognized or you publish your own poems which can be very expensive, to open a blogsite and have her works posted there. I momentarily forgot that she’s 76 years old. I apologized for the gaffe and explained to her how blogging works. I did not know whether she was able to grasp the entire concept of this ‘art’. I told her to ask any of her grandchildren about blogs and that she wants to have her own, and they’ll know what to do.
“Had I had children as intelligent and accomplished as you at such a young age, I would’ve raised heaven and earth just so I could give them whatever they wanted.”
Although blushing is a talent I know I do not possess, I blushed when she said this.
I promised her to write about our meeting but I never did. Not until I woke up today and remembered that my column will come out today. And so I’ve caused an old woman so much of a disappointment. At her age, inasmuch as nothing so spectacular will bring her much surprise, a very small act of kindness and promise mean a lot. And I regret depriving her of those.
Note: Whoever knows Mrs. Delfina Gerochi, please leave your email here so that I may write a personal letter to her. And if it will not be so bothersome, have it printed and given to Mrs. Gerochi. Thank you.