My son is not fond of cel phones although I bought one for him. It is a tool, as most of us regard it, to keep in touch with others, and most especially with him, if necessary. It is vital because it is the easiest way for us to communicate about what he needs for his school projects, about his whereabouts, or about important matters that need to be relayed immediately. I had repeatedly told him all these.
Nevertheless, Daryl did not develop a liking to cellular phones. He even shuts it down in order to save energy for the battery (his usual rant). We always discuss that cel phones should be activated because it was conceived to serve the purpose of sending and receiving messages and calls. I even emphasized that it is very useful for emergency situations. He argues that it is not practical for him to switch it on all the time because he does not use the device often aside from the fact that he has no constant text mates.
I was so tired out of his reasoning and to end the argument, I would always give a deep sigh with “Naku naman, Daryl!” (almost like “You are impossible, Daryl!”) He would just stare at me blankly or keep quiet or smile timidly. End of discussion.
Then came Tuesday when I had rendered OT. When I reached home it was 6:35 pm. I immediately saw Kay’s troubled look, “Ma, wala pa si Daryl.” (“Ma, Daryl has not arrived yet.”) There was a hiss from Papsie as if preventing her to utter the words and I heard something like, “Anak, ba’t sinabi mo agad? Mali, e…” (“Why did you tell her about it at once, my daughter? Ill-timed…”) I flared up and asked the two of them what then did they do about it. They stammered as they mumbled reasons, and the words fell incoherent. I tried very hard to keep calm but I was not able to. I was petrified of the fact that he was late one and a half hours. He was never late going home from school without an advice. He is also a type not fond of going out with peers, or staying outside our home late. He is so unlike Kay.
What I remember was I went upstairs twice but I can’t remember why. I changed my footwear to slippers and rushed towards the highway. I was praying while traversing the road to the highway, and I was in fear. “My God, it does not matter how many digital cameras will be lost, but not my son,” I kept mumbling.
I reached the highway, numb with apprehension. I did not meet Daryl along the way not like when he went home late from the field trip that I met him halfway. “God, where is Daryl?” Each moment was like an eon, each passing second was like torture. Each passer by was scanned. Nobody resembles Daryl. “God, it is almost 7 o’clock. Please keep him safe and away from harm.” Then from the dark corners of the overpass stairs came a familiar figure, head down while walking, pantomiming Danaya, or Amihan, or Pirena, or Alena (whoever) as they summon their powerful stones, and oblivious of everything around him. “It is Daryl!” I shouted silently. “God, thank you very much.”
When he lifted his face, as if coming out from a vortex of another world, he smiled uneasily, “Ma, we had a practice.” I replied in a controlled voice, “Daryl naman, be responsible. You could have at least made a call.” Then he replied, “Everybody was out of load, and I did not see a telephone around. The place is a basketball court.” I kept silent after a few words but still had many things in mind left unspoken. I decided to discuss them when we reach home. My son still has a lot to learn about life.