Old Family Movies

My dad got the old camcorder up and running again, after more than a decade of disuse. It wasn’t in top shape—most of the tapes had moldy ribbons—but most of it was clear enough to make the faces out. Mama, Papa, my sister & her boyfriend sat in the living room; my brother & his girlfriend joined us later on. My other sister was fast asleep, so she missed out on all the laughter and reminiscing. My parents were unconsciously playing a game of spotting old relatives and pointing out which ones have died, speaking up every so often to say “yan, patay na ‘yan” and laughing heartily afterwards. Birthdays and outings, Christmas and New Year celebrations, town fiestas and house blessings; we had tapes for almost all the occasions in our young lives. My sisters’, my brother’s, & my own face had been small, our smiles filled with tiny teeth, eyes bright & shining as we danced and made pa-cute, unembarrassed. My dad still had a full head of hair and a thick wad of bills in his pocket; my mom still had her 27-inch waistline. The whole family saw itself as it used to be: young, happy, and very much together. I suppose we still are all of those things, relatively.. But you know, things are never really the same after some time has gone by.

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