It was a weekend when I noticed the bags under my papa’s eyes. I didn’t know what made me notice but I could tell that there was a change in his eyes: more somber. My ten-year-old self concluded that he didn’t get enough sleep.

                             A few days later, I was observant and smart enough to know that my dad had been stressed. For how long, I did not bother asking. Because of what, probably from his work as a chief operating officer. Apparently I wasn’t as keen as I hoped. Yes, my papa didn’t get enough sleep but for a whole other reason. I didn’t know of it until my papa wanted me to sleep in their room. Ten-year-old me obliged eagerly since the bed was huge and had a comforter.

                             It was dawn when I felt a movement from my left. My eyes struggled to open as all they wanted to do was wake up at a decent hour and not at three a.m. Nevertheless, I opened them as I heard my mama murmuring comforting words to my dad. My papa had been crying. My mama’s arms were around my papa’s shoulders so I held his hands instead. I didn’t know what to do but overhear words in the silence.

“Pray to God for peace. Pray to him, pray to him, pray to him…” were the words my mama mumbled meant for my papa’s ear.

“We will never leave you,” was a sentence of five words and when put together fill a promise.

“I am right here. Your daughter is right here,” was a conviction for him.

                             When my papa calmed down, we went back to sleep. Well, at least my parents did. I had been curled up in their bed worrying about my papa, and my heart crying at what happened. I fell asleep after an hour.

                             I did not know what my papa was going through at the time. But as years passed, I no longer wake up to my papa’s silent cries. Instead, he lies in bed with my mama, snoring, clearly tired from the whole day of work, and a wide and content smile on his face whenever he is with us.

He managed to unlock his chains.

And now, it’s my turn.


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