The Day Father Died By Apolinario B. Villalobos Too young

The Day Father Died

By Apolinario B. Villalobos


Too young to understand death

Though I cried, it did not take long

For me to be consoled

Not knowing what will happen

On the days to come

What I knew was that father died

And all we had, then was mother

Who looked composed, strong

And if she cried, too

I did not know…



(I was barely past my eleven years when father died. I was in grade six. Until now, I do not know how we were able to make both ends met with only our mother working to support four children- two in elementary and two in high school. What I could vividly recall was how the two of us in elementary would bring home rationed bulgur wheat, sometimes oat meal or yellow corn grits given in school by the American Peace Corp volunteers. We cooked them for breakfast and dinner. To be able to buy pencil and papers, I would sell in school, fallen ripe tamarind fruits picked up from the yard of our neighbor. Early mornings before going to school, I would go around the town selling pan de sal (favorite breakfast bread of Filipinos). Weekends were for selling popsicles. Sometimes I would go to school in slippers with mismatched colors having been salvaged from my favorite dump which I would visit every afternoon from school to pick up recyclable plastic bags for my books and other things….. Our mother taught us how to be tough and to never compare our situation with that of others. She told us to accept what comes our way.)

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