PART 3: STEPPING BACK
Speaking of kuyas, I do have an older (and only biological) brother. We don’t have many childhood memories together. In fact, most of them were not really nice. But as I reminisce the past, I realize that there were actually a lot of incidents where he made simple yet lasting influences in my life.
One in particular was when as a kid, my neighborhood playmates would hang out at our house to play. Our home then was something to be proud of — we had a lawn that I could truly boast of, and for some unknown reason, that day I was exceedingly arrogant because of it. As I bossed around my friends (using the fact that I lived in that house as my authority), my brother discreetly called me into the house. So I nonchalantly excused myself and went to him.
I don’t remember if my brother hit me. But I do remember how he scolded me: “Just because you own the house doesn’t give you the right to treat your friends arrogantly.” I couldn’t remember the rest, but ever since that day, my whole perspective about hospitality changed.
When my brother was in college, his school organization would have this fund raising booth during the fiesta in Naga City. My dad would coax me to tag along, and my brother would humor the idea good-naturedly (maybe out of fear for my dad). And so one time, I did.
Hanging out with my brother’s friends was both cool and awkward at the same time. It made me see a different side of him [“tao din pala siya?”], especially with how popular he was with girls. And I did feel both embarrassed and proud whenever his girl friends would compare us – and I was chosen as better-looking (Wahahaha! It’s true!).
I think it was at this point where my brother asked if I wanted to watch a movie. Of course! Until I realized it was probably a ploy for him to get rid of me. And which probably was proven by the fact that he only bought one ticket. For a double feature film. Just for me.
I think I was in fourth grade that time. And yes, I never went to a cinema alone before.
What a brother.
To my surprise, I actually enjoyed watching alone.
And so started my lifelong personal career of being a movie fanatic.
Of course, my childhood reminiscence would not be complete with that one amusing incident, where my sister Alyn and I stumbled across his funny stash of clumsily-hid love letters. That finally convinced me that my brother, who I always considered a monster, actually had a heart.
Looking at my own life (and bloody trail of influences), I realize how amazingly simple yet powerful an influence of a kuya or ate can be. Just spending time with a youth can make an impact we cannot notice now. Every action, every word – it all matters.
That’s why being a kuya or an ate is not just a role we play. It is a responsibility. It is a commitment we need to make.
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