It’s almost 9 PM on Christmas Eve. My parents and I have had dinner. My dad’s still out with his neighbor friends, and my mom’s getting ready to go to bed. She has to leave early tomorrow to visit my grandmother who’s in the hospital because of an infection.
This isn’t the Christmas I wanted or needed. I’ve always dreamed of visiting a beach or a hotel or anywhere nice. I’ve dreamed of going abroad, somewhere in Europe where there’s snow and funky smelling foreigners and out-of-this-world exotic cuisine. I’ve dreamed of a lot of things, and none of them have become a reality so far.
My family isn’t poor by Philippine standards. A lot of times, I fool myself into thinking we’re rich. I ask my parents for cash, and it’s there. I tell them the deadline for my tuition fee is next week, and it’s fine. But this Christmas, I asked for a DSLR camera. It’s cliche, I know. But I’ve always wanted to get into photography as a hobby. I wanted to capture the moments in life as they passed by, just so they won’t be as easily lost or forgotten. And I know it’s expensive. And I know my grandmother’s hospital bills continue to grow with each day she remains confined there. But I can’t help feeling bad for not getting that good old-fashioned gift under the Christmas tree, so to speak.
I’m still thankful though. For our house, our food, my parents, my grandmother, my dog, my friends, and my life. It’s not perfect, and it’s nowhere near as good as I want it to be, but it’s what I’ve got to work with.