Karaoke Hits

Dear Sister,

Let me tell you about that one Christmas when our Mother cried because of a karaoke. You know that one baby picture that you keep in your phone? The one with you on a shiny, pink dress with a black karaoke behind you? Yes, that’s the one. Well, not quite, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As you know, we had a very simple life growing up. So “normal” household things like karaokes is not something that we naturally had.

Mommy was teaching at an elementary private school at that time and preparing for her classroom Christmas party. She wanted the party to be livelier for the kids but our ancient dial radio won’t do. It does not even have a fully working speaker and cassette tape jack.

And so, she decided to borrow our neighbor’s karaoke. He agreed right away. It was just for a day, anyway.

But this story is not that simple.

On the day of the party, Mommy went to the neighbor’s to pick up the karaoke. But it was his sister who answered and, apparently, she’s not aware of his brother’s deal with Mommy. So she said some things which hurt our mother deeply.

She went back to the house in tears; half-hurt, half-self pity. I really don’t know. She didn’t say much. Even when the boy neighbor went to our house and was offering to lend their karaoke again. He apparently forgot to inform his big sister. She probably didn’t mean to sound mean.

But our Mother wouldn’t take it. I guess when you have not much material things in life, your pride is the only thing you hold on to.

The world did not stop. The day went by. The party was over. And Mommy went home, happier than when she left. She said that her co-teacher in the next room just blasted her karaoke so it can be heard in Mommy’s room. When you have a roomful of gifts and Christmas decors, the kids won’t really mind if you don’t have your own music in the room.

In the evening, there was another party in our baranggay. There was a raffle and Mommy dropped entries equally under our names. Kuya, me, and you – a tiny baby without a care in her world.

Perhaps the middle child syndrome is so strong that it resonated even in mundane things such as raffle draws. Kuya won something; I can no longer remember. I did not.

And you, little sister, won the grand price. A brand new karaoke!

The moment it was announced, Kuya and I ran back home. Kuya shouting,

“Mommy, di ka na mang-uuram kina bleep!”

“Mommy you no longer have to borrow from the neighbors!”

Mom got teary eyed again. But this time, out of happiness.

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