This is the story of how I managed to burn my hand with hot water last night.
A little back story: two months ago, on a cold, rainy July morning, I had skipped breakfast to go to university earlier than the rest. Cue unnecessarily descriptive narrative:
It was campaign week for the Freshmen elections, and as an upperclassman helping with the campaign, I was tasked to “reserve the altar”, or grab the best seat in the lobby where we could set up our publicity material before the opposing party could.
I skipped breakfast, commuted to campus which was two cities away on a dark morning when the sky was still purple as the street lamps lit up the cracked and crooked streets of Manila. The fallen rain glimmered in reflection. The air smelled like freshly baked pandesal. This is going to be a good day for us, I said, as I looked out of the jeep, gently roaring in the empty road.
When I reached the floor I was supposed to reserve, though, I saw the opposing party’s representative already asleep on the ‘altar’ with a magazine covering his face. Ah, well. Nevermind then.
During campaign, as we ran from building to building throughout the campus, I fell down the stairs of Miguel Building. When I fell, my left leg hit one of the edges of the steps. My knees were weak and shaky, but I thought it must have been nothing but a little bump. So I just let it go.
Until, returning to time frame = last night. The bump which wasn’t even visible has now grown in size. So I tried to treat it with some ice. (Actually, with a frozen pack of beef tapa.) Then my sister advised me to use a hot compress instead, because the bump has been there for some time.
Unable to find the hot water bottle–that squishy, rubbery one–I turned to my mother who helped me search through the cupboards. Failing to find it, she took out a sports water bottle and filled it halfway with hot water. She checked it for leaks and cracks and found none. This would be fine.
I put my feet up and held the bottle to my leg. In minutes, I noticed the bottom of the sports bottle sort of expanding, rounding out like a light bulb. Then, all of a sudden, the screw-on bottle cap popped right off and scorched my right hand with hot water.
I was in tears. Years back, I had burned my left arm in a small explosion from the oven when I had been baking cookies. Compared to that, this wasn’t much. But it still hurt. And I still couldn’t stop crying.
My mom came running towards the sound of my sobbing, carefully took the bottle and wiped my hand with a soft hand towel. She told me to keep the burns dry, then she tried to look for burn ointment.
“We don’t have any more burn ointment, I’m sorry.” She said when she came back. She looked at me. I was still crying. I felt pathetic. Then she gently took my hand by the wrist, and looked for an area that didn’t get burnt. “Let me kiss that for you.”
I may be of legal age now. I may be in university. I could be WonderWoman for all I care. But whatever happens, we’re all still human, all still weak. And whatever may happen, our mothers will always be our mothers, here to pick us up when we’ve fallen.
There are days when I feel like I must be the most unfeeling and ungrateful daughter on earth. I dislike being babied, being taken care of. I shrug off excessive hugs, and reject offers when she asks “would you like to bring these muffins to school? How about this bottle of juice?” I join plenty of outside activities, and come home late all too often. And I’m honestly getting tired of her randomly singing “why is my baby girl so beautiful?” or asking me every five minutes if I love her. Or how she smothers me with ten minutes worth of goodbye kisses and breathtaking hugs when she knows I’m running late.
But there are just those days when you have to be a kid, for her. Because you still are her kid. And you always will be.