While I was googling about the topic of my previous blogpost, I heard the northern wife's father retching as usual. It went on for several minutes and then abruptly stopped. As I was finishing the said blogpost, I heard a commotion in the makeshift house as it was only a meter and a half from mine. Then I heard the northern wife crying and shouting loudly her father's name. Her cries was soon joined by the keening howls from the mentally-challenged daughter. Anak, patay na si Tatay Dodoy ninyo!
Obviously, the northern family found him sprawled dead near the kitchen where he usually heats water for a cup of instant coffee.
This is not the first time I was the last one to hear someone's last moments (although I would realize it moments or hours later). In 1992, while I was still adjusting to my new home, I was too revved up (after hours of arranging/rearranging things) to sleep and so to relax I read a book. At 3:00 in the morning, I heard a tricycle sputtering on the road in front of our subdivision and then the howling of a dog. This was followed by another dog and another until it seemed like the neighborhood dogs were on a howling roundelay.
Hours later, as I was watering the plants outside my fence, a couple of neighbors coming from their jogging exercise told me that they saw a trail of blood from the highway to our subdivision road.
Still a few hours later, a police siren brought us all out of our houses. A man was found dead. His body was dumped in the dry creek where some neighbors would throw their garbage.
That night the local TV news reported that the man was a driver whose tricycle was stolen by men who also knifed him to death.
I thought to myself - that's why the dogs were howling, they smelled the blood of this man as he was brought bleeding to the dry creek.
And I was still awake when it happened as I was when the northern wife's father stopped retching and breathing next door.
Mercifully, dinner time will be quiet this week. May God rest the soul of the northern wife's father whom I just knew was nicknamed Dodoy. Amen.