Facebook is currently brimming with anime and cartoon profile pics in line with some advocacy against child abuse. Most of my friends have chosen a favorite to upload and use. As usual, I retreated from the hype. Such a killer of fun, this ‘me’. But that’s not to say I didn’t have my share of morning TV cartoons filled with Sarah, Snow White, Cinderella, Julio at Julia, Heidi, Nelo, Sailormoon, Tuxedo Mask, etc. I had them, even shirts with prints of Tom and Jerry.
But I have my reasons for such inability to ride on and join this thing. Childhood isn’t always sweet and very nostalgic for me, you know. When I think about mine, I miss the landscape. I miss our humble home in a farflung barrio by the rocks and sea. I miss sitting on its shore, looking at the mountains on the other side, shaping limestones into hearts, decorating coconut husks with sticks and flowers and watching how long they’d ride on the waves before tumbling upside down. I miss the school I went to for a couple of years there before transferring to the city. Half of my dreams had that landscape. Half of my dreams were about waves and water. I miss some parts of my being a kid, but there are some parts I’d rather not go back to.
What I remember though is reading Funny Komiks while being there. I had a cousin who travelled to the capital to go to college back then. Everytime he went home he had copies of Funny Komiks and Abante. So that, part of my beginning years in reading were spent with tales of Captain Barbell, Niknok, and others about aswang, nuno, barang, and gayuma. And part of my awakening about the casuality of sex, too, started there. Though, I swear it’s only the comics I went after and not the other one.
A vivid memory was about reading Niknok meeting Brungisngis, a hag on a flying brookstick who stopped by his room’s window and kept laughing at him for some reason I couldn’t remember now. I was a kid, I tried looking for that episode online but didn’t find any. But I’m pretty sure it was really named Brungisngis. I couldn’t remember much about Niknok either. It was only the witch’s laughter and Niknok’s shock and flood of questions. “Ikaw si-ssssi Bu-bu-rungi-ngis-ngis?” “Ako nga! Hiii-hii-hii!” Something like that.
Maybe it’s just how I met the world. Or truth? Or life? That ugly, half evil-looking, half kidding hag flying on a broom, always looking like she’s about to sweep you off this earth, for better or for worse, with her high-pitched laughter. “You mean you’re Re-reeea-li-lli-ty???” “Yes, I am! Hiiii-hii-hii!” And I am Niknok, half grossed out and half puzzled with it all the time.