The Godfather

There’s this Filipino belief that your child can acquire his/her Godparents’ talents and skills, thus being one of the criteria of choosing ‘ninongs'(godfathers) and ‘ninangs'(godmothers) aside from their personal relation to the parents and probably financial capacity. Of course this will only hold true if those Godparents spend a lot of time with their Godchild and actually teach him/her about whatever God-given skills they can impart for if not, then there must be some other means a certain Godfather of mine transferred his drawing skills to me ‘coz we never really spent time together except when my Christmas presents from him are due.

I remember when I was a kid and I used to see him every year painting the wall of our street’s waiting shed, your typical young artist: untidy & unkept hair, slim but healthy figure wearing t-shirt and jeans. Every time I marvel on how he starts with a pure white wall and transform it to an Indian-inspired canvas. We never talked much and being the kid that I was back then, never really cared to know about his life or why there came a time when somebody else was already painting the shed. It was enough for me to see Indians on the wall and receive my Christmas gifts every year.

I know the time will come when, unfortunately, I would stop receiving gifts from my Godparents because I’m too old for it so since then I stopped seeing Godfather altogether except when my mom brings him photographs or my Grandma’s cross stitching to have them framed. I guess he earns a living through painting and framing stuff. When I was in highschool all the cross stitching stopped as well and that was the last time I saw or heard from my Godfather.

Until 10 years after which was yesterday.

He is sick. It was said that he had a big bulging tummy, could no longer walk due to difficulty in breathing (he couldn’t talk that much as well) and his flesh was already turning a blackish hue in the face. “He was only staying at their house” my sister told me they couldn’t afford the hospital. It broke my heart in a deep way, unexpectedly because we were never really close.

Though I didn’t realize before, watching him and seeing his works of art be it in a concrete wall or canvas, has influenced my artistic mind. Unconsciously every year the marvel I felt in seeing how one can create such beautiful images using his hand has opened in me a thirst to do the same someday. And I did. I may not be able to draw people as close to reality as he can but my love for art has enabled me to symphatize with the artists who heeded their passion despite the uncertainty of their works putting food in the table, except for the still life of fruits which at the end of the day is inedible.

“His siblings doesn’t really care about him” a comment from my sister which hurt me more. “Tita(aunt) was generous enough to give him money. He was close to tears when he received it” she added. It touched my heart but I know that he probably wouldn’t be able to use it, either because he can’t do it himself or his siblings would not care enough to help him do so.

I am an artist, though not by profession, but at heart. Now I do not wonder why I feel a deep sorrow despite our distance:

My Godfather represents all the artists unheard, who paints the world with no regard to whoever is looking. And we are all my Godfather’s siblings, mere spectators who doesn’t really care.

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