Visiting My Childhood Home on Google Street View
By Joan Cruz
after Ricardo Blanco
1095B should still be one of three
identical houses along Delpan, Makati
with sloped tiled roofs and glass windows
that slide open to ornate white grills.
Royal blue gates, crumbling from rust,
should creak their welcome sigh
from arthritic hinges, short of a lullaby.
The magnolia wall in my parents’ room
would still have a dent from when
my mother threw a vase at my father’s face
There should be nothing here I don’t remember…
Not after they made me memorise
this address at age three.
The living room stereo should still blast
Madonna’s Like a Virgin while my mother
danced like no one could see.
Our love birds would still break into
song every afternoon, next to the tank
of gold fish, kuhli loach and pleco,
And at night, my bedroom walls would echo
muffled cries of “Putang ina mo!”
I should be on top of mahogany stairs,
feet dangling between the balustrade,
inhaling caldereta - laden air
with notes of nicotine, ribbons
of smoke rising from my father’s hand.
I am in my school uniform for the first time
again, striking a pose against the same
cracked cement my friends and I lined
with chalk before a game of piko.
I should still be seven, overjoyed by
ube sorbetes and father’s piggy back rides,
even after mother left.
But instead, I am a ghost on Google Street View
clicking my way back on a virtual glide until
I arrive by its blue gates and tiled roof and all…
Those who knew us would probably say
this was where it all went wrong,
But I stare hard at my screen, and all I can see
is the last time I felt home.