It has been seven summers since my son’s untimely demise from an accident in the Coron Islands. Zach and I both have a fondness for animal life, dolphins in particular. He was only four, but he already knew twenty out of thirty-two different dolphin species by heart; so we took it upon ourselves to include dolphin watching as part of the island tour.
As a marine Biologist, I was able to tell Zach stories about my research on dolphins. He always listened attentively and remembered the names and behaviors. My wife knew Zach was precocious. Since she cannot conceive another child due to a hysterectomy from uterine atony after delivering Zach, she had always been protective of him.
We have just departed Luluyuan Barakuda Lake as a part of the island hopping tour when the accident happened. A freak storm hit. It was a million to one event. The sky suddenly turned black and the waves grew stronger. As if a stroke of bad luck, the boat’s motor malfunctioned. The boatman told us not to panic and wear the life vests. We followed as instructed. I remained calm as my boy was looking at my every move.
Then it hit! A flash of lightning struck our boat near the motor. My son and I were thrown side by side as with the boatman and my wife. I secured Zach on a part of the boat that was still floating. My wife was terrified! She screamed and struggled.
“I can’t move my legs! Help me!!!” She kept screaming while frantically keeping afloat.
I told Zach to hold on to a piece of wood that used to be part of the hull and reassured him that I will come back after I get his mom. I swam towards her, consciously counting every second that elapsed. I knew I can swim fast being a former champion in my college varsity swimming team.
I got to her exactly eighteen seconds from my count. She grabbed on to me. The boatman wasn't there. I turned back to face the piece of hull where I secured Zach. I panicked! He wasn’t there!
“Where is Zach?” My wife shouted! Tears were falling from her eyes.
“Where is my boy?” she cried. I felt her grip tightened. Her nails dug into my skin. I couldn’t think. I was in shock. I set my wife on the piece of hull and dove. If I could scream his name under the water, I would have done so. I felt no exhaustion, but my legs cramped. I started sinking when, I felt the end of a life preserver on my hand.
As soon as it happened, the rain stopped. The sky started to clear. I only heard my wife’s scream of anger and horror for losing our precious Zach. I didn’t even realize that the coastguard was already there. A man shouted through a megaphone telling me not to let go, as they will bring my wife and I to safety.
“He was just there. I secured him onto the wood to before I went to get you.” I said those words as if to bring comfort.
My wife left me. She blamed me for losing Zach.
It was one of those moments when I suddenly remembered that painful event seven years ago. I started blogging since then. In my heart, as long as I wrote about the things Zach and I both loved so much, I knew he’d find out about it somehow. I believe he moved on to another life as a kid eager to go back to our favorite past times. This had been my driving force to blog and to reach the world via one click at a time.
I was answering a question about dolphins on the latest post on my blog when I heard a high pitch voice calling me.
“Doc, it’s time to go swimming!” she demanded. Laika is an inquisitive and energetic little girl who seems to have me as her favorite uncle. She started calling me “Doc” after I nursed her pet hermit crab back to life. The nickname stuck! I didn’t mind.
“Is it?” I asked disappointingly. She was looking at me with her big brown eyes with a pout on her lips.
“Yes! Let’s go! Kyle and Sai are already in the swimming pool!” she insisted.
“Why don’t you go with your brother and cousin instead?” I implored her. As a middle child, she either got along with her older brother Kyle who would sometimes tease her because of her dark skin or would lovingly protect her from their cousin Sai’s tricks. Her younger sister knew nothing of the sort. At one year and two months, little Laureen only knew how to wander off when no one is looking.
“I want you to come with me.” She retaliated as if at the verge of a tantrum. Her curly black hair flew carelessly on her head. The neon pink bathing suit lit on her beautifully dark colored skin.
“Ok, ok.” I surrendered, “Can I just finish this post for my blog? I’m almost done.”
“Blog” she repeated. “What’s a blog Doc?” as unpredictable as the weather, Laika’s mood changed from an impatient little brat to a wide eyed angel who has genuine interest in what I was working on.
“Doc! Doc?” Laika tugged my board shorts as she called my attention. She seated her self on my lap while staring at the computer screen as if she knows what the words meant.
“A blog honey, is like a diary.” I told her gently. Hoping that she wont let me explain any further.
“A d-diary? Coleen has a d-diary.” She knowingly said. “You also write about a boy named Cocoy?”
I frowned. “It’s like a diary, but it’s not a diary honey.” I answered while ignoring the remark about her older sister mentioning a boy in her diary. Thankfully, their mom had to deal with that.
She started scratching her head, a mannerism she got from my cousin Kathleen, her mom, when she’s confused.
“It’s like a diary honey because you write down what you want to say to one person. But, a blog is like talking to more than one person and they answer back.”
“Oh, just like the news lady on TV?” she said in a matter-of-fact manner. She is a smart kid!
“Yes sweat heart. Just like TV. The difference is that you get to find our what other people has to say too.”
Her cute little eyebrows curled in frustration.
I looked back at the question I was looking at earlier when Laika came in:
Dear Mr. Doc,
My name is Kaiser. I’m seven years old. My mom and me love dolphins. We live near the sea here in Davao. My mom reads your blog all the time and told me that I can ask you anything about dolphins. Is it true that dolphins can talk to other dolphins like people talk to other people?
My mom helped me type. Come visit us soon!
“I want to tell him that dolphins talk like we do,” I said. Trying to simplify the terms for her.
“I like dolphins too Doc!” she proudly said. “I know they can talk coz the ocean is soo huge and they can easily get lost if they don’t ask other dolphins for directions,” she continued while gesturing with her small hands how “huge” the ocean really is.
“Exactly!” I agreed!
There was a yawn that escaped her small mouth as she rested her head on my chest. She closed her eyes then said, “I want to see dolphins too, Doc. Take me to the ocean please?”
“Okay I will.” The thought of having a trip to Davao with my niece and seeing this Kaiser kid and his mom is starting to sound like a wonderful idea.
Her eyes were still closed when she murmured, “I want to make a blog too!”
I held back my tears from falling as I typed my reply to Kaiser’s e-mail. This is going to be a great summer!
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