I know this guy as a happy-go-lucky-devil -may-care sort of man. And the man knows his way around. Met him at the start of my new job, which is where I currently work. We used to share a bus ride on my way home when I was still tethered to my Mandaluyong habitat. Knowing his fun-loving ways, I never took Ian for a serious person, just someone who’s always looking for a weekend trip, or an adventure somewhere.
But time and again, I am always looking for the depth in another man’s soul, the thing that makes another human being interesting. Sure enough, I was right. Beneath that facade of beach bum, and skin art enthusiasm, lies a hard man able to face anything in life. This man, Ian, bears the burden of his child heart ailment, and carries it around with a grain of salt. Always with a smile for everyone he meets, we used to work the 2am to 10am shift and always, we could be giggling like schoolgirls at a frat party. But his heart must have been breaking like glass every time he sees his child suffering. A father, no doubt about it.
Last week was a sobering dose of reality when I got a text message from Ian about blood donations, and how his child is going under the knife. I felt the pang of guilt, having donated several time in the past months and with my own recent dental procedures, I had to pass. But what really got me is the pain he must have been dragging around, always a ghost that haunts him – the illness that his child suffers is the cross that he carries. For a father will do anything for his child in need. Anything. And if there’s something worth bragging about, then, I am proud to say
” Ian? Yeah, I know the guy! He’s great!”
Because, as a father to another, nothing comes close to a child’s warm smile and the words “I love you, Dad” coming from their hearts.
Here are the words to a song, while originally written for a woman, but I guess Star is really the first woman in his life:
“…She’s always been there for me
Whenever I’ve fallen
When nobody else believes
She’ll be there by my side
I don’t know how she takes it
Just once, I’d like to make it
Then there’ll be tears of joy
That fill her lovin’ eyes
When she cries at night
And she doesn’t think that I can hear her
She tries to hide
All the fear she feels inside
So I pray this time
I can be the man that she deserves
‘Cos I die a little each time
When she cries…”
A salute to Ian.
If you see this guy walking, give him a hug. He deserves it.
[Photos posted here are from Ian’s Facebook page]