Obediently, I raised my eyes to the window. I had left it open earlier when I crawled to bed to find that Sage had claimed squatter's rights and was fast asleep, her half-opened copy of Adeline Yen Ma's The Chinese Cinderella still clutched in her pudgy fingers. Hubby was in Tawi-tawi, probably feasting on a fresh harvest of seafood, the kind the rest of us seldom get to see anymore. I figured it was okay for Sage to hog the bed that night. It gets kinda lonely sometimes. Especially on weekends.
I'm glad I left the window open. At half past three in the morning, it framed an expanse of the silvery blue sky and right in the middle shone the morning star.
"She called me awake. Isn't that the most beautiful thing you ever did see, Mom?"
"Yes, it is, honey. Thank you for sharing her with me."
"It's morning. She's out and about. And she's the only one."
"Nope. She's got us up for company."
It was an honor.
Years ago and down by the beach or up in the mountains with the heavens for a roof, it never failed to fill my heart fit to bursting to see Venus in the sky. I fancied myself becoming one with the long line of the evolving human race whom she graced with her untouchable beauty. I was humbled by the distance, and yet exalted to stand in her presence while the unchosen were allowed to sleep on.
I don't know how many people left in this world today rendezvous with Venus at half past three in the morning, but I'm not surprised to find Sage among them.
As an infant, she used to wake up at half past three, placidly watching me with her old soul eyes as I quietly talked to her and sang ballads from Dan Fogelberg's early albums. It rarely rained in GenSan where we lived then. Venus would be streaming her soft light through the window as I bonded with my infant daughter, holding her sweet warmth close, her baby hair tickling my cheek as I sang of the sea and the children we used to be, of rain and dancing shoes and poems written on the back of a leaf.
Sagey learned to speak before she turned one. I'd like to think it was our pre-dawn schedule that made that happen. When the world was all quiet, it was just the words I borrowed from good old Dan and the rhythm of my breath that impinged upon her developing consciousness. Gently, I would coax her to form the sounds, rewarding her attempts with delighted kisses and gentle strokes as Venus watched benevolently. And as the sky lightened, we drifted back to sleep in each other's arms.
I'm glad I left the window open last night. It's nice to know an old friend up there watches over us and that, wherever our man has gone a-wandering this weekend, the same star shines down on him.
(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. "Send at the risk of a reply," she says).