Snow Angels

Many Decembers ago, I visited my cousin in a small town in New Jersey. A fresh coat of snow fell that night, powdering the gorgeous hilly landscape. My cousin was on his way to becoming a Catholic priest, and my mom and I were so proud of him.

He was like my older brother back when we lived together in the Philippines as kids. He’s more than 10 years older than me, but has the spirit of a goofy teenager. He annoyed the shit out of me when we were young in the way older brothers are suppose to. It was great to see him grow up into an adored and respected figure in the family and in the community he serves up there in New Jersey.

We stayed with an old widow, Tita Melba, who was more than happy to take us in for a few days. She set me up in one of the guest rooms. In that room was a crib, presumably used by her grandchildren when they still lived with her.

I remember closing and locking the door behind me, sitting on the bed, and just staring at that crib. I had my earphones on and I was listening to “Danny’s Song” on my iPod. I kept staring at that crib, listening hypnotically to the lyrics, and I thought, “Will I ever become a father? Do I even want to be one?”

In that moment, I felt that I was the only one not doing anything with my life. The snow on the lawn kept growing thicker and became whiter until the world looked like a blank page. It reflected the emptiness that had defined my whole life up to that point.

Fatherhood. It’s something that occasionally stabbed me in the dark at the least expected moments. I was never the conformist, always taking the road less-traveled, but the thought of fatherhood reminded me of my desire for normalcy and a simple life.

I got up and walked out the room. My mom and Tita Melba were chatting in the kitchen, and I slipped out to the front. I walked down to the end of the driveway and just stared at the pitch black sky. I watched the snowflakes fall. They looked like a thousand tiny angels descending to that small corner of Earth, on that cold December night.