ABOUT A GIRL
The Family Files
Her name is Yla Luna. In Spanish it's like saying "And the moon" or, as her silly dad explains, it can be the singular form of the fragrant flower called ylang-ylang combined with the word moon.
The little girl does not need any prop to be heard or seen. She likes people and is immediately friendly (obviously taking after her mum) and she plays with abandon, laughs like a child, has the wisdom of an adult, is super sweet to friends and family, loves to dress, loves to draw and loves to talk about stories all day long.
Lately she's taken to inventing songs and singing and humming her own tunes for hours on end. She adores dolls and sleeps with a couple of them, which are attached to the bottom of her brother's bed (Luna has the lower bunk in their double-deck lodging) with the dolls arranged in a row and dangling from the neck, which makes her space look like a mass gibbet.
We call the little girl Lunalu at home; the little girl who will do whatever she wants to do and invent all sorts of loopy schemes to get what she wants.
Luna has her own way of taking on the world. Very different from her brother actually. More impish, more spontaneous. Reckless.
She gets into situations that have many times brought about unintended moments of pure mirth -- and different expressions of "Oh no! Lunalu!"
I remember one weekend at our patio. It was near lunch time and I was cleaning the swordtail pond and felt thirsty. Rio and Luna were crouched beside me washing shells and sand dollars. I decided I wanted a beer and Rio said he wanted to take a break too.
Luna didn't go along with the lazy boys. She said she wanted to stay with the pond and remarked that maybe there were other things to do besides swishing stuff around in the basin, which was already boring her to tears.
On the way to the fridge, I asked her half jokingly to count the fishies while I got hold of refreshments.
On my way back to the patio, cookies and juice and beer on a tray, the phone suddenly rang. A friend of mine wanted some background to climatic records two decades ago and our conversation sort of sauntered over ecosystem collapse, Aerosmith and kite-flying.
By the time I walked back to the pond, Luna was already shouting and close to stomping on the fishies. Apparently she was still trying to attend to the task I gave her, and of course the fishies refused to cooperate despite her pleas, which became demands, which became grave threats...
She ran to me teary-eyed as I approached the pond. Said the fishies wouldn't keep still and they were making fun of her and she still didn't know how many there were.
I had to bite my lip to keep myself from laughing.
Then there's the time I caught Luna in our room all quiet and standing still. Her eyes were shut tight and her fists were clenched and she had a silly smile.
She almost jumped out of her skin when I asked her softly what she was doing.
Without even opening her eyes Luna replied, "Shhhh! I'm trying to hear myself think..."
Another time Luna approached me while I was reading on the bed. She looked distressed and nervous. I asked her what was wrong and she explained, "Kasi Tatay when I close my eyes to imagine, parang naka-off na ang imagination ko. Lahat black!"
I said, "Try closing your eyes again."
Luna closes her eyes.
"Now think of kuya Rio."
Luna: "Ayun! There he is! May color na uli!"
We laughed together for a while. #
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