In just about five minutes and a 50-meter walk, I was again struck by how sad life can be for a migrant worker.
I walked home from our office with T and I asked her why she and her daughter didn't go to the movies. A couple of hours ago, V even invited us to tag along but due to some work I had to finish, I had to beg off.
Off-handedly T said that the movie starts at midnight and she decided to go back to the office instead. When I asked where V was, she said that she went straight home.
I jokingly said, "lagot ka, tampo na anak mo." Apparently, it hit a nerve.
You see, T has been a migrant worker for almost 13 years. She left the Philippines when V was only about eight. They only get to see each other every time T comes home for two weeks or she sends for her daughter here for vacation.
My friend admitted that she just doesn't know how to be with her daughter - with only the two of them - anymore.
She loves her daughter, that I am sure of. V also loves her mother, that I am also sure of.
But as with any other relationship separated by distance, it is bound to change through time and sometimes for the worse.
Some will say that the level of technology right now is so advanced that communication is just a phone call or a YM away. While it is true enough that migrant workers of the 70's or 80's had it harder with only snail mail and voice tapes to get by, nothing still beats being together to maintain that harmony in a dynamic relationship where people develop and change.
Still others will say that it is not the amount of time spent together that is important but rather its quality. True as well but quantity and quality have a dialectical relationship that to say one is more important does not diminish the importance of the other. They are two sides of a coin that are held in a precarious balance.
Still others may assert that if they love each other, nothing should have changed. On this point, I rest my case and just read Mills and Boons.
Now T has got to know her daughter all over again. Soon V will be going back to the Philippines.
It only took five minutes for T and I to cover the 50-meter distance from our office to our flat where her daughter was.
But the time of separation and the distance between that migration has forced on them is much longer and considerably wider.
Oh it's so just sad when a mother and daughter become strangers.
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