“Don’t sleep and Etron will come in and get you all” that’s how Mom used to scare us when she would like us to have our afternoon nap. Etron was a bum on the street. He lives in the neighborhood with small nipa house alone. I heard he was a little crazy and nobody knows his relatives and where he came from. That was the only impression I have of him.
I don’t see anybody talking to him except on occasion where he will be drinking with them. I don’t know also how he made a living. I was too young then to know. Often times children will make fun of him, but I never dare that. I am so scared of him.
I am now living hundreds of miles away from my hometown and I don’t know if Etron is still alive. Why would I be interested asking about him? If not for this article, I had completely forgotten him. I was just trying to recall where my apprehensions of drunken people started. But I realized everything did not start from him.
My fear of drunken people started when family gatherings turned into a bitter quarrel among drunken relatives. The verbal fight, gun pointed to whoever is closer from the assault, screaming of my Mom and aunts trying to protect everyone was a nerve wrecking experience imprinted on my subconscious ever since I was a child. Having them around when drunk had always been a nightmare.
I had never experienced this kind of apprehension with my Dad. I lost him already when I was ten. They said my dad was a little drunk when he had his motorcycle accident with a jeepney driver. I don’t understand much of what happened. He had never been a problem drinker as far as I can remember. I witnessed him drinking with friends at home but it was just for fun.
This is the problem with this elephant. It can take away one’s life long before it is due. Some are just so lucky they reach the full-blown stage where their body has gone rotten, their liver shot, and their brain only flickering a little ready to go out anytime. Most of them aren’t fortunate enough to reach that stage.
My fear of drunken people was reflexive. I still recall during high school how I get off immediately from the jeepney I was riding when I notice a drunk fellow sitting beside me. I rode off long before my destination in a place where there’s nothing but tall talahib trees that made me scared even more.
This fear we hold in our heart made us not see the elephant in our bedroom, in the living room and anywhere in the house. Sometimes they are also in the senate, in the hospitals, in the church, in the palace and anywhere we go. They are like a walking time bomb ready to explode at an any given situation. And we are just so scared of them without realizing that this elephant is just as scared as we are!
Watch out for more of this elephant on my next article!