The grandmother was an ‘aswang’

(Photo Credit:
(Photo Credit:
(Photo Credit:

Asked about what my childhood fear was, I told Rafa that I used to have what I now deem as an irrational fear of really old people. She was aghast and was quick to say that grandmas and grandpas are cute and are like babies. “But that was not the point,” I said. “It’s the skin that made me cry.”

I remember attending a birthday party when I was 10 and cringed at the sight of my friend Mark’s grandmother, who was then strapped onto a rocking chair. Her skin loosely slacked off the bone and resembled the texture of an abstract art, or more aptly a bark of a tree almost; defined by what looked like fault lines suggestive of an impending disaster.

Mark gestured that we should “Say ‘Hi’ to Lola.” But I was hesitant and said I was afraid because his lola looked like an aswang, the kind you see on Halloween TV reenactments covered in what looked like crispy fried-chicken breading, but still gets your crap with a really cheap scare.  He went ahead to show it was OK and pet her grandma on the arm, the way you might touch a dog to convince a friend it won’t bite. “See,” he egged me on, “it’s OK.”

A minutes worth of hesitation and, when I finally did, I brushed her grandmother’s arm with the palm of my hand, touching it like how I would’ve touched a hot pan and, on reflex, pulled it away; except that the skin wasn’t hot but it gave me goose bumps.

“Gee. It’s like touching an egg-shell mosaic,” I remember thinking. “Golly, is this costume?” @[email protected]

About vernonvelasco

I do things like roll around the house singing in front of a moving electric fan, play with the hair curler and flush the toilet bowl over and over. The cutest thing about toilet bowls is that they burp.