My grandmother is 86 but if you ask her how old she is, she will say she is 80. She will not remember the times after 80. She might even have forgotten what happened the year she was 75.

Sometimes she forgets I have a ten year old sister and she looks at her and says, is this your daughter? And my sister, she looks amused at my grandmother, who looks at me.

And I tell her that I have no daughters and then she asks, did you get married already? And I look at my wife who looks at my grandmother who is looking at me, her face innocent.

Is this your wife? She is beautiful. ‘Gi poyo-i gud, nonoy’ and she looks at me proudly because we both know I overachieved.

Give it half a day and she’ll ask the same questions again. She’ll tug at my sister’s arm and ask, are you Mark’s daughter? And she’ll look at my wife, I can’t see you in the dark inday, come close so I can meet you. She’ll forget her way back home and the days after the day she turned 85.

But she remembers me and she asks me, do you remember when you were young, nonoy? Your mother had to travel and we were always together. We went to the market and Rawis. Back then you would say Rawit, rawit and you slept in my arms.

I say, of course I remember, lola. And she looks very pleased even though the truth is, these memories have gone quite faint.

You know, nonoy, a woman who is 80 years old shouldn’t be travelling from Samar to Cebu. I thought you had forgotten, so I came here to see you.

The weeds grow so thick
You cannot even see the path
That leads to my house:
It happened while I waited
For someone who would not come.

– Soujou Henjou

15 Seconds

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life,
the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was
— I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel,
in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside,
and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs,
and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling
and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds.
– Jack Kerouac

The Manila Bulletin ran a feature on hotelier and wine connoisseur Manny Osmeña and Johanna got the chance to shoot his portraits. Thank you Em P. Guevara.