I almost dropped the printouts as I pulled them out from the dot-matrix machine.
I stared at the sheets -- not comprehending what I was seeing.
Those were computer exercises, some sort of user's manual for word Perfect I was preparing. They were for teaching basic computer applications to a group of government information officers. The exercises had to be "for-dummies" manuals that had to be step-by-step and illustrated. So, I had typed -- line by tedious line -- little squares to show "control," "shift," "alt," "enter," "delete" and "space" bars and keys.
So, where were the squares I painstakingly typed? Darn! -- all I was seeing were letters formed into boxes.
Hundreds of dddy, dd squares all over 10 sheets I had just printed.
"Hey," I called out to colleagues working around me in the computer station. "Get a load of this!" They came and looked and stared and scratched their heads. "How did you do that?" they asked, incredulous. "I don't know," I answered honestly.
Only the day before, I was doing the same thing, and the boxes came out as -- well, what else? -- boxes!
My thoughts anxiously flew to Novaliches, where my daddy, half blind and bed bound, lived with my sister. Why, -- I argued with myself reasonably -- hadn't I just visited him last Sunday? And wasn't he in good spirits? And didn't he finish his favorite crispy pata with relish?
I brushed aside morbid thoughts, and went right back to work.
That night, at about 8 pm, we were saying our family prayers when a car pulled up by our gate, and continued to purr ominously. Even before I heard the doorbell ring, I knew my folks had come to tell me my daddy was dead. Dddy, dd.
"He died around 6 pm," my sister said, " quietly, apparently in sleep."
"Yes," I replied. "He called me at past 4, but I didn't hear or didn't listen."
1. After we buried our dad, I tried many times to make boxes on Word Perfect to make it show dddy, dd again. But I never succeeded.
2. This happened in 1995 when MS Word and laser printers were still years away from being invented.
3. And yes, we called our dad Daddy.