name was Francisca, and everyone called her Ikang. But all I remember calling
her is Lola Que. It is quite possible my sister and I called her that because
she used to buy us banana cue
(caramelized fried bananas on a stick) after
She never got married, and lived
most of her life with her sister, and they always conversed in excess of 130
decibels, and argued a lot because they hardly understood what the other was
saying. I called them my spinster dyke lolas, and alternated between affection
and irritation, as we all do with the ones we love.
Lola Que liked posing for pictures near
plants, and invariably held on to a leaf or a flower while doing so, and I
remember a sepia picture of her from a trip to Baguio when she was young, and
yes, she was holding on to a plant. She was also quite vain, and kept her wavy
hair combed and neat, even if it was thinning at the crown.
Even when she broke her leg in an
accident, and it couldn’t be operated on anymore because the doctors were
worried she couldn’t handle the anaesthesia and the trauma of surgery, she kept
herself busy. Her yaya would carry her outside, and she would sit facing the
garden, chatting with the occasional visitor, or scolding my mom, who dropped by
at least twice a week. She would sometimes ask that her housedress be changed
when we visited, because she liked dressing up, and her housedresses were
brightly patterned, mostly floral, and had ribbons or ruffles or both.
Lola Que passed away this afternoon. She
was 92 and everyone thought she had just fainted.
I’m sad she’s gone. Mostly, though, I’m
relieved. Wherever she is, she’s walking again.