They called me "Fountain." No, make that "Pawn-teyn." It was New Year's Eve, and the neighborhood brats heard me asking for the darn fireworks. The nickname stuck, and for the better part of my awkward teen years, I was known as Pawn-teyn on the street where I grew up.
I didn't complain, of course. Why would I, when I had it a lot better than Bibi Ilay, Toto Maloto and Ella Botelya? Despite the frequent name-calling and the occasional cat fights over turfs and visiting cousins, we grew up as friends. Friends who shouted "siato" during siestas, played "iloy-iloyan" under the full moon and trooped together to Mrs. Amador for the komiks.
As I spend yet another year away from Molave Street, I remember the neighborhood boys and girls, some of whom I still meet. I remember friends as well: friends far, near and in-between who remain friends nonetheless. Who knows, I might just light a fountain for you guys!
And a happy 2011 to you, too!