Black Coffee and the Beatles
Black Coffee and the Beatles

Black Coffee and the Beatles


I hate the Beatles!,… or so I thought.

The unfurling cigarette smoke that seeped through my window from our patio has reminded me that tis sweet to be AUTISTIC for a time, especially when you hear the routine Beatle songs from A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, LET IT BE, HEY JUDE to “i-dunno-and-who-cares” DONNA, DONNA,DONNA.My mother played it every after lunch, with a suffocating rich black coffee smell within her reach and an unflicked Philip Morris’s cigarette on the other side rested on an upturned peanut butter lid. Thanks heavens for I only caught the angle that made her less YOKO ONO spitting look.

One lazy and tiring afternoon, i have slammed open my door and told her off: “Ma, pwede ba undangi na…makabungul! (Ma, pls stop it, enough, it’s deafening!)”. And as always, she just stood up, head dow and headed off to the back of the kitchen. Before I followed her to air out more of my rantings, my eyes were darted onto what looked like an A4 size manually binded song books, they’re all handwritten of chord songs mostly Beatles’. But there was something noticing, the R.M. capitalized initials on top of every page. Before I said anything she mouthed something when she returned back. “What?”….” Your father!”

Oh yes! R.M.= RENATO MAPANO! he was the BLACK COFFEE, UNFLICKED CIGARETTE, FADED GUITAR, and that pesky BEATLES!!!. .this phantom still haunting in us, why can’t he leave us alone for good, just as he left when I was 3 or 4 yrs old. It was because of that initials that at an early age, I‘ve been working like a dog. Estranged to my own sister, deprived of childhood adventures and dreams, my mom has to knock every 
neighbourhood houses asking if there’s any clothes or dresses to be sewn for us to have if not decent but a meal for two or so,.. what more? despite of this, My mother still loves him.

Back to endure every corner of “autism” in my room as my sole portal beyond reality, I caught myself staring in a mirror. It was the face of unspeakable cowardness, selfishness and guilt. The long hatred of my father has blinded me from the truth! had it?… But how about this?, behind that scruffy “Yoko-Ono image” is a glaring reflection of indefatigable  Mother Mary like who’s been deprived of everything except for her son and daughter? The mirror in front of me’s telling: that i am all along the the BLACK COFFEE, UNFLICKED CIGARETTE AND THAt pesky BEATLE SONGS. No matter how you turn the world upside down, I am every stroke a resemblance of my father.

September 24, 2000…Davao International airport, Philippines, few minutes before my plane took off., phone rang…twas a voice i used to know. The eighteen hours long flight to Manchester was the shortest journey in my entire life comforted by just tuning in the Beatle’s ALL THINGS MUST PASS, HEY JUDE, LET IT BE and LONG AND WINDING ROAD on and on and on…

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