When the former Philippine Army Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes committed suicide last Feb 2011, I could not help thinking "what made him do it?",  "he is so talented, popular, powerful and  rich, and he has a beautiful family, what made him do it?". From this question, I created a story; a story of a boy who grew up with such love for his country, but whose life ended tragically. 

What is your name son?” a visitor of the family asked.

Angelo sir,” replied the little boy.

And how old are you Angelo?

“I am seven years old sir.”

And what do you want to be when you grow up son?”

A soldier sir, I want to be a soldier,” the boy said this with his chest out and with such bravado that the visitor can’t help smiling.

Ah, a soldier ... so you are brave boy, and why do you want to be a soldier Angelo?”

"I love my country sir and I will defend her from the enemy.
I will not allow anyone to take over our country ever again sir.”

Angelo’s mother, who was sitting nearby smiled to herself and thought; ’Oh my son, he will grow up to be a fine young man, he has such noble dreams; I am so proud of him’. She took the boy’s hand and from then on guided him to his noble dreams. The boy, confident that his mother is holding on, soared to his dream and his destiny.

When he reached the place where his dreams are, trumpets blared his arrival. People he knew and people he has not met before were waiting to welcome him, they were all clapping their hands. The noise was deafening but he enjoyed it.  It was such a nice feeling to be on top of the world.

And as it was with all those who reached their dreams, he was given a welcome gift; a simple mirror. This will be the mirror of what he has become when the time to account has come. It was such a simple mirror that Angelo opted to keep it in the box and store it in the closet rather than hang it on the wall.

His mother, knowing his son has reached the summit of his dreams, slowly unclasped her now old weary hands and said to herself, “My boy will be fine; it’s time to pass the baton of our generation. It will be safe in my son’s hand. It is time for me to rest,” and then she smiled and put the baton in Angelo’s hand.

She was so proud of her son, and proud of herself too; she has passed the baton to a son that she nourished with love and principles … the baton of service to country. For didn’t she run her miles of service with such dedication to the country too? She was after all a teacher; teaching is such a noble profession too. She was sure her son would hold on to that small voice of the brave little boy soldier, the voice of service to country and countrymen.

And Angelo, true enough to his promise, fought for his motherland.  He was brave and he was principled, he was a teacher’s son after all.

But somewhere in time, something went wrong. The trumpets stopped playing, the people around him vanished; Angelo found himself alone. Where there was a deafening welcome before, there was a deafening silence now.

Angelo could not understand it, and then he remembers the mirror given him as a gift; he took it out from the box and look at himself. He wanted to find out what he had become and what made the clapping stopped. But when he looked at the mirror, he got scared; he could not see himself in the mirror anymore. Frightened, he looked at his hands hoping to find his mother’s hand, but he cannot see nor feel his mother’s hands too.

He looked at the mirror again hoping to find a glimpse of him but there really was none.  There was just the glittering gold and diamonds.

    He did not know then that, for every gold and diamond
    that he gilt his mirror with, a part of him will fade. 
    The mirror is now full of gold and diamonds, 
    there is no more space for Angelo; Angelo has to go.

Realizing this, Angelo fell down to his knees and cried. Then he heard the small voice of the brave little boy soldier with its noble dreams;

   "I want to be a soldier sir. I love my country;
    I will defend her from the enemy.

The voice jolted Angelo. It suddenly dawned on him who and where the enemy of the country is. They are not in the mountains where he pursues them. Oh such a waste of lives and ammunitions, he was fighting blindfold; the enemy is within him. They are the demons lurking in his brain and playing havoc on his soul. He has been a prisoner of the enemy for some time now, how could he not know? Once again he heard the voice of the boy soldier;

  “I love my country sir; I will defend her from the enemy.
   I will not allow anyone to take over our country ever again sir.”

The dawning took so long; it is too late now, the enemy is winning the war. Angelo sob, he knew he failed; he failed himself, he failed his mother, and he failed his country and countrymen.

When his crying stopped, he realized there is still one place in him that the enemy has not captured yet; his heart. Afraid that they would also invade the place where he can still hear his mother’s voice, Angelo took out his gun and pointed it to his heart.

   "Mother I am sorry I failed you.
    I was not strong enough to fight the enemy:
    I lost ... the enemy won."
.......  and the family's baton fell down the muddy ground.