He was acting strange around the house lately, my father. Often I would find him peering through the jalousies. As though in participation (or probably in some unfathomable sympathy) the whole world would fall quiet—the occasional barking of the neighbors’ dogs, the sound of children playing, and the gurgling noise of tricycles, all would suddenly wane.
Bare-chested and potbellied, he would pace around the house, anxious, then later, he would sit in front of the TV, switching channels as swiftly as the tube could accommodate. Mamang would sit beside him at night and complain of getting dizzy from the bright flashes of channels being changed now and then. At daytime, as Mamang left for work, he’d usually settle on a basketball game. Though jobless since the day I learned fathers ought to have a job no matter what, he wasn’t like this. He used to go around the village without a shirt on, meddling on other people’s lives, influencing other husbands to emulate him.
“It’s my job,” he had boasted at dinner when asked by Mamang, “I am the king of Cabantian, and I have to constantly oversee the status of my kingdom,” to which Mamang just rolled her eyes and sighed.
So much for being the invincible king, I thought after noticing his unusual behavior for the past two days.
Continue reading The King of Cabantian
All her life, Caridee had been brought up inside the huge walls of their garden. Her father never took care of her; he hired nurses and servants to look after Caridee and yet he never let these servants have conversations with his child. He never allowed Caridee to play beyond the walls of their garden; in fact, she never had the chance to see what kind of life existed beyond that wall. He never showed love and care for his only child. He spent all his time in the basement, immersed in woodcraft.
Caridee’s father said that her mother died in childbirth. The flowers inside the garden were the only friends that Caridee had. She felt alone inside the walls of their garden.
One sunny afternoon, Caridee was in the garden playing alone when suddenly, she heard a crash near the fountain. It was an angel. Its grey wings radiated feathers with tiny crystals on their edges; the crystals seem to be the reason why the angel seems to glow, despite the lack of majesty in the color of its wings. Filled with wonder, Caridee approached the angel.
Continue reading The Cure
“Limang piso?” tanong ni Bien sabay kamot ng ulo.
Nginitian sya ng kanyang ina at hinalikan. “Mag aral ka nang mabuti. Dapat hindi ka mahuhuli sa eskwela anak, ha?” malambing na paalala nito.
Alam nyang kahit ilang beses syang magtanong ay hindi na madadagdagan ang kanyang baon para sa araw na iyon kaya naman ay ibinulsa na nya ito, tumalikod, at lumakad patungo sa eskwela.
Kahit kailan ay hindi pa nahuhuli si Bien sa klase. Hindi man sya ang pinakamatalino sa klase niya, ngunit ang “record” niyang “never been late” ang pinanghahawakan nya simula nung grade 1. Grade 3 na siya ngayon at malinis pa rin ang “record” niya kahit naglalakad lang siya patungong paaralan. Natatalo pa niya ang mga kaklaseng may sariling sasakyan.
Continue reading Mga Kendi at Turon
Nung nasa elementarya pa ako, inggit na inggit ako sa aking mga kaklase na nagbibisikleta papuntang paaralan. Mahigit isang kilometro kasi ang layo ng paaralan mula sa aming bahay at nilalakad ko lang ito tuwing papasok sa eskwela, umulan man o umaraw. At samantalang naglalakad nga ako, heto’t dinadaanan lang ako ng aking mga kaklase na nagbibisikleta. Pakiwari ko ba’y ang sarap-sarap magbisikleta lalo na’t ang init-init ng araw.
May bisikleta naman kami pero ginagamit ito ng tatay ko upang magdeliber ng tuba sa kanyang mga suki. Nang minsang nasabi ko kay inay na gusto kong matutong magbisikleta, mahigpit niya itong ipinagbawal dahil kababae kong tao ay kung bakit pinag-iinteresan ko ang magbisikleta. “Di puwedeng magbisikleta ang babae,” wika niya.
Continue reading Ang Bisikleta
“Tabang, Hon! Tabangi ko! Nabukog ko!” Naghilak akong nagsiyagit nga naggunit sa akong liog.
“Giunsa man nimo pagkaon? Unsay nakabukog nimo?” sunod-sunod nga pangutana sa akong bana sa tonong alanganing suko ug taranta. “Nagdalo-dalo tingali ka,” dugang pa niya.
May katinuoran ang gisulti sa akong bana. Sa bus pa lang daan gigutom na ko. Gikan ko sa pag-eskwela sa summer class ug usa ka oras ug tunga ang akong biyahe. Wala na nako mapilian og bukog ang bulad nga akong gisud-an. Basta kay mikaon ko nga nagkinamot. Mao na lay akong nabatyagan sa akong pagtulon nga dunay hait misangit sa akong tutunlan, dako ug lig-on nga bukog.
Continue reading Bukog
“Dali! Dagan!” naghangos nga daw maputol na ang ginhawang singgit ni Greg. Ang pikas mata niini namurot ug ang iyang wait namudlot. Nagsunod kaniya si Lito nga daghan kaayog bukol sa ulo ug nawong. Pareho silang nagkabulingit sa lapok ang tibuok lawas.
“Naunsa mo, Bay? Asa mo gikan?” sunud- sunod nga pangutana ni Nestor nga nahingangha dihang miabot ang duha sa iyang gamayng tindahan.
“Gi-gi-gigukod mi, Bay!” tubag ni Greg nga nagsapid-sapid pa ang dila sa kakuyaw.
“Ha? Buanga! Kinsay migukod ninyo? Misunod ba?” pangutana ni Nestor nga nataranta.
Continue reading Pukyutan
The air in the open balcony could make anyone in the room shiver. It actually made us shiver then; but the darkness and the cold could not stop us. I was twenty and in love.
“Kokoy, faster, before anyone discovers we have eloped.” Even in the darkness, Romel’s beautiful eyes and long lashes mesmerized me. He was my father’s private nurse. Sometimes I think my confession had triggered father’s stroke. So I tried to make up for it by taking care of him after my classes. That was how Romel and I became close.
Continue reading Hello Tomorrow
Everybody has a boyfriend named Jonathan. Johnny, Jonas, Junjun, Nathan, Anthony, Tony, Wanwan, Tantan.
Skin glistening with sweat, Jonathans always talk rough, walk big, and hang out with their guys after a basketball game. They have clean haircuts, pressed shirts, big backpacks, and white rubber shoes. When they are with a girl, they hold doors, shake their shoulders and puff their chests like young roosters.
These Jonathans will have roses and chocolates, candlelit dinners for two, and quick kisses in dark movie houses. You practice your lips every Friday night for a date on Saturdays with Anthony.
Continue reading Jonathan