itutuloy

Dalawang Biyernes na ang nakararaan noong makatanggap ako ng forwarded text message mula sa aming 4th year high school class president na naka-base sa Timog Mindanao

Kuyang. Emergency. Dis ir Rey — acountant —- —- —-. Binarik me ulo nw. Suspek — – – — at — – – –. pls 22kan m kaso k kuyang.  Inform din — — and – and – media and in — dept.pls kuyaB

Agad kong tinawagan si Mar upang alamin ang detalye sa nilalaman ng text.  Pagkatapos ng aming pag-uusap ay agad akong nagpadala ng text messages sa aming mga kaklase at mga nakakakilala kay Rey upang ipagdasal na bumuti ang kanyang kalagayan at maligtas mula sa kapahamakan dulot ng pananambang sa kanila sa Hilagang Luzon.

Limang araw mula sa araw ng pangyayari, habang nagpapagaling, ay nakapag-online na si Rey sa kanyang facebook account

oks na po.na ambush kami kSAMA —— AT —-  NOONG PAPUNTA KAMI SA G.A. SA ——– LAST FRIDAY

Inakala marahil noong tumambang na patay na si Rey noong iniwan nila ito.  Tungkol sa trabaho ni Rey ang dahilan ng tangkang pagpatay; nais siyang patahimikin mula sa mga nalalaman niyang taliwas na gawain ng mga nasa pamahalaan. Malalim ang pinag-ugatan.

Magpapatuloy pa rin sa pakikibaka si Rey….

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Kahapon, may shoutout si Trevor, kaklase namin nina Mar at Rey, sa kanyang facebook account:

Ginawa ko lahat ng makakaya ko, pero parang kulang pa rin.  Kung ako lang sana ang masusunod, marami pa akong magagawa para sa kabutihan ng mga kasama ko sa trabaho.

Eto ang sinulat kong comment doon:

Sana sa lalong madaling panahon, makamit mo ang tagumpay 😀 Manalig ka…

Karugtong lang siguro nito ang sandali. Kaisa ako sa hangarin ni Trevor.

Magpapatuloy pa rin si Trevor para maisakatuparan ang kanyang mga nasimulang adhikain…

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Isang araw bago nangyari ang pagkakabaril ni Rey, nailathala ang pagwawagi ng isa kong kamag-aral sa kolehiyo bilang Natatanging _____ __ ____ mula sa pambansang patimpalak ng K_____________ H_____ ng Pilipinas.  Ang isa pang pinagpilian para sa nasabing parangal ay kaklase rin namin.  Labis akong natutuwa na mapabilang sa kanilang mga naging kamag-aral.  Dagdag pa rito, dalawa sa aming mga guro ay shortlisted sa mas mataas na pagkilala, at isa sa kanila ay ginawaran ng isa sa tatlong pinakatatanging parangal.

Maligayang Blog Anniversary, Taribong!

Nasaan si Taribong? Hanapin lamang ang mukhang bagong gising. Hindi ko alam kung kailan kinuha ang larawang ito. Sa kaliwa ni Taribong ay si Delio ang pumangalawa sa patimpalak na pinanalunan ni Ligaya, ang lakambini na panglima mula sa kaliwa ng binibining nasa harapan ni Taribong.

Naalala ko lang bigla ngayon, ang kuwento ng Nanay ko (pagkatapos ng kanyang mastectomy) noong bisitahin siya ni  Hassan (yung mama sa dulong kaliwa, dakong likod):

Nanay:  Mabuti naman at napadalaw ka, anak.

Hassan:  Nasabi po kasi ni Jenny (asawa niya, med intern sa hospital), andito daw si Taribong. Naikuwento po sa akin…. Bihira po kasi mag-absent si Taribong kahit natutulog sa klase… tahimik… nag-iisip… hindi nagsasabi ng problema, puro kalokohan lang… blah blah blah… Sabali ti likaw ti panunotna…

Kung anuman ang gustong sabihin ni Hassan, malalim na ang pagkakakilala sa akin at di na ako nag-usisa pa.

Alam ko, magpapatuloy pa rin kami sa aming mga gawain, may pagkilala man o wala… sa pagkamit ng mga pangarap… sa gitna ng mga pagsubok ng buhay…

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Isang taon na rin pala ang lumipas mula nung umpisahan ko ang pagsusulat sa blog-hay na ito…

Nag-umpisa sa kabulastugan, kasutilan, kalokohan… tatlong daan animnapu’t limang araw ang nagdaan, nais kong maniwala, na maski papano, ako’y nakapagsulat din naman ng may kabuluhan at may katuturan….

Dahil dito, nais kong magpasalamat, mula sa kaibuturan ng aking puso, sa lahat ng tumangkilik, nag-antabay, nagbasa at magbabasa sa aking mga sinulat sa blog-hay na ito…

Maraming salamat din sa mga nagbigay ng mga puna o komento sa mga naisulat dito, binasa man o hindi, mananatili kayong bahagi ng mga posts na iyon, at ikinararangal ko ang inyong pakikibahagi sa munting blog-hay ko…

Muli, maraming salamat sa lahat.

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At sa dakong ito, muling uumpisahan ang bagong kabanata sa pakikipagsapalaran ni Taribong…..

ITUTULOY…

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85

As the professor passed the corridors of the university going to his next class, his attention was caught by the blown-up pictures of two students posted on the bulletin board.  Their faces were very familiar to the professor. On top of the pictures were the names of the students; below were the words: REST IN PEACE!

The professor proceeded to the room for his first class but only one student was there.

“Where are the others?  Weren’t they expecting me today?”

“The others went to the wake, sir.  I’m waiting for the others.  The dean gave his permission for us to attend the last night vigil for James. His body will be brought to Romblon tomorrow morning. The body of Kim has already been brought to Nueva Ecija.”

The professor hurriedly checked his class index cards.  The names on the fifth and sixth index cards matched those of the students whose pictures were placed side by side on the bulletin board.

Three other students from the other classes entered the room and asked the professor’s permission to allow them to go to the wake as well.  They said they have already been given the permission of their other professors as well as the dean.

The students relayed to their professor the mixed reports, rumors and speculations regarding the death of their two classmates:  James was the boyfriend of Kim until they broke off recently.  They reportedly checked in an apartelle room on Thursday evening to settle the matter between them once and for all.   And then, they allegedly drank poison.  The girl died first;  the boy had to cut his wrist when perhaps the poison he drank was not enough to cause his death instantaneously.  The bodies were found only when the roomboy forced his way into the room when the couple failed to check out after the 12 hour time ran out.

The professor vividly remembers the girl who for the past two weeks sat on the second row, middle seat during class.  She was listening intensely during the lectures, she nodded when she understood it, and would frequently smile when the professor cracked jokes.  She would raise her hands when she knew the answers to the questions the professor asked or when she had questions she wanted the professor to clarify or explain further.  The professor had always looked forward to Kim’s smile as the basis whether or not the class understood his lecture.

During the first months of the semester, James and Kim sat beside each other on the third row, right side of the class.  But recently, they sat away from each other.  James sat wherever any seat is available and he was not very attentive in class.  At that time, the professor did not notice whatever the problem was with James and Kim. Or if he had sensed any, he did not pay particular attention to it.

The professor looked at the index cards once more.  Both students scored 85% on their recitation and both were absent on August 2, 2010. James missed class for the second time on September 1, 2010.  Now, both cannot attend the professor’s class anymore.  In one way or another, they will be missed.  The professor then prayed for his students.

James (July 29, 1983- September 10, 2010)

Kim (February 23, 1992 – September 10, 2010)

Chesa Lua

I am very happy for you. It felt very good to see you and your fiance on facebook. For a very long time, i have not seen you wear that smile. You exude the joy that is captivating.

The chat that we had was both fun and enlightening even as you complained to Trevor of my kakulitan importunity at that time.  For once, i felt free conversing with you again.

The past was very different because all my closest friends have courted you.  Drake, the silent shy type, loved you from a distance.  Leo was the persistent suitor whom i rooted for but ten years may have worn his patience out.  Rey came into the picture and the lucky guy got the very big break. And you kept the relationship so discreet that i knew about it only when it was finally over.

Five years passed and you found your great love in a foreign land. I could not help but notice your transformation and i wished you all the best. 

All the more, I was happy to receive your message saying “Thank u very much Bong.  Friend talaga kita haha”

To the muse of my very first short story written way back in 1986, I am very happy for you and you truly deserve to be happy.

As for your question which i failed to respond to before i logged out then, my answer is this: “I’m working on it.  Double time.”

Sonny / a tribute to my mother

For several times in the past, i had always wanted to pay tribute to the person who brought me into this world.  But almost always, i could not finish what i started. Or that i find whatever i had finished so inadequate or poorly done.  I wanted the post to be special; after all, it was going to be for my beloved mother.  Seated on a wooden bench similar to that found in the hospital room where my mother was last treated, i attempted to write once again… hence, this post.

For the past ten years since my best friend went into hiatus after his marriage, we lost track of each other.  Two months ago, he sought me on facebook and we made up for lost time.  Sonny got back to the Philippines last week and he invited me to their place in Tondo last Friday.  Gladly, i obliged.

Just as we were on our way, i learned that his father passed away last March.  I felt sorry that i did not know and i gave him my condolences.  When we arrived, Sonny’s mother, who is also our high school Music teacher, greeted us while holding her two-month old grandchild.  I made my mano and hugged her tightly, careful not to squeeze the baby between us.  I whispered my condolences to her while she patted me on the back.

After we had our dinner, Sonny’s mother bid us goodbye as she had to go back to the province.  She just came down to Manila from Baguio to see Sonny, and the family as well.

We had just started drinking the wine that Sonny bought when he inquired how my mother was doing.  I told him my usual answer to all others who asked: that my mother is already well; that she has been cured of her illness and she does not have any more pains.  He replied, that’s good to know and he always wanted to visit my mother everytime he passed by our house in the province. I then told him, sadly he could not find her there anymore.  That’s when he realized my mother has already passed away.

He apologized for not having known about it.  He said his condolences as tears welled up in his eyes and he had to wipe them off with his bare fingers.  His voice cracked as he spoke.  He stopped and even texted his mother to ask why he was not informed of my mother’s passing. 

I could barely look at him because the moment might just make me cry.  But then again, there was no tear on my eyes.  Maybe because i was somehow amused how Sonny was not ashamed to show how he felt, especially because we were at their porch and every passersby could see him.  But moreso because i was happy for my mother.  That Sonny loved my mother, too.

He was holding back his tears and for several times, he patted my right knee as if to condole with me once again.  His consolation was that his mother attended my mother’s wake and funeral.  He recalled how cool my mother was and relayed the incident where my mother wanted me to butcher the turkey for my friends but i insisted on having the duck prepared instead. 

I then admitted to him that the reason i hugged his mother so tightly when we arrived and when she left was because i miss my mother. I miss her embrace whenever i went home.

From this we moved on to other topics for one long night of conversation of 3 liters of wine and ten bottles of beer until the wee hours of the morning.

To Sonny, my long-time friend and closest buddy, thank you very much. 

I truly, deeply, really miss my mother.  This post is dedicated to her.

sandali

Kay daming dapat gawin.

Kay dami kong gustong gawin.

Ngunit konting panahon lang ang nakalaan.

At konting panahon na lang ang nalalabi.

Kay bilis ng mga sandali.

Kay bilis ng takbo ng mga minuto.

Kay bilis lumipas ng mga oras.

Kung mapapabagal lang sana ang pag-ikot ng mundo.

Kung mapapatagal sana ang paglipas ng mga araw.

Kung mapapatagal sana ang bawat sandali.

Nanamnamin ko iyon.

Parang orgasmo lang.