A Short Story
By Joel Aba The sun is brightly up but though the night is over, continually, he believed, it still is…
Something inside Dindo urged him to do this every day – seated alone in a small bench under a small tree, in a dark brown, wooden table with bottles of beverages around. It was late afternoon. Just breathing the air crushes his heart while he seated consciously. He looked up on the leaves of the coconut tree – the resilience of it and the movement similar to the ricefields pierced him inside. The sway of leaves caused by cold and turbulent afternoon air drew a line of tear from his eyes. Now Dindo drinks the last bottle on his table.
The market place near him is a place fed with laughter, deafening horns of buses, dirty talks and chitchats. Gossips are all around, and Dindo, having infamously known for his life’s story, has no escape.
“That guy is into so much disgrace!” he heared from a corner.
“He’s cursed,” he heared another unfamiliar voice from that corner.
He shifted his eyes to them, yet he can see nothing but blur, and black shadows covered their image. Dindo tried to extend his legs and fight, yet his legs are weaker to even stand up. He leaned his arms on the table and bowed his head down. Now, Dindo dozed off.
The marketplace in Sitio Guetra is a place where Dindo finishes 8 bottles a day. 8 bottles are enough to doze him off and momentarily be relieved from an earthly hell. Alcohol is Dindo’s only resort to ease his burden.
But something urged him to do this every day. A not-so-distant past urged him to continually infuse his body with the devilish spirit of alcohol in his resolve to forgetting what he has done, and to somehow burn the reminiscences of what fate did to his seemingly ill-fated life.
Now, Dindo’s life is a continual struggle of forgetting and burning memories – memories of people and places.
Love of Two/Vail of Tears
Love of Two/Vail of Tears
Feet walked fast. The movement is brisk and every step showed strength – like that of a man whose only work is to labor day and night. His feet showed precision as he trailed the mud to his small home. The ground showed footprints as he walked briskly alongside the ricefields where his home is seen from afar – in that scenic beauty atop a hill where the sun feeds light in the dimming afternoon.
He knew that today will be, again, a day of celebration. Dindo will see the woman of his life, Sheena, the pretty Ilocana woman with red lips, bashful eyes, and sweet smile. Her moves caressed every man’s dream, and Dindo, being the most masculine among her suitors before, achieved a sure win.
Dindo’s ecstatic feelings over her grew more and more in their 1st year together. However, heaven did not bless them a child – sadness that though engulfed Dindo and Sheena, they have accepted wholeheartedly. Both knew partnership can still be built despite Dindo’s incapability.
Every day is love. Dindo, will arrive home from all the day’s work in the ricefields. With his dirty hands from work, Dindo peers in a hole in the kitchen and suddenly surprises her with a hug from her back... every single day. Such monotony did not bore the couples for more than 365 days from their marriage.
But today seemed different.
Dindo placed his vintage bicycle that his father gave him under the shed of the small tree right beside their house. He slowly walked through the kitchen where he’d usually peer and surprise his wife. He waited for two minutes, yet, his wife did not show up. He gently opened the door and looked around the house. There was something different. He knew there was something wrong.
Dindo hurriedly moved the cloth that covered their small kitchen and there, he saw Sheena, lied down on a mat in the floor, seemingly lifeless.
Dindo knew the tragedy of his wife.
In the hospital’s alley, the doctor faced Dindo and tapped him in his arms. Dindo’s hands shook and his breath were deep. His hands held grip the corner of the chair where he was seated. He was voiceless yet fiery. Fierceness is within him and suddenly with his fierce façade, tears flew from his eyes. It was as if heaven clashed with the seas for Dindo. There he knew, from the words of the doctor, that his wife was carelessly raped.
The Blood of the Fields
It seemingly took no minute until Dindo came home. In his very eyes were revenge and all he needed was to see the person who threatened yet scathed he and his wife’s lives. His face reflected his rage. Again, he trailed the ricefields, more hurriedly this time. His heart beated faster as he walked looking for the man. His feet even slipped into the mud of the ricefield, but he never cared. His body seemed to numb and everything seemed oblivious to him at the moment.
Dindo slipped his right feet again, as he trailed the pathway of the fields.
There, for a moment, a special memory of his life took the scene. Reminiscent flashbacks came to his vision- the site, the fields, the dimming afternoon. He remembered his childhood days – the days he slipped his foot to the mud of the fields. He remembered how he struggled to get his feet off the mud covering all his feet when he was 8 years old. He remembered himself cry, and at that moment, he can feel the tears of a child in him. And there, he remembered his gracious father who held him on both hands.
He remembered how his father taught him to watch his steps. He then remembered the good old memories were his father had to trail with him at that exact place, and everytime he slips his foot from the pathway, his father would rescue every time.
Despite pain, he shifted focus from the luster of his memories to his revenge.
Now the moment is set, he saw the man walked down the hills down to the ricefields that afternoon. The man walked fast with his luggage hurriedly yet carefully evacuating their place. But the moment froze for him when he saw Dindo from afar, looking straight to his eyes. It was dimming all over the place, but his mind and eyes see only the person he cursed.
Both their shadows met. Dindo ran towards him, but the man only stood helplessly as he saw Dindo running fast towards him. He must have prepared his self for this time – the time of the utmost revenge. He opened his arms, succumbing to his fate – yielding to his death.
Now that Dindo came near, all his fears and fury were mixed up, and a powerful stab greeted the man on his chest. The man laid helpless in the ricefields. Mud and blood met. The mud covered half of his body. The surroundings - the ricefield - are now in darkness as darkness stole his life.
For his last revenge, Dindo placed a sharp stab again to his neck. His hands were cold, while his sweat and tears met together.
Dindo never knew exactly - in his present conciousness - what he had done. Never knew what exactly happened. Dindo took his drastic revenge. And the man finally laid to rest and now buried with his blood to the ground.
When Fate SetsDindo paid the price. On the 12th month, Dindo was temporarily freed after being bailed.
He tried to live his life just as he wants to. He goes to Sitio Guerta, a kilometer away from their village to drink and unwind. He finished 8 bottles a day, and burns memories on that dusty and noisy marketplace. People shoo him off, degrades him. Yet he never cared.
The tragedy and the pain of living with reality is something that urged Dindo to do this every day. He seats alone in a small bench under a small tree, in a dark brown, wooden table and finished it through falling asleep.
But both partners still built another house on a hill, near a ricefield. There, after sleeping in a few hours, he saw Sheena sleeping, with an infant in her arms. He spotted the child first and he smiled to them. Tears flew from his eyes.
He walked slowly… slowly to her bed. The streaks of light from the window pointed them that bright afternoon. The lightness that engulfed the room also made him felt light inside. It was a day of change and forgiveness. There, he held the baby from the arms of her wife as if the life of the child was his. He looked into his eyes, and the image of a baby’s smile greeted him.
It felt lighter for him. He knew there is a connection that builds him and her wife’s son. He looked at the child, and smiled. He has never been happy before. He kissed the child and held him tight.
After all of these, he promised to love the child as if it were his. The child may not be her son, but the child was of his once-loved father. Seeing the sun, he remembers him and felt the pain of losing a father who rescued him in the ricefield.
From then on, promised to love his brother as his only begotten son.