Till We Meet again, Melissa
and adaptation
by Ramuel Mendoza Raagas,
based on a short story
by Clesencio Bugarin Rambaud)

"For every tear, victory."

---kinuna ni Ferdinand Marcos kadaydi nanangna

"Elect me a Congressman now, and I pledge you

an Ilocano President in 20 years."

---kari ni FM kadaydi ilina

"Perhaps he meant an Ilocano President for 20 years."

---kinuna ni maysa a political analyst

"You're too in love with your own language"

---kinuna ni maysa a Pinoy burgis a mangisursuro ti Ingles

uray no ammona nga imbagan dayta balikas

iti umadun a U.S. high school classrooms

from http://www.geocities.com/isisdownunder1/Diana

The waves rustled on Diana's Resort along Shellcup Beach as I saw you beneath the trellis all alone. I made my move.

We got to know each other. I was quick... to call you Dimples, in a pleasantrized tone of inquiry. "Melissa," you corrected me and introduced yourself. You told me where you came from.

"La Lucha, Soledad!"

My looks turned befuddled.

"Pasil, Paoay," you explained. You had been kidding around with the Romance languages, a whim habitual of students, even off-duty journalists and free-feathered compositionists from the itsy-bitsy map-point well-known as National Capital Region. Pasil, Paoay-- That was near my own place, Batac. That made us a pair of Northwesterns, obviously, although we both came from Ilocos Norte, a little way Norther from where we were currently.

We even shared the same interest--- writing, for which you had presumed I was quite good at. Was it all because I was your fellow delegate at the writers' seminar workshop?

I said, "I'm as much a beginner as you!" with a face fluttering.

Well, were you really a beginner yourself? I had sensed that you were the good one.

"You, too, Charlie bro'!" you called me, then glanced off to the side, with your chin tilted up, as if you could, with such a mere lift, look above the bald head of any basketball star. Even when the endpoints of your mouth pulled down as you speak, they were no curtains to your engaging eyes, which constantly threw the light for a smile, whichever way your lips swung--- and they did come around to propping your fair cheeks. Their rising tide had towed the very salts of my purple, inner self.

Other people came by. They welcomed each other happily, with hugs--- as well as kisses daubed off to the cheek---, but I was the lighthouse of all joy upon our acquaintance.

"How I hope to see the very novelist who had penned A Chasm for the Fallen." This you told me. "If I get to... so much as shake his hand, it would be like... the seminar would be already completed."

You had no clue as to how your words had hurt me. Tatters did spread across my heart with every handshake you dealt each coming novice and veteran writer. How soon you neglected me.

I consoled my hurt feelings by trying to divert myself with the presence of other, young maidens (the delegates who hailed all the way from Hawaii) attending our seminar in St. Mary's town, Southern Ilocos, but your enduring smile had already held me captive in a cell of honeycomb. The memory of your draping hair kept coming back at me like series of drones and stay-in bees that do all the work and life-depriving waiting for their only queen.

When you won the poetry writing contest, I kept in my bursting joy. I had prayed for your success, although I had quite forgotten to pray for my own entry. How I wanted to congratulate you, but when I turned and noticed a bearded fellow right beside me, I realized that you had fixed your gaze on him as well. My heart twitched upon recognizing Aurelius Idalan, a brilliant writer. I? How could I have been the one to hold your eye? I haven't even had published so much as a single quip, proverb, riddle or rhyme to my name on any established press whatsoever. Aurelius had been anthologized by Jose Asia Bragado along with Amado Yoro, the Cabies and the Bulongs. Aurelius' essays, poems and short stories have run through university and magazine presses based in Quezon City. I have never had any of my works bound in print.

I had been of the bold type when I first saw you, but I could not quite comprehend why I had now become too frightened to speak to you. I was small, even in my own eyes, when set against the towering company of such experienced writers.

When the occasion came for you to recite your own composition, I questioned myself as to what meanings your poetry could possibly hold. My critical functioning had been impaired. I was so overwhelmed by your particular voice of delivery. How I dreamt of being your dedicée. I waited for you come dismissal time, but I didn't catch you around the exit. Eventually, I spotted you aboard a North-bound bus. You even waved farewell to the bearded fellow. I was left dejected.

When will we see each other again, Melissa? I mused time and again. So long you stay... away from your dear Paoay (Our very native word for solitude, Father Tanig our Parish Priest here in Nalasin tells me. Of couse, there's another typical legend with its adventurous etymology and final name thrown off by one letter--- for such and so has been the custom even in Malate, Vintar, Visaya itself and Visayas' Panay. The Visayan Panay arose, not from indigenous sulti, but from the Spanish "Pan hay". Paoay, came from the Ilokano verb root panay, not from any Visayan or Spanish tongue-buds. Our home-name's root is, yes, panay--- "to get by.").

For such and so it was in I-lokong
when came in feisty boats of the Tirong,
rogues upon the harlot sea's shifting tongue,
landing much like J. Asia Bragado's Hapon
(for scoundrels both were Tirong and pustulent Japanese)
upon dear Melissa's native coastal town they did lay seige,
upon the pure race not given to mix.
As to the Tirong pirates' centuries-older attacks...
Stronger did the defending folk wax,
although some wet ground did they, too, concede,
making up by brushing their settlements
to the tried and true East,
which was no less empty
than the grounds they did own and know,
but this gave them momentum (or vuelo)
to strike a sure, defining blow
upon the invading
(brown be they, too) outsiders.
When the bandits did recede,
the off-shore neighbouring town
Y-cleped Succor, which served good use
as the assailed town's fall-cushion,
steady still and generous
did after council-wise deliberation
give resolved motion
to extend friendship and offer
of formal logistics to the rebounding
town which took it upon itself to extend
the less poked of the four crooked borders
of its inverted trapezoidal self...
to all these presents was Town Number One's reply,
much like any damn bourgeoise quite self-occupied
"No, it's fine. We'll get by."

(that last heard, a verb, affixed both sides, and known
in the broad-vocabularied tongue common
to both their thus unpacted selves as panay.)

The Town named Succor found this
a most rude goodbye.

Had your forebears really refused the logistical help so neighbourly offered from the town whose very name was Succor, not even Spanish Socorro, but native Batak? Other historians like Neil Dominic recall that it was two Panay folk who helped a man stuck in a rut within the land that would be named Batac right after his release from predicament.

Of course, I remember as a kid, my class-mate Archie Justo, the pesterer in our class. Even in Civics and Culture, another of the subjects he scored quite well in, he always had a peppery thing to say (like when we corrected as a class our match-columns section of the quarterly exam and were one by one called to recite answers for a brief stretch of items, AJ ascribed item number five as being applicable to either of choices "F or G", emphasis his, and the teacher Mr. Narvajag failed to see it at first--- that on the questions he had himself prepared across six sweaty days, including Sunday, his matched-column section had a glitch as to the standard one-to-one correspondence characteristic of the test format. F was for Baguio. G was Tungko, SJDM, Bulacan--- an awkwardly long name for a place, even in its twice-fold abbreviation, which had to be used as the full-spilled name might cause extra sweat for laying-out the typewritten and mimeographed exam. 5 was "The Grotto which Filipino Christian Catholics walk/their way to can be found in...". Of course Mr. Narvajag had intended F for "The Summer Capital," but come to think of it, and at least AJ didn't drill this in as well, Lourdes Grotto in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan enjoyed its peak season in the summer, most especially for Holy Week, when more of Tondo's small, dark, thin and scraping male youths marched in, but also on a much smaller scale, the fun-sized pool and slides plus well-maintained bowling alleys in the adjacent resort had sounder traffic in the year's couple of hottest months. Anyway, Tondo, post-Bonifacio, has not been the "Greater" in Manila, not hosting any of the Manila Polo Club Members in Makati and their admirers who'd take up a pony in Mines View Park. Baguio has been summer capital for the horse-liking Filipinos, but Tondo's summer capital remains indeed Lourdes Grotto, Tungko, SJDM, Bulacan perfect for their colour detailing pilotted by scarecrow-bearers who hoist shirts of rival barangay victims be it? upon bamboo poles).

As for Archie, how could hie let History get by without his own interpretation? The teacher for that subject, Ms. Monton was not fishing for questions, but as she recalled the Republic President's being an "Anak ti Batac," she unhesitatingly granted the hand-raising Archie (or AJ) a privilege speech, recognizing his cool performance of 36 over forty items in the exam which gave all us others hell before the weekend.

"Anything?" she asked the young man.

"Yes, Ma'am." He caught his breath.

"I know where the name Batak came from."

A far cry from the many pleas of Diak Ammo most of us would give Ma'am. But would she grant him more time? Was it too much to gamble?

"Was the name given as Presidential Decree?" Larry Tinio butt in.

A few laughed. Others preferred Archie. Larry was a class bully.

Archie gave no notice to Paul, in the same way that he played deaf to Larry the Friday before, not caring whether it was peso or academic assistance that the fat, white Chinese boy wanted.

I don't remember all of Archie's Rimbaudian words, but it ran something like this...

bassit laeng dagidi
nagnaed idiay Pinili
uray daydi intay ili
nga awan pay nagan,
ngem adda balasang
didiay banger, iti
Nangisit a bado,
isu ti inabelna
"Batak" kinunana
Impanunot dagidi dua
nga napudaw a lallaki
nga isu ti inkayatda
a sungbat agpaay iti inda saludsod.
(Once there were few settlers in Ilocandia, be it in either Pinili, Dingras or what is now our hometown which as yet had no name. There was a little princess from Pinili who did weaving as was common among their people. She weaved a blanket and also a vest. Then she also wove another cloth, the like of which, in use but not color, people up in the mountains also weave and wear. The princess wove a black little garment and wrapped it like a towel around her, though it was smaller than a towel, very much less so than a Mindanao malong. Her belly button could be seen a finger's height right above her little, new black garment, and all the brown from her thighs down to the upper, non-trodding skin of the feet could be seen. For the mountain people, it would have been nothing new, but for her constituents in Pinili it was all too new. She failed to illicit the initial numbness of the adults from the story The Emperor's New Clothes. First there were murmurs, especially among old women smoking self-produced, self-rolled tabaco leaves. More common were the directed coughings of passing-by pedestrains one by one. She thought her new-weaved garment fit, though, for swimming, and swimming not just in the river, but the sea, where she could rove as free as her limbs felt apart from her self-woven breech-cloth. So... she ran for the shore, which was not all too near. Although, she had intended to head West, she took some detours, trying to avoid more people and their disapprovals--- which brought her further North. From all her running, she grew tired and had to slow her pace, looking left and right for water to drink. She found a strange object made of metal (Copper it was.). She held it up, and looked into it. Not getting to see as much as she had wanted to, she tilted it until something spilled upon her body. She dropped the thing, and looked at it lain in the dust.
This startled two Spaniard taking an afternoon-break, lying though not yet asleep--- one on a hammock fenced in by trees, one on a wooden table. The man on the table got up first and approached the sound site. <<¿Como se llama este lugar, pequeña querida?&rt;&rt; The girl noticed however that the asker was looking at her person, so she didn't think that he was asking about anything else, be it the territory they were standing on. All the The girl thought that the men asked her what she was wearing."Batak," kinunana, or in English, "My swim suit!" The men thought that she had given them the response they had wanted.)

At least, Archie's Jezebel wore a swimsuit. Well, she was as topless as both Igorot persons and Jezebel, but at least not as naked as Daryl Hannah or Tom Hanks had been in their Mermaid movie.

Archie is even memorable for me than the cheezy Boy Badmouth that is the pathetic remnant of our country's rich folklore when it comes to the cocktail parties of bratty college students in subdivisions throughout Metro Manila.

Sooner was Archie married than a graduate from our high school. All Ilokano language's many words for the coarse-mouthed (nalastog, agbassawang, naraar, kdpy.) were coined for his sake.

Melissa, Melissa of my Memory. To my memory, you study way out in Metro Manila. I'm home, here in our provincial region, Ilocandia. Oh, won't you come back around here to your Pasil, Paoay?

Gorgeous indeed is Lake Paoay, a basket-cradle for reflections. The waves ripple, weaving off to the sides. A few men catch fish they have trapped within the columnar coconut palm branches they had most purposely felled onto the water and fortified with bamboo and damortis shoots. The gurami and tilapia splatter, ultimately caught in the less wiggly palms and fingers of men.

If you were only here, Melissa, I kept telling myself.

I planned a visit to your hometown. The school term was coming to a close. Perhaps you would be home for vacation. A chap I came across informed me that your house was nearby my bearings, but I wondered, "Would you still know me... should we get to meet?"

What thrill swept me when I recognized you among a blue-jeaned crowd by the Great Sea! But what worry struck me when I saw that there were two,... three males accompanying you. Three Men and...

These guys felt they held the right to throw stiff startes at me. They did not even look at each other in their seemingly rehearsed conspiracy.

They did not trust me to approach you. One held you by the wrist, faining a caress, which actually merely got in the way of you quartz watch's slim shining band. The other stood tall with his belt against your eye level. I was not interested in his butt wrapped in a pair of "double R"-"L" jeans. The third man standing fastened his stout arms upon his broad chest, nailing his eyes to my moist face. He wore the plainest of cotton pastel short-sleeve shirts, but it was a Lacoste (French for "The Cost"). I flashed my clean, undaunting teeth. How heavy would my heart pace home, should I fail to speak with you.

There were four of us men fencing in silence.

From then, I took unshaking steps, as sure of myself as a good customer about to make his way past uninteresting bouncers.

"Charlie, is it you?" You said, even standing as if to assume a position of full-attention. Tom Doe could not hold you back further in a manner unsubtle.

I nodded wryly.

"Why don't you chat me up on the events of our seminar back in Shellcup Beach? Will you simply walk by and snub me?

"I'm just too shy to be the one to start!" I told you then.

You laughed. Then, you introduced me to your companions. Tom was actually Gene (the way I first construed it... I would later recognized him as Dean, more completely Andrew Dean Jacinto). He was quite a model of physical fitness, were he not a model himself. One of the others was JR (I found that easier to spell.). He kind of looked like the third guy (Henson/Enzo--- I might swap their names on a subsequent occasion, but then again, I didn't think that (should you not be there to look on us as arbiter) we would acknowledge each other courteously. Although it was no sure bet that the latter of these two were brothers, cousins (to each other but not to you--- Heaven forbid that!), or frat-mates. Society-wise, they seemed good company. They all looked fine... but could you not tell anything from the way I laid my eyes on you? Well, I had noticed the more macho of your companions trying to elbow me off (like many a spoiled young, casually overdressed, white bourgeois from Manila) now at closer range, but I had been set on by the two dimples well set upon the panels of your face--- settings more permanent than jewels, depressions enlivening, twin sharpnesses fuller than first-bitten apples, both a greater statement than any mineral or diamond's crystalline core network. Moreover, I was not a lanky man myself, having been well-seasoned in the labours of uprooting bamboo and tree stumps as a farmhand chore. I could well destroy rocky hills that stand to stumble across my path of resolve.

You gave me your complete address (which I recorded to the digit and to the letter for personal posterity on the tickler on which I had been also scribbling poems about you--- now I could actually send some to you), but I with-held mine. I thought of passing off a poem page as my address, but the one I held on my palm, was yet already growing to its third leaf, and should I hand you the first leaf, you might flip it up immediately to full view, and that would puzzle up the situation. I told you, straight as Huck Finn, that I was just temporarily boarding in Vigan near the seminary (A charge of thought kept me from telling you that I was one. I would not wish to grow a bad habit out of one tactful lie.), presently scouting for another dorm perhaps to transfer into.

Our first brief acquaintance had now come into bloom. I paid for Priority Mail postage in dropping my first letter to you. It was only two pages, but my first experience sending rather than receiving stationery (from girl cousins). Your stationery was thrilling too. Its hue was a well-serving complement to your touching words. Your words touched me, and I touched such fine stationery. Your handwriting was of curving slenderness, steady and even. Only by reading your actual words could I make out the broad, but delicate insights which radiated from phrase to phrase. You had such agreeable wit. We were no less fine than the courtliest Japanese.

I could tell that you were a diligent student, although you did not flash any figures for grades. Obviously, you satisfied all your subjects, for one month you talk about algebra, a certain Francis Arcellana, plus a certain Professor Nagralo and volleyball. Months, later, it's chess, cooking processed foods from groceries while your Aunt is away, and trigonometry. The next school term, acceleration, basketball and Jose Rizal. Well, thank goodness, you didn't get around to (Heaven forbid!) Nicholas Cage, current local journalists and billiard halls.

You liked to borrow books, as you could not buy many, but you borrowed as far away as LaSalle. Well, that was near (You told me.), in fact somewhat along the same Avenue, as your school, Philippine Normal University (born under the American regime as Philippine Normal School). For a while, I thought that you had transferred there to LaSalle by means of some scholarship of merit, but you told me that you were just benefitting from a certain collective schools policy in the City of Manila area. Still, it would mean that you would across the many colourful people even from other schools. Any of these could take you away from me. Such wealth they hold that I can never even promise.

One day, however, you wrote me that you had to stop your studying in Manila. Your father had grown shivering sick out of his decades-prolonged labors of trap-fishing and garlic-farming. You would now resume your studies here in our province. It would be fine anyway were the words gravely marked within your letter, breaking the even consistency I had known of you for almost two years.

I noticed the sadness that now encroached upon you. As such, I had to tuck away my personal glee, and not in any marked envelope.

Why do you take this to heart? Do you carry any feelings for me, as well?

We strolled by Imelda Park. Speaking now side by side, elbow to elbow (bonding rather than friction), our words are so different. Fewer, but dearer, for we could test each promise and claim by intimate detection.

"It would be hard for me, Charlie, if I told you that I didn't love you," you whispered.

You would commit yourself to Education, as the course was offered in Divine Word College, Laoag. Engineering would still be my course, same school.

We wrote poems about the Chinese birds fluttering about the belltower of Laoag's cathedral.

You were impressed with what I came up, and only now, facing--- after so long--- your very eyes, could I assess your genuine thrill at the flowers of my imagination.

"Now I know why you didn't win the contest in Shellcup," you told me, with a nudge of the elbow, already since plied to mine. "You lacked confidence in yourself. How then could others believe in you?"

But you believed in me, wherefore I feared no more frustration.

"And would you know by any chance that if they find out at home about our relationship, they would cut off my schooling. They would repress me, even my own parents. But I endure on... all because of you. Even if they punish me..."

"That will never happen," I said, as sure in saying as those words had been used for generations. But I did fear.. not conceding. Somehow, I felt the broad shade your resolve. You were the only person yet to tell me how great I was. You didn't know how I so cherished your telling me.

You were supposed to go pick up something (your Zashikibuta fan, was it?) from your boarding house one afternoon just before our scheduled attending of early evening mass in the cathedral... when they were lurking around the corner of an alley for me. I recognized Mr. Physical Fitness, your companion in Paoay. He had a bearded companion in tow. I would have back out from under their gleaming red eyes, but they had already clogged me into their planned out predicament. Without so much as a word's notice, they attacked me. A Karate Kid performance of my tried-and-true farmhand chore of uprooting tree stumps was my struggling. The bearded one fell, but I could not wave away the iron blow of Mr. Fitness. A bump had swollen upon my fanciful head when I had regained consciousness.

You might have wondered why I didn't show up. Did you turn peeved at me?

With great difficulty I came once again to your boarding house. They had withdrawn you indeed. It was spread all around Pasil that you had been mingling with some poor boy, away from whom you had been rescued by the goodly Mr. Fit, who took it upon himself to vanquish the peril that clutched upon your tender heart. A hero he was indeed, in the eyes of good society.

But don't you remember the first kiss of his stony elbow upon my farmhand's body--- back by the lake of our obstructed revival? Still, Rumor took it to me that you were much better married off to Mr. Physical Fitness. Anyway, you were no longer pursuing Higher Learning, lest your standing fall upon my pauper's bosom. As for Mr. Andrew Dean Jacinto's family, they owned vast tracts of land in Newflock, Sugarhills and Staplehaul. His sister even earned a living abroad as a nurse, raking in so many pounds out there in London.

I gathered "intelligence" by buying drinks from little variety side-stores. They all had the same format of softdrink-sponsored sign boards (Yes, a writer from the saltbed province had noted that.), but it was not softdrinks that was my main purchase, but gin and little beer. I went for the wings: Saint Michael's Gin and Gold Eagle Beer, from the same company, both its cheap-end products. I had trouble with gin, because I was yet learning how to mix it (the Tom Collins, to recall a writer from the Visayas), and real residents of your town were wary of me. I could not disclose my own name to each successive store-keeper and bench-moss loafer, never noting any sympathy for my side, even our side, when I managed to fish out the details of your brokered engagement to His Fitness Mr. Andrew Dean Jacinto. My wide-brimmed hat did not fail me in hiding my slowly receding forehead bump, and my hair grew long. It was a cheering consolation that they did not post a picture of me for an (UN)WANTED sign, for I could not come up with any further clever disguise. Then again, these people, countrymen should they be called, did not care if I held both cheeks and a forehead smooth. My being poor and unpropertied was enough to make me ugly.

"Would you allow Andrew to take me away from you?" You wrote anew. I received your letter late by a few days, neglectful during the lessened hours I spent under my own roof for the past weeks.

I woke up from the spell. Bingeing on booze was no fit response to your clear challenge. I vowed never to dishonour the Trust you had lain upon me. Like a roaring surfwave was the rumbling war drum within the cowhide hollow of my chest. Wherefore had I been so weak as to their snatching away of you? There again was my strong craving to claim you home away from my persistent vision of Andrew's snickering grin.

I rented out Old Man Severin's jeepney shuttle, unfit he seemed otherwise, being quite a rascal himself, but I even gave him bonus pay anyway. I would not have wished he would accompany me, but noone else would.

Your love emboldened me-- you, my everything, without whom my world would map out only Misery.

As your letter had stated, they would be waiting for you in front of the Paoay church. Six in the evening. Your wedding would fall the morning after.

So long we waited for you, but you did not turn up. I began to worry. Severin took to clucking. Then you arrived aboard a tricycle! I held my breath, wanting so much to embrace you once more. You looked off to the side, as if to me, but nevertheless careful not to twitch your eyelids in any manner suspicious.

Like a dirty old man, Old Man Severin stared at you, as if your were a shapely jug filled with well-fermented sugarcane wine. His fingers sounded like pork cracklings, bitten by the molars.

Well, what do we know? There came a crimson red jeepney. It was Andrew, along with five toughies. My sweat ran far quicker than our get-away vehicle's engine. Your fine lips shivered with the unsettling noise of the faulty engine. They drew nigh already! I clenched my jaw angrily.

The jeepney shuttle's engine flapped restlessly. When Severin sneaked upon my lap to take over, and had finally switched on the ignition, our heads bumped against his plastic front window as he revved up his own wheels like one of the mad convicts who used to drive the DM bus line.

We headed South. Our wheels screeched, but Andrew kept on pursuing us. I decided on the fly to head straight for Vigan where my uncle Philip was based. You murmured prayers at an unshorthandable rate. It was only now that the Lady of Manaoag laminated prayer card looked right hanging on the rear-view mirror of the rascal Severin's jeepney shuttle. It stroked your hair, which was blowing in the wind. You pressed a finger to my chest, as if I were the very fount of holy water. The glass still held Andrew in his speeding jeepney. I'd sooner give up the ghost than allow him to take you away from me.

Old Man Severin had been cross-eyed ever since but he sure gave quite a run for Andrew to tail. It was good that no highway patrolmen came across our rowdy path. The old man swerved the vehicle. I could lose... Andrew, he said. We were already in Currimao. Well, what did we know... then you gaped your mouth open wide at the extreme curve which flashed before our unsuspecting selves. A Chasm for the Fallen was now no longer the novel you had cherished for all your reading life, but the impending doom waiting for us by the precipice! I noticed the dumbfounded expression on Old Man Severin's ugly face. He turned back the steering wheel. The jeepney plied along the edge, but nevertheless it got inverted, like a tree stump rolling down the cliff. My vision dimmed.

Cold was the hand that stroked my brow (A slight and a slippery one was it to my face, which it would fail, however, to shed as shield against its most plotful projectile) The bristling wind swept a light, incessant drizzle. Lying next to me was the shuttle smashed, and capsized. Dense and green was the undergrowth which hugged from all around.

I thought of you again, but what I seem to hear of "Pity, no don't!" I had managed to make out later in the obscure darkness. Old Man Severin was had taken it up to go try and rape you!

My consciousness rang like one alarmed awake in a room by a prank surprise cymbal-smashing, floor-marching bater-powered fuzzy animal toy, although I found it quite hard to get up myself--- not owing to any ounc of indolence, but considering a fruit-pick of wounds, on my palms, arms, legs and junctures, all as real as those of the sorest Holy Week penitents reported from Naga, Quiapo or even Vigan.

By the time I had achieved some twenty-nine Dantean oaces, I dre first move by tugging Severin's long, unshampooed rhinoceros-like hair, undoing his rubber binding, and knocking him out via an uppercut to his jaw... just stopped short of taking an open stride (that is, to dive his pleasure with the crown of his cankered head floating and treading by your very Honour's stomatic surfaces). Reeling thus, I held at bay any further motions for counter-blows. He was dumped almost like a pig in Liberty town market, Pasay City, except that he was still breathing by the undergrwoth. HOw I wanted to kill him and have him all chopped up, but your new-found pleas-- now calling for mercy upon the dastardly assailant--- held me back. I embraced you like the bark that keeps the pith within.

There grew

a rumbling roar

in other words, ungor

and a hubbub up above.

From right behind the hillcrest which happened to tower above the catch-basin of our accident

were heard Andrew

and all his mignon crew.

"Surely, they must be here!" one of them yelled. "They fell into an accident, didn't they?"

"That Charlie guy--- if he still be alive, do him in!" was Andrew's very own sentence, it seemed.

Like hoofbeats wre their boot soles as they came down the slope, louder than the ripening rain.

I was all a-trembling with hatred. How could we meet such a disturbing fate? Lightning scratched across our sky, and (there. too.) thunder drummed. I broke loose, out on a limb, then fetched a stick from the ground by the asphalt now all moist--- a branch of wood which struck me as being a lucky figure, like the Wonderboy bat from the Robert Redford-starrer The Natural (Yes, the movie flashed into my mind, although recalling its based novel's fin triste did bind me with uneasiness.). A crooked club it would have seemed to serve, issuing perhaps from a tree lightning-circumsized, and the piece certainly wasn't carpenter-straight, but as twisted as a fingernail grown the length of a hand.

But you held me back, even outclassing my hand-picked weapon with your felt arms.

"Let's beat it! You won't do any good against them, Charile! Your wounds are running." No wonder. You were squeezing my very body to a weary point for the past few minutes.

I recalled the time when you were still in the capital, studying in the Normal University, boarding min Tamarind district, far away from my constant-tearing eyes. Even then, you were boarding my habitual Pardas omnibus, through the airwaves carrying songs written and recorded by Styx and Air Supply, all played by the conductor after VHS cassettes if gunfire-peppered Tagalog, hong Kong and U.S. flicks. You were the woman in my mind by the beaches and pink horizons of sentimental lyrics. I had thought of you as my teacher, my maestra in the discipline and obra of learning to fortify my own well-being and character with Self-confidence, the Trust I should apply unto my own person and abilities.

Why did you now dampen me, smoking as I was in bitter temperament? I was fed up with running away from the big game. Oh, I would stand forth and show myself a man!

But it's your arms and not his gang's that pin me helpless.

And I ask, Do you really love me?

It was now as clear as the rain which the windshield wipers of your flogging eyelids could not hide--- your face waxed as a wet chick.

A man I was indeed, but you kept me back, whereas I could not do the same for my own current contagion of tears.

I dropped the wood that jutted from my fists, for frail is he anger governs. Your tears laid waste to my former incense. I helped you up. We charged into the thicket.

All the ruckus from Andrew's gang fell faint.

Plain translation notes:

Dense was the greenery all around. I thought of you again, but what did I seem to hear about

Lying next to me capsized was the jeepney all smashed. Old Man Severin was trying to rape you!

My world crashed like a pair of cymbals. I found it quite hard to get up. I cudgeled the old man, and I dealt him an uppercut to his jaw. I did not let up. Like a cow in the thicket was the knave by the time I had throttled him. How I wanted to kill him!.. but your new-found please, now calling for mercy upon the dastardly assilant, kept me back

There was a roar and a hubbub from above.

Andrew! and his crew!!!

"They're quite likely to be here!"

was the voice of Andrew.

Doctor Mary-Lu Magno Memorial Medical Center

Diliman/Loyola/Maalat, July 2002
text source read from pages 49-51, Alintatao

This is an internet-age translation, and the contention of this exercise is to argue that machine translation (developed by such diligent bodies as Babelfish/Altavista and the Sentro ng Wikang Filipino) is not the main thrust for translation literature on the Internet. Internet translation is not best off-the-fly, but by archiving of translations laboriously wrought even off-line prior to Web-wide storage.

The first translation put forward here (the only one seen above) is a stylized Anglicized one. Its accomodated target audience is readers starting out with hardly any prior knowledge of the Philippines. Eventually, I hope to piece together an English translation more acceptable to fellow Filipinos.

For my Anglicized, Manileñized translation, I have tried not to leave out any of Rambaud's words unconsidered, but I went ahead and piled my own phrases and passages to secure my appreciation of the possibilities exploitable in Rambaud's text.

As translator of the Clesencio Rambaud short story featured in Alintatao, I myself admit to hardly knowing anything about Ilocos and the Ilocano language. Certainly, my translation is not a native Ilocano's translation from his own Ilocano language to English. Mine is a mere Manileño reading of an Ilocano short story (One of the very few I am as yet able to read.)

I am no authority as to the geographical setting of the story, and can only account for a few points in an off-hand manner. The main rationale for bothering to view and render the Ilocano text was to glimpse the thrill of sentiments captured in the story.