Pasilyo 8

2401 Words Aug 17th, 2015 10 Pages
Pasilyo 8
Antonio Maria Nieva
One day along Pasilyo 8, in an entresuelo that passed for home for Bianong and Estela, for Ikong, Tenteng and Miniang and the baby called Biik, one day the katsa curtains shut out the sky. Bianong touched a lapad to his lips, and the baby cried from hunger, and Ikong was terrified of his father, and Tenteng and Miniang lay as still as death, and Estela, and Estela, and Estela …
Somewhere in the morning a radio came to life, and Aling Upe a door away was berating her Sigue-Sigue-Sputnik son, and still farther on, the puto vendor was singing, Puuuuuuuuto! Itoy *****, the kubrador, was collecting the early bets for Jai-alai, working his way down from the far end of the Pasilyo, and at exactly 12 noon, he was
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Estela was going to be hysterical again, but Pareng Isko held her hand, saying there, there, Mare, Pareng Bianong is all right, and moving his free hand up and down her back, up and down, until the tenseness left her and she was beginning to feel a pleasant tingle; and all the while, under the other, Bianong was dreaming of Estela. She had come to him after class behind the densest gumamela stand on the muni green og Intramuros, back where it was darkest, and they had lain together on the grass, seeking each other out with trembling hands, and afterwards just laying there into the early hours, despite the mosquitoes and the dampness, despite sometimes the drizzle. And what if there had been clandestine spectators?
Bianong touched the lapad to his lips, and the baby cried from hunger, and Ikong looked bleakly at him, and Tenteng and Miniang lay as unmoving as before.
He dragged himself from the bench and on to the wooden papag where Tenteng and Miniang lay. He brushed a strand of hair off Miniang’s forehead. Tenteng whimpered. Their fever had not abated. The morning heat was oppressive, and Estela’s absence intruded upon Bianong’s mind with the persistence of a knife turning in his belly. He had not had anything but gin for nearly two days, and all he could scrape up for the children was a cellophane packet of soda crackers, courtesy of Aleng Upe – I’m giving this, you understand? For the children – who had told Ikong to tell

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