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Son

Son

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Published by arenriquez
Set in Labuan, a village of Zamboanga peninsula, Philippines. Originally published in the Asia-Pacific Series, which included writers Ananta Toer, Nick Joaquin, etc., by UQP, Queensland, Australia, 1977. Reprinted '80s by Giraffe Book.
Set in Labuan, a village of Zamboanga peninsula, Philippines. Originally published in the Asia-Pacific Series, which included writers Ananta Toer, Nick Joaquin, etc., by UQP, Queensland, Australia, 1977. Reprinted '80s by Giraffe Book.

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Published by: arenriquez on Sep 29, 2010
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09/29/2010

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1Copyright © 2010 by Antonio EnriquezDigital Philippines
From paper book-
Dance a White Horse to Sleep and Other Stories,
 Asia-Pacific Series, UQP, Queensland, Australia, 1977
Son
by Antonio EnriquezPapa will surely get angry when he sees this fallen fence, he said as hecame from the house to meet his girl. And he fixed it only this morning.Why did it fall down? she said.It’s because of the carabao of ’Ñor Piloy. I doesn’t know why he cannotkeep his carabao tied good and strong. Tito pressed down the rusty barbed wire with his feet and Thelma,carrying the food basket, held up the hem of her skirt between her brownlegs and went through the fence. Be careful with your dress, he said.She waited for him on the other side.Is that why your father was so angry with ‘Ñor Piloy the other day?Si, he said. His carabao ate up most of Papa’s coconut seedlings.He straightened the bamboo post and dug in some stones around it.She stood behind him and watched him work. Tito and Thelma had come to the beach to fish and eat under theshade of the trees. Tito brought along fishing lines, one for himself and theother for her. He carried the lines himself because he remembered how Thelma had pierced herself once with the hook while carrying her line and
 
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how he had to pass the hook all the way through her forefinger and how hehad to cut off its head before pulling it out. They pulled off their slippers and walked barefoot on the sandy bank,going toward the trees where they would leave the food. There were dryleaves in the shade under the trees and they crackled under their feet. Just leave the food there, Tito told her, putting down the pail of shrimps. O, o. Just there. Them dog might eat it, she said.He said, We can watch the food from the shore while we is fishing. Tito uncoiled the lines from their bamboo reels and made sure thatthere was no break in the cords. Then he attached a small weight to eachline. He picked up the pail, and together they went on down the beach withtheir bare feet cold on the sand.I hope to catch a big one, she said, smiling at him and digging her toesinto the sand. You’ll get a big one, he told her. He handed her one of the lines andsome shrimps in a banana leaf.I think I’ll fish over at the bocana, she said.O, o, said Tito in Chabacano. There’s plenty of taraquito there.She started off toward the inlet, Tito watching her from where hestood. Then he reached down into the pail, his hand chasing the shrimps. Hecaught one and hooked it through the tail so that it wouldn’t come off while
 
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in the water. And then he threw the line way out, throwing it like a lasso. Ithit, weights splashing, and sank quickly. Tito stood in the afternoon sun holding the line in one hand, waiting forthat sudden jerk at the line. But the fish were not striking, not even eatinghis bait; so he rolled up his pants and moved knee-deep in the water,changed the bait with a live shrimp and made that asthmatic sound bypressing the line hard between his thumb and forefinger and pulling at itsuddenly against the other hand holding the bamboo reel. This wassupposed to attract the fish. Still, the fish did not strike and he turned andwatched her sitting on the bank of the bocana.Did you catch any yet? she shouted from the inlet.Not yet, Tito shouted back. There isn’t any fish here either, she said. There’s plenty there, said Tito. There’s always taraquito when the tiderises.I doesn’t seem to catch any, she said. Tito drew in his line, coiling it around the bamboo reel. He walked upalong the seashore toward her. He stopped and gave her his line and tookhers. He said, Perhaps the bait is gone.I didn’t feel anything, she said. You has to jerk it at once when the taraquito strikes, he told her. Orelse it will get away. He watched the hook as it broke the surface, skimmingthe top of the waves.

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