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The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird

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Published by arenriquez
Mother-son relationship; son unwilling to accept the inevitable death of his mother.
Expeimentel ethnic writing.
Mother-son relationship; son unwilling to accept the inevitable death of his mother.
Expeimentel ethnic writing.

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Published by: arenriquez on Oct 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/03/2011

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Copyright © 2010 by Antonio Enriquez Digital, Philippines
Dance a White Horse to Sleep & Other Stories
,
 Asia-Pacific Series, UQP, Queensland, Australia, 1977  Reprinted, Giraffe Books
 
T
he Hummingbird
  by Antonio EnriquezWhen everyone is taking his siesta, an afternoon nap, Nonoy slips out of his room and goes down to the vacant lot.Instead of the shortcut through the fence, he takes the long way tothe street, going down the foot-worn path flanked by an old barbed-wire fence, with holes here and there, along each side of it,made by stray dogs and pigs. He goes along the footpath so thatwhen he comes to the vacant lot he will come up from above theneighborhood kids instead of from behind. His slippers lift puffs of dust in the vacant lot, as he quietly approaches them.Their shoulders hunched stiffly forward, Maria and twokids, who came from the cocalan (coconut lot) neighborhood arehuddled together, squatting, on their heels. Nonoy says to the neighborhood kids: What is you doing?
 
Maria looks up. She says,We is burying the tansí « hummingbird.Then asks Nonoy, Why is you burying it? Esta muerto? «Is it dead?O, o, esta muerto ya, say the two neighborhood cocalankids in the Chabacano dialect. It¶s dead already.Toward the newcomer, the two boys crane up their grimyfaces, with no mark of greeting, but full of excitement for the tansí.Then the pair bends down over the small hole, between them andthe girl, on the ground. Inside the hole is a hummingbird, itsfeathers ruffled and dusty, lying on its side. Over the breast its feetare drawn up. Nonoy looks into the hole. He says,You is hurting it..Is you dumb? ...Un bobo? says the girl Maria. It¶s alreadydead, and nothing hurts it anymore.But it¶s still alive ...Vivo pa gáne, says Nonoy, and the girlsays,Aaiieeee, it¶s very much dead, says the girl.He has seen its eyes, dark and limpid, in their sockets whenhe looked into the hole.Its eyes is still alive, says Nonoy. It¶s not dead yet. Mira!Look, Maria, its eyes is very bright ... it is still very much alive.Está muerto por largo tiempo ya, Maria goes on stubbornly.It has been dead a long time already.
 
But she too looks down into the hole, which they had dugearlier for the bird¶s grave. Over the two boys¶ and Maria¶sshoulders and heads, Nonoy smelling the sun in their hair peers atthe hummingbird. Set to one side of his shoulder, in a sharp angle,is his head, so he can better see the eyes of the tansi bird. They¶sstill alive, he thinks. It is not dead yet.At this point, they start to bury the hummingbird in thehole. Using their fingers, the two cocalan kids sift loose earth froma mound to cover it, then patting the loose earth gently with the palms of their hands. Nonoy notices that the pair shapes it just likethe abandoned graves he saw at the Gusu Cemetery, where hisgrandmother was buried in one of its tombs. Off to a clump of  banana trees the girl goes, and a minute later comes back with across made from a soft, fresh banana bark. She sticks the banana-cross into the mound, and over it places red bougainvillea flowersshe has picked by the fence earlier. While the two cocalan kidshunch over the hummingbird¶s grave, pretending to say prayers for the dead bird, Nonoy turns and walks off the vacant lot.At the garden in front of their house, he turns left and steps before a faucet braced by a rusty wire against a fence post. Heturns it on, and washes off the dust on his shanks and feet. He doesnot want his mother to see his legs so dirty. A small pool formsunder the faucet, as Nonoy, legs apart, stands beside it. Dirt water flows freely down his legs onto his slippers and directly into asmallish pool under the faucet. After turning off the faucet, he goes

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