Footnote to Youth by Jose Garcia Villa

The sun was salmon and hazy in the west. Dodong thought to himself he would tell his father about Teang when he got home, after he had unhitched the carabao from the plow, and let it to its shed and fed it. He was hesitant about saying it, but he wanted his father to know. What he had to say was of serious import as it would mark a climacteric in his life. Dodong finally decided to tell it, at a thought came to him his father might refuse to consider it. His father was silent hard-working farmer who chewed areca nut, which he had learned to do from his mother, Dodong's grandmother. I will tell it to him. I will tell it to him. The ground was broken up into many fresh wounds and fragrant with a sweetish earthy smell. Many slender soft worms emerged from the furrows and then burrowed again deeper into the soil. A short colorless worm marched blindly to Dodong's foot and crawled calmly over it. Dodong go tickled and jerked his foot, flinging the worm into the air. Dodong did not bother to look where it fell, but thought of his age, seventeen, and he said to himself he was not young any more. Dodong unhitched the carabao leisurely and gave it a healthy tap on the hip. The beast turned its head to look at him with dumb faithful eyes. Dodong gave it a slight push and the animal walked alongside him to its shed. He placed bundles of grass before it land the carabao began to eat. Dodong looked at it without interests. Dodong started homeward, thinking how he would break his news to his father. He wanted to marry, Dodong did. He was seventeen, he had pimples on his face, the down on his upper lip already was dark--these meant he was no longer a boy. He was growing into a man--he was a man. Dodong felt insolent and big at the thought of it although he was by nature low in statue. Thinking himself a man grown, Dodong felt he could do anything. He walked faster, prodded by the thought of his virility. A small angled stone bled his foot, but he dismissed it cursorily. He lifted his leg and looked at the hurt toe and then went on walking. In the cool sundown he thought wild you dreams of himself and Teang. Teang, his girl. She had a small brown face and small black eyes and straight glossy hair. How desirable she was to him. She made him dream even during the day. Dodong tensed with desire and looked at the muscles of his arms. Dirty. This field work was healthy, invigorating but it begrimed you, smudged you terribly. He turned back the way he had come, then he marched obliquely to a creek. Dodong stripped himself and laid his clothes, a gray undershirt and red kundiman shorts, on the grass. The he went into the water, wet his body over, and rubbed at it vigorously. He was not long in bathing, then he marched homeward again. The bath made him feel cool. It was dusk when he reached home. The petroleum lamp on the ceiling already was lighted and the low unvarnished square table was set for supper. His parents and he sat down on the floor around the table to eat. They had fried fresh-water fish, rice, bananas, and caked sugar. Dodong ate fish and rice, but did not partake of the fruit. The bananas were overripe and when one held them they felt more fluid than solid. Dodong broke off a piece of the cakes sugar, dipped it in his glass of water and ate it. He got another piece and wanted some more, but he thought of leaving the remainder for his parents. Dodong's mother removed the dishes when they were through and went out to the batalan to wash them. She walked with slow careful steps and Dodong wanted to help her carry the dishes out, but he was tired and now felt lazy. He wished as he looked at her that he had a sister who could help his mother in the housework. He pitied her, doing all the housework alone. His father remained in the room, sucking a diseased tooth. It was paining him again, Dodong knew. Dodong had told him often and again to let the town dentist pull it out, but he was afraid, his father was. He did not tell that to Dodong, but Dodong guessed it. Afterward Dodong himself thought that if he had a decayed tooth he would be afraid to go to the dentist; he would not be any bolder than his father. Dodong said while his mother was out that he was going to marry Teang. There it was out, what he had to say, and over which he had done so much thinking. He had said it without any effort at all and without self-

.. Dodong.." Dodong said. "I will marry Teang. and the little sounds it made broke dully the night stillness. "You are very young.yes. "You tell her. ------------------------------------------Dodong stood in the sweltering noon heat. "Must you marry. His mother had told him not to leave the house. A decrescent moon outside shed its feeble light into the window. he seemed to be rebuking him. His father looked at him silently and stopped sucking the broken tooth. The silence became intense and cruel. He began to wonder madly if the process of childbirth was really painful.. I. "I am going to marry Teang. and Dodong wished his father would suck that troublous tooth again. I want your permission." "Tell your mother.consciousness.... Sweet young dream. "I asked her last night to marry me and she said. It had seemed to cage him. He had wanted to get out of it without clear reason at all... an exacting protest at this coldness. He lost his resentment for his father. Dodong?" Dodong resented his father's questions. Dodong made a quick impassioned easy in his mind about selfishness.." "You tell her. Dodong. if that is your wish. He did not want her to scream like that. it. of course. Teang was giving birth in the house." Dodong repeated. want. sweating profusely. so that his camiseta was damp. . seventeen. Dodong looked at his father sourly. he felt. but later he got confused. graying the still black temples of his father." "That's very young to get married at.. so absorbed was he in himself. He cracked his knuckles one by one. Then he confined his mind to dreaming of Teang and himself. this indifference.. Some women. but he had left." There was a strange helpless light in his father's eyes. Dodong felt relieved and looked at his father expectantly. "I will marry Teang.. tatay." His father kept gazing at him in inflexible silence and Dodong fidgeted on his seat.. Dodong did not read it. to compares his thoughts with severe tyranny. He was afraid.. He was still as a tree and his thoughts were confused.Teang's a good girl.. when they gave birth." his father said. Afraid also of Teang." "All right." There was impatient clamor in his voice.. his father himself had married." "I'm. she gave screams that chilled his blood." "Dodong." "I.." "You will let me marry Teang?" "Son. His father looked old now.. Dodong was uncomfortable and then became angry because his father kept looking at him without uttering anything.. Afraid of the house... Dodong was immensely glad he had asserted himself. did not cry. you tell your inay. I want to marry. For a while he even felt sorry for him about the diseased tooth.

" Dodong traced tremulous steps on the dry parched yard. His parents' eyes seemed to pierce him through and he felt limp." He turned to look again and this time saw his father beside his mother. "Teang?" Dodong said. He dropped his eyes and pretended to dust dirt off his kundiman shorts. "She's sleeping. They flowed into him.. His father thrust his hand in his and gripped it gently. as if he had taken something no properly his. Dodong. The thin voice pierced him queerly. contradicting himself of nine months comfortable." Suddenly he felt terribly embarrassed as he looked at her. Dodong saw Teang. father. "Son. he realized now. He walked ahead of them so that they should not see his face." How kind were their voices. You come up." Dodong felt tired standing.In a few moments he would be a father. "Dodong. "Dodong. The hilot was wrapping the child. Within. "It is a boy." his father said. making him strong. "Your son. He looked at his callused toes. He sat down on a saw-horse with his feet close together. He ascended the bamboo steps slowly. "Father. Dodong. What a moment for him. His eyes smarted and his chest wanted to burst.. He wanted to turn back.. Somehow he was ashamed to his mother of his youthful paternity. ..." people would soon be telling him. to push away that stray wisp of hair that touched her lips. "Dodong.." His father led him into the small sawali room. Suppose he had ten children." he whispered the word with awe. "Your son. with strangeness. Dodong wanted to touch her. His heart pounded mercilessly in him. his girl-wife. to run away. Dodong. He beckoned Dodong to come up. It made him feel guilty. come up. It is over." he mother said.. He wanted to hide from them. asleep on the papag with her black hair soft around her face. He could not control the swelling of happiness in him.. you come up." his father said. he avoided his parents eyes. He felt like crying. to go back to the yard. He wanted somebody to punish him. And his mother: "Dodong. What made him think that? What was the matter with him? God! He heard his mother's voice from the house: "Come up. but again that feeling of embarrassment came over him and before his parents he did not want to be demonstrative.. Dodong did not want to come up and stayed in the sun." "I'll. He felt guilty and untrue.. He did not want her to look that pale. Dodong heard it cry. He was young. But you go on. "Dodong. Dodong felt more embarrassed and did not move." his mother called again.

. Teang did not complain.." Dodong lay silent. He watched Blas undress in the dark and lie down softly. He wanted to ask questions and somebody to answer him. tired and querulous. "I love Tona and." Blas called softly. Dreamfully sweet. There has been another suitor. where everything was still and quiet. "You better go to sleep. Lucio. Maybe the question was not to be answered. Why it must be so. He w anted to be wise about many things. Youth must be dreamfully sweet. for he could not sleep well of nights. "I am going to marry Tona. ------------------------------------------Blas was not Dodong's only child. Blas raised himself on his elbow and muttered something in a low fluttering voice. For six successive years a new child came along. older than Dodong by nine years. It was late at night and Teang and the other children were asleep. They descended to the yard." Dodong lay on the red pillow without moving. One night. Seventeen. Dodong returned to the house humiliated by himself. I want her. Many more children came. Maybe not." Dodong rose from his mat and told Blas to follow him. She wondered if she had married Lucio.³You give him to me. One of them was why life did not fulfill all of Youth's dreams. It is late. Dodong whom life had made ugly. even if she was young. Dodong did not answer and tried to sleep. would she have borne him children. It must be so to make youth Youth.. not wishing him to dislike her. Why one was forsaken. as he lay beside his wife. and that was why she had chosen Dodong. The house. after Love. She was shapeless and thin now. but he was childless until now. wishing she had not married. Dodong would not find the answer. Not even Dodong. either. The children. but they came. "Itay .. When Blas was eighteen he came home one night very flustered and happy. But she loved Dodong. He had wanted to know a little wisdom but was denied it. She did not tell Dodong this. Lucio had married another after her marriage to Dodong. Dodong heard Blas's steps." Dodong said.. The moonlight was cold and white. She cried sometimes. Young Dodong. "Itay. There was interminable work to be done. Blas said he could not sleep. you think it over." Dodong said. That was a better lot. Dodong did not want any more children. Yet she wished she had not married... He stood in the moonlight. Laundering. Dodong called him name and asked why he did not sleep.. whom she loved. but the bearing of children told on her. She accepted me tonight. It seemed the coming of children could not be helped. Dodong stirred and asked him what it was. Cooking. Blas was restless on his mat and could not sleep. You give him to me.. he rose and went out of the house.. Dodong got angry with himself sometimes.

The life that would follow marriage would be hard. He could not do anything. now." Dodong kept silent. "Yes. hurt. I don't want Blas to marry yet.... and then Life. Dodong looked wistfully at his young son in the moonlight. "You have objections. Blas was very young... now.. not yet. God.) But he was helpless." "Must you marry?" Blas's voice stilled with resentment.."You want to marry Tona.." Dodong said.. Itay?" Blas asked acridly. He felt extremely sad and sorry for him. "I will marry Tona... n-none. I don't want Blas to marry yet.." (But truly... Love must triumph. He did not want Blas to marry yet. "Son.. . Youth must triumph.. Afterwards. it will be life.. As long ago Youth and Love did triumph for Dodong...

but continued to sit unmoving in the darkness. If you really don¶t hate me for this separation. You know that. I am really sorry. But neither of us can help it. you know it. and blew into the stove. because what he said was really not the right thing to say and because the woman did not stir. go out and dance. ³and join the dancing women?´ He felt a pang inside him. ³Yes. don¶t you?´ he repeated. ³I¶m sorry this had to be done. Who knows but that. ³I don¶t want any other man.´ The sound of the gangsas beat through the walls of the dark house like muffled roars of falling waters. I know.´ she said sharply. He slid back the cover. ³You should join the dancers. When the coals began to glow. She was partly sullen. There was a sudden rush of fire in her. he lifted himself with one bound that carried him across to the narrow door. She gave no sign that she heard Awiyao. then full round logs as his arms. Clinging to the log.´ she said weakly. One of the men will see you dance well. ³as if±as if nothing had happened. . stepped inside. Awiyao put pieces of pine on them.´ he said.´ He looked at the woman huddled in a corner of the room. The room brightened. With bare fingers he stirred the covered smoldering embers. ³Why don¶t you go out. he talked to the listening darkness. The stove fire played with strange moving shadows and lights upon her face. He crawled on all fours to the middle of the room.´ he said. But Awiyao knew that she heard him and his heart pitied her. ³You know it Lumnay.Wedding Dance By Amador Daguio Awiyao reached for the upper horizontal log which served as the edge of the headhigh threshold. but her sullenness was not because of anger or hate. then pushed the cover back in place. leaning against the wall. After some moments during which he seemed to wait. don¶t you?´ She did not answer him. with him.´ He felt relieved that at least she talked: ³You know very well that I won¶t want any other woman either. he will marry you. ³Go out±go out and dance. he will like your dancing. The woman who had moved with a start when the sliding door opened had been hearing the gangsas for she did not know how long. don¶t you? Lumnay. you will be luckier than you were with me. he knew exactly where the stove was.´ ³I don¶t want any man.

³It is not my fault. ³I came home. Of course. The spark rose through the crackles of the flames.´ This time the woman stirred. if you don¶t want to join my wedding ceremony. because.´ ³Neither can you blame me.´ he said. Seven harvests is just too long to wait. can never become as good as you are. I wanted to have a child. I know.´ ³Yes. You have been a good wife. Yes. He stirred the fire.´ she said. The smoke and soot went up the ceiling. She wound the blanket more snugly around herself. Awiyao went to the corner where Lumnay sat. Lumnay had filled the jars from the mountain creek early that evening.´ he said. But what could I do?´ ³Kabunyan does not see fit for us to have a child. She tugged at the rattan flooring. She seemed about to cry. The gong of the dancers clamorously called in her care through the walls. not as good keeping a house clean. Awiyao took a coconut cup and dipped it in the top jar and drank.´ she said. I have sacrificed many chickens in my prayers. ³Because I did not find you among the dancers. although I am marrying her.´ ³You remember how angry you were once when you came home from your work in the terrace because I butchered one of our pigs without your permission? I did it to appease Kabunyan. ³I have prayed to Kabunyan much.´ . I have been a good husband to you. We should have another chance before it is too late for both of us.´ he said. I am not forcing you to come. You are one of the best wives in the whole village. She is not as strong in planting beans. ³No. ³You cannot blame me. Each time she did this the split bamboo went up and came down with a slight rattle. feeling relieved. like you. not as fast in cleaning water jars. then turned to where the jars of water stood piled one over the other. I have nothing to say against you. we have waited too long. I came to tell you that Madulimay. paused before her. Lumnay looked down and unconsciously started to pull at the rattan that kept the split bamboo flooring in place. ³You know that I have done my best.´ He set some of the burning wood in place. ³It¶s only that a man must have a child. looked at her bronzed and sturdy face. you have been very good to me. stretched her right leg out and bent her left leg in.

They will need help in the planting of the beans.´ he said tenderly.´ ³I know it. ³I built it for you. and dance²for the last time. then turned away. if I did this it is because of my need for a child. the steep canyon which they . He held her face between his hands and looked longingly at her beauty. has it?´ She said.´ he said. They were silent for a time. on the other side of the mountain. My parents are old. The next day she would not be his any more.´ ³I will give you the field that I dug out of the mountains during the first year of our marriage.³That has not done me any good.´ ³I have no need for a house. She looked at him lovingly. You know that life is not worth living without a child. The man have mocked me behind my back. ³I will pray that Kabunyan will bless you and Madulimay. Go back to the dance. and Madulimay will not feel good. ³Go back to the dance. in the pounding of the rice. I will build another house for Madulimay. ³It is not right for you to be here. She would go back to her parents.´ ³Lumnay.´ ³You know that I cannot. You helped me to make it for the two of us. the trip up the trail which they had to climb. The gangsas are playing. and became silent. ³This house is yours.´ ³I would feel better if you could come. He let go of her face. then shook her head wildly. the day he took her away from her parents across the roaring river. But her eyes looked away. They will wonder where you are. He looked at her.´ ³I have no use for any field. the high hopes they had in the beginning of their new life. She almost seemed to smile.´ he said. live in it as long as you wish. and sobbed. and she bent to the floor again and looked at her fingers as they tugged softly at the split bamboo floor. You know that.´ she said finally. ³I¶ll go to my own house. He put the coconut cup aside on the floor and came closer to her. Never again would he hold her face.´ she said.´ she said slowly.´ he said. She thought of the seven harvests that had passed. ³Lumnay.´ She bit her lips now. ³You know I did it for you. Make it your own.

her hair flowed down in cascades of gleaming darkness. He had a sense of lightness in his way of saying things which often made her and the village people laugh. his arms and legs flowed down in fluent muscles±he was strong and for that she had lost him. full. You do not want me to have a child. You do not want my name to live on in our tribe. they were far away now from somewhere on the tops of the other ranges.´ she said. the waters tolled and growled. and they had looked carefully at the buttresses of rocks they had to step on²a slip would have meant death. Nobody will get the fields I have carved out of the mountains. and her hand lay upon his right shoulder. ³I don¶t care about the house.´ ³Then you hate me. she clung now to his neck. Even now it is firm. Then it was full of promise. She looked at his body that carved out of the mountains five fields for her.´ ³Then you¶ll always be fruitless. nobody will come after me. Awiyao. and kind. I must die. ³If I do not try a second time. They both drank of the water then rested on the other bank before they made the final climb to the other side of the mountain. Her whole warm naked naked breast quivered against his own.´ She was silent. ³it means I¶ll die. ³If you die it means you hate me.´ she said passionately in a hoarse whisper. How proud she had been of his humor.´ ³I¶ll go back to my father. I don¶t care for anything but you.´ he said. She flung herself upon his knees and clung to them. I am useless. bronze and compact in their hold upon his skull²how frank his bright eyes were.´ she cried. The waters boiled in her mind in forms of white and jade and roaring silver. The muscles where taut and firm.´ . it could climb the mountains fast.´ she cried.´ he explained. it could work fast in the fields. ³I did everything to have a child. ³Look at me.´ ³It will not be right to die. my husband.´ he said. I¶ll die. It could dance. ³I don¶t care about the fields. Awiyao. But. She looked at his face with the fire playing upon his features²hard and strong. ³Look at my body. resounded in thunderous echoes through the walls of the stiff cliffs. gathering her in his arms. ³Awiyao.had to cross. his wide and supple torso heaved as if a slab of shining lumber were heaving. I¶ll have no other man.

³I do this for the sake of the tribe. In pain he turned to her. What was it that made a man wish for a child? What was it in life.´ ³If I fail. ³I love you. Lumnay.´ she half-whispered.´ he said. in the work in the field.´ she said. Her face was in agony. ³You will keep the beads. They come from far-off times. Then both of us will die together.´ ³I¶ll keep them because they stand for the love you have for me. He went to the door. The voice was a shudder. You keep them. I don¶t want you to fail. let me keep my beads. from the slant-eyed people across the sea. in the planting and harvest.´ He clasped her hands. sonorous and faraway. It pained him to leave.´ ³The elders will scold you. I love you and have nothing to give. ³Awiyao.´ She took herself away from him. My grandmother said they come from up North.³If you fail±if you fail this second time±´ she said thoughtfully. ³No± no.´ ³It is all right with me. Both of us will vanish from the life of our tribe.´ The gongs thundered through the walls of their house.´ he said. They are worth twenty fields.´ she said. in the silence of .´ she said.´ ³Not until you tell me that it is all right with you. ³I¶ll keep my beads. ³Awiyao!´ He stopped as if suddenly hit by a spear. for a voice was calling out to him from outside. She had been wonderful to him. ³I¶ll come back to you. ³Awiyao! Awiyao! O Awiyao! They are looking for you at the dance!´ ³I am not in hurry. You had better go. ³I know.

³Awiyao. And yet was she not the best dancer of the village? Did she not have the most lightness and grace? Could she not. ³It is not right. all the women who counted. The moonlight struck her face. who once danced in her honor. Let her be the first woman to complain. her betel nut box and her beads. and she closed her eyes and huried her face in his neck. Lumnay sat for some time in the darkness. to tell them it was not right. She would go to the dance. The call for him from the outside repeated. alone among all women. Was not their love as strong as the river? . to the trunk where they kept their worldly possession²his battle-ax and his spear points.the night. were dancing now in honor of another whose only claim was that perhaps she could give her husband a child. beautifully timed to the beat of the gangsas? Did not the men praise her supple body. It was like taking away of his life to leave her like this. nobody could take him away from her. to the elders. must have a child to come after him? And if he was fruitless±but he loved Lumnay. anyway. it is hard!´ She gasped. Then she went to the door and opened it. to be a man. dance like a bird tripping for grains on the ground. in the communing with husband and wife. She suddenly clung to him.´ she said. and he buried out into the night.´ she said. She knew that all the houses were empty that the whole tribe was at the dance. the moonlight spilled itself on the whole village. She would tell Awiyao to come back to her. Only she was absent. ³How does she know? How can anybody know? It is not right. He dug out from the darkness the beads which had been given to him by his grandmother to give to Lumnay on the beads on. clung to his neck as if she would never let him go. ³The beads!´ He turned back and walked to the farthest corner of their room. to denounce the unwritten rule that a man may take another woman. and her eyes seemed to smile in the light. and tied them in place. It is not right!´ she cried. her grip loosened. in the whole life of the tribe itself that made man wish for the laughter and speech of a child? Suppose he changed his mind? Why did the unwritten law demand. She could hear the throbbing of the gangsas coming to her through the caverns of the other houses. The white and jade and deep orange obsidians shone in the firelight. Suddenly she found courage. He surely would relent. She would go to the chief of the village. Awiyao was hers. ³Awiyao! Awiyao. and the women envy the way she stretched her hands like the wings of the mountain eagle now and then as she danced? How long ago did she dance at her own wedding? Tonight. that a man.

She felt the pull of their gratitude for her sacrifice. The mountain clearing was cold in the freezing moonlight. following their men. and she had made him drink the cool mountain water from her coconut shell. and she was lost among them. The trail went up again. and it seemed they were calling to her. and the stream water was very cold. She followed the trail above the village. He had stopped at the spring to drink and rest. where the wedding was. What if somebody had seen her coming? The flames of the bonfire leaped in countless sparks which spread and rose like yellow points and died out in the night. she cold see from where she stood the blazing bonfire at the edge of the village. Her heartbeat began to sound to her like many gangsas. Her heart warmed to the flaming call of the dance. muscular boy carrying his heavy loads of fuel logs down the mountains to his home. strange heat in her blood welled up. The sound did not mock her. Lumnay walked away from the dancing ground. She was near at last. to speak to her in the language of unspeaking love. tripping on the ground like graceful birds. The wind began to stir the leaves of the bean plants. She could see the dancers clearly now. echoing from mountain to mountain. Did anybody see her approach? She stopped. After that it did not take him long to decide to throw his spear on the stairs of her father¶s house in token on his desire to marry her. When she came to the mountain stream she crossed it carefully. The bean plants now surrounded her. The man leaped lightly with their gangsas as they circled the dancing women decked in feast garments and beads. She thought of the new clearing of beans which Awiyao and she had started to make only four moons before. a great bonfire was burning. Lumnay thought of Awiyao as the Awiyao she had known long ago± a strong. away from the village. The blaze reached out to her like a spreading radiance. Lumnay looked for a big rock on which to sit down. they seemed to call far to her.She made for the other side of the village where the dancing was. But the gleaming brightness of the bonfire commanded her to stop. She could hear the far-off clamor of the gongs. She had met him one day as she was on her way to fill her clay jars with water. and she started to run. There was a flaming glow over the whole place. still rich in their sonorousness. When Lumnay reached the clearing. Slowly she climbed the mountain. The gangsas clamored more loudly now. Nobody held her hand. . and she was in the moonlight shadows among the trees and shrubs. She did not have the courage to break into the wedding feast.

soft in the texture. but moist where the dew got into them. when the morning comes. . long time among the growing bean pods. The stretching of the bean pods full length from the hearts of the wilting petals would go on. silken almost. silver to look at. a few more harvests²what did it matter? She would be holding the bean flowers. Lumnay¶s fingers moved a long. silver on the light blue.A few more weeks. a few more months. blooming whiteness.

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