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VELASCO GRADE IV BENITO SOLIVEN CENTRAL SCHOOL
SUBMITTED TO: MRS. LEA R. ROSAS
by Loreto Paras Sulit
HE first saw her in his brother’s eyes. The palay stalks were taking on gold in the late after noon sun, were losing their trampled, wind-swept look and stirring into little, almost inaudi ble whispers. The rhythm of Fabian’s strokes was smooth and unbroken. So many palay stalks had to be harvested before sundown and there was no time to be lost in idle dallying. But when he stopped to heap up the fallen palay stalks he glanced at his brother as if to fathom the other’s state of mind in that one, side-long glance. The swing of Vidal’s figure was as graceful as the downward curve of the cres cent-shaped scythe. How stubborn, this younger brother of his, how hard-headed, fumed Fabian as he felled stalk after stalk. It is because he knows how very good-looking he is, how he is so much runafter by all the women in town. The obstinate, young fool! With his queer dreams, his strange adorations, his wistfulness for a life not of these fields, not of their quiet, colorless women and the dullness of long nights of unbroken silence and sleep. But he would bend… he must bend… one of these days. Vidal stopped in his work to wipe off the heavy sweat from his brow. He wondered how his brother could work that fast all day without pausing to rest, with out slowing in the rapidity of his strokes. But that was the reason the master would not let him go; he could harvest a field in a morning that would require three men to finish in a day. He had always been afraid of this older brother of his; there was something terrible in the way he deter mined things, how he always brought them to pass, how he disregarded the soft and the beautiful in his life and sometimes how he crushed, trampled people, things he wanted destroyed. There were flowers, insects, birds of boyhood memories, what Fabian had done to them. There was Tinay… she did not truly like him, but her widowed mother had some lands… he won and mar ried Tinay. I wonder what can touch him. Vidal thought of miracles, perhaps a vision, a woman… But no… he would overpower them…he was so strong with those arms of steel, those huge arms of his that could throttle a spirited horse into obedience.
It aug mented the spell of that woman that was still over him. LEA R. that the sinuous folds of silken lines were but the undertones of the grace that flowed from her as she walked away from you. She was not exactly very young nor very beautiful. For. she was indeed beautiful. The blood rushed hot to his very eyes and ears as he met her grave. buri hat and was twisting and untwisting it nervously. If he had been in bed he would be tossing painfully. “He has very splendid arms. The stiffness. “From now on he must work for me every morning. Vidal? Oh. moist arms critically. She approached him and examined his hot. “Soon the planting season will be on us and we shall have need of many carabaos.” (I must be strong also. your elder brother. VELASCO GRADE IV BENITO SOLIVEN CENTRAL SCHOOL SUBMITTED TO: MRS. He could not under stand why the sound of her voice filled him with this resentment that was increasing with every passing minute. perhaps as she spoke. They walked with difficulty on the dried rice paddies till they reached the end of the rice fields.” “Very well. When sundown came they stopped harvesting and started on their way home. he could feel his muscles tensing as he waited for her to speak again. One dis covered it after a second.” The curiosity in her voice must be in her eyes. that tinged her whole face with a strange loveliness. and pale as though she had just recovered from a recent illness. But he did not stop in work nor turn to look at her. Everything as you please. “How splendid! How splendid!” she kept on murmuring. Vidal. She was so near him that when she gestured. in her eyes.” and taking and leaning on the arm of the master she walked slowly away. Then the whole plan of the brow and lip and eye was revealed. in the queer reflection of the dark blue-blackness of her hair. Why was her face always before him as though it were always focused somewhere in the distance and he was forever walking up to it? . ROSAS “Harvest time is almost ended. searching look that swept him from head to foot. tremulously in that adoring way of his that called forth all the boyishness of his nature—There was the slow crunch. It was queer how he kept on thinking about her. the brush of her dress against him and the look of her eyes on his arms. was cool and scented in the air about him. It affected Fabian very queerly. careful glance. Then “Thank you. She was tall. The two brothers returned to their work but to the very end of the day did not exchange a word. Milia’s father has five. on remembering the scent of her perfume.GIAN ARLO A. “He is your brother. But there was something disquieting and haunting in the unsymmetry of her features. one realized that her pallor was the ivory-white of rice grain just husked. possibly all day. you say. and her perfume. Once Vidal attempted to whistle but gave it up after a few bars.” So it was the master who was with her. Vidal had taken off his wide.” Then Fabian turned to look at her. in that mole just above her nether lips. the silken folds of her dress brushed against him slightly. the peace of the twilit landscape was maddening to Fabian. soft as silk. She was talking to Vidal about things he had no idea of. smooth nuance. it is my model! How are you. He had never seen anyone like her. crunch of footsteps on dried soil and Fabian sensed the presence of people behind him. Vidal?” It was a voice too deep and throaty for a woman but beneath it one could detect a gentle. fever ishly. with a regal unconscious assurance in her figure that she carried so well. Why do you delay…” He stopped in surprise for his brother had sprung up so suddenly and from the look on his face it was as if a shining glory was smiling shyly. the other prayed). You have but to ask her and Milia will accept you any time. a very subtle fragrance. “Ah. yes.
After they had walked a distance. she could not leave the baby. She pinched. There is Milia. The light from the kero sene lamp within came in wisps into thebatalan. its long. He found himself talking about the woman who came to them this afternoon in the fields. her loveliness is one I cannot understand. It is high time you should be settling down. Gently he felt his own muscles.GIAN ARLO A. bit. For in the deep darkness. The moth fell to the ground. LEA R. On the door of the silidwhere he slept he paused to watch his little niece. Tinay would not eat. He rubbed them with a large. you would be blind. faces. of stone. two tall clay jars were full of water. the strength. he cooled his warm face and bathed his arms in the other.” “I have no desire to marry her nor anybody else. His wife was crooning to the baby inside. many dreams. dream bub bles of his life. a girl of four. smooth pebble till they glowed warm and rich brown. One day Vidal came into the house with a message for the master. Just—just—for five carabaos. I think. many desires come to me.” To avoid the painful silence that would surely ensue Vidal talked on whatever subject entered his mind. Vidal rose. shook his pants furiously while he laughed in great amusement. highly colored wings fluttered blindly against the bough. “When I was your age. But it was cruel that the darkness was heavy and without end except where it reached the little. This little room with all the people inside. the fever she had left behind… was still on him. a colored. VELASCO GRADE IV BENITO SOLIVEN CENTRAL SCHOOL SUBMITTED TO: MRS.” “That is not the reason. nervous woman still with the lingering prettiness of her youth. Sometimes she uses her fingers. She is convalescing from a very serious illness she has had and to pass the time she makes men out of clay. She was a relative of the master. faces in a dream. But he did not like the way his brother pursed his lips tightly That boded not defeat. Everything seemed a dream. She was a small. she had asked him to pose for her. She saw him. As she threw a pebble into the air he caught it and would not give it up. What a relief it was. his other child. but before he could do so his brother had hit it with the bundle of palay stalks he carried. But gradually. They call her Miss Francia. of fluttering wing-dust. “Why are you that way?” “What is my way?” “That—that way of destroying things that are beautiful like moths… like…” “If the dust from the wings of a moth should get into your eyes. hid den name… like her beauty. Vidal asked. Fabian could not see his brother’s face. a large spreading dream. Supper was already set on the table. He started guiltily and entered the house. Vidal paused to pick it up. Vidal. slowly the topics converged into one. On the batalan of his home. “Brother. ROSAS A large moth with mottled. But the unrest. He emptied one on his feet. I destroy it when I feel a hurt. When one talks to her forever so long in the patio. past dream by now. In the meager light he looked at his arms to discover where their splendor lay. . faint star. She was rocking a baby in a swing made of a blanket tied at both ends to ropes hanging from the ceiling. was in a corner playing siklotsolemnly all by herself. Trining. stretching himself luxuriously. He turned almost savagely on his brother and spoke to break these two gro tesque.” There! He had spoken out at last. this afternoon. some times a chisel. A cousin. I was already mar ried. But I know she has a lovely. I am lost… I am glad to be lost. he saw her face clearly and understood his brother. a mass of broken wings. That woman in the fields.” “Things that are beautiful have a way of hurting. the power beneath. He was just the model for a figure she was working on.” It was merciful the darkness was up on the fields. feathery antennae quivering sensitively in the air. she said.
VELASCO GRADE IV BENITO SOLIVEN CENTRAL SCHOOL SUBMITTED TO: MRS. But the young man would not have stopped his teasing if Fabian had not called Trin ing to his side. where she would finish the figures she was working on. Again—as it ever would be—the disquieting nature of her loveliness was on him so that all his body tensed and flexed as he gathered in at a glance all the marvel of her beauty. It was Vidal in stone. the enchantment of hour after hour spent on the shadow-flecked ylang-ylang scented patio where she molded. The glam our. my God! Why?” That sentence rang and resounded and vibrated in Fabian’s ears during the days that followed. “Ah.” “You will wake up the baby. Someday. There she was at work on a figure that represented a reaper who had paused to wipe off the heavy sweat from his brow. I am going! I am going!” “And live the life of a—a servant?” “What of that? I shall be near her always. Vidal! Vidal!” Tinay rocked the child almost despair ingly. that quiver would become a moth in his hands. that look. For another there was the glo rious world and new life opened to him by his work in the master’s house. Sometimes… well. “Oh. “Why does she not braid her hair?” he asked his wife. that quiver of voice had been a moth. I will do it before going out to work tomor row. shaped. deep emotions.” Vidal bit his lips in anger. Oh. helpless moth. dark eyes. could be Vidal and… and… how one’s thoughts can make one forget of the world. He retired to his room and fell in a deep sleep unbroken till after dawn when the sobs of a child awak ened him. the man with the splendid arms. you have a little mole on your lips. but she is so pretty with her curls free that way about her head. “She will pay me more than I can earn here. Miss Francia would leave within two days. She smiled graciously at him while he made known himself. That means you are very talkative. reshaped many kinds of men. who all had his face from the clay she worked on. a frail. He had seen her closely only once and only glimpses thereafter. Let me see. Peering between the bamboo slats of the floor he could see dark curls falling from a child’s head to the ground. what a high bridge.” “Why do you wish to be near her?” “Why? Why? Oh. Look at her skin. Fury was a high flame in his heart… If that look. he did not expect she would remember him. and help me get a position there. ROSAS “What a very pretty woman Trining is going to be. Ah. a curl on the dark head of his daughter… Now more than ever he was determined to have Milia in his home as his brother’s wife… that would come to pass. one night.” . His brother saw and understood. Why. broke out the news Fabian knew he had to act at once. and her nose. He avoided his brother from that morning. If by a magic transfusing he.GIAN ARLO A. Fabian. In the evening after supper he stood by the window and told the tale of that day to a very quiet group. And he brought that look. And shall always be near her. When Vidal. For one thing he did not want repetitions of the carabao question with Milia to boot. she is going to be a proud lady… and what deep. it was not his child anyway. But the song of loveliness had haunted his life thereafter. that was more than a gleam of a voice made weak by strong. white as rice grains just husked. let me see. she wanted Vidal to go to the city with her. LEA R.” “We shall have to trim her head.
but he succeeded in making her understand that Vidal could not possibly go with her. She was lost in her work and noticed neither the twi light stealing into the patio nor the silence brooding over them. It would hurt him. “Soon all your sampaguitas and camias will be gone.” He watched Fabian cleansing his face and arms and later wondered why it took his brother that long to wash his arms. the shining glory in moth and flower and eyes he had never understood because it hurt with its unearthly radiance. my dear sister-in-law because I shall be seeing Milia every night… and her father. left his arms that were being copied. Wrapped in that silver-grey dusk of early night and silence she appeared in her true light to the man who watched her every movement. drink of her strange loveli ness. patted it and molded the vein. is he at your house?” The brother on the patio nodded. muscle. I know. of his arms to give to this lifeless statue. it seemed as if life left him. There was an amusement rippling beneath her tones. Vidal told me about it. “I understand. stole the firmness. The arms are still incomplete—would it be too much to ask you to pose for just a little while?” While she smoothed the clay. He did not know how he worded his thoughts. Now they were alone again. “Your brother should never know you have told me the real reason why he should not go with me. gave him a twenty-peso bill and some instruction. it was not so. . she would never know. You see. “That is the only reason to cover up something that would not be known. But what had she to know? A pang without a voice. “To marry the girl whose father has five carabaos. It said. “Vidal. There will be a child.” He had not forgotten to roll up his sleeves. even to his eyes he felt the hot blood flow.” She called a ser vant. a dream without a plan… how could they be understood in words.” He flushed again a painful brick-red. the strength. forgetful of this unrest he called life. The haggard tired look in his young eyes was as grey as the skies above. if… but his arms had already found their duplicate in the white clay beyond… When Fabian returned Vidal was at the batalan brooding over a crumpled twenty-peso bill in his hands. why he was rubbing them as hard as that… Ω This 1930 story is a perrenial favorite among anthologists. She was one he had glimpsed and crushed all his life. VELASCO GRADE IV BENITO SOLIVEN CENTRAL SCHOOL SUBMITTED TO: MRS. My brother has wronged this girl. If he could have the whole of her in the cup of his hands. But she merely answered. After this afternoon he would never see her.GIAN ARLO A. arm.” She said nothing. LEA R. He was speaking to Tinay jokingly. that he had to stay behind in the fields. He shall not go with me. “I have to finish this statue before I leave. but the look in her face protested against what she had heard. ROSAS “I am the brother of Vidal.
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