pen and ink on paper
14” x 20”
“Why can’t you just stay put?!! Instead of going out with those good-for-nothing friends of yours every night to God-knows-where you guys go to?!!” I could hear a young man’s shrill voice scraping through the loud racket made by the lone tricycle knifing through the silence of this Black Saturday night.
“WHY NOT?! Those are good friends of mine! I have known them way before I knew you. Besides, what’s wrong if I hang out with them?! Hah!!” screamed back a familiar female’s voice.
Like the curious cat I am, I looked out of my window trying to find the source of the heated exchange. Glancing from left to right, I saw the couple standing a few feet from the corner of
Pointing a freshly red-coated finger at him, she continues, “And besides when you come home every night, I can’t stand the smell of fish on you body. Even your penis smells of fish!”
“I heard you and Nene fighting again last night,” I chided Ariel as I handed him the money for the kilo of talakitok I bought from him for Mama Ching’s Easter lunch.
“Yeah. Sorry man. Everyone in the street could hear us,” he said while avoiding my gaze as he handed me the fish.
“It’s okay I guess. Though Christ was dead, you guys managed to wake up some Philistines around,” I said jokingly, though I doubt if it did come across as a joke.
He kept his head low and was silent as he fumbled in his pocket for the change. He pulled out a bunch of bills and counted the money he was going to give me. Just then, I noticed a tear dropped on his hand that was full of fish scales. I suppose he can’t help the tears from flowing. He lifted his arm, wiped his face with the back of his hand, sniffed and rubbed it on the back of his shorts.
Handing me my change and his head still bowed, he mumbled, “I can’t control her. She just goes out whenever and wherever she wants to with her friends. She doesn’t even take care of our baby.”
I took the change from him and slipped it in my pocket.
“Hey man. Cheer up. It’s Easter. Christ is alive today. Go out with your kids and do some egg-hunting,” I said cheerfully, gave him a wide grin and tapped him on the shoulder.
He just gave me a weak smile.
I walked the short distance home from the market to my place bearing Mama Ching’s fish. I told myself, I must remember to give her a small drawing I thought would go well as an Easter greeting together with this scaly prize.
When I got up my stairs, I slipped my hand in my pocket to bring out the change I got from Ariel. I took it out and counted the money and realized he gave me 200 pesos more then the actual amount I gave him for the fish.
“Damn. This guy has to cheer up or he’ll lose his business,” I sighed, then went down my steps to return the excess change to him._______________
Artwork part of "STORIES FROM MY WINDOW" exhibit on May 11, 2006 at KAIDA Gallery.