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Monday, November 12, 2012

Chapter 23 - Lover's Time

Chapter 23
Lover’s Time

     “Good morning comrade in arms! We have today new friends coming all the way from far away Esperanza of Marble County blown away by wind of change this part of the archipelago where great number of our forces are concentrated. He’s a priest but not any ordinary priest who preaches theology of  liberation  in the pulpit. Just like the rest of the clergy who were once caught in ‘No Exit!’ phenomenon many have been with us, Fr. Driarco’s experience of harassment was too much he could bargain for. No need to list them here. Here he is the living testimony of that bondage and wanted lifting freely that bondage back as compliment through our collective strength. True he is a priest of God in the tradition of Melchizedek. But most importantly, a true priest  of the people having experienced the struggle against all forms of injustices until we intervened rescuing him for our cause,” Ka Aris cleared.
            “Unfortunately, as averred by your presence and everybody else in this movement, there’s no way breaking the backbone of the devil that is dictatorship unless addressed by collective strength.”
            “Marcos’ forces are too strong. Think how he institutionalized the military institution paving the way to militarization of different Department of Bureaucracy leaving not enough breathing space for Juan de la Cruz to live. Worst wanton killing of innocent lives whose only sin is their tenacity of standing by their right.”
            “He and family suffered persecution. See how ruthless the Powers-that-be that even a man in cassock is not spared. There are too many of them and I bet you guess where they are now. Either they were already dead and or have joined us in the movement.”
            “We regret to Fr. Driarco that we have to pluck you out from your parish our hierarchy commanded us coming to your rescue,” Ka Aris revealed.
            “We did that risking even our own lives. We hope by now you realized that we need each other if we are to free ourselves from this endless web of treachery and fascist rule of Mr. Marcos. We have nothing to lose except the chains of slavery Martial Law  handed  to us. Who says that Filipinos are coward with you and now Fr. Driarco joining us in the movement?”
            “My dear friends let’s welcome him the Committee decided to address him Kasamang Emir in memory of our Comrade-in-Arms who zealously fought and died for the freedom of this country.”
Sustained applause followed until Ka Emir said few words holding on not to go far declaring his commitment to the group he is yet to confirm his loyalty with action while in the movement.
            “If I may die while in the movement so be it,” he stressed strengthening the bond of camaraderie of the people around.
            Their help extended that would have cost their lives had they been blown away was something he could not forget.
            “This is the kind of commitment we need, a commitment that could definitely destroyed Marcos’ iron fist that is Martial Law, “he went emphasizing the validity of Nationalist struggle. He beg however the question that he is yet to keep pace  the blistering step they have undertaken hoping that the rest of honorable guys should join  in the movement and  if not ready should be given their choice until such time they could make their own decision.
             Soon each one welcome Ka Emir extending their left arm one at a time others embracing him tightly. Women too have shown happiness and quiet elated that a man like Ka Emir came albeit not solicited emphasizing the urgency of their struggle.
            Accepting their handshakes so moved him deeply and recalled that true enough there are many other Gabriela Silang sacrificing their lives for the love of the country.
What prompted these people joining the movement much earlier than him enthralled him convinced that Nationalist’s struggle knows no gender. Why and how women in their early twenties and thirties have consecrated their lives for this difficult struggle further validated that urgency realizing now why even clergy are also drawn by them.
            When would others experience an awakening  coming  to the rescue? When they too are persecuted like him or blown away into bits and pieces? But not all men have that privilege of being persecuted. Not all men in other words are that brave. That like him should sacrifice and declare willingness putting their  lives  next on line for the love of the country.
             Ka Eliza, the pretty nurse, was one among those who offered him good cheer and hope would find fulfillment in the movement.
            “The people right here need better your services than those in many parishes,” she opined.
            “They are dying without even hearing confession. A movement like this Ka Emir deserve your service,” was her parting shot wondering how in the world a beautiful with urban upbringing educated in prestigious university in Manila finds her life here in the movement.
            “Must have been prepared by destiny crossing their path here,” the thought playing his mind elated as shown from the smile on his face. Not sure if smitten by her charm and love  her simple yet stunning beauty capturing his heart.

. . . . . . . . . . .
            Life in the movement has taken Fr. Driarco’s life behind the scenes. He soon learns how to handle and fire a gun as protection to save his own life and those of others in the movement specially the women and children. He too has learned to live in utmost simplicity thriving on root crops and corn, vegetables and wild animals’ meat.
            Three more years past Ka Emir catapulted becoming the top commander manning his own platoon in lieu of Ka Aris and Mario who after several skirmishes against the military paid their own lives. Since then Ka Emir learned the hard way defending the people, organizing rallies, yes lobbying people’s revolutionary taxes for survival, raiding police stations accumulating firearms under the thrill of excitement.
            And here’s his chance of a lifetime, facing eyeball to eyeball against Powers-that-be, their nemesis all the way down. Here’s his chance too of making it even against the WOLVES and their  abusive liquidation squad defending  the oppressed, an action indirectly challenging the Mighty Apo and his men for showdown in the future. Finally, here’s the ultimate chance of clearing his name liberating Sta. Rita from the mess out of politics.
            “Yes indeed all of these issues are staring before him. But the problem is – who are these  faceless men  and how could I ever know them?” the thought keep flashing back.
Suddenly he recalls whatever happened to the needles he secured in a vial.  “Who really own them? The three savings were identical. The pattern of killing is similar too.  How many more there are and to whose possession did they rest secure today? Who are behind all these killings – from his father, Nong Tonio, Danny, Jojo, Abel and yes the Mayor and still counting – were the questions giving him nosebleeds. Too  many tough questions but hardly answered given the mystery shrouding  the killing.
As armed combatant, he too shared  the travails and hardships of climbing rugged terrain, bad weather armed with sardines, few kilos or rice, dried fish,  noodles, dangling on his side, sleeping on makeshift hammock like bats in the forest  engaging the military to several war of the flee employing  rudest guerilla tactics. And like all if not many of those in the movement, he too was felled down by bullets in number of skirmishes. Legs, arms and the severest of them all, his chest just below his heart. It would have been his last had he not survived from that  fatal shot. That’s how Ka Eliza attended him handling his medical needs with  extra tender loving care.
            “God must have really wanted me to carry on this struggle,” he thought thinking all those hard earned success defending tooth and nail against  possible setbacks.  And the bottom line of it all, that girl who helped him through attending his medical needs for fast recovery. Ka Eliza, no less.
            It is in such many occasions recuperating when strong affection with Ka Eliza gradually grew and developed. It’s her duty attending the wounded but somehow Ka Emir felt that personal touch Ka Eliza employed exuding Tender Loving Care had been slowly taking away his heart  each time she was visiting him
            “Someone special is praying rosary for your safety and fast recovery every time you’re taken in for medical services here,” he  heard his guardian angel whispering him.
            “Who could this be indeed if not her Florence Nightingale. And who else could do that if not only a woman in love.”
            She must have finally met her soul mate as something special has been experienced ever since the young priest came around. He did not only make the movement cohesive and competitive but more so disciplined. There had been many gentlemen who have shown affection to her  - flowers, poetry and special attention – but none of them have so far smitten her heart stronger than the young priest. Not until Ka Emir came around. He’s an embodiment of her ideals - tall, strong, reserved and above all intelligent -.
            Since then her days were never the same again each day shining providing her renewed sense of zest and vigor serving her comrades in the camp. The only hitch is that Ka Emir is an ordained priest and that he could not possibly compromise his vocation let alone, forced the issue.
            “But isn’t all is fair in love who knows. Just who knows all those kindness shown by him to her since he committed himself joining the movement,” her heart seemingly challenging her.
            “Love is never love until you give it away and he returns back to you,” she said recalling an inspiring dictum. Whatever happens to her that Ka Emir preoccupied her mind while delivering her daily activities. Must really been in love as she is running out of her mind finding herself in solitude by the spring keeping  refreshed by the cold breeze of wind listening to sweet chirping of birds in the forest, staring on the horizon on top of the mountain while humming a tune or two counting the meteors as they occasionally drop through the starry night in the horizon.
             Many more weeks and months passed by, the stronger her feeling towards Ka Emir developed making her crazy all the more. Must be an indication how her passion works when she just couldn’t help herself but giving it all. Gone were the days when she ransacked her family’s Pharmacy taking all medicines she needs used in extending medical services to her comrades injured in different encounter. What about the first time she joined the operation her comrades all amazons killed and she captured but by twist of event freed by her captor.
            “Crazy. Must have still a mission. This might be it participating in nationalist struggle for democracy,” she insisted though with reservation.
            This time it’s far more complicated as it involves her emotion that morphed into special attraction towards Fr. Driarco. First affection turning to  passion, now love graduating into  irresistible passion what with  her heart now desires. Obviously, the excitement this obsession creates is uncontrollably engrossing and here’s the chance giving up to temptation.
“Love conquers all, why not for those who really mean it.” It was in this height of madness when she finally decided  letting go her feelings. Sneaking out one night from her quarter, she perfunctorily tiptoed her way in towards Ka Emir’s hut.
            Alerted by the slightest movement, Ka Emir reached for his pistol underneath the pillow and putting his index finger on the trigger saw familiar figure slowly pushing the door. It’s Ka Liza gingerly tip-toeing her steps  slowly  in her seductive night suit
            Ka Emir choked seeing his unexpected friendly guest. But the words uttered next defy it all.
            “Come on in,” he said dropping his pistol on its leather holster.
            No words described the passion overwhelming two people in love as both caught in total warm embrace, their moist lips gladly meet. And as if their hearts had long been entwined the first time they meet celebrated love in  its sweetness and fullness.
             Outside the moonlight flickered endlessly getting brighter illuminating dark clouds before it could cover its light on the Nipa hut where two people in love feasted the beauty that is life maximizing the pleasure from excitement catching up lost chance otherwise would have been spent  together while  in the movement.
            Everybody’s   favorite philosophers the likes of Immanuel Kant to Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, John Locke to Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche to John Rawls must have joined too in jubilation celebrating the power of the unexplained phenomenon only people like Ka Elisa and Emir hold the key of unlocking its secret reliving and validating the wisdom and  relevance of their Valentine’s pick-up lines – all talking the magic that is love whose grandeur and beauty indeed makes the whole world go round. This evening’s case, in the forest!
            “Roses are red my love, violets are blue. God is dead, now let’s screw’” Ka Liza might have quoted Nietzsche’s verbatim rarin’ to go challenging finally where her sexual fantasy would led her to.
            To which the young priest gradually feeling uncontrollably the heat  horny might have also quoted Immanuel Kant’s: “Two things owe me the most (tonight) – the starry sky above me and you below me.”
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