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‘Pag may tahong, may sagot

UMUUSOK pa ang higit sandosenang tahong nang ihain sa harap. Malasado lang—na tahasang hinihiling sa mag-iihaw. Bahagyang nakabuka ang takip para hindi lubusang lantad ang malarosas na laman. Masining na nakahanay sa dahon ng saging na isinapin sa lalagyang munting bilao. Pumailanlang at humaplos sa ilong ang sanghaya ng tabsing, ng tubig-alat na pinagmulan.

“Bakit ba ang hilig mo sa tahong?” untag ng naglapag sa hapag ng pulutan. Kasunod ang paglapag-himas ng kamay nito sa isang hita ng sumisimsim ng Cerveza Negra. Totoo talaga ang kasabihan. The hand is faster than the thigh.

Muntik mapaigtad sa mainit-init na dampi ng laman ng kausap. Nagtimpi’t nagpaliwanag: “Pampatigas daw. Saka masarap. Mura pa. Ganitong ganito pa ang hitsura ng malinamnam na… basta malinamnam din.”

“Hindi totoo ‘yan. Ba’t wala pa ‘kong nararamdamang tumitigas?”

Inilawit ang dila: “’Ta’mo naninigas na nga ‘tong dila ko. Epekto sa pagkain ng tahong.”

Napangiti ang mata ng serbidora sa tinuran. Maharot at nanunukso ang ngiti sa labi, ay, luv ya majora… “Mas masarap ang tahong ko.”

“Baka masaid lang ang katas ng tahong mo kapag sinisid ko ‘yan,” maagap na sukli sa pakli na tila may kung anong patutunguhan.

“Marunong kang sumisid doon?”

“Basta walang red tide, ha?”

Humagikgik ang gaga, parang inaantok na ang mga matang nagpapatianod sa anumang patutunguhan ng biruan. Tuloy tuloy na siguro. Diretsahan na’t mauuwi sa biglang liko. Kung baga sa dinamita, tahong ang mitsa. Masisindihan. Sasagitsit para sa inaasaha’t hindi mapipigil na putukan.

“O ano?” hamon ng naghain.

“Ikaw. Baka mapasubo ka,” iglap na salag.

“Isusubo ko talaga!”

Mangungunyapit ang tahong sa anumang makakapitan nito. Mismong mga himulmol sa tila nakangangang bunganga ang ilalapat na mahigpit sa anumang makakapitan. Maaaring tipak ng bato, tulos ng kawayan o sampayang lambat. Ibubukaka ang kakatwang bibig para sumagap ng samut-saring pantustos-buhay—karaniwang detritus o mga mumunting tipak ng organikong basura para maitawid ang gutom.

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