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Tigalpo (Standard Express)

SAGLIT nawaglit sa isip ni Ama na tatablan ng libog ang sinumang babae, lalo na’t kulang sa irrigation. Kahit pa inihahanda sa pagtanggap ng kaalamang lihim, may pagkakataon na sa silangan hahapay ang isang pigi’t sa kanluran naman ang isa pa upang salpakan ng muhon ang balon.

Sa madaling sabi’y nabigyan ng irrigation—napairi siguro – at muling nakatupad sa banal na tagubilin. Tumihaya, este, humayo’t nakarami. Nabuntis nga. Pero hindi si Ama ang may kagagawan ng hinalang himala.

Kahit siya matulis, hindi naman harumpakan ang pakay ni Ama sa naturang babae. Anthropological research daw. Rather than swap bodily fluids, my old man intended to swap notes about a certain know-how that was revealed by an elder of hers to that female respondent. Something bout a certain death sentence.

Matagal din kasing naglaro ng qi gong o sining ng hininga si Ama. Sumasabay noon sa mga Chino tuwing umaga. May mga bahagi ng galaw ng katawan na sinasaliwan ng isa-dalawahing pantig na kataga. Na nagpapatibay sa iba’t ibang internal body organs, ayon sa mga Chino. Pinahuhusay, ginagawang matatag pati na body immune system para hindi maging sakitin. That’s an upside.

There ought to be a downside. Batay lang sa paniniwala ng mga inapo nina Lao-tze at Sun Tzu. Kung may yin, laging may yang.

Tiyak na mayroon ding mga mga kataga na talagang tataga’t mag-iiwan ng mga mortal na sugat sa katawan. Kukutuban na hindi lang dalawahing pantig ang mga ganoong kataga—na titibag naman o unti-unting wawasak sa internal body organs. O sasalantain ang body immune system para gawing kuta ang katawan ng samut-saring karamdaman.

Let’s say we host carcinoma angels inside us. Cancer cells. They just await in ambush, maybe a certain trigger to multiply like nobody’s business to reach critical mass. And once they get to that level, we’re ready for an appointment with an embalmer.

Nagbanta raw ang isang madre yata na naging biktima ng panunupil sa panahon ni Pangulong Ferdinand E. Marcos. Ni hindi kikilabutan sa banta. Ipagdarasal daw niya na maghuramentado sa pagdami ang carcinoma angels at iba pang pumapatay na anghel na taglay ng diktador sa kanyang katawan. Natigok nga ang diktador sa sakit.

And that, for my old man, embodies a path of inquiry. Kalkal. Bungkal. Halungkat.

Dalangin. Rezo. Oracion. Pangungusap. Affirmation. Sentence. Death sentence?

Nasumpungan ang death affirmation sa Sanskrit. Maran mantra ang tawag. Even the Sufi mystic Rumi gave an account how it was used, ah, muttered under the breath, to kill an animal.

And so the old man stumbled upon a Sanskrit syllable corresponding to fire that can be uttered in a stream to inflict harm, cause the intended victim to wither and well, die. “Parang kandilang nauupos” was how that infanticipating single mom introduced earlier had described the manner of a victim’s death.Such death sentence, actually just a stream of a single Sanskrit syllable muttered under the breath is irreversible, oh, horrors… We ought to amend that idiomatic phrase, if looks could kill. We know better now. Looks don’t.

Kaya siguro ayaw siputan ni Ama ang mga pagtitipon o pulong na may mga taong hindi niya ibig makausap. Baka kung ano pa kasi ang mabigkas na pangungusap.

Saka tahasang tutumutupad si Ama sa Coughlin’s Law yata. Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.

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