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Kapitan Sino - Chapter 13


Published at 18th of March 2018 11:15:59 PM

Chapter 13

KS Chapter 13


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As it darkens, the amount of people in the plaza grow thicker . Bottle caps, ice packs, and straws litter the ground, thrown by people drinking soft drinks going here and there curiously . The bells of ice drop sellers and shouts of popcorn and cotton candy peddlers ring loud . The goods for sale overflow from the sidewalk to the street: suman, puto,

kutsinta,

meringue,

ampaw,

biscuits, and big plastic bags of puto seko .

Parents carrying their children can't keep their kids down, while they bump into cliques of teenagers, arms around each other's shoulders, clogging the streets . This is how Rogelio painted the picture to Tessa whilst on top of Sto . Domingo, the same church where he hung the first thief he caught .

"How wonderful, like a fiesta," facing the direction of the people, Tessa gently smiles .

"Um…yeah, but there are a lot of police and barangay tanods—"

"Are they the ones playing that sound?" Tessa is talking about the five notes being repeated, a sound that could come from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind .

"Yup, I think they're trying to contact Captain Who from outer space . "

"Will he come?"

Rogelio glances at the maiden who cannot see . "Maybe when he's accepted that that's his name now . "

"Who called you that anyway?"

"I don't know . And to be honest, I'm scared to find out . "

The two giggle . Rogelio continues describing the events to her . The busy teenagers placing down chairs on the stage . Municipal officials with megaphones giving directions to people . Old men wearing vests, part of some kind of organization . Old women wearing veils, like they're in the middle of a novena¹ . And tricycles and Ford Fieras that suddenly sprouted on the street .

"I hope it doesn't rain . "

"It won't . "

"How do you know?"

"The moon's out . "

"Really?" Tessa grins, like a kid that only got out of the house now . "Is it beautiful?"

"Yes . "

"Bright?"

"Yes . "

"Are there stars in the sky?"


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"Yes . "

"Not a lot of clouds?"

"Yes . "

"You're lying?”

"How'd you know?!"

"Because you're not looking at the sky . "

Rogelio has brown skin, but for a moment, as he removes his gaze from Tessa, he turns red . The night grows colder and he feels the chill graze the nape of his neck, the short  black hair of the maiden dancing shortly in the wind . He looks again at Tessa, her small and gentle face, her lips drying in the cold wind, her tall neck with her slender body, the person he can never admit is the happiness of his world . A few minutes run by with no one speaking, so he finds himself thanking her for Captain Who's costume .

"Even if it makes you look like a dumbass?"

"No way, who said that?"

Tessa laughs . After a few moments, against his will, Rogelio starts to question as well . "Do I really look like a dumbass?"

Tessa smiles with pursed lips and faces him . "I have no eyesight . I can't see masks . The only thing I could see is who you really are . "

"Then, if I was handsome under the mask, you wouldn't even be able to know!"

"I won't know, but then I will feel pity for you . "

"Why?"

"Because many people may fall for you seeing your looks instead of seeing you . "

"Um, yeah, but isn't life harder if…if for example I look like Bok-bok?"

"First of all, I don't know what Bok-bok looks like . Second, isn't love sweeter when it  isn't just about how you look?"

"Then what if it's about riches? Or powers?"

"That isn't love . "

"So what if you have no looks, or money, and nobody loves you?"

"Do you really believe in your questions?"

"No, but—"

"Exupery said, what is essential is invisible to the eye . "

"Do you really believe in your answers?"


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"Do you know what is the difference between blind people and those who could see?"

"Eyesight?"

"Those who can see do not know when they are blind . "

"Then, can you see everything that the eye cannot?"

"I could feel it," Tessa embraces herself to fight the cold . "My father once said that I shouldn't be sad, because I am only blind to outer appearances, and I could know the world better because appearances do not blind me . "

"Hehe . "

"What's funny?"

"Nothing . I just remembered the time when Bok-bok lost thirty pesos to a phone pal . "

"Thirty?! Why, you could eat at Cindy's with that!"

"That's kind of what happened . He spent more meeting up with his phone pal at Tropical Hut . He emptied his savings, but on the date they weren't able to talk . From what I know they were supposed to watch Iron Eagle too, but I guess they got scared of each other . Hahaha . "

"Scary indeed . "

"You mean Bok-bok?"

"To confuse yourself with the idea that you cannot be loved, or to be mistakenly loved by a person only by your looks . "

"Of course, in some way, you could never remove from those who can see the importance of looks . "

"Important how? Why are there couples like Aling Baby and Mang Boy, where the people call them 'ape look-alikes', yet are still happy in each other; and why are there many handsome and beautiful couples that still end in break up?"

"Hmmm…you have a point . You know, you deserve your own television program, you being so smart and all . "

"Your nose is growing . And where will I feature, in the That's Entertainment that Bok-bok talks about? The one where he boasts about you looking like a celebrity from?"

"Me? That block head! Why is he revealing my secret? Who did he say I look—"

"Some Jograd de la Torre?"

"Jograd?!” Rogelio smashes an empty bottle of Royal Tru Orange in his fist that he picked up a while ago and was spinning around .

"What was that?"

"Nothing . Just stepped on a bottle . "

'Did I say something wrong?" Tessa's brows suddenly wrinkle when a thought enters her head, "Is Bok-bok playing with me again?"


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"Nah . Jograd de la Torre is a celebrity . It's just that he's such a good looking guy, I don't look like him at all . " Rogelio is focused on Tessa's reactions . "B-but…let's say that I do look celebrity-esque…is Captain Who truly a hero then?"

"There are requirements to heroism?" Tessa faces nothingness again and holds the sill of the belfry, still like a child with unending laughter . "What time did Bok-bok say he'll arrive?"

"He didn't say anything . He was able to salvage a good amount of copper, he might still be haggling with Mang Dino . "

"This late?"

"Yup . Sometimes, the people in the junk shop don't even sleep . "

"Shame, he hasn't been here before either . The wind is so lovely too . "

"Yeah, the wind is the only thing I could afford to treat you to right now . "

"And the moon . "

"Haha . And the stars?"

"And the stars . "

"And a cloudless night?"

"And a cloudless night . You're turning into a poet again . Are you still writing poems?"

"Yes, but—"

"I know already, I won't press you . I remember, you can only 'compose' when you're serious, and it's quiet, and you're alone, and all you say is coming from your heart . "

"But, for real, the moon right now is beautiful . As bright as a spotlight . " Rogelio stares at the sky mouth agape . "I hope it brownouts so we could get a better view . "

"Have you ever thought of the possibility that you're not actually human, and that you really came from the moon or something?"

"Yeah . "

"Aren't you lonely knowing there isn't anyone like you?"

"There are a lot of people here much lonelier than a man living on the moon . And you don't need a lot of people to make a world feel complete . Sometimes, you only need to be with one person, and your world is complete forever . "

"Ah, I like that! I like that!" Tessa bites her finger after slapping and holding Rogelio's arm .

"Which one? Which one?"

"This Carole King song," the maiden stops talking to let him hear the music from the plaza that has changed towards love songs .

"You were talking about that?!"

"Because what the woman is saying is so sad, he loves the guy so much the night before but he can't help but ask if he will still love her tomorrow . "

"Isn't that song old? They were repeating that all night last prom . It's probably the same audio guys too . They probably don't have a lot of vinyl records . "

"You didn't dance?"

"You didn't come . "

Tessa wasn't able to answer immediately . The silence was long before she was able to answer again . "I didn't have anything to wear . "

"Of all the people to use that excuse, you?"

"I'm not particular with how people look, but what person wants to look pitiful on their prom night?"

"And who said that that's possible for you?"

"My, next he'll say be saying that I'm pretty or something . Next thing you know, he'll be asking me out!"

Rogelio only answers with a shy laugh . He sniffs a bit, before taking a deep breath to fill his lungs with fresh air . He looks again at the busy people on the street; the beautiful lights strung on the posts are starting to be lit . He nails his mind to these thoughts so that he won't be nervous in the conversation .

"Rogelio, am I pretty?"

His confidence is now completely shattered due to Tessa's joking . He knows that if he answers yes that the girl will think of him as a shallow person .

"No . "

"I'm not pretty?"

"Yes! No, I mean—"

Tessa is a bit dismayed to the boy's careful answers . "I'm not asking you how I look . Close your eyes . Rogelio, am I pretty?"

Rogelio closes his eyes and in his mind looks at Tessa . The beats of his heart pick up, along with the dropping temperature of the night . His dry throat, weak will, and strong fear made the important words hard to say, and he had to pause sometimes to get it all out . "Y-you're more than beautiful…more tha…more than the eye could see and the spirit could discern…more than songs could paint…and words could sculpt…more than flighty dreams and deep poems…more than anything that can be composed . " Rogelio whispers the last of his answer, and looks at Tessa with his last sentence . The girl did not reply . But her answer was clear when he grabs Rogelio's hand to wrap it around her, while embracing the boy tightly .

"Kiss me, kiss me like a bloodthirsty bat, Rogelio!"

"Yes, Tessa, I am a bloodthirsty bat!"

"Rogelio?!" A crisp question snaps him back to reality . "Why are you…a bat?"

The boy opens his eyes and looks around as if looking to blame someone else . "Did I say something?"

"I don't know with you—bloodthirsty bat!"

Rogelio scratches his head . Laughs . Frustrated . And he scratches his head once more trying to explain to Tessa the inexplicable fantasy .

Under the bright circle moon, atop the old church taller than some of the neighboring trees, the two continued to feast in a joyous night of laughter and deep conversation . The sky and stars bear witness . As the Carole King record repeated throughout the night .

Translation Notes:

1 – Novena’s are a Roman Catholic tradition (Philippines is a majority Roman Catholic nation) wherein you pray for nine consecutive days as a show of devotion . (from Wikipedia)



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