Kamera

Nagpuli ako sa harong kan magurang,
Dara an kamera maretrato kan ogma,
Pinsan saka partidaryo nagsabat usyoso,
Kun siisay an iba dai ko na bistado.
Tano ta ngonian lang ika uminabot?
An dakul na yaon iyo man sabay an hapot.

Kan si Neneng nagtapos sa elementarya,
Gusto man kuta na retrato igwa.
Kan si Nonoy nagsakay si Mando kaiba,
Sa likod kan karabaw paduman sa oma.
Pagsikwat pagkulambitay pagsakat nin balimbing
Bayawas santol abokado tambis asin mangga
Sa solar ta kun bulan nin mga bunga.
Dakul na pasko naghalat naghidaw naghadit saimo,
Kan si Neneng magbaklay sa tinampo,
Nag Reyna Elena magaya-gaya kaidto.
Si Nonoy baga na an nag-ooma,
An damulag kaya naipagbenta na,
Si Mando may sadiri na man pamilya.
Mga kahoy saro-saro nabungkag kan bagyo,
Pinutol pigpupo ginatong pan luto,
Sa palibot kan tugsaran tinaltag an abo.
Si Neneng habo naman mag Reyna Elena,
Dai na mapirit gurang na daa oyog pa ninda.
Kun dai kaya naghali nawili sa ibang rona,
Agi-agi kan pamilya naheling man kuta,
Dai na kaipuhan pati an kamera,
Sa puso sa daghan yaon pirmi na.

Editor’s Note:
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The writer returns to the house of his parents where he grew up. He brought with him a camera. Cousins and relatives were on hand for his visit, some he could not remember anymore or don’t know yet. Despite that prevailing atmosphere, the relatives were one in asking the newcomer on why it took him long to come home or even visit.

Then he was told of things he missed.

When Neneng graduated from the elementary, how she liked to have a photo for the event. Or, when Nonoy and Mando took their first ride on the back of their farm animal, a carabao. Or the many summers (spring?) when trees are full of ripened fruits (star fruit, guava, avocado, etc.) and Nonoy and Mando climb and pick fruits without him.

So many Christmasses they missed, wished, even got worried for him to be around. He also missed how delighted Neneng walked on the main street as the Queen of Maytime festivities, which usually happen at night.

Time has lapsed, Nonoy took over the farm chores, the carabao sold already. Mando has got his own family now. The fruit bearing trees were gone due to repeated typhoons. As years went by, one by one went down,  they were chopped, dried and used as firewood. The ashes were scattered over the backyard afterwards.

Neneng do not want to be Maytime queen anymore. She has passed the age to be one, even the crowd agree.

Confronted with the facts, he had deep thought had he not left for some distant place. Maybe, he would have seen and lived the life with the family and a camera now is not needed. All these would have been stored in his heart and on his breast (and, memory?).

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