Nanking Store

Pages: 9 (3938 words) Published: August 2, 2012
is a famous English and Visayan story primarily fiction in verse. He also is a professor of Ateneo de Davao University. His famous workds were BALYAN,"Ang Bata na Dili Matulog" won first prize and "Nanking Store" won third prize in the Palanca Award. He is a native of Davao City and presently residing at Catalunan Grande.

by Macario D. Tiu
I was three years old then, but I still have vivid memories of Peter and Linda's wedding. What I remember most was jumping and romping on their pristine matrimonial bed after the wedding. I would learn later that it was to ensure that their first-born would be a boy. I was chosen to do the honors because I was robust and fat. I also remember that I got violently sick after drinking endless bottles of soft drink. I threw up everything that I had eaten, staining Linda's shimmering satin wedding gown. Practically the entire Chinese community of the city was present. There was so much food that some Bisayan children from the squatter's area were allowed to enter the compound to eat at a shed near the kitchen. During their first year of marriage, Linda often brought me to their house in Bajada. She and Peter would pick me up after nursery school from our store in their car. She would tell Mother it was her way of easing her loneliness, as all her relatives and friends were in Cebu, her hometown. Sometimes I stayed overnight with them. I liked going there because she pampered me, feeding me fresh fruits as well as preserved fruits like dikiam, champoy and kiamoy. Peter was fun too, making me ride piggyback. He was very strong and did not complain about my weight. Tua Poy, that's what she fondly called me. It meant Fatso. I called her Achi, and Peter, Ahiya. They were a happy couple. I would see them chase each other among the furniture and into the rooms. There was much laughter in the house. It was this happy image that played in my mind about Peter and Linda for a long time. I was six years old when I sensed that something had gone wrong with their marriage. Linda left the Bajada house and moved into the upstairs portions of Nanking Store which was right across from Father's grocery store in Santa Ana. The Bajada residence was the wedding gift of Peter's parents to the couple. It was therefore strange that Linda would choose to live in Santa Ana while Peter would stay in Bajada, a distance of some three kilometers.. In Santa Ana where the Chinese stores were concentrated, the buildings used to be uniformly two storeys high. The first floor was the store; the second floor was the residence. But in time some Chinese grew prosperous and moved out to establish little enclaves in different parts of the city and in the suburbs. We remained in Santa Ana. One late afternoon, after school, I caught Linda at home talking with Mother. "Hoa, Tua Poya. You've grown very tall!" Linda greeted me, ruffling my hair. At that age, the show of affection made me feel awkward and I sidled up to Mother. Linda gave me two Mandarin oranges. I stayed at the table in the same room, eating an orange and pretending not to listen to their conversation. I noticed that Linda's eyes were tearful and sad, not the eyes that I remembered. Her eyes used to be full of light and laughter. Now her eyes were somber even when her voice sounded casual and happy. "I got bored in Bajada," Linda said. "I thought I'd help Peter at the store." That was how she explained why she had moved to Santa Ana. I wanted to know if she could not do that by going to the store in the morning and returning home to Bajada at night like Peter did. I wished Mother would ask the question, but she did not. However, at the New Canton Barbershop I learned the real reason. One night Mother told me to fetch Father because it was past eight o'clock and he hadn't had his supper. As a family we ate early. Like most Chinese, we would close the store by five and go up to the second floor to eat supper. The New Canton Barbershop served as the...
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