AND I WAS CARRIED AWAY
Ug Gianod Ako
I do not want to see you again. I am angry at myself for what I have done. We haven’t seen each other for five months or more. But last night, we met at Letoile Parlor. I didn’t expect to see you there, but I found you seated in front of me. You probably noticed that I immediately look down the minute I saw you. Why I behaved that way, you will soon know. For the time being, it is enough for you to know that something had sneaked into my breast causing my flesh to shudder. I lost my appetite for ice cream.
I was forced to look up when you asked: Say, Kid, where have you been all these month? You probably observed how long it took me to answer you though my mouth is open. The words I uttered were hardly intelligible because of my stammering. I answered: “Just around, Kid. Well actually, I went home to the barrio. I was not permitted to come back right away because my father was ill.” Whether you were satisfied with my answer or not, it would probably be much better for you to know that what I had said was a downright lie.
It took me a while to fall asleep that night. I tossed and turned and lay prone on my bed. That was the first time it happened to me. My mind was confused, my memories entangled in a thick mesh. Then… You came to me in the figure of a lion. Your eyes that glared at me were like two balls of fire. My body burned from heat. You spread your fingers and your strong shaking arms tried to reach out for my neck. Then you shouted: Traitor! Ingrate! Beast! You have to pay… You have to! You have to! I trembled with fear and knelt before you begging: “Kid, Kid, please, I am innocent. I am not the one at fault, believe me… But even if I am to blame, please forgive me, please, please…”
Thank God I woke up and saw the sun smiling in the east. Its rays that slipped through the slits in the walls of my room woke me and dragged me from a hazy world back to reality. I thought that you had strangled me until my tongue stuck out and I died, leaving behind a riddle that would only disturb your mind.
Smoke cannot be grasped by the hand; it will always escape. The flow of water in a river cannot be stopped; it will always seek a way out to the sea. So the first thing I did when I realized that I could still move my fingers, was to write you. I don’t want you to learn of this from others. It is important that you hear my explanation first. I am writing this letter in the belief that the truth is bound to come out; to prove that I am the same person you knew and trusted. There is no other way. I know you will be furious after reading this letter. I fear that you might vent your anger on just anybody. Surprised, that person will defend himself but will first declare that he has done you no harm.
It is best for me to start.
We have been close friends since 1929 when we were classmates in first year high school. We went daily to school together. I called you Kid, and you likewise called me Kid.
We got separated in the years that followed. I quit my studies not because my parents could no longer afford to pay my school fees, but for a personal reason only you and a few of our friends know about. You were aware of my weakness and you always encouraged me to fight it. I can never forget what you told me once: “The only way to prevent you from going crazy over women. Kid, is to stay away from them. That devil called woman has always been the cause of man’s failures. Stay away from them while you still have some ambition left to climb to the top.”
Your sensible advice and friendly encouragement did not penetrate my senses. I could not escape and up to now, I am still a prisoner of my own weakness. Because of this…Oh because of this… We no longer went to school together, but still went out on bright or moonless nights. Wherever the good movie was, we were there sitting side by side, puffing our cigarettes. From the movie, we would drop by Letoile...
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