Her nails were long. but they were non painted. She was fragrant like a forenoon when papaia are in bloom. And a little pregnant chad appeared momently high up on her cheek. “And this is Labang. of whom I have heard so much. ” She held the carpus of one manus with the other and looked at Labang. and Labang ne’er stopped masticating his rechewed food. He swallowed and brought up to his oral cavity more rechewed food. and the sound of his interior was like a membranophone. I laid a manus on Labang’s monolithic cervix and said to her: “You may rub his brow now. “She hesitated and I saw that her eyes were on the long curving horns.
But she came and touched Labang’s brow with her long fingers. and Labang ne’er stopped masticating his rechewed food except that his large eyes were half closed. And by and by. she was rubing his forehead really daintly. My brother Leon put down the two short pantss on the grassy side of the route. He paid Ca Celin twice the usual menu from the station to the border of Nagrebcan. Then he was standing beside us. and she turned to him thirstily. I watched Ca Celin. where he stood in forepart of his Equus caballus. and he ran his fingers through its forelock and could non maintain his eyes off from her. Maria—“ my brother Leon said.
He did non state Maring. He did non state Mayang. I knew so that he had ever called her Maria ; and in my head I said. “Maria. ” and it was a beautiful name. ”Yes. Noel” Now where did she acquire that name? I pondered the affair softly to myself. believing Father might non like it. But it was merely the name of my brother Leon said backwards. and it sounded much better that manner. “There is Nagrebcan. Maria” my brother said gesticulating widely toward the West. She moved near to him. And after a piece she said softly: You love Nagrebcan. don’t you. Noel?
Ca Celin drove off hi-yi-ing to his Equus caballus aloud. At the crook of the camino existent where the large duhat tree grew. he rattled the grip of his braided Calamus rotang whip against the radiuss of the wheel. We stood entirely on the wayside. The Sun was in our eyes. for it was dunking into the bright sea. The sky was broad deep and really bluish above us ; but along the saw-tooth rim of the Katayaghan hills to the sou’-west flamed immense multitudes of clouds. Before us the Fieldss swam in a aureate haze through which floated large purple and ruddy and xanthous bubbles when I looked at the sinking Sun.
Labang’s white coat. which I had washed and brushed that forenoon with coconut chaff. glistened like beaten cotton under the lamplight and his horns appeared tipped with fire. He faced the Sun and from his oral cavity came a call so loud and vivacious that the Earth seemed to tremble underfoot. And far manner in the center of the Fieldss a cow lowed soflty in reply. “Hitch him to the cart. Baldo. ” my brother Leon said. laughing and she laughed with him a spot uncertainly. and I saw he had put his weaponries around her shoulders. “Why does he do that sound? ” she asked. “I have ne’er heard the like of it. ”
“There is non another like it. ” my brother Leon said. I have yet to hear another bull call like Labang. In all the universe there is no other bull like him. ” She was smiling at him. and I stopped in the act of binding the Vinca across Labang’s cervix to the opposite terminal of the yoke. because her dentition was really white. her eyes were so full of laughter. and there was a little pregnant chad high up on her right cheek. “If you continue to speak about him like that. either I shall fall in love with him or go really covetous. ” My brother Leon laughed and she laughed and they looked at each other and it seemed to me there was a universe of laughter between them and in them.
I climbed into the cart over the wheel and Labang would hold bolted for he was ever like that. but I kept house clasp on his rope. He was ungratified and would non stand still. . so that New York brother Leon had to state “Labang” once more. my brother Leon lifted the short pantss into the cart. puting the smaller 1 on top. She looked down one time on her high heeled places. so she gave her left manus to my brother Leon. placed a pes on the hub of the wheel. and in one breath she had swung into the cart.
Oh. the aroma of her! But Labang was reasonably dancing with restlessness and it was all I could make to maintain him from running off. Give us the rope. Baldo. ” my brother Leon said. “ Maria. set on the hay and keep on to anything. ” Then he put a pes on the left shaft and that instant Labang leaped frontward. My brother Leon laughed as he drew himself up to the top of the side of the cart and made the slack of the rope hushing above the dorsum of Labang. The air current whistled against my cheeks and the rattle of the wheels on the pebbly route echoed in my ears. She sat up directly on the underside of the cart. legs dead set together to one side. her skirt spread over them so that merely the toes and the heels of her places were seeable.
Her eyes were on my brother Leon’s back ; I saw the air current on her hair. When Labang slowed down. my brother Leon handed me the rope. I knelt on the straw inside the cart and pulled on the rope until Labang was simply scuffling along. so I made him turn around. “What is it you have forgotten now. Baldo? ” my brother Leon said. I did non state anything but tickled with my fingers the hindquarters of Labang ; and off we went back to where I had in hitched and waited for them. The Sun had sunk and down from the wooded sides of the Katayaghan hills shadows were stealing into the Fieldss.
When I sent Labang down the deep cut that would take us to the dry bed of the Waig. which could be used as a way to our topographic point during the dry season. my brother Leon laid a manus on my shoulder and said severely: “Who told you to drive through the Fieldss tonight? “His manus was heavy on my shoulder. but I did non look at him or express a word until we were on the bouldery underside of the Waig. “Baldo. you fool. reply me before I lay the rope of Labang on you. Why do you follow the Waig alternatively of the Camino existent? ” His fingers bit into my shoulder.
“Father- he told me to follow the Waig tonight. Manong. Swiftly his manus fell off from my shoulder and he reached for the rope of Labang. Then my brother Leon laughed. and he sat back. and express joying still. he said: “And I suppose Father besides told you to catch Labang to the cart and run into us with him alternatively of the Castano and the calesa. ” Without waiting forn me to reply. he turned to her and said. “Maria. why do you believe Father should make that. now? ” He laughed and added. “Have you of all time seen so many stars before? ” I looked back and they were sitting side by side. tilting against the short pantss. custodies clasped across the articulatio genuss.
Apparently but a man’s tallness above the tops of the steep Bankss of the Waig. hung the stars. But in the deep gorge the shadows had fallen to a great extent. and even the white of Labang’s coat was chirped from their places in the clefts in the Bankss. The midst. unpleasant odor of Dangla shrubs and chilling sun-heated Earth mingled with the clean. crisp aroma of arrais roots exposed to the dark air and of the hay inside the cart. “Look. Noel. yonder is our star! ” Deep surprise and gladfulness were in her voice. Very low in the West. about touching the ragged border of the bank. was the star. the biggest and brightest in the sky.
I have been looking at it. ” my brother Leon said. “Do you remember how I would state you that when you want to see stars you must come to Nagrebcan? ” . “Yes. Noel. ” she said. “Look at it she murmured. half to herself. “It is so many times bigger than it was at Ermita beach. ”The air here is clean and free of dust fume. ” So it is Noel. ” she said. pulling a long breath. “Making merriment of me. Maria? “She laughed so. and they laughed together and she took my brother Leon’s manus and put it against her face. I stopped Labang. climbed down. and lighted the lantern that hung from the cart. and my bosom American ginseng.
Now the shadows took fear and did non herd so nigh. Clumps of andadasi and arias flashed into position and rapidly disappeared as we passed by. Ahead. the extended shadow of Labang bobbled up and down and swayed drunkenly from side to side. for the lantern rocked spasmodically with the cart. “Have we far to travel yet. Noel? ” she asked. “Ask Baldo. ” my brother Leon said. ”we have been pretermiting him. ”
“I am inquiring you. Baldo. ”she said. Without looking back. I answered. picking my words easy: “Soon we will acquire out of the Waig and base on balls into the Fieldss. After the Fieldss is place – Manang. “So near already. ” I did non state anything more. because I did non cognize what to do of the tone of her voice as she said her last words. All the laughter seemed to hold gone out of her. I waited for my brother Leon to state something. but he was non stating anything. Suddenly he broke out into vocal and the vocal was “Sky Sown with Stars” –the same that he and father sang when he cut hay in the Fieldss of darks before he went off to analyze. He must hold taught her the vocal because she joined him. and her voice flowed into him like a soft watercourse run intoing a stronger one.
And each clip the wheel encountered a large stone. a voice would catch in her pharynx. but my brother Leon would sing on. until. express joying quietly. she would fall in him once more. Then we were mounting out into the Fieldss. and through the radiuss of the wheels the visible radiation of the lantern mocked the shadows. Labang quickened his stairss. The jolting became more frequent and painful as we crossed the low butchs. “But it is so really broad here. ” she said. The visible radiation of the stars broke and scattered the darkness so that one could see far on every side. though dimly. You miss the houses. and the autos. and the people and the noise. don’t you? ” My brother Leon stopped singing. “Yes. but in a different manner. I am glad they are non here. ”
With trouble. I turned Labang to the left. for he wanted to travel directly on. He was take a breathing difficult. but I knew he was more thirsty than tired. In a small piece. we drove up the grassy side onto the camino existent. “-you see. ” my brother Leon was explicating. “the camino existent curves around the pes of the Katayaghan hills and base on ballss by our house. We drove through the Fieldss. because- but I’ll be inquiring father every bit shortly as we get home” “Noel. ” she said. Yes. Maria. ” “I am afraid. He may non wish me. ” “Does that worry you still. Maria? ” my brother said. “From the manner you talk. he might be an monster. for all the universe. Except when his leg that was wounded in the revolution is disturbing him. Father is the mildest treated. gentlest adult male I know. ” We came to the house of Lacay Julian and I spoke to Labang aloud. but Moning did non come to the window. so I surmised she must be eating with the remainder of her household. And I thought of the nutrient being made ready at place and my oral cavity watered.
We met the twins. Urong and Celin. and I said “ Hoy. ” naming them by name. And they shouted back and asked if my brother Leon and his married woman were with me. And my brother Leon shouted to them and so told me to do Labang run ; their replies were lost in the noise of the wheels. I stopped Labang on the route before our house and would hold gotten down. but my brother Leon took the rope and told me to remain in the cart. He turned Labang into the unfastened gate and we dashed into our pace. I thought we would crash into the bole of the manila tamarind tree. but my brother Leon reined in Labang in clip.
There was light downstairs in the kitchen. and Mother stood in the room access. and I could see her smiling shyly. My brother Leon was assisting Maria over the wheel. The first words that fell from his lips after he had kissed Mother’s manus were: “Father – where is he? ” “He is in his room upstairs. ” Mother said. her face going serious. “His leg is trouble oneselfing him once more. ” I did non hear anything more because I had to travel back to the cart to unhitch Labang. But I had barely tied him under the barn when I heard Father naming me. I met my brother Leon traveling to convey up the short pantss.
As I passed through the kitchen. there were Mother and my sister Aurelia and Maria. and it seemed to me they were shouting. all of them. There was no visible radiation in Father’s room. There was no motion. He sat in the large armchair by the eastern window. and a star shone straight though it. He was smoking. but he removed the axial rotation of baccy from his oral cavity when he saw me. He laid it carefully on the windowsill before speech production. “Did you run into anybody on the manner? ” “No. Father. ” I said. “Nobody passes through the Waig at dark. ” He reached for his axial rotation of baccy and hitched himself up in the chair.
“She is really beautiful. Father. “Was she afraid of Labang? ” My male parent had non raised his voice. but the room seemed to echo with it. And once more I saw her eyes on the long curving horns and the arm off my brother Leon around her shoulders. “No. Father. she was non afraid. ” “On the way-““She looked at the stars. Father And Manong Leon American ginseng. ” “What did he sing? ” “Sky Sown with Stars. ” She sang with him. He was soundless once more. I could hear the low voices of Mother and my sister Aurelia downstairs. There was besides the voice of my brother Leon. and I thought that Father’s voice must hold been like it when he was immature.
He had laid the axial rotation of baccy on the windowsill one time more. I watched the fume waver faintly upward from the lit terminal and vanish easy into the dark outside. The door opened and my brother Leon and Maria came in. “Have you watered Labang? ” Father spoke to me. I told him that Labang was resting yet under the barn. “It is clip you watered him. my boy. ” My male parent said. I looked at Maria and she was lovely. She was tall. Beside my brother Leon. she was tall and really still. Then I went out. and in the darkened hall the aroma of her was like a forenoon when papaia are in bloom.