Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the tides, part 10

Note : The following is a continuation to a story this author started writing last year. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.

With nothing but the sun’s slow descent from the zenith to keep Theo company that afternoon, he watched with growing interest the blur of activities taking place near his perch, by the jagged rocks along the beach. It had already been more than an hour, when, from the six village men that had appeared by the curve, setting down the life-sized statue of the Blessed Virgin on the sands which was followed closely by this year’s hermana mayor—a woman with greying hair and a loud mouth— the spot had become a veritable hub of religious activity, this side of the island. Little girls clad in white, carrying baskets of red and white petals, formed a neat little line beside the hermana, who’s now caught in the heat of an argument, driving her point at the reverend with clenched fists as to why the cantores should go ahead of the altar boys the minute the procession starts. Filling the air with voices badly in need of fine-tuning, are the cantores themselves, practicing the hymns that will accompany the procession to the small chapel just a little way after the bend, on the island’s other side.

Theo watched all of these with the curiosity of an outsider; amazed at how even though the event badly needed the expertise of a professional events organizer from a city-dweller’s viewpoint, the whole affair still managed to retain an air of wonder and mysticism. He only had to look at the faces of those in attendance to see—fishermen’s wives with their kids and dogs in tow; all wide-eyed with excitement. Even the men of the village were present—standing by their boats adorned with triangular pieces of paper especially made for the occasion—in rapt attention as the hermana issued her final instruction : to haul the statue of the Blessed Virgin over to one of the boats. And, finally, sealing an hour’s worth of preparation, the loud clanging of hand bells from two altar boys going around the crowd amidst the persistent yapping of dogs.

A hand tentatively brushed past his right shoulder. He looked to see Manang Linda smiling. Behind her, Manong Gerry is busy getting his candle lit by someone from the crowd. “We told you its gonna be a special one, didn’t we? It’s sad that Clem couldn’t be with us this year. He should have gotten a vacation too and came here with you. Come now, the procession’s about to start”.

Theo smiled the sanest one he could muster, and motioned for the couple to go ahead. He looked in the direction of the sea. In just a few minutes of losing himself to the preparations, its waters had turned golden in the light of the setting sun. Boats have become mere ashen wraiths plying its waters, swallowed by the magnificence of its glittering tides; and the songs, just as they were starting to get sung, instantaneously receded with each step, as the procession started to make its way to the chapel.

to be continued