Winding up activities in the Cordillera last Friday, Ah Kong sniffed around like a mangy dog that he was, and felt something was amiss on the air.
The hullabaloo of activities, particularly by the group of young men and women with him the week, were hooked to their cell phones, frantically texting messages and receiving answers in return.
Then, the young men would turn their concentration to the young women in the group; catch their attention by winking at them. Some of the young women would wink back at the boys in return. Others of the women would pout, bring out their tongues and wag them at the young men. Later the pouting women would eventually wink back at the boys.
Caramba! How the young men howled like maddened dogs, at the secretive response of the young women.
When the women wandered far, the young men would follow, their tongues wagging out and saliva frothing at their mouths. Have you ever seen a male dog desperately following a female dog? You do? Then you know what Ah Kong is yakking about.
Ah, deeply affected by unusual behavior of the young people, decided to do a Sherlock Holmes and unravel the mystery behind this passionate or uninhibited decorum of the people with him.
Ah phoned Berto Sandoval, friend from Baguio City. I told Berto my predicament. He said, “Tsk-tsk, my poor Ah Kong. Know that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Reason why young unmarried people – even the married – are being romantic.”
“Anyhow, I pardon you Ah, for your ignorance. You, not having kissed a lady in your life, your inexperience is pardonable,” Sandoval barked in his phone at me.
That’s it. Valentine’s Day a-coming, sending bosoms of Cordilleran and Region 1 folks into a twirl and cementing relationships which are vital to human happiness and stability.
I scratched my lice-infested head and wondered at the particular focus on positive transitions during Valentine’s Day, and the role friends, family members and strangers play as people in relationships adapt to these transitions.
As I pondered on possibilities of transition from family of origin to family of procreation because of human relationship, that Friday during an evening campfire, a young chap in the group made my life more miserable by asking, “Sir Ah, how do you make a lady like a man?”
Son of a gun! I started to tell the lad, “Ading, I know nothing about the birds and the bees,” but paused upon noting he was love-struck and wouldn’t buy my foolishness.
The crowd went silent; waiting how’d I begin for a lady to like a man. I said love is an infectious disease that has plagued humanity since the world started. No physician can cure it. Neither is there a medicine for it.
I related about a pal who won his wife- to- be when he said to her one day, “Naglam-min ditoy Buguias. Umayak man tumambay dita nagpudot a pusom.”
Then, there was this married friend whose wife possessed a very sharp tongue. Yet despite that, Ah’s friend still believes arguments between him and his wife are better than loneliness. For him, it was better to bend than their relationship to break.
Long I asked my friend’s secret, who answered,” Ag-apa kami. Awan ti ag-asawa nga saan ag-apa. Ngem saan kami ag-innibbat ing-gana dumanon ti tiempo.”
Enraptured, the young crowd was of the experiences of my friends, I continued. “I had another friend, who said before to his wife when he was courting her: I will love you to the moon and back, to the stars, planets and the sun, and you will be the moon and I will be the sun.”
His wife retorted then,” When you’ve stopped daydreaming, come back and court me. Until then, you can go court the stars, moon, planets and the sun.”
One of the girls in the group talked of marrying an ideal. I laughed, gently told the group,” Don’t marry an ideal woman, or man – because, the truth is, there is no such thing.”
Another girl said she doesn’t want problems when married. Ah countered, “If you want problems and complaints, marry. If you don’t want problems, don’t marry. He/she, who doesn’t marry, will be lonely.”
Still, another girl complained men often don’t understand women. To this, Ah joyfully approved, and said to the group, “There are three kinds of men who fail to understand women: young men, middle-aged men and old men.”
At campfire’s end, the group realized that sometimes, marriage is not always a bed of roses. What matters is they live and laugh, they will love and they will leave. And may they have children and their children have children.
And woe to any husband who does not have the counsel of a good wife, and vice versa.
As we departed, a scene came back, of days wandering to the hills of wildflowers, where I, and somebody I knew, often went when we were young.