“You will be coming back tomorrow.”

I pretended not to listen to him while I ate my fifth mango. The sweet thing left its juices on my cheeks, chin and all the way to my feet. It was near to a disgusting sight of devouring fruits like what prehistoric men could have done.

“Of course, I will. I don’t want you wasting your time playing your tex cards. (It’s a two-square inch cardboard material with various prints of cartoon characters like miniature baseball cards.)

“Can I ask you a personal question, Ninong?” he sat beside me on the grass, the shade of the mango tree covered us from the two o’clock in the afternoon sun.

“It depends,” I answered automatically, wiping my hands on the grass, then using the hem of my shirt to wipe off the remnants of mango from my face. “If it’s relevant, okay.”

“Why don’t you have a wife?” he asked without preamble, looking straight at me.

“It’s a long story,” I said, trying to look somewhere else to escape eye contact. “You won’t understand even if I explain it to you.”

“You could marry my teacher. She is a spinster.”

I coughed repeatedly, unsure how I could wriggle out from the situation. His inquisitiveness plus polite impertinence often placed me on the spot.

“That’s not how it works. There should be courting, dating, getting-to-know phases and most of all mutual love.”

“Father told me that he met my mother one day then the next day, they got married.”

My kumpare fed his child too many tall tales that the boy was now having a difficult time discerning the difference between fantasy and reality.

“There is no formula unlike in Mathematics. It’s not so easy like one plus one.”

He scratched his head, confused why his most difficult subject was mentioned. It became my cue to turn the discussion away.

“Go home now. I have some work to finish (he was unaware of my writing activities). Besides, it’s going to rain.”

Immediately he stood up and moved out of the shade.

“The sun is shining brightly.”

“Trust me. In an hour or so, it will rain hard.” I saw the dark clouds creeping toward us from the southwest. If the wind did not change direction, my prediction would come true.

“Go on! Take your afternoon nap so you’ll get taller.”

Away he ran quickly while warning everyone he met that it was going to rain.



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