As if a bottle of mild vinegar was thrown on the guard’s face. He looked whiter than paper. If I did not correct my godchild’s comment, he could have cried a river of tears while regretting his earlier strict behavior.

“He is just joking,” I said, consoling him, “You know, kids. They’re always quick to invent things.”

“I am really sorry, sir.” He was taking no chances. Either he believed me or the boy, he wanted to be on the safe side. He loved his easy job. “It won’t happen again.”

My godchild came running toward us, his face filled with joy and possibly bearing a trick or two.

“Ninong! Come quickly! I’ll introduce you to my teacher.”

I winked at the guard, signalling him that the past was behind us. He smiled and nodded approvingly.

“I am not ready, Look at me! I look like a farmer.”

There was something in the air that made me nervous. The thought of what he said to the guard gave an indication that I would be subjected to a similar treatment. How? I kept my fingers crossed.

“She likes farmers,” he proclaimed loudly. “She will like you,”

“What are you talking about?” I tried to play it out coolly but that ploy was never effective with the boy.

“She is a Miss. That means she is not married.”

“I know the distinction.” Here we go again. My status was under attack once more.

“Give these to her,” he offered a bunch of flowers, its roots still retained the soft earth where they were plucked in a rush. “She likes flowers.”

“Why the sudden interest? I came here to bring your assignment. Nothing more.”

“I like her to be my Ninang,” he beamed brightly. “That way I’ll pass her class with ease.”

The boy was smart. He wanted to use me as a live bait to fish his way out of the fifth grade.

“That’s not how we adults do it,” I corrected his notion. “It’s a long process. You won’t understand it right away. Remember I explained it to you before, about your mother and father, on how they got together?”

“That’s different, Ninong,” he insisted, eager to take the role of Cupid. “I think this will be quicker.”

I did not want to get his hopes high. I was sure his teacher has a boyfriend he was not aware of.

“How old is she?” I asked, knowing how to stop his fantasy.

“Twenty or something?” he looked up, trying to jog his memory. “Why? She is a woman, You’re a man.”

“She could pass off as my daughter. Too young for me, I’m afraid.”

“I saw on TV a couple. They said that age does not matter.” He referred to a famous local comedian who married his singer wife, forty years younger. “They are …”

“I think this discussion is over,” I interrupted him. “I heard the bell rang.”

Like a boxer pummeled to a corner, I was saved by the bell.

“I will ask her if she has a boyfriend and if none, I will tell her about you.”

Too late for me to stop him: he ran away so fast, leaving me scratching my head with his stubbornness.



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