Beast of Burden
Without the help of a domesticated beast, cultivation would be so hard, and of course, it will minimize the desire of good production, especially on the side of agriculture. Even in the old sugar industry, carabao was used in moving around just to centrifuge the cane liquid, and purified , heat and dry into brown sugar which could be sellable to the people. In the field, cow and carabao are the main beast which is used.
However, it was noted that before long ago, human being as slaves were used to work in the hard way, they were used as a replacement of animals in the fields, tugging trees for constructions, carrying stones and rocks, just to make castles and palaces for the royal families. And those who won’t follow command were stabbed, or punished with whip or any form of death penalty. It was only in the later part, when men became rational and mentally awake, when they realized that other creature can be used instead and used humans in another way as shield or soldiers.
It was at this point, where Genaro realized the need of a beast to help him in his struggle of life in the hinterland. He bought a Carabao, and started to train about the rudiments of plowings. His three bigger sons were also happy, because they now tilt bigger areas of their field and the job also became lighter.
After Easter, when the sun was so hot and shiny, people were going to the town, to buy goods from the market. Some were going to sell chickens or hogs, even if it will be bought on a cheaper price they were still very happy, at least they have something to store while the rainy season is fast approaching. Some stored large number of sardines, and they feel very comfortable and proud to have as many, more of pride and status symbol.
But one problem he felt so ponderous, was Teresa did not come home, and he was waiting for her, sitting at the bench in the backyard. His heart was now pounding so hard, and he has an illusion of dangers, because the town was so saturated with law enforcers, and most of them could no longer find out the rights and privileges of the common man. Law enforces were no longer following the law, because in their belief, there was no conscience in martial law. But it was not probably the cause, the reasons that will always run in his mind. He went to visit Tasyo to ask help, but he was not there.
Before the sun shined in the morning, a smiling Teresa was almost in the backyard screaming in the form of songs. The eyes of the husband were so very excited, because his thoughts and doubts were now shut off. “Teresa how come you did not come home early? I was not able to sleep, because I have lots of different thoughts about you. You know in Martial Law they might accuse you of something and then, jailed you or else.” I went to ask Tasyo about you but he was not there.” She snapped right away and said. I saw him just now, he is at home already.” But the truth was that Tasyo and Teresa were together, and they slept in one of the motel in town. They imbibed together the sweetness of a human being. And they never care anymore about what is at home for them. But this thing is still secret between the two of them. The fourth child is questionable, and Tasyo believed that he owned it. Because it was that time that Teresa told him that she was in ovulation, and that she sent a letter to Inday Nita’s radio program, and was answered that it was untimely, and the copulation might bear a child. So it is possible. But the fourth child still bears the name of Genaro. Tasyo although a lonely man is so enamored to Genaro’s wife. They have that secret affair for two years already, and both of them are very capable of guarding it. His will is so strong, and every time he has that feeling of jealousy, he just went outside and sometimes refreshed at their neighbor store to pass the time. H could not afford to see Teresa sitting beside Genaro, and he knows it was not good, and very unhealthy. And it could only be balance by the thoughts that his is a late comer.
Efren, one of Genaro’s sons, loved his Carabao so very much. And that before the rays of the sun showered his backyard, he already there feeding it. He cut grass save it for the rainy season. And even in the evening, he sometimes, stole leaves of the acacia trees at the church backyard for his pet carabao. After schooling in the nearby elementary school, he will go right away to the village, and replaced his mother in herding the domestic pet. But the carabao also add glamour to his life, and the harvest leaped so high, that even those who are living in other village, bore some form of jealousy against them. The three sons, and also their father took turns in plowing the fields, and his tomatoes, corns, and other root crops, were the talk of the towns. Chinese merchants came to see him, deposited money for the next harvest, to be sure that the next harvest would not be given to other consigners.
One time, while Tasyo, Genaro and his sons were in the field, a Chinese came to his house. It was only Teresa who was at home. Trusting that nobody will ever care, after taking a bath, she was in their family room. The Chinese talked about business, and he wanted to buy all their crops. He tried to bribe Teresa to accede his offer. But in his gesture, it was found out that he has other motives, and that was to seduce Teresa. He held Teresa many times in the waistline. “Teresa, this is business between the two of us, I’ll put more money for us in the bank too, a joint deposit”. The guy moved so aggressively. He attempted to kiss her, but she dodged and ran away. But later, she was about to be pinned in one of the corner. A shout from downstairs was heard. “Good noon! Good noon!” The Chinese loosen his grip, and put a thousand pesos to one of Teresa’s pocket, with a warning. “Teresa, don’t tell anybody, or I’ll be angry for that”. The Chinese hurriedly went down, and he saw the letter carrier, delivering a letter for Genaro. His demonic attempt was frustrated.
When Teresa found out that she was given one thousand pesos, she just smiled, at any rate there was no incidence consummated. And she can forget it. Her thoughts hanged on logic, that the guy was just excited because she had her perfume smells well after bathing.
While in the field, Efren the caring son saw some signs from their carabao, which indicated a sign of sickness. “Pa, the carabao is not eating well today, and her eyes are reddening.” Genaro who is not experienced about that just said, “Ah! Maybe because of too much work, we need her too, to take her rest”. But a while later, Teresa arrived bringing lots of food. “Now is the time to have our picnic. I am bringing fried noodle, and broiled chicken. And if you want to drink, we have also Cola there”. She smiled invitingly to the family. So, they went underneath the spreading mango tree, spread their foods, and also a basin of water for washing. Happily, the whole family was united and warm.
The Carabao was becoming so ill, and it now became a problem. A distant neighbor, Jessie, barged in and notified them about his carabao. He was trying to ask Tasyo about a certain Carabao illness. Tasyo had some knowledge about veterinary diseases because he had studied two years in one of known university in Cebu City. Jessie’s Carabao too was ill for two days. But tasyo wasn’t there yet, he was in the river fishing. While waiting, he invited Jessie to see his carabao. In the backyard tied in a tamarind tree, their carabao was sleeping. He touched the head and the neck area, and said “Fren, this is the same sickness with ours, we have to see tasyo right away.” Both went right away to the river. But away, they saw two figures as if they were kissing. And it was Teresa his mother. He just ruled out as no malice, being so close to them. They told right away Tasyo about their ailing pets.
Not to lose time, they hurriedly went to the Carabao areas, and Tasyo after physically examining it, said to them, that it is “Kumpang”, a viral disease that could be in epidemic at that time. “We have to see immediately, our town veterinarian, this is not an ordinary illness”. Teresa volunteered to go to the town. Genaro also said to accompany Teresa for safety reasons.
In the town, while Teresa was in the office of the Veterinarians, Genaro read the news, and in the headlines, “Senator Benigno Aquino shot!” He picked up one and read it well. The senator was slain, by an assailant while going downstairs from the airplane. He was shot allegedly by a certain Rolando Galman. He could not hold the tears in his eyes. Aquino was revered by the common Tao as the possible alternative of Marcos. He was the hope of the suppressed, and the poverty stricken people. Some houses in the town were now starting to mourn. Some put black paper on their walls signifying condolence to the most well love, who they believed a hero.
The veterinarian promised to follow them, but they have to wait for them in the village church area. So Teresa and Genaro went home. With all of them, was also in the church area waiting for the veterinarian. An hour later, Dr. Paquibot, was already there, bringing his two assistants. Tasyo suggested going home to prepare foods, while they will be entertaining the doctor. And Teresa went also to assist him. At home they slaughtered chickens, and vegetables with coconut milk. The two were very fast in preparing the foods because they find themselves on a team work. When Tasyo realized it will take time, he put his hands at the waistline of Teresa, and with no hesitation she responded very eagerly. They finished their homework with much satisfaction.
After a couple of hours doing some paper works, examining the animals, the veterinarian diagnosed that the two carabaos have the same sickness. With the help of his two assistants they forced in per Orem two bottles of medicine, and also an injection. And they left a couple of medicines to both of them, with the instruction to follow.
Soon after the guest were ushered at the home of Genaro. The food was already at the table. While waiting, Dr. Paquibot dolled around at the almost two year old boy “ Tasyo is this your son?, he looks like you.” Then asked. He answered, “No that is Teresa son”.
And Genaro who heard it said, “I am the father”. “His name is Benigno or ninoy for us”. He continued.
They were already at the table eating. They were talking about the news that Ninoy aquino was shot at the Tarmac, at Manila International Airport. The veterinarian, an avid follower of Marcos, blamed his return as untimely. Dr. Paquibot spoke about the gains of Martial Law. And as if Marcos is his god. He asserted that Aquino’s return was a signal of his defeat, and death was his gold medal. No one interjected his comment.
In Manila, people in all walks of life were already grouping; Salvador Laurel is now involved in the demonstrations. Media were no longer afraid; they wrote testimonies of betrayal, treasons, and many other wrongdoings of Martial law. Inday Nita’s program on the air was already very combative. Rumors of Marcos death was fielded around and some feared for their life. The gloom formed a canopy to the whole country.
After three days, their carabao became alert and eating well. The glowing eyes of Efren became a winner. He hugged so many times his pet, and murmured many times, God is there, and he is helping us. The beast is now ready to help them again.