2003-01-07 05:52:43 (UTC)

only know how to talk

I DO not know much about the seminary. I continued going to
the market with Mother although I constantly ached for my
younger brother. I missed talking to him, listening to his
profound yet sometimes child-like banter.

Paolo would visit us almost every weekend. Sometimes his
eyes were bright with his stories of the priests, his
lessons, and the new Bible verses he was able to interpret.
Yet sometimes his eyes were clouded over with sorrow as he
talked about the suffering he witnessed, the needs he felt
burdened to ease, and the hypocrisy that he felt truly
existed in the church.

"It is no surprise that many refuse to become Christians,
Ate," he told me once when he came by to visit. "With all
the deceit, all this hypocrisy, how can one become
Christian and truly believe that it is good?"

"I don't know what you're talking about Paolo," I said,
wiping my brow under the ever hot sun. "I'll go get Mother
to prepare some grilled bananas and a glass of juice for

He remained quiet, slightly disappointed that I cut the
conversation short, yet also patient for he knew that he
would be able to continue the conversation with me later.

I stepped inside our tiny house with Paolo behind me and
found Mother at the kitchen preparing to grill a few pieces
of bananas.

"Is Paolo lecturing you again," she asked with a tinge of
amusement when she felt our presence. "You must forgive
him. Educated people only know how to talk."

"Oh, Mother," Paolo sighed with a gentle smile playing on
his lips. He went to her and gave her a kiss on the
cheek. "I was just telling Ate about why many people do not
want to be Christians."

"All I know is that Christianity was brought to us by the
white people," Mother replied, "and for others, that is
enough reason to refuse to become Christians. Would you
like orange juice or a glass of water?"

"Water please. Thanks." Paolo was never a fan of Tang. Or
those other powdered juices company. He always believed in
purity and not artificial substitutes. When we were young,
he used to claim that a glass of Tang a day would keep the
doctor coming back to us.

"Why aren't you in the market today, Mother? Or you, Ate?"
he asked.

"We knew you were coming to visit us," I said, humoring
him. "You know how special you are to us, Paolo."

He chuckled and accepted the glass of water that Mother
offered. "I am glad that you are both home," he said. "I'm
glad I'm home.

"We are too," Mother said. "Looks to me that the bananas
are more or less done. Have one Paolo."

At that moment, Father stepped into the house. Sweat
trickled down his face, his arms, staining the back of his
shirt, his armpits, even the patch of flesh behind his
knees. He was hot, tired, and thirsty.

Upon seeing Paolo, his face broke into a smile. "Paolo," he
exclaimed. "Have you been gaining weight my son? We've been
sending extra chickens to the Church lately."