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meeting of the minds
DINNER that night was cheerful as it always was whenever
Paolo was around. The dried meat that Mother prepared was
delicious. We took the food with our hands and placed them
inside our mouths.
Enrique was more comfortable with our family that night. He
sheepishly admitted that he was only able to bathe the
carabao that day. He promised that he would do more the
Father laughed and assured him that he need not worry. He
could do whatever he wished. The things needed to be done
in the fields were not too much even for an old man like
Paolo told us of his experiences in the seminary. The
straining work, the planting, and how they had to draw
water from the well each morning even though there was
running water inside the seminary.
"I swear sometimes I feel like my arms are going to break
off my body," he said in the midst of cheerful
laughter. "You can never imagine how much water they expect
us to draw out of the well. Sometimes it takes us four
hours just to draw out the required amount. It's a good
thing Father trained me well."
"Why do they need so much water?" I asked.
Paolo shrugged. "Frankly I do not know. I think they are
just set on making the lives of the seminaristas miserable."
MOther laughed. "Oh Paolo!"
"People in power do that," Enrique commented, deep in
thought. "They make other people's lives miserable to make
their own lives comfortable. For every rich man, there is a
poor man. Perhaps even more."
Paolo's eyes locked with Enrique's. "What you say is true,"
he said evenly. "But that is how the world works, does it
"Not unless we change it," Enrique said. "Why should one
have more and the other less? Why can we not all have the
same amount? Why can't we all work together for the
betterment of society?"
"Things are not always fair, my son," Father said.
"But we can make things fair," Enrique said. "We can create
change. It will take time but it is possible. We can
succeed." He looked at Paolo. "You are a seminarian Paolo.
You know what I mean."
Paolo's eyes were gazing into Enrique's intently. "Yes. I
know," he said. "But there are some things better left to
"Bullshit." Enrique's eyes were afire. "God. God placed us
here to do things for Him. If we will not act, then who
will? If not now, then when?"
I was lost. "What are you guys talking about?"
Silence descended upon the table. Mother looked as confused
as I was. Father looked as if he understood. Paolo and
Enrique were still looking at each other. A silent meeting
of the minds.
"What are you talking about?" I repeated.
"Ate," Paolo began, his eyes never leaving Enrique. "There
are some things better left unknown."
"She must know," Enrique said with some urgency. "She is
not a child anymore."
"I am older than you, Paolo," I said. "But I do not
He looked at me sadly. Innocence was slowly fading
away. "You will understand," he said. "Soon. Very soon."