By Jing Villamil
LET us start from the very beginning. What if things did not proceed according to plan, and Mother Mary gave birth to His Daughter rather than His Son? According to the writer Emmanuelle, it would have been a story as grand as the original, to fill more than two thick Holy Books to include writings by the women who must have chaperoned and witnessed Her walk and preach and heal through the chosen lands. The story would have had more challenges and triumphs, more miracles and joys, more fears and tears!
And lots more questions to which there are no satisfactory answers!
We heard parents tell: “our son is our souls reborn; our daughter is our hearts combined. He carries our name; she will carry us through the years, to our end.” There is none more perfect than the complacency that comes with the healthy presence of a Junior and a Juniora (and a spare of each!) in the family.
And we come to this friend, whose story I wrote so many years ago. I lost track of her when we moved away. I was not sure if she read it or realized it was her story; there were no real names mentioned. But, when we met again, she pinched me everywhere and said “it was funny, but you were real naughty!” She had read it.
Jim and Chin began their life as a couple with the brightest, clearest of hopes. They got married soon after college. They worked for four years to support their parents (although they were told they were not obliged) and to save for their future. When they were twenty-five, they let go of their apartment and bought a house in a middle-class subdivision. And had their first child: cute tousled-hair Howly whose colicky cries were loudest after sunset. Thus, the “trekking” began.
They trekked in yawning – mothers, sometimes fathers and their older kids from both sides of their house. No one near can sleep when Howly could not sleep. They took turns burping him stomach flat on a pillow, humming lullabies, ballroom dancing around the house. Choco drinks, chips and peanuts were free for all aides-de-camp!
After two years, when the couple, and the neighbors, thought they had recovered from the trauma of rearing-up Howly, they were ready for a girl. Jim was now twenty-seven, a system analyst of a national corporation; Chin was guidance counselor in a private school. Aside from their regular ob-gyn, they had other experts as well – midwives, hilot, healers, mga maraming-alam, etc. They followed directions faithfully, crossed their fingers for good luck before they make love. They became human calculators, instantly computing when the sperms were at their supreme, when the egg was at its most vulnerable. Jim was also very careful to land or to lift-off from the proper side of the bed.
Chin gave birth to a boy with the biggest, roundest eyes! They must have passed on to him the way they looked when they mentally compute – look up, add-minus, widen eyes for correct-o! They named him Curry, not for chicken curry, but for Curious. He was almost always awake, turning his eyes, head, body this way that way from morn to night. Even Howly got to sleep longer, deeper. The family would wake up, and Curry would greet them with wide, curious, loving eyes! You guessed right. Curry would turn out to be the genius in the family!
When Chin was near thirty, they sought-out more experts. From Quiapo Church to Obando, Bulacan. Somewhere they got their petition mixed, nixed. They gave birth to twins. Boys.
Now, the neighbors worried for the couple and the four boys. For themselves, too. After their constant trekking-in and out of each other’s houses, the entire subdivision were Kumares and Kumpares!
But something went almost right this time. The twins were softly whimpery. They get hungry, they whimper, they milk, they sleep at the same time. Though when they hear themselves make same noises, they turn to the other with surprise. They grope, they swipe, they bop the other. Like, uh, who are you? Why you have my face, my voice? Wham, Wah! They were called Whamsy and Wawee.
Feeling time running away with the best of her genes, they got pregnant at thirty-two and again at thirty four. They had two beautiful babies, one darkly tanned, Tanny; one so milky-fair, Milko. Very different looking, but very alike. They were as male as the four older boys.
When they were nearing forty, they decided to try one last time. They went higher; they enlisted the aid of the saints and angels! They quadrupled their prayers, offerings, novenas.
Nobody laughed. Nobody smirked. When they brought home a new set. Of twins. Of whaaat?
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