Sa Likod ng Ngiti ni Joy

By Ralph Jake T. Wabingga
Flash Fiction

pagkatapos ng isang guhit ng isang nakangiting batang babaeng Tboli

Mataas na ang sikat ng araw ngunit hindi pa nakaalis ng bahay si Aleng Lolita dahil tulog pa rin ang anak niyang si Joy. Espesyal ang araw na ito dahil isang malaking kasiyahan ang idaraos sa bayan at maraming dayuhang turista ang pupunta upang makita silang mga katutubong Tboli.

Sa isip ni Aleng Lolita ay dapat maganda ang kaniyang anak sa pagdiriwang na ito. Kaya kagabi, inilabas niya mula sa maingat na pagkakatago ang isang kasuotang Tboli na isinusuot lamang tuwing may mahahalagang okasyon. Espesyal na hinabi ang kasuotang ito para lamang kay Aleng Lolita noong dalagita pa siya. Ngayon, maisusuot na rin ito ng kaniyang anak sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon.

Ginising ni Aleng Lolita si Joy, na bumangon at naghanda na sa pagkakataong ito. Napansin ng ina na nakasimangot ang kaniyang anak at alam niya bakit. Ayaw ni Joy na pinagpipiyestahan siya dahil sa kaniyang suot at ayos. Hindi ito pinansin ni Aleng Lolita at nagpatuloy sa pag-aayos sa anak.

Ipinasuot ni Aleng Lolita ang isang blusang may magagarang palamuti at makukulay na burda. Makikita rito ang maliliit at kumikinang na tatsulok na ibinurda sa harap ng blusa. Sa mga manggas naman ay may mga hugis-tatsulok ding may iba’t ibang kulay—pula, bughaw, at dilaw.

Ipinasuot pagkatapos kay Joy ang palda na gawa sa hinabing tnalak at inilagay ang makulay na sinturon paikot sa baywang niya. Ipinasuot din sa dalagita ang dalawang malalaking kuwintas at isinabit sa kaniyang tainga ang dalawang mahahabang hikaw. At upang makompleto ang kasuotang Tboli ni Joy, inilagay ni Aleng Lolita ang salakot na binalot ng pulang tela at may makukulay na dekorasyon. Sa wakas, handa na si Joy para sa kasiyahan!

Nang marating na ng mag-ina ang bayan, nakita nila na hindi mahulugang karayom ang plasa sa dami ng tao. Sa gitna ng plasa, may entabladong kinauupuan ang iba pang dalagang Tboli na nakasuot din ng kanilang katutubong kasuotan. Pinagkakaguluhan sila ng mga turistang kinukunan sila ng mga larawan.

Pinaupo na rin ni Aleng Lolita si Joy sa entablado at sinabihang ngumiti sa mga kamera. Hindi ngumiti ni Joy at tiningnan niya sa halip ang iba pang mga dalagang nasa entablado—masaya silang nagpapakuha ng larawan sa mga turista.

Sinenyasan ulit ni Aleng Lolita si Joy na ngumiti ngunit umiling ang dalagita. Pinagtitinginan na sila ng mga turista kaya inirapan na ni Aleng Lolita ang kaniyang anak. Dahil sa halong takot at inis, walang magawa si Joy kundi sundin ang kaniyang ina. Dahan-dahang pilit na ngumiti si Joy sa harap ng mga turista.

Editors and Contributors

GUEST EDITOR

Jade Mark B. Capiñanes earned his bachelor’s degree in English at Mindanao State University in General Santos City. He has been a fellow for essay at the 2016 Davao Writers Workshop and the 2017 University of Santo Tomas National Writers Workshop. His “A Portrait of a Young Man as a Banak” won third prize at the Essay Category of the 2017 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

REGULAR EDITOR

Jude Ortega is a short story writer from Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat. He has been a fellow in two regional and four national writers workshops. In 2015, he received honorable mention at the inaugural F. Sionil José Young Writers Awards. His short story collection Seekers of Spirits is forthcoming from the University of the Philippines Press.

CONTRIBUTORS

Rio Alma is the pen name of National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario. He is a poet, critic, translator, editor, teacher, and cultural manager. He is currently the chairman of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Mark Angeles was a writer-in-residence of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the United States in 2013. He is the author of the children’s books Si Znork, Ang Kabayong Mahilig Matulog and Si Andoy, Batang Tondo, the short story collection Gagambeks at mga Kuwentong Waratpad, and the poetry books Emotero, Patikim, and Threesome. He received awards for his works from Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Foundation for Literature, and Philippine Board on Books for Young People.

Rogelio Braga is a playwright, fictionist, and essayist born and raised in Manila. Among his notable works on theater are “Ang Mga Mananahi,” “Ang Bayot, Ang Meranao, at ang Habal-Habal sa Isang Nakababagot na Paghihintay sa Kanto ng Lanao del Norte,” “So Sanggibo a Ranon na Piyatay o Satiman a Tadman,” and “Mas Mabigat ang Liwanag sa Kalungkutan.” His short stories appeared in various publications such as TOMAS and Ani. He was a fellow for fiction at the UST, Ateneo, and UP national writers workshops and for Art Criticism at J. Elizalde Navarro National Writers Workshop for Criticism in the Arts and Humanities.

Reparado B. Galos III is a poet and lawyer. He was a fellow at the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo’s poetry clinic in 2006 and became a member of the group in 2007. His poetry collection in Filipino won first prize at the Maningning Miclat Poetry Awards in 2015.

Jeric F. Jimenez is a graduate of AB Filipinolohiya at Polytechnic University of the Philippines–Sta. Mesa in Manila. He has taught in elementary, junior high school, senior high school, and college. His short stories are included in the anthologies Piglas: Antolohiya ng mga Kuwentong Pambata and Saanman: Mga Kuwento sa Biyahe, Bagahe, at Balikbayan Box.

Johanna Michelle Lim is a brand strategist, creative director, and travel writer based in Cebu City. She was a fellow at the 54th Silliman University National Writers Workshop and is the author of What Distance Tells Us, a collection of travel essays.

Bernadette V. Neri writes fiction and plays and teaches creative writing at the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature, University of the Philippines–Diliman. She is the author of the children’s book Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin. She is originally from Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

Jose Victor Peñaranda was a poet and community development practitioner. He was the author of the poetry collections Voyage in Dry Season (Sipat Publishing), Pilgrim in Transit (Anvil Publishing), and Lucid Lightning (UST Publishing). He received awards for his poetry from the Carlos Palanca Memorial Foundation for Literature, Manila Critics Circle, Philippines Free Press Award, Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas, and Philippines Graphic’s Nick Joaquin Literary Awards. He was born in Manila in 1953 and passed away in 2017.

Ralph Jake T. Wabingga is a college instructor and used to be a writer and producer for television. He was a fellow for fiction at the Davao Writers Workshop in 2017. He is from Sulop, Davao del Sur.