Elpis rose and took a peep when he saw me roused from my sleep, he tagged along when I left my bed and spied as I toasted my bread, he took a seat as I read the broadsheet, and drove with me to the office, he trailed along as I accomplished all my duties and responsibilities, bumping and scuffing as he went after my track, whispering wishes, plans, and dreams, offering positive thinking or prolonging my suffering. As the day progressed, he was sorely wounded. The condition remained unchanged, the universe did not conspire to acquire the heart's desire. At the end of the day, Elpis passed away. Tomorrow, he would revive again with promises to rejuvenate my wishes or lies to conceal the truth that I despise.
Kwentong Barbero (salin sa tula ni Russell Edson) ni Reya Bato
Hala, ang sabi ng barbero nang magupit ang tenga ng isang parokyano.
Sa lugon ng buhok ito lumagpak para tuloy itong sanggol na bagong panganak. Mabuting tenga ito tiyak bumagsak nang walang kapugak-pugak
Hindi, sabi ng parokyano, matutuli ito masyado
Sinubukan ko minsang maglagay ng mitsa nang makapakinig naman ako ng musika ngunit nang ito’y sindihan ko na ulo, singit at kilikili ko ay nasunog sumiklab pa ang apoy sa magubat na kanunog pakiramdan ko tuloy isa akong santo akala naman ng iba ako’y isang henyo. Sabi ng barbero, buti na lang at nakalusot ako ngunit di kita mapapauwi na iisa ang tenga labag ito sa batas ng simetria kailangan kong tanggalin ang isa pa pero huwag kang mag-alala ito rin ay isang disgrasya.
Siguraduhin mong ito’y di mo sinadya ayokong magupit mo ako nang kusa baka lalamunan mo ay malaslas kong bigla pero sisiguraduhin ko ring hindi ko iyon tangka. #
That day she told him of her dream the previous night.
She was surrounded by people in a room filled with gaiety. She could not identify them one-by-one but she was sure she knew them all. She was facing a big mirror. Her hair was put in a bun. Her face was a canvass painted with varied hues – her eyelids were in smoky rose, her cheeks were in naughty pink and her lips were in beautiful red. Her eyes were beaming with happiness.
She was in a happy daze when her mother and two elder sisters lowered the white dress over her head and shoulders. It was not her dream gown but she loved the fit of the dress as it embraced her body.
Everybody was speaking and laughing. They were excited for the grand celebration. It was her wedding day.
Somebody handed a shoe box. She noticed that she was still barefooted. She opened the box. To her surprise, the box contained a different pair of old shoes.
She was awakened.
They were sitting opposite each other at the fast-food table. They just came from a stroll in an art gallery. He just listened to her story and said nothing. Her voice had that convincing tone and her narration was descriptive and well-expressed as if she was reading a story from a book. She was like that when she was engrossed with what she was saying.
“Everything could really happen in a dream,” Ashlyn said.
“I read in a book that dreams are messages from God,” she continued.
Erron could not think of anything to say to what she said, so he said nothing.
Ashlyn was quite a talker if she was in the mood to talk, always putting some of the ideas she got from the books she read and always theorizing. Once she started on a topic, it was so hard to pull her out of it until she extracted all her ideas about it.
“My mother once told me that she dreamt of marrying my father when she was a child. The first time she saw my father, she knew that they would end up together.” Ashlyn went on with her talking.
“Did you see your groom in your dream?” Erron asked.
“No, but I think I know him and I know what he looks like”
“That’s got to be me.” Erron said jokingly.
“No, it isn’t you.” Ashlyn replied seriously.
“Are you sure?”
Erron sipped his coffee and looked at her with knitted eyebrows. He was studying her face thinking if what she said was just one of her jokes. Ashlyn was good at making someone believes something to be true then when the person was fully convinced that it was true, she would disclose that she was just making up stories. She then would laugh a belly laugh. Erron was waiting for that laugh but it did not come. So he asked another question.
“You did not see the groom in your dream, right? How did you know that it is not me?”
“I don’t know. I just know it is not you.” Ashlyn answered as she toyed with the food on her plate. “Are you angry?”
“I am. I am very angry and because of that I want to break up with you. We will not end up together so why do we still need to continue our relationship?” Erron said jokingly.
They were couples for months now. They met in an art exhibition. Erron’s college friend launched his first art exhibition and he invited him to attend the said event. It was a quiet exhibition, only few people attended.
He had stepped backwards into Ashlyn who was looking thoughtfully at one of the paintings. He apologized to her and Ashlyn made him buy an expensive lunch by way of apology. That was the start of it all.
Ashlyn thought that he was a kind of person who was inclined with arts and he had never been able to convince her that he wasn’t the kind of person she was thinking. On weekends, like that day, Erron would trail behind Ashlyn as they visited art galleries or museums.
He never imagined that they would stay long. They were opposite. But whenever their relationship turned into too routine or monotonous phase, Ashlyn looked for ways to create variety. She would invite him to try new food, new sport, and they would visit new places.
Ashlyn was fond of music, art, and literature. She had a good imagination and an ability to express her thoughts and feelings through composition and poetry. She would write poems and stories and asked Erron to read them. She did not like to show them to anybody except Erron. Sometimes Erron would joke that she had become involved with him just because she needed someone to read and to listen to her stories. Maybe she just needed an audience.
Ashlyn never wrote something related to him or related to them. Sometimes Erron wondered about the origins of her poems and compositions.
There were times, too, when Ashlyn would become reflective and aloof, drawing away from association with other even with him. He hated and could not understand her those times but he learned to give her space during those periods. Aside from that, she had no complaints about her at all. She was sympathetic to the needs of others even giving her last money if she felt it would help someone in need. She was also sweet and thoughtful.
“I think his name is Reve,” Ashlyn seriously said as they were leaving the fast-food.
“Who is ‘he’? Erron asked perplexed. “Who is Reve?”
“The groom in my dream”
“How come you know his name?”
“I remember someone mentioned his name in my dream.”
Erron continued walking and said nothing. He said nothing because he did not know what to say and what to react and he wanted to end that nonsense discussion.
“And I can recognize him when I see him” Ashlyn continued.
“Ashlyn, it is just a dream. Stop thinking about it. Dreams are the opposite of reality.” Erron dismissed the subject.
Ashlyn was quiet inside the car until they reached her home. She told Erron that she was having a headache.
“Do you want to come inside? Mama is inside.” Ashlyn asked him when they reached her home.
“Okay but I will not stay long. I have a basketball game today with my college friends. I will just say ‘hi’ to your Mom.”
They both removed their shoes as they entered Ashlyn’s house. Her house was spacious. A big replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night was hanging in the living room. Ashlyn’s books were scattered on the center piece, on the top of the cabinets, beside the television set, and on the sofa. Ashlyn’s mother was sitting on the big sofa doing cross-stitch.
As planned, Erron did not stay long in Ashlyn’s house. He just greeted her mother and then politely asked to head off. Ashlyn told him that she could not walk with him to his car as she was still having a headache.
As he was about to put on his shoes, he noticed the arrangement of their shoes. His shoes were paired to those of Ashlyn’s. He thought that her pink high heels were a very unlikely pair to his brown leather hulking shoes. He recalled the dream of Ashlyn about the different pair of shoes on her wedding day.
Ashlyn sometimes could be a little odd, he thought.
He remembered his conversation with his college friend last month.
“Why are you still with her?” asked his college friend. “She is eccentric.”
Erron just frowned, “She’s kind and sweet once you get to know her.”
“I am really surprised you are still with her... and until now you are not getting mad.”
He gave another frown.
He gave another frown as he put on his shoes and walked to his car. #