Friday, May 18, 2012

Chrysanthemum Chapter 3

Michael was pensive in the army jeep when he left the airport.

His thoughts were on Chrys and his new assignment to Cabcaben, Bataan.

His love for Chrys was real and he knew this.

The years they spent together as childhood friends, then as sweethearts, were very precious to him.

No. He would not allow fate or circumstances to swallow them.

He knew too well the love of Chrys.

Many men had courted her, some perhaps more qualified than him both in stature and status.

He also knew that she would not love a man for his looks alone.

Chrys was romantic. She, too, has valued the years they had known each other.

Those years had strengthened their love for each other more than anything else.

He wanted to propose marriage, but his salary as a first lieutenant was too meager to make both ends meet.

Her family was well-off. The only daughter of a former congressman in La Union, she had not been used to hardship. They had maids since birth.

If he married her at this time, he wanted her to become a full time housewife. Chrys had acceded to this.

But marriage would be tough.

She would stay in his family's apartment along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, doing the house chores.

While he would be out there in roads, fields, and jungles, fighting the insurgents, wondering if he would come home alive.

Why had Chrys stuck to him? She had several suitors. An actor. A lawyer. A businessman. A congressman-widower.

All of them had proposed marriage, except himself.

"Sir, ang ganda pala ni Ma'am, kahawig ni Amalia Fuentes noong kasikatan pa niya," Sgt. Alfredo Calma, the driver said.

"Oo nga, Sir, tinamaan tuloy ako," said C2C Danilo Concepcion who was in the back of the jeep fondling a baby armalite.

"Oy! Tumigil ka diyan! Baka mamaya, batukan ka pa ni Sir!" Sgt. Calma rebuffed Concepcion.

"Ikaw naman, binibiro lang si Sir, eh!"

"Sir, taga saan po siya?" Sgt. Calma asked.

"Townmate ko."

"Ah, San Fernando, La Union. May pinsan po ako doon. Doming Alvarez. Si Ma'am po, ano ang apelyido?"


"Kaano-ano po siya ng dating congressman doon?"

"Anak. Graduate siya sa UP College of Music."

"Naku ang swerte ninyo, Sir!" C2C Concepcion exclaimed. "Beauty and brains na, mayaman pa! Ganyan ang pangarap kong mapangasawa!"

"Patulan ka naman kaya?" Sgt. Calma joked.

"Oy! Oy! Huwag mong ismolin ito. Pogi yata ito! Halos kasing pogi ni  Sir," Concepcion declared.

"Oy! Mahiya ka naman kay Sir," Sgt. Calma said. "Si Antonia nga hindi mo mapasagot!"

"Naku, pakipot lang yun!"

The two laughed.

"Al, sa Boni muna tayo. May kukunin lang ako sa bahay," Michael said as they neared the junction of EDSA and Ayala Avenue.

"Yes, Sir," Sgt. Calma replied.

The jeep cruised EDSA and turned left to Buendia Avenue Extension. It turned to Makati Avenue going to the bridge which connects Makati to Mandaluyong across the Pasig River.

After it crossed the bridge, it turned to the right, passing along squatters' shanties.

As it turned to a narrow street going to the Mandaluyong Municipal Hall, a young woman in maong pants and jacket suddenly appeared on the street.

Michael sensed an ambush and quickly drew his .45 caliber pistol. The woman also drew her .45 caliber pistol and fired twice at the driver. The first shot missed him, but the second pierced his neck.

"Sir! Ambush!" C2C Concepcion shouted.

Michael fired twice at the woman as the jeep passed by her.

She was hit twice, on the neck and on the stomach. She fell to the side of the street.

The jeep hit a wall, as the driver slumped to the jeepney's seat, unconscious.

As the jeep hit the wall, two young men, one in maong pants and white jacket, and the other in black pants and brown jacket, appeared on the street.

The first drew a .45 caliber pistol and fired twice at Michael as he got out of the jeep. Both shots missed him.

The other gunman shot C2C Concepcion thrice. Concepcion ducked, and the bullets missed him.

Michael returned fire thrice. The first bullet hit the terrorist on the left eye, the second one on the abdomen, and the third on the stomach. He fell dead.

C2C Concepcion also returned automatic fire with his armalite, hitting the other gunman on the left shoulder. Another bullet hit the leg of a ten year old girl, a few meters away from the terrorist.

The terrorist fled into the squatters' area.

C2C Concepcion got out of the jeep and ran after the terrorist.

"Concepcion, huwag!!!" Michael shouted.

He knew the Sparrows' tactics. Two or three other terrorists would be waiting in ambush if Concepcion pursued the fleeing terrorist. He would be an open, easy target.

Michael went back to the jeep to check on Sgt. Calma. He felt Calma's pulse. He was dead.

Concepcion  also walked to the jeep to check on Calma.

"Sir, okay ba si Al?"

"Patay na," Michael sadly replied.

Minutes later, Mandaluyong policemen came to the ambush site.

The Chief-of-Police ordered his men to cordon and comb the squatter's area.

But the terrorists were gone. Three young men, including the wounded terrorist, fled in a hijacked taxicab to Makati Avenue.

One of the terrorists ordered the taxi driver at gunpoint to proceed to Roxas Blvd.

Upon reaching Roxas Blvd, they told him to drive to the back of the Manila International Film Festival Building where a brown tinted car was waiting.

Minutes later, the brown car was cruising the highway to Cavite. It would proceed to the province of Laguna, the territory of the NPA commander named Ka Roger.

<< Return to Chapter 2 | Proceed to Chapter 4 >> 

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