Writers long ago and far away
In my boyhood was ring bearer in three weddings that all ended up failed marriages, quite a rabid confession to make even if now recalled in staid lucidity.
The first of these grooms Tandang was one of the rising writers of his generation, a student of my dad’s at university in Diliman in the ’60s, and I guess I made an impression on him when he visited the house once with his beer swigging posse and the little boy tried cautioning them about “the black thing.”
Was it aura I was seeing or merely the effect of reading too much Maximo Ramos and “The Creatures of Midnight,” that handsomely illustrated volume that kept many a childhood night sleepless or if we did doze off, filled with vivid nightmares.
Not to rub it in but the fact of the three failed marriages with his as bueno mano cracked Tandang up, made him remark wryly, well maybe you should not have been a ring bearer. But I was, not only that but one who was able to see the black thing.
I mention Tandang because we’re still waiting for the completion of his novel, “The Bicycle Chronicles,” parts of which were posted by a bosom buddy, let’s call him Viktor Fravati, on that shifty and shiny social media platform Facebook, just search it and get the drift of the novel memoir in progress.
Viktor and Tandang were able to speak on cellphone, cell sites vibrating between Taclobo and Vergara and made these writers of long ago and not so far away wonder where all this load came from, as if king harvest had surely come.
Flash forward to the 21st century, two score and three and heard Viktor is in hospital in Dumaguete or its outskirts, nursing an infarction. Last I saw him was pre-pandemic, brought him cake and a bottle of red for his 77th, just before finishing his first automemoir forever in progress and revision, was it called Z or the memory of trees.
Trees and tartanillas, one or the other will carry you home, Viktor a creature of midnight himself in his insomniac ways, might have said. He has since been discharged, his daughter posting a photo of a walker underneath a chico tree.
Who can forget the sort of cult that rented a room in his house, which he wrote about as flash or found fiction or both, the dog