A Valen­tine’s love story

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‘King sibul ning Po­rac,kar­ing ka mindilu

ikit daka Conch­ing, ma­luto ka baro King lino ning danum, aplit kang tatabo

ka­bang ako na­man kakarog ko salu.’

(I beg the in­dul­gence of my read­ers if some years ago they have al­ready read this lovely love story that hap­pened decades ago. I can’t help re-pub­lish­ing it though for gen­eral read­er­ship yet es­pe­cially for the young men and women of my home­town).

Here is the story:

As a kid grow­ing up in Po­rac, still then in my shorts, the strong rush of crys­tal white wa­ter de­scend­ing from the hilly por­tion of the town and cuts into the down­town area. There was a bridge that sep­a­rates the pobla­cion sec­tion to Can­gatba. The no more than 50 me­ter bridge was the com­mon area for young peo­ple, where from morn­ing till up early evening they con­verged, and maybe for lack of some­thing to do, dis­cussed any­thing un­der the sun and what was down the river. This is a flash­back.

Ah yes the river. It was a very much part of ev­ery­day life of the peo­ple. They swim, bathe, held pic­nics and washed their linens. And there was Conch­ing who was en­am­oured to the river. As told, and handed down to the towns­peo­ple, through the ages, Conch­ing was an ex­cep­tion­ally beau­ti­ful lass. She had long and shapely legs. They matched her can­dle long fin­gers. Her del­i­cate shoul­ders and pro­trud­ing but­tocks when she moved im­me­di­ately at­tract any male. She had long and flow­ing jet black hair that matched her beau­ti­ful face.

And it was cus­tom­ary for her, im­me­di­ately af­ter the break of dawn, she will go down the river and took her morn­ing bath. And Card­ing, a tall young man of twenty, and hand­some by any stan­dard was one of Conch­ing’s ad­mir­ers. He was never un­abashed in mak­ing an open dec­la­ra­tion of her love for Conch­ing. But the girl would only smile, never break her lips or nod­ded her head.

Un­til one day, the per­sis­tent lover got the wish of his life. The love of Conch­ing. Card­ing was the luck­i­est man in the world that day. And words got into town that the two were now an item. Friends of Card­ing were very happy for him and in­vited him for a cel­e­bra­tion

and went to the only carinde­ria in town.

Card­ing and his bud­dies drank mer­rily that night and con­sumed ev­ery rum, gin and beer stocks of the carinde­ria. And when ev­ery­body was drank and oth­ers ine­bri­ated, they de­cided to get down the river and swim to sober up.

It was a fate­ful night. An ac­ci­dent hap­pened. Card­ing drowned. And the news spread so quickly, and the whole town mourned his death. And Conch­ing was dev­as­tated. Her hap­pi­ness sud­denly changed to in­tense melan­cho­lia. She felt that she was de­ceived by the river. She ques­tioned the river why it took her Card­ing and drowned her heart with sor­row.

She raised her head and look to­wards heaven, and prayed as she never prayed that way be­fore and begged the Lord to dry up the river, so that no more lovers will ever lose his life.

For al­most fifty years I have been stay­ing in An­ge­les City and I sel­dom now go home to my home­town of Po­rac, and ev­ery time, I never fail look down on the dried river, and imag­ine where Conch­ing bathed her­self and where Card­ing drowned.

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