Unang Patak ng Niyebe (First Snow Fall)

I wrote this short story in Filipino two years ago as one of the writing requirements for the Democracy Summer Fest Creative Writing Module sponsored by the American Embassy held in Davao City, Philippines. I already lost the manuscripts; however, I tried my best to be as faithful to the original as I possibly can. I also provided a translation in English:

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Patakbong lumabas mula sa tarangkahan ng paaralan si Mito. Ramdam ng kanyang talampakan ang mga maliliit at matutulis na batong hindi lubusang naikubli ng kanyang manipis na dilaw na tsinelas. Hindi niya maitago ang saya dahil ito ang una niyang pagkakataong makapunta sa aklatang bayan ng Cajidiocan, Romblon.

Masuyo niyang tinahak ang daan at nagpalinga-linga sa mga dumaraang traysikel. Bilin ng kanyang nanay na mag-iingat sa daan. Inayos niya ang nakalambiting bag sa kanyang likod na naglalaman ng kanyang walang lamang baunan, isang lapis, at aklat sa Sibika at Kultura at Ingles. Nakipagpalitan muna siya sa isa niyang kaklase na dala nama’y aklat sa Agham at Araling Pantahanan.

Nasa ika-apat na baitang si Mito, subalit maliban sa apat na aklat na palagi niyang dala na kapalitan niya sa kanyang kamag-aral, hindi pa siya nakakita ng aklat na puno ng larawan gaya ng ikinwento ng kanyang nakatatandang kapatid na babae.

At dahil bukod-tangi ang araw na ito, nilakad niya mula sa kanilang mababang paaralan patungong bayan, humigit-kumulang 5 kilometro, upang basahin at mapagmasdan ang mga dahon ng aklat na puno ng makukulay na larawan at mga tanawan mula sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng mundo.

Pinigil niya ang kanyang paghinga nang matanaw niya ang “Cajidiocan, Romblon Public Library”.

Binati niya ang tagapamahala ng aklatan at inilapag sa mesa ang kanyang palatandaan. Pinagmasdan siya ng babae at nginitian niya si Mito. Ipinatong ni Mito ang kanyang bag sa kanyang paa upang takpan ang kanyang manipis na dilaw na tsinelas. Pagkatpos niyang itala ang kayang pangalan, tumuloy na siya sa loob.

Bagama’t maliit ang aklatan, nagmistula itong palasyo sa mga mata ng batang si Mito. Nagpalipat-lipat siya sa mga estante at binaybay ng kanyang mga daliri ang mga hanay ng mga aklat. Sa di kalayuan, natanaw niya ang isang aklat ng mga kwento. Binuksan niya ang mga pahina at sinimulang basahin ang isang kwentong nagsimula isang gabing umuulan ng niyebe. Nanginginig ang talukap ng kanyang mga mata habang binabaklay ang mga pahina ng kwento.
Sa puso niya, hiniling niya sa Diyos na dinadasalan ng kanyang ina ang pag-ulan ng niyebe.

Masid ang langit mula sa giwang ng bintanang nilisan ng mga kabibeng Capiz, nagdasal si Mito ng mataimtim.

Pagkalipas ng mahabang sandali, itiniklop niya ang aklat at ibinalik sa estante. Tinungo niya ang mesa ng tagapamahala, kinuha ang kanyang palatandaan at bag; patakbo siyang lumabas gaya ng patakbong niyang pagtungo sa aklatan.

Umihip ang malamig na hangin. Binuksan niya ang kanyang palad paharap sa himpapawid. Isang gabutil na niyebe and dumapo sa kanyang maliliit na daliri.

Kinabahan si Mito.

Translation:

First Snow Fall

Mito came running out from the gates of his school. The sole of his feet felt the small and sharp stones that were not entirely dulled by his thinning yellow slippers. He couldn’t hide the happiness he felt because it was his first time to visit the municipal library of Cajidiocan, Romblon.

He carefully traced the way and look around once in a while for approaching tricycles. His mother told him to be very careful. He fixed his bag on his back which contained an empty lunch box, a pencil, and his two books in Civics and English. He just had them after he swapped his Science and Home Economics with a classmate.

Mito was already in his fourth grade. However, aside from the four books he always carried with him and which he exchanged with his other classmates, he had never seen a book full of pictures before like what his older sister told him.

And because this day is a special day, he walked from his elementary school to town, roughly five kilometers, to read and see the illustrations on the books full of pictures of sites from different places in the world.

He held his breath when he saw “Cajidiocan, Romblon Public Library”.

He greeted the librarian and placed on her table his school identification card. He looked at the woman, and she smiled back at Mito. He placed his bag on top of his feet to cover his thin, yellow slippers. After he wrote his name on the list, he then went inside.

Although the library is small, in young Mito’s eyes it was palatial. He shifted from shelf to shelf, and his fingers treaded the rows of books. From a not very far distance, he saw a book of stories. He opened the pages and started reading a story that started one snowy evening. His eyelashes shivered while they ambled through the pages. In his heart, he prayed to the God whom his parents pray to for snow.

Seeing the sky from the holes abandoned by what used to have been covered by capiz shells, Mito prayed with all sincerity.

After a long while, he closed the book and returned it in the shelf. He approached the table of the librarian, took his identification card and bag; he went out running like he did when he left his school.

The cold breeze blew. He opened his palm facing the sky. A grain of snow fell on his small outstretched fingers.

It frightened him.

3 thoughts on “Unang Patak ng Niyebe (First Snow Fall)”

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