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Thursday, March 12, 2015

THE MAN ON THE BRIDGE: SHORT STORY BY MARIA CASSIA


THE MAN ON THE BRIDGE


At a sweet age of 16, Micah is a picture of innocence and vitality.
She is at the height of curiosity about life and what life is in store for her.
Leah, her mum looks lovingly to her daughter, who is a paragon of
virtue.  On the other hand, Micah has that temper of a tiger when
provoked.

Leah called Micah early in the morning and said, "Come now and buy
pandesal (bread) from Juan's store and make sure the bread is still warm.
We have some jelly and peanut butter for the bread."  Micah was still yawning
but quickly don her sandals to go to Juan's store.

Along the way, there is a wooden bridge before she arrives at the store.
There is a small creek of water teeming with small fish. So innocently,
she greeted the fish, "Good morning, are you well-fed this morning?"
Afterwards she giggled like an innocent child.  When she raised up her eyes,
she saw this youthful looking teenager maybe about seventeen years of age.
He was wearing a bluish t- shirt and a faded Levis jeans.  What she notices
about this guy is his soulful ebony eyes with some shades of brown!  He seems
dignified yet with an air of modernity.  He was standing right at the bridge
where Micah has to passed.  As per her etiquette, she just looked at the teener
like a stranger, then whisked off quickly to Juan's store.

Juan greeted her and said, "O Micah, fresh as the morning dew, what can I do
for you?"  Micah replied, "10 pesos of pandesal (bread) please, Tito Juan."
(Tito is just an endearing way to call a good friend).  By the way, do you
now that teener standing on the bridge?"  Juan answered, "Well, he is
Robert, the son of Eloisa, the teacher at Anthony's Primary.  He is just on holiday
because he lives in Manila.  Why?  Micah shyly replied, " Oh nothing, I
just passed by on the bridge and I passed him."

Then, the family of Micah enjoyed their breakfast of pandesal with jelly and peanut
butter plus chocolate with milk.  The next day, Micah bought again pandesal and
the teener, Robert was at the bridge again.  Micah seems annoyed, "Early in the morning!"
A week passed by, then Micah was dreaming already about Robert.  She was
surprised because she seems annoyed at him for being at the bridge whenever she has to
buy pandesal.

After two weeks of exchanging smiles, Robert finally broke the ice and introduce himself.
Micah seems to have butterflies on her stomach, but she finally composed herself.
Robert as a gentleman asked Micah if he can visit at her home.  Micah replied, "I
will ask Mum first and I will tell you tomorrow."  Finally, Robert visited her at home
and he brought some chocolates and pink roses for her.  At 16, this is the first time she
received roses from a man.  At night, Micah repeatedly smelled the roses and put it
in a vase.  Then she placed the vase near the image of Jesus.

Robert has to go to Manila now.  Micah was teary-eyed that night.  On their farewell night,
Robert promised her that he will come back after three months because he is already graduating
from high school.  Micah said, "I will wait for you!"   Their eyes met and  teen love is evident!
Robert gently kissed her on her cheek.  Micah's heart almost jumped!   Micah gave her
a pink rosary.  Then Robert said, "I will treasure this rosary."   And Micah watched for him as he walked away from the verandah!  She whispered to herself, "My love passed by the bridge!"
All rights reserved:  Maria Cassia Austero

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