CHARACTERS

Fernando, Husband of Maria

Maria, Wife Fernando

Darb, Daughter of Fernando and Maria

Ellang, Daughter of Fernando and Maria

Babing, Maria’s brother

Ambrose, Nephew of Babing and Maria

 

Scene I

The stage is set in a living room. A glass table in the center of the stage. A bonsai and a piece of cloth for cleaning placed on top of the table. A long couch is placed in the center-back of the stage. Two single couches are perpendicularly placed on the left and right center part of the stage but it is not arranged properly. Cabinets perpendicularly placed on both left and right side of the long couch, filled with unarranged books, chinawares, miniatures, etc etc..  Fernando and Maria are cleaning the living room. Maria is wearing a long loose daster.

 

FERNANDO

Darb, can you come here sa diri, Anak?

 

MARIA

Day Darb, your father is calling you.

 

DARB

Yes, Pa? Do you need help?

 

FERNANDO

The caterers said they’re on their way. Could you please follow up on them? Maybe you can meet them up outside sa skina. 

 

MARIA

Follow up na la pod og asa na sila Tiyo Babing nimo. They’re buying stuff for tonight.

 

DARB

Tiyo Babing called by the way. He is still at the tiange. He wants to know if he should buy 1.5 liters of soft drinks instead of saktos.

 

FERNANDO

Tell na la pod your Tiyo to buy saktos na la because if we buy litros we have to clean more dishes or buy plastic cups and I do not want that extra hassle.

 

DARB

Okay, Pa.

 

FERNANDO

Have you checked on your sister Ellang?

 

DARB

She still hasn’t talked to me. You know how she is.

 

FERNANDO

So she’s sulking in her room? Has she eaten yet?

 

DARB

No. I tried asking her to have breakfast with me earlier. She just ignored me. She was sitting on a table. She might have been writing.

 

FERNANDO

Just let her be for now. 

 

DARB

Nangutana diay silang Nang Hening what time should they come here and what time is the misa?

 

MARIA

Da, kahilas mag-ari-ari. Mayra jod na silag makapahimos.

Maria murmurs as she continues what she is doing.

 

DARB

Are we really going to allow them to come here?

 

FERNANDO

Tell them the misa will start at seven.

 

DARB

Are you really sure you want them to come?

 

FERNANDO

Yes, Darb, I’m sure. Lakaw na kuno. Go! Don’t make me tell you twice. 

 

DARB

So, it’s final? They’re coming?

 

MARIA

Da, kahilas mag-ari-ari. They’re just going to come here to para mamainit.

 

FERNANDO

Sige na la god. Unsaon man ta na? What can we do, they are our neighbors.

 

MARIA & DARB (IN UNISON)

Mockingly mimicking Fernando.

Neighbors, neighbors.

 

FERNANDO

I’ve made up my mind. Can you please stop arguing with me? I have a lot of things to think about and more to do. Can you please just go.

 

DARB

Fine. I’m going.

Exits.

 

FERNANDO

Picks up a picture frame from one of the cabinets and cleans it carefully. Maria continues to clean as well.

I’m sorry. I know you don’t like them coming tonight.

 

MARIA

Rolling her eyes.

Mao man! You got that right.

 

FERNANDO

I know you have a problem with them.

 

MARIA

So why do you bother making them come if you know very well nga naa koy problema nila?

 

FERNANDO

Putting the frame back and continues to clean somewhere else.

Even I have to admit that what’s happening right now is a lesson of reconciliation and forgiveness. I’m sure Father will bring it up later sa misa.

They both continue cleaning in silence.

 

MARIA

Babing is here.

Babing, with the bruises he had from their fight last night enters the stage trying to exit on the other side of the stage as fast as he can.

 

FERNANDO

Pre, did Darb talk to you about the soft drinks?

Babing stops in his tracks.

 

BABING

Hmmhmm… 

Babing nods without looking at Fernando.

 

FERNANDO

Ahhhh. So there were no saktos sa tiange?

 

BABING

Nope.

 

FERNANDO

Ahhh. Saktos would have bett–

 

BABING

You have nothing to worry about, I already bought plastic cups and silang Dodong will be here ug mga anak ni Kuya Remmy if there are dishes that need to be cleaned.

Stares at Fernando with contempt.

Know your place. Doesn’t mean this is your house now doesn’t mean you get to–

 

MARIA

Warning Babing to cool it down.

Bab!

Babing takes a deep breath.

 

BABING

I should put these in the freezer at the back. Always remember that I only tolerate you because you are my sister’s husband. Di pa lang, sus!

Babing exits carrying the groceries.

 

MARIA

Pasagda-i na la tos Babing. He’s just upset, so let him be, please.

 

FERNANDO

I think it’s best if we move out after all of this.

 

MARIA

Ayaw god. Don’t be like that, Pa. 

 

FERNANDO

Di man sa pagpanguwenta, I don’t really like to count the times I’ve helped the family out pero it was my money that made this house better. The tiles for the entire house. And the bathroom– before it was really, whew! It’d be a shame if a guest were to use it.

 

MARIA

So that’s why you’d never use the bathroom way back when you were courting me.

Fernando sighs.

Sorry, please continue.

 

FERNANDO

I shouldered the cost for the renovation of the house when the storm came and destroyed the roof. Did they even offer to pay bisag piso? No! Even looking for the carpenter, they could not do it.

 

MARIA

They also have work to go to. You know they wanted to.

 

FERNANDO

Even supervising and making sure that the work is done right, wala. It was all me. Hilas ra if they’re going to keep treating me this way. Kapoy ra. 

Fernando sighs as he sits on the long couch.

 I’m really tired. But sige lang, after everything I will be free.

 

MARIA

I think you should rest for a bit. I’ll get you some water. It’s still early. You’ll still have time before magsugod unyang gabii.

Fernando lies down.

 

AMBROSE

A voice outside the stage emerges.

Ayo! Ayo!

Ambrose enters.

 

FERNANDO

Fernando wakes up.

Uy, Dong Ambrose! It’s good that you’ve arrived. I didn’t even realize it’s already late in the afternoon. Nakatulog ko god.

Fernando opens his arms to hug Ambrose.

Komosta man ang travel all the way here, Nak?

 

AMBROSE

It was very tiring, Uncle. I haven’t rested yet since I traveled all the way here right after I finished my shift. Pero, I’m really happy to see you despite the circumstances that brought me here. Ikaw, komosta man ka?

 

FERNANDO

Okay ra jod ko, Nak.

 

AMBROSE

Sure ka, uncle? I heard from Darb when I met her outside earlier that you and Uncle Babing fought last night.

 

FERNANDO

We just had a little misunderstanding. The problem has been resolved now, anyway. So it wasn’t that big of a deal.

 

AMBROSE

Oh, really, Uncle?  It was really different from what I heard from the marites in our family.

 

FERNANDO

Pfft! Don’t believe my pasaway nga anak. Sige, saka na nya didto sa taas so you can rest. I believe Darb prepared the guest room for your arrival. Pero before you go up, can you please get me a glass of water before you go? I’m really thirsty.

 

AMBROSE

Okay, I’ll get you some water first. I’ll be back

Fernando sighs trying to adjust from his sleep.

Ambrose exits but is greeted by Babing. 

 

BABING

Uy, Dong, you’re here na diay?

 

AMBROSE

Yes, Tito, I just arrived.

Ambrose extends his hand gesturing for a bless and Babing offers his hand and places it  on top of Ambrose’s hand to give a bless.

 

BABING

Your mom told me how you’ve been doing great. Getting a job and all. Being out there in the real world doing great things. I’m so happy to hear all those things about you.

 

AMBROSE

Thank you, Tito. It’s all thanks to God.

 

BABING

You’re right. Without him, we are nothing.

 

AMBROSE 

Ikaw, Tito? How are you?

 

BABING

Oh, I’m here. Nangandam. Preparing things for later. Unlike other people there, ginansiya lag muta. At least someone gained something.

Speaking a little louder for Fernando to hear.

 

AMBROSE

Ah. I’ll come to you later to help out.

 

BABING

Sige lang, Dong. Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of everything.

Walks past Ambrose and exits on the other side of the stage without batting an eye towards Fernando.

Fernando still trying to adjust from his nap.

Ambrose walks in back

 

AMBROSE

Nara tubig nimo, Kol, oh. Drink first.

Fernando drinks.

 

FERNANDO

Thank you, Ambrose. You go upstairs na and rest a little bit. 

 

AMBROSE

I will, Tito.

 

FERNANDO

Alas sayis. You should already be prepared later.

 

AMBROSE

Alright. I badly need to shut my eyes na pod.

Stands up and walks away.

 

FERNANDO

Before you go, how is your mother, Rhea?

Ambrose stops on his tracks and faces Fernando.

 

AMBROSE

She is on her way here. I was supposed to go back to her and get here with her, but she insisted that it’d be better if we just meet here instead. Why? Haven’t you talked with her already?

 

FERNANDO

No, no, no. I mean, we did. I was just checking up.

 

AMBROSE

Oh, all right!

They were both silent as Fernando stares blankly into Ambrose’s face.

Is there anything else you need, Tito?

 

FERNANDO

Startled.

Oh, ha? No, nothing. I mean, you can go to the guest room now and rest.

Ambrose stands us and heads towards the exits.

Six p.m., don’t forget.

 

AMBROSE

I won’t.

Ambrose exits.

Maria enters the stage as soon as Ambrose gets off stage.

 

MARIA

Maayo cause your favorite nephew is here.

 

FERNANDO

I really, really despise your brother, you know. I sleep for an hour and suddenly I’m not doing anything.

 

MARIA

Maria sighs.

Just let my brother be, ana man jod nas Babing. Let’s continue so you can also prepare yourself later.

Both of them stands up to continue cleaning.

Few moments of silence.

 

FERNANDO

I hope you know that I will always love you. It’s been what?

 

MARIA

25 years. Yep, it’s quite a run.

FERNANDO

25 years. Wow. 

Fernando falls silent for a few seconds in awe.

And for the longest time, my heart beats all over the place for you, anxiously, but somehow it knows it is in place. I love you. I really do love you deeply. I just want you to know that I cherished every second I am with you. Even in the ugliest of situations, I was there. Every time it’s worth it. Much more now. Other people could only wish to know and experience these things I keep deeply in heart. My heart aches, you know. Sakit kaayo sa dughan nga ingon ani.

 

MARIA

Sighs.

I know. You should probably keep it for later. Sige na, let’s finish the work. 

Moment of silence.

Phone rings.

 

FERNANDO

Hello? Yes? Yes, this is him. Okay, sige. Just call me when you’ve arrived sa skina sa Aboitiz kay I will ask my daughter to meet you there. Okay. Thank you so much ba-bye.

 

MARIA

Unya andam na ka?

 

FERNANDO

Darb! Darb, Anak! Ari sa god.

 

DARB

Yes, Pa?

 

FERNANDO  

Were you able to follow up the catering?

 

DARB

They already arrived earlier pag-udto. Natulog ka. So I didn’t disturb you.

 

FERNANDO

Okay sige, call the priest, ask him if he wants to be picked up later. Also, the funeral homes have already called and they said they’re coming. 

 

DARB

Okay, sige, Pa. What are you gonna do? Human na ka diha?

 

FERNANDO

Human na ko og pangandam. I’m done here. So I think mangandam na ko myself. Preparing myself for later.

 

DARB

I think I will too.

Darb exits.

 

FERNANDO

I do not know if I could do this.

 

MARIA

Breathe, Pa.

Fernando sits on the couch and Maria sits besides him.

 

FERNANDO

I am not ready for this. I am– I don’t know what to do. The closer it is, the realer it becomes. And I dont know if I can do this. If I can face the world ahead of me after this. Mag-unsa na la ko?

 

MARIA

Live. Daghan pa kayka puyde mabuhat diri. Watch over our children. Help them grow, nurture, and cherish them as you have cherished me. You have so much to live for.

Maria’s last line is in unison of Fernando’s first line.

 

FERNANDO

You had so much to live for. So ngano ikaw? Ako na la unta to. I feel like you could handle this better. Your siblings won’t ridicule you. You know how much they don’t like me. 

 

MARIA

I know it will seem like it’s too heavy now. But I believe you will get through this. Di ba you taught me before that–

 

FERNANDO

Time heals all things.

 

FERNANDO & MARIA (IN UNISON)

Grief does not get smaller in time, but rather our hearts get bigger enough to carry the weight of that grief.

 

DARB

Pa? Okay ra ka? Who were you talking to? 

 

FERNANDO

Ha? No one. I was just talking to myself, you know.

 

DARB

Are you sure? I’m really worried about you, you know. We all are.

 

FERNANDO

I’m fine.

Darb reaches for Fernando’s back and caresses it, trying to console him.

Fernando takes Darb’s hand away and holds it in place.

Really, Darb, I’m okay.

 

DARB

Sighs.

Naa na ang Funeral Homes, they’re outside waiting for you. And I saw mom, guwapa kaayo siya. She looks so elegant, just as always when she’s asleep, you know.

 

FERNANDO

She has, she is, and she always will be.

Fernando sighs and smiles a little. He then faces Darb.

You go ahead and tell them to wait. I will catch up with you outside.

 

DARB

Okay.

 

FERNANDO

His head bowed down and his hands over his head.

I guess this is it. 

 

MARIA

Nodding.

Hmmm… This is it.

Maria stands up and exits.

Lights off.

Scene I ends.

 

SCENE II

The same living room however there is now an open casket on the right side of the stage facing the living room. Babing sitting on the single couch on the left, Darb sitting on the left side of the long couch, Fernando sitting on the right side of the long couch (leaving the left and middle part of the couch empty), Ambrose sitting on the right single couch, and Maria sitting behind the long couch. All of them are facing Ellang standing in front of the casket and behind a microphone stand. Everyone is wearing a white top and black bottoms except for Maria who is still wearing her white daster.

 

ELLANG

Um, good evening, everyone. Um, I will just read this poem I wro- wrote:

Voice Cracking throughout the entire poem.

 

There were only so many words

I can say to describe my Mother’s

heartbeat turning a room

into a concert hall

 

Stops to cry hard.

 

Until Yesterday

when the music died

and I- I did not know

what to say

 

Like every Song

every Lullaby

She gets to keep

what She gives

 

Maria slowly walks up to Ellang.

 

So I will sing instead of 

every Kiss in my forehead

every Prayer with my name

every Hug she ever gave me

 

Maria stands behind her and put her hand on Ellang’s shoulder.

 

I may not know

all of the lyrics

but I will Humm

till the Words come

 

I Love You,

Cries.

Fernando stands up and goes to Ellang and embraces her, Ellang embraces back. Maria embraces Ellang.

 

I Love You. I Love You.

 

I Love you, Ma.

 

Fernando then nods towards Ambrose. Ambrose stands up, greeting Ellang with a hug. Fernando then guides her to the couch.  Darb and Elliot stand up and embraces Ellang, comforting her as Darb wipes her tears as she also wipes her tears away. Maria walks up to her daughters as they break away from each other a little, Maria gives the three of them kisses on the forehead. The three of them sit down.  Babing wiping his eyes a little as Maria sits on his armrest. Ambrose makes his way to the microphone stand. 

 

AMBROSE

Adjusting the stand.

Thank you so much, Ellang, especially for that wonderful and touching poem. Now, I think it’s time for Uncle Fernando to take his turn. Uncle, is that okay?

Fernando nods.

Okay, everyone, here is Uncle Fernando.

Fernando stands up and greets Ambrose with a firm handshake as Ambrose finds his way to his seat.

 

Fernando

Maayong gabii sa tanan. How are you? First of all, I would like to thank everyone for coming here tonight for my wife’s funeral. Thank you to those who reached out and offered a helping hand. I want to give my deepest gratitude to my children. Si Elliot, my eldest, si Ellang, si Darb my youngest . My stronghold ever since the past few hours. They have kept me from breaking and collapsing ni Dong Ambose, and even to *paused to clear his throat* pa- pareng- ni Babing who shouldered with me everything ever since my wife died. 

Sighs.

Unsa pa man? What else is there to say really when your wife dies? Really? Especially in the first few hours when everything is too real that it seems like nothing is real. You start to spiral down and you curl yourself into a question mark asking if any of this is real. Hoping that this isn’t. I certainly hope this isn’t. For the past few hours, it’s a slip and slide between what is real and isn’t. There are times– There are times that I can feel like she’s really there. As if it was just yesterday when I was chased by her father when I was courting her, when she said yes, when she also said ‘I do’, when our first born died, when Elliot said mama first instead of papa.

Snorts a little laugh.

Darb’s first step, and even Ellang’s first stroke of letters on paper. It’s funny how these little moments that seemed so small can feel so enormous at any given moment, and how things we feel could entirely change the course of our life can be reduced as a thing that just kinda happened, something that is insignificant. God, I’d give anything to appreciate the things I took for granted back then. To touch, to hold, to embrace her all over again. I have loved her everyday. I know that I have. But now that she is gone, why does it seem like I didn’t appreciate her enough? Regret can be such an insatiable hole to fill. But then we get to the other side of things. The side that we can’t help but emerge ourselves in an attempt to cope. I remember that one time she didn’t tell me she sent money to her sister Rhea. Rhea and I have never been closer after that. Rhea, If you’re here, yes, I see you. It was around the time Ambrose, here, got sick. 

Gestures his hands towards Ambrose.

I had a really huge fight with Maria at that time. I may or may have not sent a frying pan flying. Regardless of the fight though, I took her to the hospital to visit Rhea and Ambrose. I really despised her at that time but, you know, I had to drive her there. I still love my wife even though I wanted to rip my face off.  That’s when I met Ambrose. My favorite nephew. Sorry, Dong Jade.

 Laughs a little.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s these moments that my wife taught me how to not let anything swallow me. Grief does not get smaller in time, but rather our hearts get bigger enough to carry the weight of that grief.

Pauses for a while.

Earlier as I was talking to Darb and Elliot, it made me realize the irony of life. How in this separation of life; the separation of me and my wife; the separation of my children and their mother. How this void brings us together and it creates a bond. It’s like all this time since we loved each other she has been preparing me for this moment. Or I would like to think so. Because as much as I would like to think that this is just all a dream, I would still wake up finding my wife sleeping in a casket. So I would just like to believe that in her own majestic and divine way—God, she is so divine—that even in her death she is teaching me a lesson that there isn’t really any point anymore in dwelling and grieving for her, although I will continue to do so. I know she would want me to focus on what can be rather than what could have been.  So in these ruins, I wish for reconciliation. 

He turns his gaze towards Babing.

Bab, I know things have taken a wrong turn between us, and even to the rest of Maria’s brothers and sisters I know there is a gap between us. But all of us know Maria would want us to have a good relationship with one another. So, Bab, I want to start with you. For Maria’s sake, will you please forgive me?

A few moments of silence as eyes turn towards Babing except for Maria who is looking down on the floor.

Babing exits .

Lights off.

Scene II ends.

 

SCENE III

In the same living room. On top of the center table are a few bottles of beer. Babing is standing in front of the casket holding a bottle of beer and is drunk. Babing is leaning on the casket. Maria is standing behind him. The lights are dimmer.

 

BABING

Laughing.

Do you remember back to when we were teenagers? Back when I could still  play the guitar and you would sing.

Chuckles.

You have a terrible voice, you know that? But still, you would sing. You didn’t care who was listening.

 

MARIA

I do remember that. 

 

BABING

The best one is whenever we have a fiesta or an occasion at home and you’d sing at the top of your lungs at 2 A.M.. Remember that one time someone threw rocks on our roof while you were singing?

Laughs.

Or that time when you sang the national anthem at our high school and in the middle of it it coincidentally rained? 

Laughs.

I really denied to my classmates at that time that you were my sister.

Laughs.

I’m sorry.

Gulps on the bottle he is holding until it’s empty.

 

MARIA

I think you’ve had enough of that.

Babing places the bottle on top of the table and lies down on the long couch for a while.

Maria is standing behind the long couch staring down at Babing.

 

BABING

Sits up.

Wait, I’ll be back. I need to get another beer.

Walking towards the exit.

 

MARIA

Trying to catch up to Babing but stops in the middle of her tracks as soon as Babing exits.

Wait, I told you to stop. You don’t need ano–

Stops herself as soon as Babing exits.

Fernando enters on the other side and looks like he just woke up.

 

FERNANDO

What is that noise? I thought everyone had already gone to sleep?

Picks up the bottle and gets a cloth to wipe the table.

Babing enters stumbling and is now holding another bottle of beer.

 

BABING

Laughing.

Oh, look. It’s my sister’s delusional husband. How was your sleep?

Slowly walks towards Fernando.

 

MARIA

Babing. (A high pitched voice but with a hint of carefulness.)

 

 FERNANDO

Mata pa diay ka, Pre? You should rest–

 

BABING

What the fuck are you call me Pre for? We’re not close, are we? You’re a fucking nobody. So don’t be calling me Pre.

 

MARIA

Babing, stop it please.

Tries to get in between Fernando and Babing.

 

BABING

Jabs Fernando in his chest with his finger.

You think you’re so rich, don’t you? Well, let me be the first one to tell you that I don’t give a fuck about your money. You are a nobody to me. So don’t try to be goody-two-shoes with me, okay? I can see right through you. You fucking cunt.

He pushes Fernando but Fernando is able to withstand it.

 

FERNANDO

What did I ever do to you?

 

BABING

Laughing.

Well, for starters, why don’t we start with you humiliating me in front of everybody earlier, huh?

 

FERNANDO

What do you mean? I was just–

 

BABING

Just what? Huh? Just a pure human connection? You weren’t just trying to put me in the spotlight so I could be forced to forgive you? You know I’d never forgive you. So what you’re really trying to do is paint me as this asshole. So guess what? I am an asshole! I am now the villain and you are now the main character. The one everyone loves. Well, fuck you!

 

FERNANDO

What did I even do to get this kind of hatred from you?

 

MARIA

Can you two please stop?

 

BABING

Laughing.

In your little speech earlier about my sister Rhea? As if I didn’t know? You were the one who sent that money because for the longest time, you were originally in love with Rhea but she chose another man and that’s when you went after my sister Maria.

 

MARIA

No, Babing. That’s not true at all. 

 

FERNANDO

I would never do that to Maria nor Rhea. I would never betray Maria. I would never betray this family like that.

 

BABING

Laughing.

Shut up, will you? Isn’t that why you love Ambrose so much? Ambrose, your FAAAVORITE nephew?

 

FERNANDO

You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

 

BABING

And you know what’s the worst of all? That despite all of our protest not to marry you, Maria still married you? It’s the same reason why you and Rhea got close recently.

 

MARIA

Babing, please stop. You know I loved Fernando. Please stop this, the both of you.

 

FERNANDO

Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you really want to do this in front of your sister?

 

BABING

Pointing his finger into Fernando’s eyes.

Maria only married you because of your mone–

Fernando punches Babing across the face.

Babing laughs.

There he is. These are your true colors. There is the Fernando I was looking for.

 

MARIA

Fernando didn’t mean that, Babing. Please.

 

FERNANDO

Stunned by his actions

I– I–

 

BABING

Yawa ka!

Launches himself towards Fernando and the both of them fights

It should have been you who died instead of my sister!

Maria, feeling so helpless, walks towards the casket, slams and closes it and exits.

Fernando and Babing stop fighting to look at the casket.

Lights off.

By Yudi Santillan III

Yudi Santillan III is a 3rd year Creative Writing student studying in Silliman University. He won first place in the CESAFI: Bangga sa Balak last 2020. He is part of the Stray Poets Society, a literary and art group in Cebu that consist of different artists and writers like himself. He was accepted as a fellow for the 61st Silliman University National Writers Workshop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.