Father Carlito never changed a bit. He recited the mass exactly the same way he did 10 years ago that I had to ask myself whether he knows the definition of the word innovation.

His celebration was the same monotonous throaty delivery that sounded worse when he commanded us to offer the sign of peace to the people around.

I smiled and whispered to the person beside me “Plastikan…plastikan.” I looked at the people at my back, flashed the same smile and whispered the same line. Still sleepy at 11eyem, the altar appeared smogged to me, only that the smoke was dead black and it silhouetted some stuffed gargoyles.

Last night, I noticed how lola Natty changed. She slimmed down. Or the coffin was just too small for her. She did not look comfortable too.

When I die, I would prefer a bigger coffin or I will die again in suffocation. I’m also not going to allow my body decay slowly and let worms burrow and feast on my flesh. That of course is very organic—the art of food chain—but I would rather be torched to ashes and save the world some space.

Right now, I adore the idea of having myself inside a Mandaya urn. Athan can keep me if he wants to. Well, I’m giving him the right. But he can also choose to throw my ash.

My family? Nah…they can have my pictures and my old clothes.

Father Carlito was saying the final requiem prayer when my former prefect of discipline came from behind the pew and asked about the skin print on my right hand.

“Are they real?”
“How are you?”
“Well, I am good…Amen.”

After an awkward smile, the prefect of discipline left just as the recessional hymn was being sung.

As the priest passed by my pew, he threw a glance at me and smiled. Minutes later, he approached and gave a hug that he almost choked me. My suspicion that everything in him stopped 10 years ago was smoldered by the up-close encounter.

“How are you?”
“I’m good, father.”
“What do you do now?”
“Busy toppling down bananas.”
“Good job.”
“Where’s your wife?”
“I thought you are married.”
“I was never married, father.”
“But what happened to her?”
“I don’t know. She’s still in the UK, I guess.”
“You never changed.”


I’m no longer the same church worker.

I changed a lot that I had the urge to fart while everyone sang the lord’s prayer. L in lower case, deliberate.


Arvin said...