His smile faded, as the pain of the memory of meeting Krissandra (Yhannie) on that trip in a love bus along Ortigas Avenue many years ago shot through his heart unexpectedly. He looked extensively to the wedding picture displayed in the desk. “I… huhm… I ended up getting married after the courtship ‘pamamanhikan’; a custom symbolizes honor and respect for the parents of Yhannie. It is a traditional ‘marrying into the clan’ a painstaking extravagant legal exception for me, Captain Moore.
“Well,Congratulations!” Captain Moore told him putting out his hand. “And who is the lucky ‘Ilocana’ maiden?”
Yhecho met the man’s eyes and did not shake his hand right away. “She’s not an Ilocana,” Yhecho answered. “She’s from Cebu, a ‘Cebuana’.
Captain’s smile faded for a moment. “A bisaya?”
Yhecho nodded. “I met her on the love bus three days before my birthday; I went to ‘Baclaran Church’ praying mama Mary to give me the right woman for me. It was 8:30 in the morning before I proceed to Santolan for my medical checkup. That moment I couldn’t keep my eyes off her while I standing near where she is sitting with two other passengers. I am waiting for the passengers to vacate the place. She almost lost and run away when she noticed that I am running for her. Without her consent I followed her until she reaches her aunt house in Alabang. It was not easy for me to ask her approval to be my girlfriend. Every time I visit her, her aunt lay their sleeping mat in the living room and sometimes pass the bed pan maybe that is the sign for me to leave. And I found out that she was there also in ‘Baclaran Church’ all the way from Alabang for her devotion only to find out that she was also praying to give her the right man to love . It was 9:00 in the morning the same day, Tuesday July 21 three days before my birthday when I was in Baclaran Church. What a coincidence, she ended up having the same feeling for me.” But that was after years of courtship.
Captain smiled again.”Well, where is she now? I’d like to meet this woman who snagged a wild warrior and brave soldier like you!”
Yhecho grinned sadly, “She uh…. She’s with my cousins and relatives right now also with my sister and my mom.
“I see,” The man put out his hand again. “Well, like I said, congratulations, Yhecho. I’m happy for you and to your life. I sincerely hope she’ll be able to have more children. For I know you’re the only son and the only man who will carry your family name.
Yhecho met his eyes and saw the sincerity in him. He shook the man’s hand. “Thank you, Captain Moore” and he returned the wedding picture on Captain Moore’s table.
“Well, what brings you here soldier?” asked Captain.”Well, I’m interested to the position you offer. I’ll accept it. I know, me and Yhannie will move to the City for good as soon as possible.” “Alright, Yhecho just follow the order and your officer you will take the command responsibility of your unit in your next assignment. You’re a good soldier, a brave one! No one can question in your integrity and command responsibility brave soldier. Life in the city awaits you and your Yhannie. Good luck!”
Mack smiled. “You don’t understand. To begin with, team is easy to find, I’ll admit. But they’re all from military school, receives merit awards and recognition in the battle field, you see. I need buddy, a buddy who thinks like an Army SAF, an Action Force, commence with men, and understands men.” I figure a man like you; well he’d get on better with whatever soldiers he might run up against, and know how to handle better than the Soldiers in the field. A man like you would know how to avoid trouble because you’d understand them, how they think, where they go and all, you’d trained for that.”
“I don’t understand what you’re driving at. Why can’t you choose another man instead of me? I’m not an officer!”
“Well, I just had a feeling you’re the right man for the job. How about it? As you said …Yhannie, you’re wife is four months pregnant. It is very difficult for her to travel from the city and stay in this mountain camp! She cannot resign in her job and to give up everything just for you, be considerate. City is your place. There is a new life awaits you for the future of your children.”
Yhecho pushed his army hat back from his forehead. “All right then. As God is my witness, I accept the challenge, my new assignment, Captain.”
Yhecho write a message to Yhannie and give it to the mailman. He is very much excited to move in the City with Yhannie. He is feeling better all the time about the trip with his new assignment. He could settle down on a unit- awarded to him maybe near The Fort. He could buy car for Yhannie maybe a second hand car once his loan approved.
“Yhannie can transfer to a nice office near their place. With her condition she needs care and attention. Perhaps they could be together and he could give her the comfort of a sincere, family loving husband like me.” Yet they would still be among the low ranking Non Officer most of the time. There were few relatives settlers of Yhannie in the City, and she would be safe if we choose near The Fort. It seemed as though his answers were finally coming. How he longed to see Yhannie and ask her about it! It would be a long time before he saw his Yhannie again. From Tacurong to Negros Oriental then to Cebu and finally to National Capital Region is a long way to travel. The waiting would be difficult and he is worried about how Yhannie would fare alone with the “city life” until he returned. - To be continued…