Mamihlapinatapai (O Paano Manghuli ng Sandali)

By Mara Lagunday

Alam mo kung ano ang maganda?

Iyong sandali ng pag-aalinlangan bago ang unang halik.

Siguro kung artist ako, gagawin kong libangan ang pag-iipon nun. Maghahanap ako ng mga mukhang bago pa lamang nag-iibigan. Gagala ako kung saan-saan: sa madidilim na sulok ng mga eskinita at parking lots, sa loob ng mga bakanteng silid-aralan, sa likod ng mga puno, pati sa pasilyo ng mga simbahan at monasteryo.

Magtatago ako at hihintayin ang pagpikit ng kanilang mga mata, ang unti-unting paglapit ng mga mukha sa isa’t isa. Tapos maglalakad ako nang dahan-dahan, tahimik, papalapit sa kanila at isisilid ang sandaling iyon sa isang maliit na garapon.

Kapag nakabuo na ako ng koleksyon, ipapakita ko sa buong mundo sa pamamagitan ng isang eksibit. Bawat isang garapon, may kwento.

Ito, nahuli ko ito sa pagitan nina A at B noong ika-12 ng Disyembre, 2008. Hindi sila magkasintahan. Ang alam lang nila, isang araw noong nakalipas na buwan, bigla na lang silang naglakad nang hawak ang kamay ng isa’t isa at nang hindi nalalaman kung bakit.

Simula noon, tuwing magkasama silang maglakad, lagi na silang naghahawak ng kamay (at bumibitaw sa tuwinang may makakasalubong na kakilala nila). Minsan, binabakas pa ng hintuturo ni A ang pekas sa kamay ni B.

Magkahawak-kamay silang naglalakad noon habang nagkukwentuhan tungkol sa napurnadang unang pag-ibig ni A na siya raw nagturo sa kanya kung paano ngumiti tuwing kukunan siya ng larawan (hindi raw kasi siya ngumingiti bago niya nakilala ang una niyang pag-ibig). Nagkumento bigla si B tungkol sa ngiti ni A, kung gaano siya naaaliw sa isang aspeto nito- kung paano mas mahaba nang bahagya ang ngiti sa kaliwang bahagi ng mukha niya.

Hindi na maalala ni B kung kailan niya ito unang napansin…

Ito `yun. Nahuli ko ito sa pagitan nina A at B noong ika-12 ng Disyembre, 2008. Hindi sila naging magkasintahan, ngunit mayroon sila nitong pinagsaluhang sandali.

Ito ang regalo ng Panginoon sa sangkatauhan.

Mamihlapinatapai (Or How to Capture a Moment)

You know what’s beautiful?

That moment of hesitation before a first kiss.

If I were an artist, I’ll make it my hobby to collect those moments. I will look for couples who are newly in love. I will look for them in places where they may be found: in dark alleys and parking lots, inside empty classrooms, behind the shades of trees, even in the halls of churches.

I will hide and wait for the moment when they close their eyes, and their faces gravitate toward one another. Then I inch closer, slowly, quietly, and when I am within reach, I will capture that moment and keep it in a jar.

Once I have a decent collection, I will show it to the entire world through an exhibit. Each tiny mason jar has its own story.

This? I captured it between A and B on the 12th of December in 2008. They weren’t a couple. All they knew was that one day in November, without knowing why, they started holding each other’s hands.

Since then, every time they walked, they held hands (and promptly released them whenever they bumped into someone they know). Sometimes, A would even trace the scars on B’s hand with his index finger.

They were holding hands when they talked about A’s first love that never came to fruition. This person taught A how to smile in pictures. B then started talking about A’s smile, how she finds one aspect of it endearing–how he smiles with the left side slightly longer than the right.

B could not remember when she first noticed this peculiar thing.

I captured this between A and B on the 12th of December in 2008. They did not end up together, but they shared this moment.

This is God’s gift to mankind.

Photo and translation by Jen Jalandoni

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