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Copy of The Flowers of May

By: Francisco Arcellana

john paul almendras

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Copy of The Flowers of May

The Flowers of May
By: Francisco Arcellana
Month of May / Maytime
By the window
Victoria - Francisco's sister who
died at a young age
Pepeng - the father
Mother - pepeng's wife
Narciso - who has become the catholic priest.
Manuela - the piano teacher
Juaning & Paking -Francisco's brothers
It is May again.It is generally sultry but it has begun to rain in the afternoons
and the evenings are clear,the skies are of the itmost blue; new grass is breaking
from the earth everywhere.
May time makes him think of rain and flowers.It makes him think of his father and his mother,his brothers and his sisters,the living and the dead .It makes him think of churches and how it is inside churches on May afternoons.
Father is thinking of his sister Victoria.It rained the afternoon of her burial.Victoria
has been dead two months.Victoria died in march.She was almost a young lady when she died.She was sixteen.She had been ill a long time.She was out in the country gathering flowers for the flower festival when she was caught by rain.It was rain like that one his father is now watching.
May last year was the last May she ever saw.It was also the last time she
ever participated in the floral rites.She had been one of the singing flower girls since
she was six.Victoria is his fathers first real,and as turns out,only loss.Father is thinking of his sister Victoria.It rained the afternoon of her burial.Victoria
has been dead two months.Victoria died in march.She was almost a young lady when she died.She was sixteen.She had been ill a long time.She was out in the country gathering flowers for the flower festival when she was caught by rain.It was rain like that one his father is now watching.
His mother appears at the door.She has her double vision glasses with the wire
frame on.She has been doing some sewing or reading from one of her innumerable copies of a weekly in the vernacular where she follows all the interminable serials.She looks at his father.She walks to him.She walks without making a sound.
His mother looks up at the rain."I hope the girls have sense enough to stay out of the rain,"she says.His father and mother are still at the window when the girls arrive.They are drenched but their arms are full of flowers,all the flowers of may.They have more flowers than they have ever been able to gather before.
They stand at the stair head,their arms heavy with flowers,their hair wet and sticking
to their faces,their faces that you can barely see above the flowers bright and happy like the flowers ,their eyes that you can barely see through the flowers ,punched pleased and shining brightly like the flowers.
His mother runs to her sisters"what have you done to yourselves?"she asks.She gathers the flowers from their shaky arms into her more steady ones.She carries the flowers to the round table in the middle of the sala;raises the flowers to her face and holds them there a moment before spilling out carefully on the table top.
His father has turned around from the window and now,against the murkey light he stands ,not saying anything just watching to her mother and sisters.In the suddenly empty sala,his father walks to the round table and looks down at the flowers.He stands there regarding the flowers a long time.
When the girls appear they are dressed for church,their reed trays hanging empty from
their hands.The girls pick up their trays and walk to the round table where the flowers are.
His mother picks up the tea things and carries them out to the kitchen.His sisters look up at his
mother wuth bright pleased happy faces."Take some of the lilies mother"they offer.
His mother picks up one lily and places it to the right of the holy family.She picks up the second
lily and sets it to the left .But when she picks up the third lily she hesitates: she does not quite know what to do with the third lily.The girls laugh at mother's little impasse with the third lily.It does not look like his mother will ever be able to resolve her little drama with the odd lily.His mother is silent and still,in an agony over the last lily.
The sound of the rain on the roof has unaccountably stopped."Enough of this!"Someone has suddenly
spoken.It is his father speaking .There is stridency,strange and urgent,in his voice.The girls stop where they
are,halfway between the center of the sala.Enough,enough of this ",his father says.Mother hears but does not turn;she does not dare turn.She is very still but not the lily in her hand.She is very still but the lily is agitated in her hand.
Enough of what,Pepeng?"his Mother ask brightly."What have you had enough of?".I won't have any more of it,"father says."What would you no more of?"His mother asks."Do you think it is so simple to let you child die".His father demands again."O Pepeng ",his mother cries her mouth a little parted as if she is in pain.His father proclaims "Victoria did not want to die.His grief has found utterance at last.
It is as terrible as the naked terror stark in his mother's eyes and deep as the new
knowledge and first and final and only wisdom that they have just now begun to share .
So this is death .So this is what it means to die.And for the first time since she died and
they burried her,they learn to accept the fact of Victoria's death finally,they know at
last that Victoria is Dead - really and truly dead.
Zacarias Eugene Francisco Quino Arcellana - was a writer, poet, essayist, critic, journalist, and teacher and one of the most important progenitors of Filipino short stories in English. In 1990, he was declared National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.
He was born on September 6, 1916 in Sta. Cruz, Manila to parents Jose Cabaneiro Arcellana and Epifania Quino. He was the fourth of the 18 children. Arcellana bloomed early in his craft and prospered from his first schooling in Tondo until he entered the University of the Philippines (UP) as a pre-medical student in 1932.
He developed an interest in writing while he was studying at the Manila West High School (now Torres High School) as an active staff of the the school organ The Torres Torch.He worked as columnist in the Herald Midweek Magazine while in medical school.
After the war, he returned in the academe as a fellow of the UP Department of English and Comparative Literature. He became the adviser of the Philippine Collegian and director of Creative Writing Center from 1979 to 1982.In 1951, his short story “The Flowers of May” won first prize in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature (see Palanca Awards).
His work entitled the “Wing of Madness” made became second prize in the Philippine Free Press literary contest in 1953. His other noteworthy works include 'The Man Who Could Be Poe”, “Death is a Factory”, “Lina”, and “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal”.Arcellana died from renal failure and pneumonia on August 1, 2002 at the age of 85.
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