"Today marks the beginning,today I will mark the spot. For today, I will be a soldier. "
'Juanita! Come take care of your brother. I have to go buy vegetables for dinner.' Alicia shouted.
That's my mother,she works as a laundress,but today,she is a housewife since it's her day off. I am Juanita by the way, 16 years old, living in this ol Barrio with my brother Boni, my father Jose and my mother whom you have just met, Alicia. I write,as a hobby. Don't get me wrong, I love playing Patintero and skip rope with other children in our Barrio but sometimes, I would prefer sitting under a shade with the recycled papers I have collected and the 'Mongol' pencil that my Lola gave me as a Christmas present, and write stories.
Lately, the subjects of my stories are 'dark'. I guess it's because of the uniformed men patrolling eery street. It may not be literal, but we all feel like prisoners. I can't stand playing under the watchful eyes of those men. The hairs on my neck will always be prickling whenever they are around. A couple of nights ago, I heard my father and mother talk about a small revolution. Not that i'm afraid or anything, not for myself anyway, but for my family. And it's not helping that people in our society see women as weak. I am speaking for myself and if would be given a chance, I will fight, for my family's honor.
'No, Jose! I won't let you. Look at your situation.What will become of us?' shouted Alicia.
'How many times do I have to explain to you, Alicia, how important this is for us to be free?' Jose replied.
'You're limping!' Alicia replied back.
I awoke to my parents' voices. This has been happening all week. Sadly, I am not allowed to interrupt, because they said I am still a child and should not intrude with 'adult matters'. I believe they are still talking about the small revolution. Men are being recruited from each households to fight those spooky, uniformed men. Mother is always insisting about the effect of Father's situation. He recently had an accident and is still limping. And when father brings up the subject, Mother will always say..
'No, Jose! End of the conversation' said Alicia.
I wish I was a boy, so that I can go instead. Oh well.
'You have to understand, Alicia. We have to gather as much men as we can. The plan has been carefully thought of. I assure you, after this, we will have freedom. Think of Juanita and Bonifacio.' explained Marcelo, the revolution's brain.
'I do understand that, Celo, but my husband is having problems walking, do you think he will survive a fight?' a teary-eyed Alicia replied.
'I believe I should go then. Wish us luck', said Marcelo and started walking away.
As I was peeking under the crack of my bedroom door, I was able to see my Father,his head on his knuckles.
'What you peeking at?' shouted Boni.
'Ssshh! Quiet,or they might hear you, Boni. Go to sleep!' I replied.
'No. I wanna play soldier!' he insisted.
I tied my hair in a high bun and wore my Father's old clothes,so that I'd look the part for our game. I stopped when I heard Bonnie chuckling.
'What?' I asked.
'You look like Father,' he laughed.
And it gave me an idea.
It was all dark and still when I got out of our kubo.For the honor of my family, and Barrio, I decided, today marks the beginning. Today I will mark the spot, for today, I will be a soldier.
I wiped the last teardrop on my eye with my sleeves as I turned away from our house.
I licked the last drop of my cup of coffee clean. Today is the day we start training for the revolution. A big revolution. I need to have as much energy and alertness I could have.
'Go see who's at the door. It might be a new recruit.' Isko, his father told him.
That's my Father, Francisco, a fisherman and the hands of the revolution we are planning. I am Emil by the way,my real name is Emilio but I find it too formal. I am 17years old and living in this Barrio with my Mother, Lupe and my Father whom you've just met. I hunt as a hobby. Not pretty girls, but wild boars or goats that we can eat for dinner, but sometimes I do the first one as well. Don't blame me, I'm just a guy who knows how to appreciate beauty (wink!). I work as my Father's assistant so I can help provide for our family. Right now, I am still his assistant. I guess I always am.
A boy..a small boy, not fit to join a big revolution stood outside our door.
'Hi! .. I mean, hey, I'm Bonie, the son of Jose and he sent me here to be start the training.' the boy babbled.
'You're too small. And I thought Bonie is like, 6years old?' Emil asked, puzzled.
'Oh boy! This is such a small town, yet people can't even provide correct information.' (Juanita) Bonie repled.
'Okay,since we need as much soldiers as we can recruit. I guess you'll do. But first,eat. You'll need all the energy you can get for training.' emil replied, not completely convinced.
Juanita whooped oh her mind. Plan A,accomplished.