Dead but alive-A A +A
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
RIDING the bus going to Cebu City yesterday morning, Reynaldo Patino felt cold and stiff, like a dead man. The passenger beside him who was reading the Oct. 1, 2012 issue of Superbalita Cebu kept glancing at him and eventually transferred seats.
Reynaldo noticed another passenger, who was seated behind him, move away.
The two passengers recognized him because the three of them were regular passengers of the bus plying the Barili-Cebu City route. They knew him to be recently dead and his death was reported in the Oct. 1, 2012 issue of Superbalita. And so it was to their horror to see Reynaldo, looking pale and forlorn for another reason, seated in the bus with them.
Growing uncomfortable at the treatment from the passengers, Reynaldo covered his face with a white towel. He also was hiding his tears.
Reynaldo was going to Cebu City, to the office of Superbalita particularly, to correct the headline story about his having died in a collision between a Ceres bus and a motorcycle in Barili Sunday afternoon.
What happened to Reynaldo was a comedy of errors.
Two men who were aboard the motorcycle died in the collision. Someone, a neighbor or a relative perhaps, positively identified one of the fatalities to be 28-year-old Reynaldo Patino, whose face was covered in blood and heavily bruised.
His family rushed to the town hospital where the fatalities were brought and declared dead. Everyone who knew Reynaldo positively identified the body as that of Reynaldo Patino, never mind if the shirt and jeans he was wearing were not familiar to any of them.
The other fatality was Johnson Alvarico, 19, a neighbor in Barili.
His face covered in blood, the dead man looked like Reynaldo to the neighbor or the relative. Only it wasn’t actually Reynaldo.
Because Reynaldo was nowhere in Barili that Sunday afternoon. He was in the nearby town of Ronda shouting himself hoarse as he was betting on cocks. It wasn’t later in the evening that he went home.
Approaching home, he saw his house lighted up for a wake. A wide white cloth was hung in the yard. The sight was funereal.
He had the goosebumps. Step by step he approached his house, and was shaken out of his reverie when he heard shrieks. Neighbors and kin who saw him leapt out of his way and scampered.
“Nabuhi si Reynaldo!” was the cry he heard from them. The cry was one of fear of having seen a ghost. To them, he was a ghost, a wraith.
The family and neighbors had been waiting for his coffin to arrive. His grieving mother was at the funeral parlor, refusing to leave her “son.” She had refused that his body be embalmed.
Reynaldo felt himself and wondered if he had died and was now a walking dead. His father approached him, touched his arm, and asked, “Buhi ka?”
In the Superbalita newsroom, a distraught Reynaldo said that it was providence that on his way home last Sunday night, he did not drop by to buy masiao tip as he was wont to do.
He explained: Had he dilly-dallied, the body would have arrived in his home first before he did. The real Reynaldo Patino would have died this time and the dead in the coffin would have come alive.
Then who was that who died with Johnson? It was another neighbor, Brian, who had the same features and bearing as him. Dead people look alike.
So Superbalita brought Reynaldo Patino back from the dead in today’s issue.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2012.