Angel Fernandez

The boys of Riverside will tell you many stories about Jerico Camitan. They will say he smiled wide and often, because he was proud of his perfect teeth and didn’t care he had bad breath even when they told him – and they did, often. They will say he would break into rap at any provocation; that he was cheery; that he smoked Marlboro menthols and that he could drink six beers in a row without blinking. They will tell you about Angel, because anyone who knew Jerico knew Angel too. They will tell you that all it took for Jerico to fall in love was for Angel to walk by.

From Rappler:

The boys of Riverside will tell you many stories about Jerico Camitan. They will say he smiled wide and often, because he was proud of his perfect teeth and didn’t care he had bad breath even when they told him – and they did, often. They will say he would break into rap at any provocation; that he was cheery; that he smoked Marlboro menthols and that he could drink six beers in a row without blinking. They will tell you about Angel, because anyone who knew Jerico knew Angel too. They will tell you that all it took for Jerico to fall in love was for Angel to walk by.

She was thirteen when Jerico first saw her. He was sixteen, maybe seventeen. He was sitting with the boys out on the street with their beers and their bragging. He saw her, they said. That was all it took.

Her name was Erica Fernandez. She lived in a two-story shanty at the end of a narrow alley in Litex, one of seven children, her father a construction worker who lived on worksites and came home occasionally. Nobody remembers why she was called Angel, not even her own mother. Jerico called her labs – my love.

The boys say Jerico was proud when she became his girl. They say she would sit on his lap and he would tickle her and kiss her and she would kiss him back. He rented a small room and they lived together as husband and wife. Disapproval did not matter to them – particularly Angel, who would sit quiet while being lectured by her father, but would go her own sweet way when it suited her. Eventually it was understood that Jerico and Angel were together, and that it was the way it would be,

Jerico and Angel moved to Litex when their small room was taken back by the owner – a surprise to Angel’s father Ronnie, who walked in and found the couple asleep on a pallet. Angel had stopped school but wanted to try again, so Jerico paid for her uniform and her books and her projects, dropped her off at the school gates, then picked her up when she was done. He helped out at the Fernandez home, bringing in food sometimes, slipping school money to Angel’s little sister other times. Jerico’s sister Ellaine said he split his construction worker’s salary in two – half for himself, the other for Angel and her family.

 

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