Sunday, December 17, 2006

Snippet 2: A Treasured Secret

Poor Dominga accepted the miracle baby that fate thrusted into her hands. She began to take care and nurture the little girl. She looked again at the expensive emerald earrings in her hands, and looked at the miracle baby, she wondered what name to give her? Then she concluded to name her after the gift- Emerald or, in Spanish language, ESMERALDA.

Rodolfo and Blanca Peñareal became an excited but ignorant and proud parents of a male heir to their fortune. Blanca's ignorance lasted only for a short while... As they got ready to leave their country home for the city, she noticed that her emerald earrings were missing from her ears. When she inquired about it from Crisanta, the old maid confessed the true story of what happened and the transaction with the midwife, Dominga. Only Blanca and her old housemaid, Crisanta, (and, of course, Dominga), knew that Jose Armando was not the biological son and true heir of the family. It became a treasured secret between them for over 23 years...

23 Years Later...
José Armando became a handsome and well-cultured grown man. He graduated as a medical doctor from the best college of medicine in the U.S. Then, came into the picture, Fátima, who was the wife to the elder brother of Rodolfo. She was an envious and and scheming devil, after the order of Jennifer de la Vega, or even Consuela in La Hija del Jardinero. She wanted her daughter, Graciela, to marry José Armando, so that she could lay hold of the Peñareal Money, Mansion and Jewels.

Fátima was on a friendly visit to Blanca, when she learnt that Rodolfo had decided to take a vacation by going to his country home mansion, CASA GRANDE, with his entire family. Fátima rushed back home to warn her daughter, Graciela, that she should seal her friendship with José Armando with a binding marriage proposal before he leaves for the countryside.

Dionisio, the foreman of the ranch at Casa Grande caught an old peasant and community truant called Melesio, stealing strawberries from the Orchard. Melesio took to his heels with his loot before he could be apprehended. He ran to meet Esmeralda (Leticia Calderón), sitting by a waterfall, and who also had grown to be a stunningly beautiful woman, but with a blemish. She was born blind. Wide and bright opened eyes, but blank and not seeing anything. He presented the strawberries to Esmeralda, and when she asked him where he got them from, he lied by saying that he just picked them from the floor as they fell from a tree in the garden.

Back at Casa Grande, Rodolfo arrived with his family and introduced Dionisio and all the staff to his heir apparent, José Armando Peñareal (Fernando Colunga). He also told Dionisio to escort and guide his new master, José Armando, who wanted to test his new rifle by hunting in nearby forest.

Who are You?
The journey to destiny began in earnest. Dionisio told him about the escapee strawberry thief. Armando chose to hunt down the strawberry thief, as a first test of his skill. He shot his rifle into mid air several times. When Melesio heard the sound gunshots, he selfishly ran away, due to his guilty conscience, abandoning Blind Esmeralda alone to cater for herself.

Armando hunted down the supposedly strawberry thief sitting by the waterfall. Face-to-face with destiny, he said, "... I think I just found the strawberry thief." He looked at the awesomely beautiful lady before him... speechless and enraptured by her stunning beauty. That was a great catch. Not just a bush meat, but a destiny catch. She stood up with open but blank eyes looking in the direction of the musical male voice. Paradoxically, what he found was the 'thief' who took his place in grinding poverty and hardened misfortune.

He asked the million dollar question, "Who are you?" This is the most important question of life that often times, many people ignore to their peril. I wonder how many of us have ever paused to ask this question of the many of our acquaintances and associates. When José Armando asked that question from Esmeralda, he got a two decade old answer that changed his destiny.

Would it be the classic, 'love at first sight'? How would he react, if he discovers that this stunning beauty is a blind beauty? would he fall out of love? Would 'his' wealthy parents accept his love for a blind lady. Would Blanca recognize her biological daughter, either by name or by sight? The stage is set for the beginning of intrigues as the concealed lies of over 2 decades was about to be uncovered.

Back in the villa Casa Grande, the flood of old memories invaded Blanca. She was overwhelmed with guilt for what happened 23 years ago on this ranch. She wondered aloud to her old maid, Crisanta, if Dominga was still alive. Crisanta re-assured her not to feel guilty because if Rodolfo had found out about her 'dead' baby girl, that rainy night, it would have been terrible.

Meanwhile, poverty hardened Dominga was resting in her hut with a stick of cigarette in mouth, smoking. Suddenly, a man cloaked in black hat and black dress appeared with a menacing weapon in his hands, asking for the whereabouts of Esmeralda. This mean-looking and aggressive assailant was called Lucio Malaver.

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