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2003-12-08 05:07:13 (UTC)

Beggars and Jollibee

Last night.

It was past seven in the evening, I just came from my
hometown Cavite,visited my parents and friends, attended
the worship in our local church, and watched a boring show
at SM Bacoor -- as an assignment from my editor.

Santolan, EDSA.

I was walking through the dark sidewalk, remembering the
face of my sick dad -- pale and thin. He has cancer, and
his condition isn't getting any better. My mom said that
maybe there are other complications already for my dad was
always complaining about his stomach. He barely eats,
barely sleeps. He can't sit or lie down regularly 'cause
his back aches badly. His painkiller won't give positive
effects anymore. It's sad. And there's a grunge inside me
telling me to visit more often, or better yet, go back home.

But to go back home means leaving my life here in the city -
- where I'm just starting all over again. I just came here
two months ago -- from home, accompanying my sick father.
But the one year and five month stay was like a cage. Well,
it wasn't really like that, but emotionally, I felt like I
was locked up, and has no right to think about myself, my
tomorrow, my future.

Am I being selfish now?

I wanna be independent. I wanna be somebody. And now, I am.
But a part of me, let's call her CONSCIENCE, is kind of
bothering me again.

Blood is thicker than water. Heck! Although life has
bestowed me with so much pain, I never gave up on hoping
for a bright tomorrow. And I can see the light now. But the
daughter in me is pulling me back home. I don't wanna see
him, as much as possible, in his condition. I have a heart.
I can see and feel his pain. I can't stand staring at him
walking with his crutches, or hearing him vomitting.

I want to be independent!

But I can't just take things for granted, and leave
everything on my mom's shoulder. She's getting old, and I
can't just let her grow old alone and burdened.

So what must I do?

The sidewalk.

There was a beggar sitting on the sidewalk along EDSA, at
the side of AFP, and I think the one sleeping on his lap
was his younger sibling. They were both greasy and dirty. I
can inhale their awful smell because of the strong wind
that Christmas season brings. He waved a styro cup and
asked for money. "Ate, kahit dos lang po, hindi pa kami
kumakain..." he pointed at the kid on his lap, then weakly
rubbed his tummy.

I gave him P2 and went away. As I was walking towards the
place where I stay, which I can't really call a home, not
even a house -- 'cause it's way too different from my
parents' -- where everything gives me comfort. Anyway, I
didn't know what stroke me, but at that moment, I felt
different. You know when there are beggars forcing you to
drop some coins in their dirty cans/cups, and you ignore
them and say to yourself, 'baka sindikato lang 'yan?'
or 'ang laki-laki ng katawan, bakit ayaw magbanat ng buto!'

Not at that moment. Because I saw myself going back to the
beggars and gave the chicken joy with rice I got free from
the show I watched at the mall.

It's when he said, "salamat ate" that I knew, I'll never
forget that experience.

I walked away and felt good. I know the food wasn't much,
but I know, I made him smile. I made their night different.

I turned around and I saw him opening the styro and then he
looked towards my direction. Then, he waved...

I waved back.

Then I said, "God, ang swerte ko. Thank you! Thank you!"
Teary-eyed, I was so at peace -- looking at my life, where
I am now, how I grew up, what I wear, where I stay, what I
eat. I am so blessed!

I'm so blessed that I don't have to beg for money or food,
nor sleep on the sidewalk and never take a bath or brush my

I'm so blessed that I'm the one whose giving... the one who
has something to share.