there was a voice from the dark. but never did imagined that it could be the most heartwarming thing i would received this year.
it was already 7:40pm when we landed manila. upon entering the arrival, i instantly turned on my phone and received a message from the other team saying that their flight was cancelled due to bad weather. i was surprised to read it considering that our flight was just an hour ahead of them and the trip was relatively okay. but unfortunately, they were forced to take a 12 hour bus trip going back here just to catch christmas.
our service took us directly to the office to unload some equipment we brought for our trip, when suddenly i noticed the box of christmas gifts for our kris kringle. i immediately looked and dug for mine and in my surprise, saw three gifts under my codename. but what really caught my attention was two of the gifts that were placed inside a transparent plastic bag: they were DOLLS!
what am i supposed to do with these? i asked myself.
frustration immediately rushed to my head and felt really bad about the idea.
first, i am not really fond of dolls. second, the rule of the exchange gift was to give something that is applicable to both men and women since codenames were used. third, the dolls are not even barbie or made out of clean and hard material. they resemble a lot to those cheap dolls being sold in the public market. and lastly, the gift contains not only one but two annoyingly looking dolls.
what a waste of money, i thought.
but after a while, i realized that instead of ranting, i should still be grateful for the very thought and effort. i guess, i was just really tired that night.
so i went out and decided to take a bus on my way home to call it a week.
if only i knew that that night was actually the start of the christmas rush i should have just took a cab.
you see, it takes me atleast an hour and half to go to work from my place. but it takes one more hour whenever i go back home. but that night was just crazy. the traffic jam was beyond words. all i could hear was my mouth cursing and my thoughts backing up acting as a chorale.
three hours after, we found ourselves approaching farmers, cubao, at last, when suddenly, the bus turned left and went straight to cubao ilalim. and i was, SHUT UP!!! this bus was supposed to be IBABAW!
sorry but we could no longer afford a traffic like that. you could just probably go down at five star terminal, the conductor excused.
it was definitely one hell of a night.
but instead of taking the advise, i decided to go down kamias and just take a cab from there going to katipunan.
when i thought i just had all the nastiest misfortunes i could possibly have that night, i then realized that i was already stupidly waiving almost every car passing, regardless if its a cab or not, for more than 45 minutes. i already felt that i am on the verge of screaming, asking fate what was that all about. when suddenly, a slipper softly hit my foot.
i looked for its source and then saw a kid. a young boy standing on a crutch and missing his left leg. he swiftly approached me, kicked the slipper away and continued kicking it.
he never lay a glimpse at me. he just continued kicking it from one side to the other, completing a laps he probably call his game. then i noticed him stopped under a dark waiting shed. an image of a wooden cart, about to give up; a mother lying down, surrendering from tiredness and bearing the cold and dusty street floor; and a younger sister enjoying her innocence appeared from the dark.
the image of them made me thought of their own picture of christmas, an unconventional one. or probably, just simply different from what i call mine. when all this time, i always think of christmas as a time full of warm lights, a festivity of bountiful dinner served on a nice wooden table and everyone smiling and happily passing each plate to one another, there they were just trying to survive.
one side of me is asking, how can someone still possibly find the place to make children? what were they thinking? if they can barely have something to feed themselves, why did they still opt in pulling out another and adding it up to their burden? perhaps, everyone has the right to build their own family to at least feel that sense of belonginess and essence of living regardless of class. but don't you think more than one for their condition is just too much and unfair?
but of course that is just one part of me saying.
knowing myself, my thoughts and efforts would always fall and cater to them. though sometimes, there are just those days when i ask myself, are my thoughts and efforts enough? are the efforts of those considered fortunate enough? if the ones they cater keep on refusing cooperation? or perhaps life indeed has his own ways from which man's mind will always fall short to comprehend. but i guess regardless of the answer we will always find life worth living for either from us or from them.
then i slowly approach the younger sister probably barely on her year, i pulled it out from my bag and hand it over to her. it was the doll that i received from the office.
probably by instinct, she just reached it; thinking it was food or money. when she finally realized what it was, she smiled, looked at me and immediately turned her back and went to her lying mother. the older brother then approached them, also curious what it was.
upon realizing what it was for her sister, they all smiled. the brother finally looked at me and said, "salamat po."
never did imagined it could be the most heartwarming thing i would ever received this year and all i could say was:
then i turned my back at them, saw a vacant taxi approaching. waived at it, told the driver where i am heading and went in. as we were fast moving away from them, i looked at them one more time. then pulled out the other doll and looked at it. then thought that i finally had use of this gift: a reminder of all the realizations i had that night---and of the family, who will be spending a different christmas from mine.