Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Silver Lining

I was about to cross the street when I passed by an old lady selling garlands of Sampaguita at the corner of Kalentong and Shaw Boulevard. It's already past eleven and from the way she lumbered close to the sidewalk barrier, there's no denial that she's been selling flowers since that morning.

It was easy to close one's eyes and pretend not to see. Deluded by my own troubles, I could brush off the sight as one of the truths of everyday life. But a whisper in one's ear urged me to look at the lady for a second glance. Instead of seeing a tired, exhausted woman, what I saw was my mom's gentle face. 

In a flip of a switch, my compassion was ignited.

I won't deny the state of flux. I've been withdrawn from most people. I get easily annoyed by tiny mistakes, and the recent brawl between the lesbian driver and the helper has raised tensions at home. The house is always messy. I failed to return to the university. I still have to renew my membership at the gym and the bills keep piling.

There's a talk of the maid being forced to leave before the year ends, which I somehow object (but the maid is pushing everyone to throw her out) and the sister has been nagging me to find her a sideline when I'm struggling to keep mine. There are so many things running in my head, without anyone, not even the closest ones knowing (for I choose to spare them from my own mess) and at times I am pushed into a corner, even I still question the way my life is going.

Like I said, it would have been easy to mind my own business rather than see the misery of others. But in drawing my wallet from my back pocket and pulling a twenty peso bill - to give to the old lady - I found my salvation.

"Pandagdag niyo po sa kita." I said in a hushed voice.

The old lady was astonished and when I left the scene after buying a stick of Marlboro Black, I caught her smiling at me. In leaving, I was taught two valuable lessons in humanity: That the world still cares, and that, despite my personal strife, I have not sunk yet.