Tuesday, March 29, 2011

big man, small man

this happened just last two thursdays ago. it was almost 12 in the evening. the jeepney i was riding in pulled to a stop. two people boarded the vehicle. the first to come in was a little fellow, a boy of about 5 or 6. he was dressed in shorts and a tee shirt and he had on this baseball cap bigger than his head. his eyes were full and very alert. as soon as he was  inside the jeepney, he looked at each of us other passengers, as if trying to assess  whom he'd be riding with. the look in his eyes said he's convinced both of them will be in safe company.
the boy kept looking back concernedly at his companion. the young man, about 25 years old, was struggling to get aboard the vehicle.

"papa," the boy screamed as he extended his small hand towards the young man. he grasped his father's hand firmly in his and desperately pulled him up to sit beside him. when they were seated, the driver started the vehicle again. the man almost fell off the seat as the jeepney darted forward. father and son laughed loudly.

we immediately guessed why the man was having a difficult time boarding the jeepney. he was very, very drunk. he could not sit still in his seat. i really can't imagine how he had drunk so much considering that he had his son with him. i saw him groped for something inside his pocket. he held up his closed fist very near his face. when he opened it, i saw coins in his palm. he counted them.

"we're short by two pesos," he blurted to his son, "do you have any money with you?"

the boy simply nodded to his father and pointed at a small kiddie purse slung across his shoulder. he unzipped it and shoved his little hand inside. he rummaged through all the kiddie stuff he had in there. he smilingly handed two bright 1-peso coins to his father. his father planted a kiss on his cheek. "here," he said to his son, "give our fare to the driver."

"here's our fare, mr. driver," he called the driver's attention in his little man's voice. the passenger near them accepted the coins and passed it on to the driver.

pretty soon, i saw the young father sound asleep. the liquor in his body had taken control. i gazed at the boy. he was wide-eyed and in full alert. he kept looking outside as the vehicle sped past. i guessed he was trying not to miss the landmark where they were supposed to get off. i knew he knows he can't rely on his father this time. he also does not fail to look at his father's face. he has this concerned look. he knew his father's so drunk.

"STOP! STOP!" the boy shouted after some time. the driver halted the vehicle. he had recognized the place where they were to get off. he tugged frantically at his father's shirt and woke him up. the man awoke a bit startled and dazed. confusion was on his face. he peered outside the jeepney. father and son looked at each other. only their eyes communicated. the boy proceeded to get off. he waited for his father by the side of the road. the father had shaken off his confusion and got off the vehicle.

the boy grabbed his father's hand and both walked away from our parked vehicle. the driver did not start the vehicle right away. we watched them as they walked towards the street lamp that marked their street. hand in hand, father and son walked. the big man staggering, the small man straight as an arrow, looking upwards, towards his drunk father's face.

our vehicle darted forward again. we knew they'd be home safe.

Life compensates for shortcomings.

the small man had clearly demonstrated this.


Anonymous said...

An text with great sensitivity, you have a very good style dear friends sito ! :))


Christopher Dos Santos said...

Namaste, my brother Sito. This was simply but powerfully written. You captivated my attention and carried me breathless through the story. Well done my brother, your acute nose for the mundane reality of life strikes another chord in my heart.

In Lak' ech, my brother Sito, seer of life...

sito saguid said...

thank you brothers christopher and mahon for finding time to visit.