April 29, 2015

The Woman on P. Florentino

When my sister Liz and I were in college, we used to live in a boarding house at the corner of M. dela Fuente and P. Florentino Sts. in Sampaloc, Manila.
Along P. Florentino St. roamed a woman dressed in rags. She must be in her mid 40s at the time. During the day, she walked along the street just like a typical beggar. During midnight, she cried and screamed and called her children’s names. In my first night at the boarding house, I didn’t sleep at all. I asked my landlady what it was about. I learned that the woman, let’s name her Bebe, was a teacher. For some reasons, her marriage didn’t work out so she and her husband filed for a legal separation where she won full custody of her 3 children.
In consideration for her parents-in-law, however, she allowed her ex-husband to take the kids out every once in a while and it seems like the man deserved her consideration and for 2 years, the arrangement went on and everybody appeared to be happy about it.
One particular Sunday, however, her kids weren’t returned to her and SHE NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN. Rumors had it that during the time that Bebe let her ex-husband take the kids out, the man’s family was making arrangements for the kids to be taken to the United States and for 2 years, they were able to provide the necessary papers required for the children to leave the country.
Bebe was devastated. The pain of losing her kids and the realization of being outwitted by the people she gave so much consideration, drove her to the brink of her sanity until she finally let go of reality.
Day after day, Bebe roamed the streets of Sampaloc looking for her lost children, and night after night, she called them by their names. I even heard her singing an off-key lullaby.
I couldn’t believe it, but I got used to Bebe. But every time I imagine that I understood her, I realize that I don’t and I guess I never will.. How would you feel if you are robbed of your reasons for living?


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