The wind caressed his tall, lean, and frail body as cold droplets of rain drizzled. Starkly dressed in his overalls, the man dutifully swept the fallen leaves along the gray alley of the Fourth Street. He gathered the dirt with his near-bald broomstick and thrashed them onto his wheelbarrow. As he did so, a brood of youngsters haggling and cajoling in the prime and zest of their libertarian shower in the rain sprang from one side.
"Dada!" The shrill voice of a a six-year old echoed in his mind. "I'll be home soon," he spoke as he turned to one of the boys in the street. Thoughtfully, he was filled with visions of home. A little while later, the boys have gibe and he was on his own once again. His feelings were rounding up for his family that his seemingly overdue enterprise waylaid till sunset.
As the prismatic rays evaded the facade and the silhouettes began to shape, he readied himself for home and walked along the alley towards their station to get his week's pay. "I'll buy them pansit." A fair grin was on his brown skin as he turned by the corner. He held close to him a bag of grocery and pansit, then patted his pocket. Just then, a flashy red car passed and the road was smeared rich with the color. The awaited eve came close.
In a tin shack, a young woman grinned and curtsied as she welcomed to their humble home an androgynous figure. The man handed the woman a bag of grocery and pansit. "Dada!" A young boy called out as he emerged from the inside. The man shook his head in a hesitant swing, "No".
They all went inside and the boy was made to sit on top of a covered pail by the dirty kitchen. The young woman and the man stayed by the table and conversed in cautious whispers. A curtain made from katsa was the only thing that divided the tiny shack into parts and the boy could half-hear what they were uttering. At first, the boy was hesitant that he pretended not to hear them but soon, he heard her weeping.
"What is happening?" "Why does she weep?" "Did he hurt her?" Questions filled his mind. And curious enough, he slipped out f the kitchen and he saw her mother pushing the man away. There were tears in her dark deep eyes. The boy, without fully understanding why she was crying, threw his slippers against the man and cried that he should go already.
The man raised his hands in a pass. He drew a thin fold of five-hundred peso bills from the pocket of his crisp polo shirt and handed it to the young woman. She wanted to refuse, but then, she took it anyway. The man bid them a farewell and left, promising to return within a few hours.
Later that eve, Dada arrived--pale, cold, and gray. The man, they never saw again.
"Passer-by" by GF, D'Mentedz Literary Folio.
(c)Musings of the Midnight Writer, 2004.
Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines 4500