I went out for a break. I walk out the building hoping to get a fresh air but fate have a way of mocking people at times. As I step outside the building door, a heavy air greeted me, much heavier then the corporate air that pervades the rooms inside the building. Smokes coming from lighted cigarette stick and smokers alike hang in the air like fog on December morning. only this one lacks the cold breeze and has a smell that I really hate.

I continue walking, crossing the streets to a concrete bench near a condominium’s garbage bin. I sat and began looking around when my nose began to notice something. The wall near the bin stank from the putrid smell of urine and probably some spit. The smoke of cigaretes is one thing, the smell of urine is another. I stood up and began putting some distance between me and the stinking wall. The condominium guard noticed me and maybe being familiar with the smell himself, took pity on me and offered me a wooden seat near his station.

I was beginning to relax when I heard a clanging coming from inside the bin. The guard went to check it, after a few seconds he emerged from the corner, manhandling a boy. His yellow shirt was well worn and dirty, his left hand holding an empty mineral water bottles, the other is holding something what looked like a damaged monobloc chair.

The guards face was all red in anger, he is shouting at the boy, his grip tightening on the boys elbow. The boy began to complain and thrash around. The guard pinned him on the floor and threatened to shoot him the next time he see him near the condominium again. The guard then allowed the boy to stand up and run off. Then he walk back to his station like nothing happened.

In gest I said “You shouldn’t have done that, You’ll never know, that boy might be the president of the Philippines someday”

He scoffed and said, “President? No way, that boy will die before he becomes 25 years old, or maybe a robber by the age of sixteen. Boys like that don’t have hopes”.

I stood up, my break time is almost done. I have to go back to my own life, back inside the corporate building where money and (sometimes) life is made. But I can’t stop thinking about the boy and the remarks of the guard. dead by the age of 25, or maybe rotting in prison? No hope? maybe the guard is right, With the kind of life and security that the street offers, the posibility is not farfetched.

The boy is maybe 10 years of age but the guard already know what life has in store for him. It may be true but it doesn’t make it right. The guard’s opinion is shared by the majority of us. I am also guilty of prejudging the destiny of this children before life would have an opportunity to open for them. we already expect them to die or go to prison before their life even begin. We have given up on them so easily.

Maybe if we acknowledge that its not too late for us (as a nation)to change, maybe its not too late for them to have a shot at life.

2 thoughts on “Judged!”

  1. no, of course it’s not too late. We’re in the Philippines not Brazil wherein life expectancy there is short.

    by the way, reading Bob Ong reminds me so much of you. Ikaw ba si Bob Ong? Matagal kang nawala ah. Baka kako busy ka sa book-signing chuva.

    😆 Bobong? hindi po, si bobong ay ang number 1 fan ko. hehehe

  2. That’s a lesson of life. I love this article~ very enriching and wonderfully written. Kung fan number 1 mo si bobong… fan number two mu yata si pawlo coelok ng The Fifth Mountain. Nyehehehe..

    I just hope that the boy in ur story won’t abandon his dreams. I believed he had one. In the book entitled The Alchemist, the king told the shepherd boy that when he wants something, all the universe conspires in helping him to achieve it. I wish that boy in ur story will learn the lesson necessary to fulfill his own destiny. Dili unta matinuod ang gisulti sa guwardya. Kakuyaw ba niya oi… wa pa tingali to’y anak. pero maskin pa unta…. di nya dapat ginanun ung bata. Sobs~ Napadrama ang witchy. Hmp!

    Hindi number three si paulo, number two ang tatay ko, hehehe.

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