Pakialam Ko

Pakialam ko
Why would I care
If it doesn’t happen to me
Life goes on.

People getting shot
Sent to jail
Tortured
Wrongly Accused.
Pakialam ko
They’re not my relatives
They’re drug addicts
They deserve it.

Joking about rape
And getting sensitive about it
Come on
Get a life
It’s a joke
Pakialam ko
I haven’t been raped
I don’t know how 
Victims Feel.

Warantless Arrests
Checkpoints
Military in the streets
Pakialam ko
Our city is safe
No bombing
No martial law
Every thing is normal.

Pakialam ko
Why would I care
If it doesn’t happen to me
Life goes on.

Until it happens to me
Until I call for help
And people reply with
Pakialam ko
Until I scream begging for mercy
And all they say is
It is not happening to us
Our life moves on.

Pakialam ko
I should have cared
I should have realized
That even if it doesn’t happen to me
It can happen to me.

*"Pakialam ko" is a Filipino phrase roughly translated to "Why would I care?" 
or "I do not care."
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Take Off

I held his hand the entire time we walked from the parking lot to the boarding gate not caring if the two overweight bags we were holding made it almost impossible to do so.

I counted the minutes left before I had to leave while he mindlessly chatted about a new game that he started playing.

I dragged my feet to the security check, fell in line, not looking at where I was going but looking back at where he was standing.  He looked at me as if I was only one around in the crowded area.  I looked at him standing still in a blur of people passing by.

I went through the security check, blowed kisses over and over again while the guards barked “Take off your shoes”, “Laptop out”, “Take that Jacket Off”, until I could no longer see him.

I walked to the gate like a zombie, eyes red, sniffling as I tried to hold back tears I found a seat, stared into space and debated whether I should call or just let him drive home without distraction.

If the walls of airports can talk, they will all agree that all kinds of emotions can be seen in the eyes of the millions and millions of people passing by.  An airport is just a place to pass through but the emotions it brings to people are lasting.

Young lovers excited to go to a new place that they have always dreamed of going.

Grandparents fearful of being in such a busy and confusing place longing for their kids to be around so that they can guide them until the boarding gate.

People going home because someone is going to marry or because a close family member died.

Starting a new adventure.

Going to meet a loved one.

Leaving a loved one.

All emotions are present.

Name an emotion, look around you, and you’ll find that in no time.  Being in an airport is like being in a movie that has no ending.

I still long to hold his hand even just for another minute.

I still long to hold him tight and hear him say how much he loves me and how I am his life.

I still long to tell him how happy he made me and is still making me despite the tears that are falling from my eyes.

I still long…

But my plane is taking off and going thousands of miles away.

So I am going to fasten my seatbelt and tell myself to be strong.

And wait.

Wait for the time where I will board the plane to see him again.

Kindness breeds kindness

Today, I was approached by an old man.

He is a barker.  In the Philippines, “barkers” are known to call out to passengers who would want to ride jeepneys.  They also make sure that the passenger sit close together to fit in as many passengers as possible. In return, the jeepney drivers give them a tip for their service.  Tips can vary from 2 pesos to 10 pesos depending on the number of passengers the barker was able to get.

Two weeks ago, Manong, as what we call old men here in the Philippines, asked me if it is okay for him to sleep outside our office.  I told him yes but never asked him why.  He jokingly told me that now I have another guard to look after our place.

One cold, windy night, I went outside and saw him arranging his bed made of cardboard boxes.  I asked the guard what happened to Manong and why he no longer has a home.  He said that Manong and his son-in-law got into a fight and he was asked to leave his house.  He did and while he was still looking for a new place to rent, he decided to just stay outside our office.  I bought him a blanket.  No one should sleep in that kind of cold without a blanket.

I told Anya this story.  I told her that parents, however hard-headed they can be, should still be respected by their kids.  And if the kids are older, they should understand parents more especially if they begin to act irrationally.  I told her about how much Mama loved our Lola all throughout her life and how the kids should always love their parents the same way.

Today, I saw Manong again.  He looked rested and he had a smile on his face.  He told me that last night, there was a little girl who ran after him and gave him twenty pesos.  He said that all his life, no kid that young ever gave him money.  He said he told that story to every one he knows.

You know what?  That kid is Anya.

I asked her why she did that.  She said “She just feels like it.”

My heart is full of pride today.

If my baby’s “I just feel like it.” means being kind, I think me and Mama are doing a good.