Every morning I see an old lady squatting near our rented place, slicing vegetables and packing them up. I figured she must've been an ambulant vendor selling her goods around the neighborhood, going door to door offering her ready-to-cook meals. Later, I found out from Nanay that the old lady was actually from Pasig and that she'd bring her wares of fish, meat and vegetables from that end of the metro to our side here in Mandaluyong. The pre-sliced vegetables were actually partnered with a bag of noodles. It was a lomi or pansit set that one could cook without the hassle of peeling and dicing the ingredients.
Manang was enterprising, I thought. But beyond being impressed, quite oddly, I felt a tinge of sadness and shame. Here's an old lady trying to make ends meet, already up and about in the wee hours of the morning while I was still sulking in my bed doing my emo overload.
Not that my pain goes away by seeing someone suffering a heavier cross. Far from it, I don't entirely believe in looking at others' plight to make you feel better. I guess, at best, moments like this push you to count the blessings you've been enjoying so far. And by looking at what you have - devoid of any semblance of comparison or relative satisfaction - you get to hang on a little bit longer.
The pain remains but then you find reasons to hang on.