Almost midnight and it was still raining. I had taken three steps from the cab, midway to our gate when a man, probably in his forties, stopped me. Admittedly, I was a bit shaken which he might have noticed given his rather unusual greeting.
"Hindi po ako masamang tao. Kailangan ko lang ng tulong."
His mother, a sampaguita vendor, was stabbed in front of a 7/11 store a couple of blocks from our place. He had solicited assistance from the Mayor for the funeral arrangements but still had to raise a couple of hundred for the undertaker's fee. He was fumbling over some sheets of paper: death certificate, a written "SOA" from the public cemetery and some more I didn't really bother to look into. He was trying to convince me of the veracity of his claim, trying to differentiate himself from the typical street fraud we've come to know.
And then teary-eyed, with a cracking voice, he suddenly pleaded, "Kung gusto niyo ho luluhod pa ako dito, tulungan niyo lang ako."
Day in and day out, I struggle with the fact that I need to make something out of myself. I look around and see the things I lack, materially and otherwise. I guess it's a question of security... and it doesn't really help if at this age, I have nothing to show: zero savings, a thankless job and a general non-direction. And I often come to a point when I ask a series of why's: Why am I in this rut? Why can't I find that one big break? Why can't I provide for my family? Why is everyone else moving forward while I, I am left behind?
I've talked to a friend about this. I ranted, "Am I being materialistic?" To which he replied, of course not; having enough money gives you a sense of security. Again, it's about security. Security... why are you so hard to pin down? And there you have it, yet another why?!
I don't really want to go on rambling. After all, what I'm feeling is just a formless general sentiment. It's one part wanting, it's one part sadness, it's one part frustration over things material and otherwise.
"Hindi na ho kailangan. Pagpasenyahan niyo na ho ito." I handed the guy a fifty-perso bill, not much but it was all I could spare. Everyone struggles and I'm still at a better place, much more blessed than a lot of people out there. I know this but then making peace with it is an all-together different matter.
I know I should know better... but I can't help it.