He reminisced how through a stormy night, he hurdled fallen trees and braved the rains just so he could beg for a can of sardines from the sari-sari store. Young as he was back then, he knew that times were difficult for his family... they've always been. Besides, he knew how it was to sacrifice. He remembered how his older brother "borrowed" the coins he kept in his piggy bank. And how helpless he seemed as he shed a tear or two, alone in the corner.
He says he struggled through college, juggled long walks to school with the careful preparations of his plates. He can't afford a repeat. He didn't have the money to buy extra sheets of paper. No wonder he didn't finish. A year before graduation, he dropped. He had to find work.
She later found out that keeping a family was difficult. She already had three kids and try hard as she did, her husband's wage wasn't enough to make ends meet. One day, she went to her mother and asked for help. A sister sent some money from abroad and she earnestly wished that part of it could be loaned to her. But then her mother said no, vehemently said no.
She went home teary eyed... and her second son had no choice but to watch her as she sobbed in silence.
He woke up early that day. He had a school competition to join. Being in second grade, that was one of the rare instances the spotlight was on him. Problem was, his shoes were giving up. He put on his white polo jacket and his blue shorts. He had on his white socks... and a pair of shoes with a pair of detached soles flapping back with his every step.
Having taped together shoes wasn't that bad... all the more reason to have the spotlight on him. At least now, he'd still be able to join the program. Unlike last time when his parents couldn't afford the printed shirt for a school dance... and he had no choice but to watch everyone else's bags as he cried and looked over the hallway.