“Idlip-Inom-Masid” took it while on traffic sa Buendia, three generations of poverty. note the contents of the feeding bottle, ano kayang concuction from hell ang iniinom nung batang yun?! (by Carmelo La Guardia)
There’s a place called Central Park in Winnipeg and while driving home tonight, I thought I’d drop by there. So I did. I was on the sidewalk at its outskirts when I saw an old classmate of mine. We greeted each other and went on our own ways. Isn’t that a familiar story? We see old friends, we greet each other, share stories maybe, then go on our own ways again. As if we never saw them, as if they never came. Then I went on walking, looking for a place to sit and read the books I brought. I haven’t done this in a long while – spend time with myself and see people and pause time. I gravitated towards the newly built fountain. It’d be nice to have my own corner while I read and enjoy the fresh air. Once I stepped on the pavement, it felt like Central Park turned into a totally different place. I just landed on Europe. So this is how it’s like to walk on brick and be surrounded by character buildings and see fountains around me in the middle of the town. To think I live here, I felt sophisticated, strong too. I sat on one of the steps of the fountain and started reading. The sun started setting, shining on my face. I love the sunset but it turns out this is no longer a good place to sit. The brightness distracts me from my reading and from enjoying my fresh air. I spotted a vacant bench on the other side of the park. When I sat, there were two gentlemen tweaking their bikes slightly to my right but still in front of me. It reminded me of a familiar place, a place that I see in martial arts movies, Koreanovelas, and Tagalog movies, a place where I grew up. Asia. There, a bicycle was a treasure. I started reading again, the wind started to blow, the two gentlemen had left. I was left with a vague recollection of my hometown. The grasses swayed to the direction of the lovely black kids playing in the field. They look so happy, as did their mothers and fathers who were watching them from the side. Is this how it’s like from where they came from? How is Africa in the summer? How is recreation like there? How is happiness like in Africa? I read again, and every now and then, I would look far out into the open and find those kids. I remembered my family. If only my cousins and I grew up here, how different could our lives be? How different could each of us have been? My younger cousin wouldn’t have to do construction jobs to put himself through college, our younger cousins would have a little more than 8 cents for school allowance every day, my uncles wouldn’t have to plow the fields barefooted under the scorching sun anymore. If only I was big enough to go back in time and scoop us out of a third world country and bring us here in the land of milk and honey, I would. It’s a shame but I have no idea what poverty means because my parents shielded me for so long and so hard. But the rest of my family, especially my parents, they lived and breathed poverty for a long time. They are not alone. In one day, one early evening, I saw the world and it meant exactly that too, the world.