Monday, May 21, 2007
Madwoman on the Streets
I'm about to become a full-fledged street bum. I'm about to be cast out of the house and my boys are no longer with me. The other night under the crescent moon, I was hungrily gobbling chunks of barbecue on my table when a street child approached me, said he badly wanted some food. I said, "Are you sure?" I can't forget another boy begging alms with a blind man in Maramag, Bukidnon several days before this. He turned down my offer of food because he wanted money. The people who saw me offering my food to the boy scolded me for being so stupid. "They don't need food, Miss, they need cold cash. Begging is a business enterprise." But the child the other night said he was sure he wanted food. He was very hungry, he said. So, I said, "Stay there, don't move." As if he was going to run if I ordered some food. The man at the next table eyed the street child with loathing and cast one hard look at me. "Who is this crazy woman now to tolerate this form of mendicancy?" The jeepney driver the other day said to give in to beggars was the height of stupidity. He called it soft-heartedness. So, I never smiled as the child and I gobbled our barbecues across each other. I tried hard to look tough. I glared at the boy and I glared at the man at the next table. I didn't even notice that the boy had finished eating---and went away to look for water and came back to thank me before he ran away---because I was still so busy glaring at everyone, trying my best to look very, very tough!