Have you ever been to the Philippines? Have you ever ridden a jeepney (formally called public utility jitneys or PUJs)? For most Filipinos, riding a jeepney is a regular occurrence that doesn’t even bear a second thought. However, we all know that each jeepney ride is unique in the sense of the things that you notice, the things that you do and the things that happen. Whether it was an annoying seatmate, cramped spaces or heavy traffic a single ride is an experience worth going through for itself.
Clutching the white folder and the red plastic envelope in my fist, I could not care less about ruining what was in my hand. I gripped the handle above me and tried to hide my face. I was hiding my face because I am crying.
I see a woman across from me. She looks sympathetic. She’s the only one who knows that I’m crying. All the rest are minding their own business. I want to rip her judging eyes out so that she can stop staring. I’m grateful for my restraint that tears are not falling. However I know that my eyes are watering up…and that staring woman is making it worse!
Sitting in front of me, judging me. God I hate her. I stared back down at my hand and I see that goddamned white folder again. Along with my red plastic envelope. The envelope contains my life and the white folder is the ticket to my dreams. Unfortunately, the plane to the dream had crashed and there’s nothing I can do to save it.
That’s why I’m crying. And that’s why that woman keeps staring. She knows. Fortunately, she’s the only one who knows. And I don’t know her. So she doesn’t matter. Not really. But she knows. Who cares if she knows? I don’t!