Strange Commutes

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.

Unemployment

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!

Are We Done Now?

A solitary man stood on the balcony. His scrawny frame could have easily been carried by the strong, cold winds of the night. Fortunately, his stubbornness to stay on God’s green Earth keeps his feet on solid ground.

They say that the world is moved by opposite forces. Matter, antimatter. Thesis, antithesis. Good, evil. Life and death. The old man reflects grimly at the fact that once he reenters the room behind him, all the forces of death will concentrate upon him while he is immediately and ironically immersed in life.

The sounds of the raucous party moves towards the balcony only to be swallowed by the silence of the night. He hated the fact that human existence on Earth could be easily erased by nature. If people abandon the building, you can bet your whole savings that it will be weathered, beaten, grown upon and crushed under the weight of other beings moving on. Existing in that space without you, until every trace of your existence has been eroded.

Suddenly, a figure enters the periphery of the old man’s rheumy vision. Without turning to him, he speaks to the unknown figure, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

The figure responds clearly, “You have done very well for yourself. You deserve your final reward.”

“Finally.”

A strong gust of wind blew across the balcony, ruffling the curtains inside the room. For the people inside the party who felt the sudden cold believed for one second that Death had brushed by them. Shaking off such ridiculous superstitions, they proceeded to close the doors to the balcony to effectively ward off the cold night.