Saturday, June 12, 2010

For Four Days, I Lived a Millionaire's Life

For four days, I lived a millionaire's life.

I would wake up with the site of brown, skinning woods supporting the metal roof at 10 in the morning. With the sun sturdily on surveillance in the sky, the comforter where I lied for sleep felt like a plate slowly being taken into a microwave oven, and I like a pan de sal being heated for breakfast. There was no air conditioner, only a medium-sized electric fan cooling down a room manned by six people at night. But I I woke up in a millionaire's bedroom.

I would go down at the stairway: a four-stair walk of twin bamboos. I would hold on to the door affront it, and balance my way down by a simple stretch of my short legs effortlessly reaching each "stair". At the count of four, I was already at the ground floor: all in all, it was a simple two-storey home where the second floor was separated by a space about a meter in length, supported by unpainted hollow blocks and brown wood chops. But I walked in a millionaire's house.

I would go to the breakfast table and sit on the long, slender, wooden chair. It was a table full of varieties - a gallon of tap mineral water with faucet facing the right, food left-overs of the last night's dinner next to it, and vegetables freshly taken down from the plastic being readied for the cooking of viand for lunch (filling the middle portion of the table). I sat at the left part where I would reach the plastic of biscuits and the plastic container of ube which would serve as my breakfast. My starting meal at 10.30 in the morning would end with a glass of water, but I had a millionaire's breakfast.

I would go outside the veranda which also served three functions: waiting area for visitors, a gateway, and a sala for relaxation. I would sit at the ratan papag laying a meter from the dusty floor, or lie on the duyan tied by thick ropes at the brown chops of wood supporting the metal roof above. Feeling the intense heat of the last summer days, I would converse with my cousins and the neighbors that come and go the open veranda, until we end up planning to go outside to enthuse oursleves for some adventure. No television (the TV was at the bedroom), only a phone with built-in mp3 player attached to a small speaker setting a good mood for the day. But I had an entertainment in a millionaire's home.

I would go outside the street, passing by a small walkway made not of cement, but of fresh soil hardened by moisture and heat. The street was a typical one - with playing kids, gutter of stationary water with trashes, bikers passing-by, and tambays on the far-end. We would traverse a beautiful green field and go to a river with swimming boys and fishes  - but bearing the color of a brown mountain instead of a blue sky. The boys were not in Billabong trunks or Ipanema footwear, only in pambahay cotton shorts and colorful rubber-slippers-of-no-name. But I witnessed a river, as well as a street, in a millionaire's land.

I would go back home to take a bath. I would get my clothes, place it in my backpack, and go out again to go to another home - for my bath. It had a bathroom, but it did not have a faucet, toilet, and sink - only a hose connected from a water supply outside, three pails and a floor of cement and boulders of rock. And so I would go to a neighbor's home to pamper myself with a good bath. When I go back, I would go to the bathroom to pee. But everytime I entered that area, I felt like I was in a millionaire's comfort room with fresh incense all around.

I would walk the inside of the home with rubber slippers on. But I could still feel the dust of the floor of pure cement and broken linoleums. Wherever I stood, I see how the home looked just by rotating my eyes and moving my neck. A home of a few square meters - literally. With foundation of sturdy wood, hollow blocks, and a roof of fresh metal. But I thought: I was in a millionaire's home.

Most especially when I see people seated on the dining table, sharing stories, laughing out loud. Or at the veranda sharing merienda together from a cup of coffee to a fifteen peso glass of halo-halo.They were my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and new friends in the person of this family's neighbor.

I was with a family of a millionaire's heart. 

With them, in their home, for four days, I lived a millionaire's life.

No comments:

Post a Comment