Monday, November 16, 2015

Fighting a robber

"Ang tapang mo," said the barangay captain as we passed by his hall only a few meters from where I was heldup. 

My father rolled down the window on his side. "Napabilib mo mga tao dito, " he added. I responded with a smile. Papa has been asking their help in tracking down the suspect. So far, no clear lead as to where he is now.

After a few minutes, we left and headed home. Papa said, "Sikat ka na dito." I answered, "Sana lang di dun natatapos yun."

I badly want to put that man behind bars because he has the capacity to hurt people -- especially women -- just to get what he want. That's how he earns a living: by stealing. I admit my intentions are 30% revenge. But the bigger part is, at least, to feel safer -- not only for myself, but also for my family, especially my younger brother and cousins.

As I watch the CCTV footage of the incident, I wonder where I got the strength to fight. He was punching me, biting me, dragging me while I was screaming for help and hanging on to my bag. One thing was clear: I was never giving up -- getting bruised and wounded -- with him bringing my valuables home. And so I went home with my fingers and wrist bleeding -- with my bag hanging on my shoulder.

They say I should've just given everything. They say, "Sa susunod, 'wag ka nang lumaban lalo na kapag may dala."  But isn't that giving the evil too much power over the innocent? Aren't we supposed to defend ourselves and, at least, try to keep what is ours? Isn't giving everything away at once a form of consent to how they feed their children?

This is in no way saying that the next time I'm robbed or held up *knock on wood thrice* I'm putting up a fight (again). I'm just saying it's better to arm ourselves and be on guard than to just dole out your things to a robber on the street.

Thank God for the strength. 
Thank you angels for guiding me.
Continue protecting us. 
Shield us from danger. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What has become of us?

Remember the good old days
When we would look up the sky
And dream of what we wanted to be?
When the possibilities were limitless;
We looked as far as our eyes could see.

What has become of us?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Afternoon Sky

A perfect summer sky in November. And mad, dark clouds hovering in the west where the sun will set.

This is what my weekend afternoons look like: sitting on our rooftop, watching the sky turn from a mix of blue with cotton clouds and sunrays to a burst of crimson and lavender at sundown. It's always a sight to behold. There's evidently an artist in Heaven who has mastered the art of sunsets.

A perfect summer sky in southeast and a gloomy sky in the northwest. Today the sky is its own irony. Much like how a night or day looks like for a man stormed with questions on which way to look at and what to do next: run away from an impending rain or turn your gaze to the clear, bright, blue sky?

There are days when the sky shows its many faces all at once. Like today, for instance. A simply magnificent display of life: bright and beautiful and dark and fearful. 

How you look at it, well, the choice is yours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I will never forget

I will never forget the face of the man who tried to rob me.

When he placed his arm on my shoulder and pointed his hand on my neck. He whispered, "Give me your bag lest I kill you." When he forcefully grabbed my bag until I fell on the pavement while I screamed and pleaded for help. And no one did. 

When, in desperation, he bit my fingers to disarm me. And when he failed, one last pull, he ran away. I was trembling; my heart was beating thrice faster than normal. And when I looked down, I saw blood on my hand. My wrist was bleeding. Another bite -- a deep wound -- by that hungry animal.

Was it too easy to prey on me because I'm small? Do I really look that helpless? Man, looks are deceiving. And you might have thought women don't fight. 

Until now, my wounds have yet to heal. The deepest is still wide open, and doctors say it might stay that way. A mark of a struggle that shouldn't have happened -- because we ought to work hard to survive. It's a mark that will make me remember to always stay on guard and never ever be complacent. Because it's safe nowhere. 

It will never be the same again. This wound may heal, but I will never forget the face of that man. I don't want to leave home these days. Call it trauma or paranoia. It will be more difficult to trust passersby and strangers who I walk with at the MRT, mall, and sidewalks. I see robbers anywhere. You may be eating with them at a restaurant or standing side by side with them at the bus station. They may just be behind you while you are buying your favorite drink at the convenience store. Or you may be making eye-contact with them as you cross the street. 

As investigation is under way, I'm getting information that that guy is just lurking around, freely wandering the streets while his victims are suffering a trauma from his bad deed. Others are saying he's hiding far from authorities who are looking for him. He's been in and out of jail. Two counts of robbery: sentence served. Petty crimes, that's what they call it. But for those whom he victimized, petty is a disturbing, insulting word.

One said his father used to be like him. So has it become a profession in a poor country where more than half are living by below a dollar every day? And so there are families of lawyers, doctors, artists, and engineers. Then, there are families of robbers.

It pains me to think he is feeding his children and family by stealing. By leaving a mark in other people -- in a terribly awful way.

As I type, my right hand is hurting. It's my wound, my open wound, that wants to heal but cannot yet. Because healing takes time.

Here's to ladies -- and even men -- who have fallen prey to robbers. Here's to hoping that the bad men will get what they deserve. That the wheels of justice may spin to our favor. Heaven knows what to do to them. Karma, so to speak.

And that me may forget how they look like and sleep soundly, in peace again.