Her name is Ericka. Ericka braga.
I was supposed to visit her last December I think, but her father wasn’t there so I visited Hannah instead.
During dismissal, I got mad at my class for not paying attention during the last hour of the day. So when we went to their house, both Ericka and I were quiet.
Her father was working when we arrived. When her grandmother saw us coming, she got me a chair and told me to sit. Although I told them not to worry about me, they insisted to buy a snack.
Her grandmother was smiling the whole time. She told me that Ericka’s family changed address, but went back after the house was sold. They had to merge in one floor since the old room where Ericka’s family stayed was under construction.
With a plastic of bread on his hand, Ericka’s father came. To be honest I was a bit scared of him. He was too serious.
“Kamusta na po kayo dito?”
“Okay lang naman ho.”
“Ayun okay naman. Minsan pasaway.”
“Pasaway po? Si Ericka? Kagulat naman kasi tahimik yan sa school.”
Her father laughed.
“Ano ho pala yung tungkol dati na nangibang bansa kayo?”
“Hindi po.” Ericka said. “Tito ko po yun nagkamali lang ng sulat.”
“Nyeh.” I laughed. “Ilan po ba sila magkakapatid?”
“Bale apat ho.”
“Si ericka lang ho nag-iisang babae.” her grandmother added. “Pero itong bunso parang babae din.”
The youngest went out as Ericka and her friend laughed. I assumed they were trying to tell me that he was gay. I smiled; I was just glad that his father knew, and he wasn’t so aggressive about it.
“Asan ho yung dalawa?”
“Nasa Masbate po. College.”
“Wow!!!” I suddenly exclaimed, happy that he had two college students. “Ano pong course?”
“Di ko po alam eh. Yung isa po ata teacher.”
“Wow susunod pa ata sa kin. Ano pong year na?”
“First year college po.”
“Yung isa po?”
“Ho? Paano po yun? Kambal ho ba?”
“Bala ho kasi yung isa nagrepeat ng high school. Nabarkada ho kasi kaya dinala namin sa probinsya. Eh yung isa, tuluy-tuloy. Kaya iyon, nahabol.”
“Ah… Saan ho si misis?”
“Sa Quiapo ho.”
“Quiapo? Ay sabagay isang sakay lang. Ano hong trabaho niya doon?”
“Electrician ho. Dati po magkasama kami sa trabaho. Kaso nalugi yung kumpanya. Kailangan magbawas ng empleyado. May pera naman, kaya kinuha na lang namin.”
The issue about employment that I only see in the television was experienced by the father of my student.
“Eh paano naman po kayo?”
“Nakapasok naman ulit. Kaso umalis ako kasi ang baba ng sahod. Lugi ako.”
Upon going home, I thought of many what if’s. Although we were told not to think of such questions because the negativity it could bring, I still continued on pondering.
Are we living to live, or are we living to live life?
Why are we surviving everyday? We have to work and earn to eat and live. If we don’t work and earn, we could not eat and live.
Could we not live because the world is beautiful? I have asked this question a million time since I knew how to ask.
The world is indeed a Jurassic park.
Student number 45, check.