Visit Number 48

Her name is Ella. Ella Gamba.

I was with Axl and Carlos to go to Ella’s house.

Ella’s one of the palasumbong (tatle-tails) in class, but there are times that I had to tell myself that it’s only natural, even though I still go to my mother when my brother picks a fight, up to now. Haha.

“Hi Ella!” I surprised her.

“Hala teacher!”
“Malapit na lang naman na daw sa inyo kaya ngayon na ako bumisita.”

Carlos and Axl asked a mano. When they left, I entered Ella’s house. Ella’s mother was there, cooking. Her grandmother sat outside, and two little kids were inside; one was a toddler.

I asked how they were doing. I found out that her mother makes rugs for a living while her husband is a tricycle driver.

“Ay ma’am oo nga po pala. Sa March 11 po hindi po pwede magabsent kasi ho NAT po daw.”
“Anong oras ho sila doon?”
“6 am po.”

Speaking of absences, I talked about Ella’s absences in school.

“Bale sa school, okay naman po si Ella. Nahihila lang po kasi nga po nagaabsent. Bakit ho po ba?”
“Eh iyon po minsan mga birthday. Tapos kapag walang pera. Ayaw kasi ng papa nila na habang kumakain yung ibang bata, hindi sila kumakain.”

Well, her honesty quite hurt. Although I was never told to be absent because I had no baon, I remembered being sad when I only had Php 20 in my pocket, and the only thing I could buy was ice candy. On the other hand, my classmates had Php 50, Php 100 and Php 500.

“Ganon po ba…” I looked at Ella who was then playing with her cousin. “Ilan po ba silang magkakapatid?”

“Walo po.”
“Walo po? Wow! Ang galing niyo po! Napagtapos niyo yung walo!”

Her mother smiled at me as a response.

“Asan na po yung iba?”
“Yung tatlo po bumukod na. Bale, lima po silang nakikitira dito.”
“Wow ang galing niyo ho ma’am.”

We had a little chitchat before I went home. On the way, Ella shared about losing her set of crayons today. I promised to give her one tomorrow, but I want her to be present.

That ended my sixth of March, so I thought.

I’m actually losing my memory (or intelligence) so before forgetting the number of siblings Axl, Carlos and Ella had respectively, I wrote it on my hand.

Surprisingly, I came up with 5, 4 and 8; three numbers that make up the number that made a twist in my life. I smiled at the thought that visiting the three of them in one day was actually destined.

Student number 48, check.

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