A Relative Stranger (edited)

(for Voe)

There was once a vision I saw,
it was far- at the end of the road

i was alone that time,
back packing to the place where
I thought I could fine company

I went closer,
traveling, searching
just by myself

when I finally reached the place,
I sought for a store
but when I slid my fingers inside my pocket
to get my wallet,
i ended up frustrated-
my wallet was gone...
(i lost all my cash, and most importantly the 10 peso coin
I have been keeping for almost four years now)

and so i wasn't able to buy a drink-
i was very thirsty that time,
but it didn't cause me to become hopeless

i slid both two hands inside my pocket,
hoping that someone would hand me money,
or food or perhaps just a cup of water...

i went to the public market-
there it was ,the usual market scene I saw
(identical to that of Amorsolo)

there were many people, all were busy
with their own business,
i heard voices shouting,

i asked an old woman if she could give me a drink-
she refused.

fortunately on that vision I saw a "good friend" of mine
i was happy...
i went directly to her but the moment I uttered the words
of inquiry, she asked me,
"do i know you?"
and so I left,

I continued to search,
to walk,
to ask and to haggle
but nobody would dare give me their attention--
so i sat at the corner, snatched the book I had in my bag-
i thought i brought the novel "The Voyage Out"
but it was a different book and the book was
"The Giver"
there was a curve on my lip-
there was a tinge of hope when
I saw the book.

I started reading the first few lines,
"it was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.
No wrong, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep,
sickening feeling of something terrible to happen."

i continued to read as if the words
were water and food,
as if the sentences and fragments
could give nourishment to my body
as if I was nearing to become full
when I reached the ending of the narrative.

i never noticed that someone was standing behind my back
I couldn't see her properly but I could feel that she was a girl
through the peripheral view
i heard her whisper, reading with me the same lines...

i stopped reading for a while and abruptly asked her,
"what are you doing there?"
when i finally saw her, there was as if a connection between the two of us
but i didn't mind it
"nothing", she said...
but i insistently inquired, "are you sure?"
" i guess so... but actually I am interested with your book, I once had a copy of it way back then but i lost it, that was my favorite book honestly...", she explained

of course, i didn't give her my copy,
we talked and talked and talked
i and she together for just a single moment-
i told her the whole truth,
she knew I was thirsty,
she knew everything about me,
she knew that i was rejected by a "good friend" a while ago at the public market
she knew my pain, my hatred, my anger and my solitude

we were both strangers
but during that time it was as if I finally found a company...
(just because of words, letters, just because of a Book)

we smiled,
we laughed,
did we cry?
it was just raining when we departed.

she bought me a drink without my knowing...
we talked.
we were together until I decided
to leave for a travel (way back home)
i was very thankful that I met her,
among all of the people in that place
she let me feel that I was not a stranger...

we were in a coffee shop for our last stop
i went for a pee for a while--
when I returned she handed me a note saying
"Thank you"
there was a doubt, i was clueless but I accepted it
and we just both laughed.

we departed on that coffee shop,
the aroma of the brewed coffee I sipped
chased me while we parted ways
it was fragrant, it was memorable...

i stopped at the middle of the road
to keep the book inside my bag
but when I opened my bag
i saw a scarlet purse, one like that
of a jewelry purse...
i cupped it with my right hand
i felt there was a paper inside it
i opened the scarlet purse and read,
" i was thankful we saw each other again,
i was thankful that after how many years
you still read and keep the book that I gave you...
i know that you didn't recognize me but
i will never forget the mole on your lip
thank you so much, you didn't know how happy
i was when i saw you at the public market,
may you journey safely back home,
til we see each other again my dear friend,
always here to love you,

i didn't cry but instead i drew another curve on my lip,
she was wearing a "mukna" that time, the muslim veil
where you could only get to see the eyes,
i recognized her but i didn't tell her

i kept the note inside the scarlet purse,
there were a lot of 10 peso coins inside-

i cup them with my right hand-
hopeful that i could finally go home.

there, at the end of the road,
i was hiking
i was traveling,
that was a short instance
but it seemed like it was stretched for eternity

i will travel, i will hike
i will walk with these 10 peso coins

i could have told her I miss you or I love you
or I will never forget you
but she let me leave without telling me that it was REALLY her
nonetheless it takes two to tango
It was already evening and I was still hiking,
i looked up the sky and gazed at the glare of the moon
and realized that there is always truth in the eyes.

i whispered to the wind,
"since you wanted me to travel with words, I won't fail you,
i will travel until i reach the end of every road
and until the 10 peso coins you gave me
will stop singing..."

*for the benefit of the doubt m.e AKR( hahahaha, peace,mwah)

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