I’ve gone back to my comfortable home in Taguig. I gaze at my white walls, my wooden cabinets and shelves filled with clothes and knick knacks I’ve accumulated so far, my cluttered work desk complete with school supplies and a printer, and my soft bed which I love the most. I think about the comfort of my home and all my conversations with friends dreaming about out the opportunities we would have after we finish our bachelor’s degree, but only one thing is on my mind: The lady in Adriatico Street who looked at the world as if there were no hope.
I was new to that part of Manila. I think I have passed there before, but I’ve never really given a second look to the place. As my friends and I sat down in an open-air ramen house across a whole row of night clubs and bars, an old lady in a worn out orange sleeveless top and worn out green shorts caught my eye. Short curly hair framed her wrinkled face. Underneath her eyes were very dark circles which reached her bony cheeks. What struck me the most was the expression she had in her eyes while she puffed a smoke while gazing at the nightclub across us. It was an expression that I have never seen before. Her eyes did not only seem exhausted, they also seemed empty: the most exhausted and emptiest eyes I have ever seen. It’s as if her face together with how her body was slumped on the table conveyed the message of hopelessness in a single glance.
What could have robbed her of youth and of hope?