The UP Ikot Jeepney Ride That Changed Me

by nmnvillamor

Today felt really awkward. And lonely. I guess it’s because of the rain. It does something to people… Especially to me.

After being a bum for the entire morning, I decided to finally get up and do something about my life… And the non-stop grumbling of my stomach. Really, the only sane thing that I could do during that moment was to hail an Ikot jeep and go somewhere with food in it. And yes, that is what I did.

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And it changed my life.

Psych! It didn’t actually change my life. Well, I guess it did. A little bit. But it was just really awkward. And… Awkward. Notice how much awkward I’ve used in this post? Seriously, I couldn’t even begin to emphasize how awkward it was. Whoop! There it is again.

After internally debating about my destination, I conceded with the decision of stopping at the Shopping Center. Content with myself, I proceeded to watch the droplets of rain cover the glory that is UP Diliman. Right near Kamia Residence Hall, the Ikot jeep stopped to fetch more passengers. That was when he came in.

No. He wasn’t my soulmate. Though I’m still looking forward for the day that the love of my life would sweep me off my feet and drive me to the sunset… But unfortunately, today wasn’t that day. Instead, my trance have been disturbed by quiet snickers and mocking laughter by my fellow passengers. Why? What were they so amused about?

I looked to my left. There he was, in his oversized t-shirt and XXXL jeans, carrying his book bag while trying to find a seat that could actually fit him. I looked to my right and saw this woman mouthing the words “Ang taba!” to whom, I presume, was her lover while the guy laughs maniacally across from her. The others looked at him with disgust, with loathe. The old man sitting on my left had a lot of things piled on his lap. He looked annoyed because of his entrance. He murmured the words “Ang laki mo naman… Mabibitawan ko to lahat e dahil sinisikip mo pa lalo tong dyip.” I can only guess that he heard it because he looked up to him and then to me with a certain look that I still can’t shake off my head, like he was actually daring me, challenging me to say something about his predicament. I did nothing but to stare right back while he figuratively burned holes on my entire being.

Even when he left, when the old man left still murmuring words I’ve long given up to care about, when the couple left berating each other about their bills, I couldn’t help but stare into space and think of so many things. Each thought swirling and mixing into one another until they’ve all tangled and jumbled up into one big pile of messy thoughts… It felt so awkward that I didn’t continue the ride to SC. Instead I stopped near the International Center and decided to walk from there. The fresh air could do me good. And the walk could help me process everything that had happened.

You meet so many people, all of them so different from you, maybe even rather more unfortunate than you. Here you are, always complaining, always unsatisfied… While others have had life shit on them and step on them, have had it way harsher and worse. All the while not knowing the real story behind every situation, you easily assume and conclude and judge and tease and bully… I had the chance to speak up my mind a while ago. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I let some fear crowd over me, take me and swallow me and right after, spit me out to a dark corner where I can wallow on my guilt, on my shame. I let it slide pass me. It happened right in front of me and I could’ve done something. People like me should be ostracized from society.

After I beat up myself, mentally that is, I’ve also come to grow and learn from this experience. Also, some Mang Larry’s Isaw did the trick.

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