Early Herding of Humanity

I was early for the train
but the train was never early for anyone
despite the early crowd
with early frustrations
in an early war

One random jeepney ride

I’ve been wondering if the old woman had reached her destination. I’ve been wondering how she had been.

Just few days ago, on my way home to Valenzuela from the hot, busy, and work-mode Manila, I met a soul that was so kind. I rode a jeep to Caloocan instead of boarding the train because I was too tired to engage into another survival of the fittest activity along the rails. I did not think that I could tolerate the overpopulation (that’s there day in, day out) that day.

The minute I was done handing my fare to the driver, I settled myself in one corner, and soon enough felt very sleepy. The next minute, I had fallen into exhausted slumber. I had become unaware of everything that was happening around me while I journeyed along familiar roads.

After a long while, I felt someone shaking my arm trying to wake me up. When I opened my eyes, which hurt because they were closed too tightly, I saw an old woman beside me who looked so worried. While her palm still touched my arm, she asked me where I would alight. At first, I didn’t really understand why she was asking me this. Then she told me she was about to go down soon and she worried that because I was deeply asleep I might have missed my destination or would miss it if no one would wake me up. An unknown shade of joy rushed into my chest and I just felt overflowing gratefulness which I wasn’t able to mouth. My response was I was still rather far from where I would go down.

She smiled at me with a sense of relief. I smiled back at her in awe. What beautiful soul.

She was a complete stranger. And when this stranger went down, I wanted to join her and walk her to wherever she intended to go. I wanted to carry her things too heavy for her tired shaking hands with visible veins seemingly creeping out of them. I wanted to shout to every passenger of that jeepney that I would forever be grateful to her. It felt sad that she had to leave me still being a complete stranger.

I was to her. But it felt like a wonder–a simple act of kindness big enough to rest the tiredness. At the very least you know that among the random people you meet everyday, there would be some who could prove how beautiful humanity is.

I’ve been wondering if the old woman had reached her destination. I’ve been wondering how she had been. I hope that one day, I could be the one to wake her up when she falls asleep on a jeepney ride.