September 15, 2009. Quezon City, Philippines.
The day began with thick clouds hinting of light rain. But, unlike the previous days, the sun prevailed and made its power felt almost throughout the day.
I was aboard a jeepney on East Avenue, still feeling victorious for having accomplished my mission at the Philippine Heart Center. It was past two o’clock in the afternoon, and the heat was more intense.
The buses in the same traffic I was in were, as usual, dominantly making their way through. One didn’t mind blowing its loud horn to catch would-be passengers’ attention, even when the jeepney I was in was right under its nose. You could imagine how painful that sound was to my ears. Good thing our jeepney driver didn’t stay longer and sped off ahead of that bus.
From the buses behind us, my eyes’ direction was moving to other vehicles that went past through us. I was looking at people aboard these vehicles – a woman in her, I suppose, late 20’s, driving a Mazda (how could she have owned that car, I thought to myself); three people filling one seat of the bus, when many other seats were vacant; a White man with a bandaged arm talking enthusiastically to his taxi driver.
Then, I saw two eyes from another vehicle.
While all those people I was observing did not even glance at me, this last pair of eyes that I saw through the window of my jeepney was actually staring at me. I stared back, and we had eye-to-eye contact.
I zoomed out for a while, and found out those eyes were aboard a blue truck that was going side by side my jeepney. The owner of those eyes had three other equally healthy, well-groomed companions but they were quiet. Surprisingly, they really looked fresh despite being exposed directly to the glaring sun, as though they had just come out from a spa session. No foul odor could be suspected to come from them.
After seeing the greater picture, I looked for those pair of eyes again, and still, the contact was there. Believe me, those eyes didn’t leave my direction for a few seconds, as though they were conveying something. They really look very, very sad.
It was then that I felt something inside. Sympathy.
Silently, I communicated to those eyes in Filipino: “Kawawa ka naman, ilang oras na lang siguro ang itatagal mo sa mundong ito. Alam kong may buhay ka rin, pero, ganyan talaga siguro ang papel ninyong mga baboy sa mundong ito, ang katayin para maging pagkain naming mga tao.” (I really pity you, I think you only have a few hours left in this world. I know you have a life, but, I think, that is your primary role now in this world as pigs – to be food for humans.)
Then, I lost contact with those eyes. Their truck turned left towards V. Luna while my jeepney headed straight to the direction of EDSA. For a while, the sad feeling for that pig remained in my heart. But I know, wherever he/she is, he/she served his/her purpose.
It’s been almost three days now since that encounter. I’m pretty sure, someone is slightly richer, and someone’s hunger has been assuaged, courtesy of that pig./END