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Saturday, August 17, 2013

What's supposed to be a good writing prompt

People-watching inside a public vehicle during your ride home or to school is like an intoxicating hobby that makes you consign to oblivion how weary the day has been for a moment. I often have the most unforgettable experiences inside a public vehicle. It's like an interesting activity observing total strangers, making stories of them and asserting how they would act based on these observations.

This woman has a familiar face—curly- and black-haired, braided neatly, a band of eyeliner obvious on her lids—carrying with her always a child six or seven years old with unkempt hair, wearing old, filthy clothes and that after–play hours kind of look. One time, she's drinking a bottle of unusually diluted milk, like a scoop in a liter of water. I wonder if her body actually gets enough nutrients from it. It appeared to me that this girl is quite abused.

What appears to be her mother is said to be mentally unstable. I heard from other people that she put up a fight with a woman inside a mall and ended up uprooting her hair, and whenever she's caught up in the rush of people going out of the jeepney, she yells "Dali-a man bi!" (Hurry up!). It's completely OK if people knew what she is, but to those who don't, they might find it really strange.

I was talking to my professor that we would be starting with our special problem the next day in his laboratory and that if our chosen pesticide to bioremediate was appropriate (it's not). I bet he himself found the woman familiar. We were both distracted by the girl's loud voice, uttering some words I do not know. I think she had some difficulty in articulation, and I wonder if she knew that much Hiligaynon words or if her mother actually teaches her some. We let the conversation die right after.

I was making stories inside my head then, and these stories were inevitably contaminated by people's own stories of this woman I heard several times. I tried my best to make judgments based only on my observations and it's quite difficult. This woman might have come from a dysfunctional family, created one, and will never go out of one. I do not know; I am just an observer. I got tired suddenly, so I closed my eyes and slept (or maybe feigned sleep) for the rest of the ride home.

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