Thursday, August 09, 2007

Beatitudes

For my creative writing class:

Thursday night, and Samuel found himself once more on his lonely vigil at the jeepney stop. As usual, Fr. Alcorda had gotten carried away with his sermon, and so the recollection had gone on longer than scheduled. The good father had seen fit each and every one of the Beatitudes in great detail.

"Beg your pardon, sir, beg your pardon...."

The woman had crept up on him silently so that when she humbly called his attention, Samuel had almost jumped out of his skin. She was in late middle age, not too shabbily dressed. She led a young boy -- her grandson, probably -- by his arm.

"What's the matter, lola?" Samuel asked.

"Oh, I'm so embarrassed to say," the woman said, turning a slight shade of red. "It seems we've spent a bit too much. And now we don't have enough for fare home. I was wondering if you would be so kind...."

Samuel thought back to Fr. Alcorda's sermon. The words came echoing back. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven...."

He fumbled in his pocket and fished out a crumpled twenty peso bill. He had set aside just enough for his own ride home, having put the rest into the recollection's collection pouch. No matter, he thought, it was only a three-kilometer walk home.

Samuel put the money into the woman's hands. Her face lit up with profuse joy. "Thank you, young sir, thank you!" she said. Tears threatened to well up in her eyes. "Think nothing of it, madame," he said graciously.

Samuel walked back home with a light heart. He had done a good deed! He had sacrificed his own comfort for the well being of another! "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy...."

But soon his sacrifice made itself known in stark terms. The night was sultry, and his shirt was drenched in his sweat. Every passing car belched out thick black smoke that blotted the streetlamps. The three kilometers, so short a jog early in the morning, seemed to stretch longer and farther than it really was, and now it made sure that his feet felt every step. Not long after, his stomach joined in the chorus, reminding him of the dinner he had not yet taken.

"Blessed are the hungry," Samuel repeated, "they will have their fill...."

Like the gates of heaven, the golden arches of a corner McDonald's came into view. A turn there, another two blocks' walk, and he would be home. Samuel tried his best to avert his eyes, but the backlit panaflex menu of Big Macs and french fries and sundaes called out to him like a beacon in the night. A loud grumble from his stomach punctuated the thought. His mouth felt dry.

"A chocolate sundae sure would feel good right now," he thought. Absently, he dug into his pocket but came up empty.

Regretfully, his eyes lingered on the oversized picture of shakes and ice cream desserts on the menu, only parting to survey the fortunate light night snackers in the well-lit restaurant, an odd assortment of cooing lovers on a date, laughing friends on a night out, desperate students cramming for an exam the following day, and very familiarly, for their faces were still fresh in his memory, a very contented middle-aged woman and her grandson, each enjoying a tall refreshing cup of chocolate sundae.

3 comments:

  1. Lovely =) moral lesson? blessed are the fools for they shall inherit the golden arches of McDo? hehehe

    good fiction, dom =)

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  2. I guess the question I wanted to ask is: if you were in Samuel's shoes, what would you do?

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  3. Oh, I don't know if I should answer this, but I'm feelin' bored so I'll give it a shot...

    I would probably be amused...then join them at their table. LoL

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