Pakisuyo nga. Paabot. Bayad po. These are the first phrases audible to my ears as I journey to school everyday. Those seem to be the jeepney trip’s best used vocabularies. But yesterday, it was different… Amazingly different! None of those monotonous phrases caught my eardrums. I wish yesterday was everyday. If that just could be.
It was 5:40 in the crack of dawn, Monday, when I left our house. I walked hurriedly to the transportation waiting shed. I had 20 minutes before the bell rang. All jeepney passing were full. I didn’t know what to do. Another 5 minutes had gone until I finally rode one. “Thank God”, the words I then whispered with bit tenseness as I stepped on the jeepney stair. Only 15 minutes was left so I needed a Flashman’s speed. The vehicle was almost empty. The driver and I were just there. The soundless ambience of the place gave me a quiet soothing sense. A little later, three more students rode in. I expected to hear the bayad po recitation again so I somehow prepared to flex my hand and shoulder. Contrary to my expectation, none of those words were heard by me instead a tap on my left shoulder was I got to pass their fare to the driver. I was of wonder.
“Philippine School for the Deaf and the Blind” were the words I uttered as I read their ID lace just after more minutes were together, perhaps 10. That was the time I only understood the noteworthy stillness inside the jeepney. The students I was with were mutes and blind. One can’t see and the other two can’t speak. It was not my first time to be with passengers like them but for that time their difference made me stared at them a little longer.
The boys could speak but just in no words because what speak for them were their actions, the hand signs. The other can see but just not in bright for only dim light was perceptible to her eyes. They could speak and see but why did I consider them different? Drop of tears fell out my eyes for no any reason I know to weep. I appeared quiet awkward but that’s the thing it was. I was totally touched not because they tapped me for the fare, not because they didn’t recite the monotonous phrases but because of the meaningful silence that depicted of who they were; imperfect in my sight yet so complete in my heart. Their eagerness to convey communication stroked me; silent yet so human, blinded yet so humble. They make me realized that I was physically enabled and verbally empowered thus far not in full potential engagement. I was more than physical blind and mute. I was embarrassed with myself.
I unloaded the jeepney at 6:10 am and reached my first class at 6:15 am. I was late by only 15 minutes, just 15. I enlightened myself by asking “what was 15 minutes compared to a lifetime motivation that the mutes and blind brought into my heart?” It’s nil. I have also reminded my self: “Leave the house at 5:25 dawn so you would not be late and perhaps you could witness more jeepney scenarios”. Lazy? Shy? Condemning and reluctant to speak and express? Not anymore. I have no tolerable reasons to be so. My co-passengers are my constant reminders and living testimonies as well. From now on, I must be forever grateful of what I am and unceasingly useful of what I have.