Her name is Axl. Axl Namuag.
She’s quiet. As in quiet and conservative, like Maria Clara. I remember the time when she dropped her handkerchief, and she really pulled her whole body down without bending her back.
We were with her younger sister when we went there. I treated them a ride since they told me their house was a bit far.
I didn’t know why, but all eyes were on me. Although I did have an idea why.
I arrived at their house, and saw Axl’s mother smiling. She was holding a kid in her arms. I sat and placed my really heavy bag on the table. She offered me another seat, but I told her I was just fine.
Their house was nice; small but organized. They had a big television.
“Kamusta naman po si Axl dito sa bahay?”
“Nagmumukmok po siya teacher.”
Woah. I was Kind of surprised with her answer.
“Ha bakit naman po?”
“Ganyan na po yan dati pa. Pagdating po sa bahay, nagmumukmok. Aakyat siya tapos hihiga mag-isa.”
“Pero naglalaro naman ho ba?”
“Minsan naglalaro mag-isa.”
“Hala!” I called Axl, “Pati pala dito sa bahay tahimik ka eh! Parehas po ba sila ng kapatid niya?”
“Hindi ho. maldita ho yan.”
I could not believe when she said that because her sister seemed silent as well. Her sister had been at least thrice in my room when her teacher was absent in class.
“Minsan siya pa nga po nagpapaiyak sa ate niya kasi itong ate niya hindi lumalaban.”
Wow. superior younger sister eh?
“Ilan po ba sila magkakapatid?”
“Lima po. Bale tatlong babae, dalawang lalaki.”
“Lahat po nag-aaral na?”
“Oho. Grade 7 na ho yung isa.”
“Wow! yes high school na!”
I was proud deep inside, especially of parents who work hard for the education of their children.
“Bale si axl naman po sa school,” I continues, “Ayun nga. tahimik. Pero okay naman po siya. Walang problema. Nag-umpisa nga po yan ng top. pero nawala na po siya nung second quarter at nung third quarter. Madalas ho siya kasi magabsent.”
“Ano ho kasi ma’am,” She confessed, “Di ho talaga sila pumapasok nitong kapatid niya, inaaway sa school. Bale hinihipuan po siya sa klase.”
“Ha?! Grabe naman yun!”
“Eh minsan nga daw ginagawa humihiga yung mga kaklase niya sa may hita niya tapos niloloko-loko siya. Eh ayun. Ayaw na pumasok. Eh pinipilit yung ate niya na wag na rin pumasok. Eh kapag aalis naman na, umiiyak tong isa. Eh di umiiyak na lang tong si axl. Sinabi lang sa akin nung kapatid bahay nilang kaklase.”
“Eh di ano pong ginawa?”
“Sinumbong sa teacher. Eh pagsasabihan na lang daw eh hindi naman pwede dalhin sa guidance kasi ayaw namang pumunta ng magulang. Tinakot na lang ng asawa ko yung mga lalaki na nangaaway sa kanila.”
Sigh. Most of the time, the attitude of a kid is reflects how a parent guides his/her child. There should really be a free seminar about parenting.
“Ay kaya naman po pala. Ngayon, hindi na po?”
“Hindi naman na po.”
“Asan na ho pala si mister?”
“Ay nagtatrabaho ho. minsan nga ho sinusundo na niya si axl kapag sa mga ganitong oras.”
My eyes toured the room and then suddenly, I just thought of asking if they had a second floor since she mentioned a while ago that Axl “goes upstairs”.
“Ay hindi po!” She answered, “Double-deck po kasi kami.”
I looked at their bed as she said, “Maliit lang po talaga. nagreblocking po kasi.”
“Ay ginuho po yung bahay niyo?”
“Ay hindi po. Bale may tinanggal lang, itong parte.” Then she pointed outside.
Ignorance. I really thought reblocking and demolition are the same.
“Ah so hindi po pala tinatanggal yung buong bahay?”
“Depende ho kapag nakaharang.”
Now i finally understood that reblocking was a way to widen the pathway.
“Dati ho kasi ma’am saktong pantao lang yan. Ngayon, hindi na kasi mas maluwag.”
I smiled at Axl who was then interacting with other kids. I was glad to hear her voice and at the same time, thankful that Axl was one of my angels in the room who contributes peace inside the classroom.
Student number 46, check.