Not the enemies
"Hey Robbie, I came to visit you," he said when he stopped by. He offered me a drink and snacks. He said wanted to talk with me personally--and he made it clear that only I was invited.
My two friends did not understand our need for privacy. All they could see was the two of us drinking and eating, and they were hungry and thirsty. They got mad and confronted me. I tried to explain the situation, that this was not my decision, my liquor, or my food. I tried to explain that I couldn't overrule what Jojo wanted. They did not understand.
One of them pushed me. He shoved me to the ground and they stood there waiting to see if I would react. Then he pulled out a knife and waved it close to my face.
"Want me to kill you? Want me to kill you?" He was trying to get me to respond. He was looking for a chance to stick me.
"Cool your temper, baby," I said.
I did not want to get angry, because I might not be able to control the situation. I stayed calm, and I was able to leave the area without getting beating up or stabbed, but I know that they are angry and still looking for me.
The one with the knife is my friend Cyrus--I live on the sidewalk with him. Along with Sonny, who is so sick he cannot work, we are "the three musketeers." Sonny sometimes takes a few spoons of rice and drinks a little. I have to care for Sunny, but Cyrus takes his turns caring for Sonny as well.
We try to look out for each other. I call myself "the carrier." I have to carry Sonny from place to place. We sometimes put him in our cart, which we call the Rolls Royce, but right now it is not working well.
Cyrus is only 24. Last week he got caught stealing groceries. He has stolen often and he was finally caught. He is hard-headed. When angry, he gets violent and loses control. He's been in and out of trouble, and, the problem is, he won't accept his mistakes. Things aren't good for him right now. His daughter is starting school and he has no money. He's under a lot of pressure.
This situation makes me sad. It is so complicated. I have no rights. Even if I went for help, no one will listen, because I am a squatter, a bystander. I have no legal right for protection.
I have slept the last few nights in another place, but I will go back. Who will care for Sonny if I do not go back? He is getting weaker, though he can still move and still walk a little.
I am just trying to get by. The Pedmars Bakery gives us some bread. Norgies Restaurant gives us some soup. I pick up trash. I dispatch a little. I work security. The tire shop gives me 20 pesos a night to watch their place.
I do not know who the enemy is. At the moment it seems like Cyrus and his friend, but that isn't the case. He's just thirsty, hungry, scared. It is still a good neighborhood for us, though the street sweepers sometimes harass us. They are hard-blooded, those street sweepers. But enemies, no, I don't think they are the enemies.
Kui olin selle looga lõpuni jõudnud, läks mul meel haledaks. Mõte läks sellele 40ndates mehe peale, kes vabatahtlikust tütarlapsega kaasas oli ja kes tohutu hasardiga näitas mulle viimasest ajakirjanumbrist: "Vaata, see siin on MINU artikkel! Ma olen nüüd nagu ajakirjanik!" Aga tema siirast rõõmust ja suurest saavutusest jäi minu jaoks väheseks, et tema käest 25 krooni eest ajakiri osta... Mul oli enda pärast piinlik ja tema pärast kurb.
Manila ON väga suurte kontrastidega linn. Rohkemal või vähemal määral on seda kogu Filipiinid, aga Manilas torkab see eriti hästi silma. Ühelt poolt tohutud kaubanduskeskused, kus hästiriietatud inimesed ummistavad poode, söögikohti, IMAX kinosid, jäähalle, mängutubasid. Otse kaubanduskeskuse kõrvalt võib alata aga juba tõeline geto, kus üks kuut on teise kõrval või kohal ja kus aknaks on presentkile ja katuseks on uks.
Aga jah, kui küsida, kes on süüdi, siis ma ei tea.