Posted by: Jae | May 16, 2007


She slid into the cool interiors of his taxi cab and mumbled directions to her destination. They locked glances for a while in the front mirror. His eyes were weathered and gentle and wise, with laugh lines at the corners. The eyes of a fifty maybe fifty five year old man who had discovered that the secrets of the world were much simpler than we thought: give freely, love truly, live fully. She wondered fleetingly what he read in her eyes, and whether or not he managed to see through the polite but distant smile she reserved for strangers she would never see again.

Out of the window she looked, watching cars whirring past, watching other people’s lives unfold under cover of darkness, imagining the secrets their hearts held: the balot vendor, the young couple, the sales lady, the police man. Suddenly, and without warning, she found herself crying. There was no reason for it, but on the other hand, there was a whole universe of reasons. Health concerns, money issues, personal struggles, and the debilitating loneliness of suddenly not having anyone to talk to about all these. The friend who used to only be a text away moved from UP Village to Eastwood, a change she has yet to get accustomed to. The boy who always could make her feel better had gone away too — there was always some database project to complete, some negotiation to broker, some important person to meet.

“Tahan na,” said the taxi driver, speaking as a father speaks to his daughter.

They arrived at their destination, the front gate of her house. She pulled out her wallet, ready to count her bills.

He smiled at her and asked, “Anong paborito mong pagkain?”

“Spam,” she answered, almost involuntarily, blurting out the first favorite food that came to mind.

“Bili ka ng spam,” he said, gently, almost teasingly, giving back the P100 she gave him. “Wag ka nang malungkot. Naalala ko sa iyo anak ko.”

“Salamat po.” And she cried again.

This is a true story.


  1. hey jae! stumbled upon your blog through chrisgel. been visiting your site ever since.
    anyhow, just couldn’t help but post a reply to this one. it was just … heartbreaking in a good way. sort of. πŸ™‚
    hope she feels better soon! tell her life eventualy sorts itself out. cheers!

  2. hey grace! how’ve you been? thanks for leaving a comment. oo nga, life eventually sorts itself out and the universe cant possible be mean all the time. πŸ™‚ take care always. cheers cheers to you too.

  3. the friend can always still cut her classes πŸ™‚

  4. 😦

    Email me…

  5. Dianne: Saturday then. πŸ™‚

    Jordan: I got skype na, but whats your user ID ba? Wala tuloy ako contacts dun, nakatengga lang siya sa desktop ko. Yun nga lang, forever ako nandun sa national canvassing of votes sa PICC. Waaah. A month pa siguro ito. Ill email you over the weekend, have a long letter written to you in my head na. Hugs hugs, Vietnam Rose. Love ya. πŸ™‚

  6. tama ka, the universe cant possibly be mean all the time.ang bait ng driver.spam pa ung pinabili.hehe

  7. jae add me sa skype. my username is arcibaldoq

    people like that give “hope for the flowers”. i always get that particular sad feeling and generalized anxiety for no apparent reason. pero compared to the girl, weirdo ako.

  8. The thing with great writers is that they can move people. Jae is among them.

  9. Pa-share ng spam…spam mail. :-p

  10. Golda: Oo nga, dapat binigyan nalang niya ako ng isang stick ng yosi.

    Chrisgel: Ganda nun — hope for the flowers. Ive read it a hundred million times. πŸ™‚

    Diego: Thanks so much, and once again, I was so deeply touched by your friendster testi.

    VT: Hehe. πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Jae,

    Greetings from Barcelona.

    Thanks. This is beautiful. I have been travelling for a month now and I am truly thankful meeting really good human beings (not spam creatures) like the driver – those who have taken good care of me and considered me as their child. Surely there are people who are cold, rough, rude, and insensitive; but it only means that the invincible goodness in these human beings have gone missing.

    Maganda nga yung “Hope for the Flowers”, pero mas maganda sana kung iyong girl sa true story mo live up to its lessons — stop being a caterpillar and grow beautifully into a colourful and graceful butterly that is free and that gives life to flowers. πŸ˜‰ (An enduring message for me, actually :p)!

  12. Hi Jae,

    Greetings from Barcelona!

    I posted a comment here the other day. Apparently, hindi pumasok. Sayang. Anyway, thanks for a beautiful story.

    Maganda nga iyong ‘Hope for the Flowers’; pero mas maganda siguro kung ‘yung girl sa story live up to its lessons — for the caterpillar to eventually realise her being: a free, colourful, and gentle butterfly who gives life to flowers. (An enduring reminder for me as well ;)).

  13. The friend who used to only be a text away moved from UP Village to Eastwood, a change she has yet to get accustomed to…–c dianne to!!!

    at naalala ko tatay ko…=(

  14. the other friend who used to be a text away too moved from Krus na Ligas to La Paz, Iloilo — a change she has yet to get accustomed to, even after three years.

    hmph. hmph.

    alam mo, pag may kinaiinisan ako na taxi driver and tempted ako mag-generalize, i stop myself by thinking of your dad and what a gentle soul he was.


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