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Good News

Author: Alvin B. Punongbayan

Good News
Alvin B. Punongbayan

It was early in the morning, Paulo ran to their nipa house.
“Father, wake up!”
“Oh! Son, what’s that?”
“Mr. Lopez passed by, he’s looking for you. It seems he’s mad so I didn’t say you’re here.”
“Huh? Arr…”
“Why itay?”
“Never mind son. Go on, you’ll be late for school.”
“Alright itay”
“Just study hard.”
“Yes itay, goodbye! I love you!”
Paulo got his bag and went to school. It’s hard for him to study because his father became sickly after an accident and his mother was gone. She died upon delivery to Paulo. He’s now a second year student. In order to study, he’s selling “ballot” and ‘chicharon” at night.
Jose, his father was left home. He’s thinking of the problems they have.
“How idiot am I? My son is working for me.”
He blamed himself for the situation of their life until he remembered that it was only few minutes that he heard from his son the words “I love you”. He smiled. He got the boiled banana to eat. While eating, he just remembered that today was Paulo’s birthday.
“How I wish I have a gift for my son?”
In school, Paulo got from his bag the piece of boiled banana for his recess. He had no choice; he couldn’t buy anything in the canteen for there was no even a single centavo on his pocket. Beads of tears slightly fell down from his eyes. He had no control of them.
“No one remembered my birthday, even my father. Maybe he’s just not after with the date. I love him for he’s the only treasure I have.”
He wiped the tears on his cheeks, but his eyes produced more tears because he felt pity for himself after hearing this sentence from his classmates who were talking at the back.
“God created us equally.”
He just asked to himself…
“How is that so? For I didn’t even experience the life of a normal teenager, I didn’t even receive a hug from a real mother. I didn’t experience to sleep early at night or to spend times in watching television. And then my father hadn’t recovered form the accident. Is that really equal?”
After that, he went to the comfort room to wash his face. Their teacher might arrive and would see him crying. He just passed by on his classmates without answering their questions.
“Paulo, why are you crying?”
“What happened?”
Their teacher arrived in the classroom. She noticed that Paulo wasn’t inside. The students said that he went out of the room crying. Mrs. Reyes asked them the reason but no one knew about it. Paulo returned to the room in silence. Mrs. Reyes approached him and asked him about his strange attitude today. He’s mute, he just looked around. Mrs. Reyes realized that he didn’t want to be heard by his classmates. They continued their conversation outside.
Again, tears fell down from his eyes.
“Yes! Tell it to me Paulo.”
“…I’m tired…”
“Tired of what?”
Tired of the kind of life I have. God is so unfair. I want to die… I want to die right now. Could He not make me smile even for this day, for my birthday?”
He’s already crying. Some students stood up upon hearing Paulo as he shouted. Mrs. Reyes hugged him.
“I know how it feels. If crying will help you ease the pain then cry as you want. However, this is just a challenge my dear! You should be strong. You’re good, never loose hope.”
“But ma’am… I have received nothing but pain… only bad things. Not even a day I heard anything good…”
“My dear… Life is not a movie that you will know the ending in just an hour or more. Life is the longest literature in this world. Have patience my dear. It will help you grow.”
He had wiped his tears and entered the room. All of his classmates were looking at him but no one had the courage to ask what happened.
- - - - - - - - - -
“Jose... Jose!”
Jose, Paulo’s father, was alarmed when Mr. Lopez shouted at him. Mr. Lopez opened the door promptly as he was a police in pursuit of a criminal. But no criminal was inside this house. Only the creaking of the rotten chair where Jose was sitting answered Mr. Lopez until he approached Jose.
“Oh! Jose, you must pay me now. I need my money.”
“But… but please pity on me. I don’t have money right now. Please give me two days as extension and I shall pay you.”
“Oh! Here we go again. How many times I heard those words from you ten, fifteen, twenty? You shall pay me this day or else…”
“Or else what?”
“I’ll get your son to be one of my workers in the farm for you to pay your debt.”
“But he’s studying!”
“It’s not my problem anymore.”
After Mr. Lopez left the house, Jose was crying and thinking of where he could find five thousand pesos to pay Mr. Lopez. He saw a rope near the window.
- - - - - - - - - -
After class, Paulo went home. While outside the house, he’s calling his father but no one is answering inside. He shouted again his father’s name. Upon opening the door he was surprised. His whole world stopped for a moment. He couldn’t move nor talk for a while. Few minutes after, he shouted and moaned.
His father committed suicide. He used the rope to kill himself. Their neighbors helped to get the corpse of Jose. Paulo embraced his father while moaning until he saw a small paper on the rotten chair. There’s a note saying…
“I love you son! Sorry! Study well!
It made him cry again. He shouted that God is so unfair. He’s too exhausted right now.
At the wake his teacher came. She placed her arm to his shoulder but she didn’t know what to say. What she only knew was that Paulo’s life was full of miseries. Until Paulo said in a soft voice …
“He’s gone… he left me… I think I can’t continue life.”
“Don’t say that Paulo. God loves us. He has plan for us.”
“Really? He loves us. How come? I can’t feel it! What plan? To ruin my life?”
What else? To let me die with these sufferings? What sins I’ve made to Him? What?
He’s already shouting. Mrs. Reyes knew that Paulo was really in pain right now. It was so hard for a 14-year old to lose a parent on his birthday.
“Paulo, there’ll be good news. Just trust God.”
“How could I do that? Maybe, I don’t believe in Him.”
“Don’t say that! You are just looking on the bad side of things. Come on my dear, you are just looking on the negative sides that you even forget how good He is.”
He stopped and closed his eyes for a while. He tried to think what good things God has given to him.”
“I’ll enumerate some.”
“Ahm… ma’am?”
“You have a father who loves you and I know wherever he is now, he still feels that way. You’ve been top 2 in our class though you are a working student. You are gifted. And there are people who care for you.
“Who are they ma’am?”
“Look at these people in the wake. They are here for you, because they love you. I’m also here whom you can lean on.
“… Ah… Thank you ma’am! I’ve never thought of those things you said. Thank you for waking me up for I’ve been sleeping on the negative side of life.”
“Welcome Paulo! And now, I’ll give you good news.”
“Good news?”
“You’re father left you, so I think it’ll be hard for you because you’re too young.”
“What do you mean ma’am?”
“I’ll help you. I’ll support your studies. Just promise me you’ll study hard.”
“Oh! Thank you so much Mrs. Reyes! I promise I’ll do my best for my father. He has lost but his memories will never fade like my love for him.”