One hundred-peso bill


ALONG the streets of Divisoria lie a mother and a son curled together against the cold morning breeze. Before the sun begins to rise, the little boy squirms out of his mother’s embrace to start his morning rounds. After kissing his mother goodbye, he grabs the materials he needs for selling. The mother looks at his retreating figure, oblivious to why the boy has been working hard ever since December began.

Walking around the streets, he offers passersby pieces of his “kwek-kwek” or a parcel of his cheese sticks. By five in the afternoon, he is only able to earn twenty pesos.

A twinge of discouragement courses through him as he realizes that his total savings are not enough. Imagining the smile he would put on his mother’s face as he hands her a Christmas present, he finds the motivation to try again. Cheerfully, he runs to the nearest jeepney and hops inside.

None of the passengers pay him any attention as he perkily advertises his products. Not knowing what else to do, he begins to sing his mother’s lullaby. As the last note leaves his mouth, he bashfully approaches the passengers again.

Some purchased his goods, to his delight. While getting ready to leave, he feels a soft pat on his shoulder. He turns around and sees a man handing him a one hundred-peso bill.

“That was beautiful. Merry Christmas.” F ISABELL ANDREA M. PINE

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