Updated: Dec 1, 2021
I saw them again, the family I spoke about on New Year's Eve. Something about those indigent folks draws me to them, so much so that my evening stroll often extends beyond its designated time. It seems I miscounted last time, there are more members than I previously mentioned. The kids were playing today; the parents preparing supper. I was traipsing around, music in my ears and a vacuum in my head. My eyes met with the littlest one's as I passed by them. Those big, beautiful eyes, with a sparkle in them that cannot possibly be matched. We exchanged smiles that crossed beyond the 10x10 piece of cloth between us. And just like that, she went chasing after her siblings, and I went on.
You know, back when I was about 10 or so, we used to take these dawn-timed flights to visit the family hometown, se we typically drove to the airport in the middle of the night. Dad would make conversation with the cabbie, and Mum would paranoidly confirm turning off the gas and locking the door with my sister. I used to quietly sit clinging to the door, peering out the window into the dark. Even from the highways, I could spot people sleeping on lorries, carts, and on the road. With a blanket, if those qualified as one, barely covering half their bodies, they slightly shivered in the breeze. Cars whizzing past didn't seem to disturb them much, probably because each of those people had a day gruelling enough to lead to a deep, tired slumber. It has been a long time since I took a dawn flight, but the memory of that frail-bodied community never left me.
I have spent most of my life, at least since I gained enough awareness, trying to find my calling. My ikigai. Not everybody is fortunate enough to realize where their devotion lies. They are certainly not fortunate enough to find it early on in their adult life. And so, I had eventually made peace with the time I'd have to bide, go through the rite of passage if you will, to find mine. But today, as I glimpsed guileless mischief in that happy, oblivious child, and realised it would soon fade when heavy responsibilities will burden those delicate shoulders; I came as close as one probably could to recognising what it is I wish to do with my time here. I have never been one to dream brobdingnagian, unrealistic dreams; I'm not ignorant enough to string together words like eradication of poverty, at least not in this lifetime. But in my own time, on another evening stroll, I won't just pass that beautiful family by. In my own time, on another evening stroll, I'll walk up to them, and I'll let them know they're not living an invisible existence, as this cruelly apathetic world would have them believe. In my own time, I'll have their backs. I'll try to have all their backs.