The day I broke a child’s heart

Four years ago, I went to the VSU beach to witness the beauty of sunrise and breathe fresh air. I was with my friend Mariz Guino sittin’ on the rocky black sand (not the best beach though) when we saw two kids gathering seashells. We approached them and asked if we can help out. Their sweet smile reflects an innocent soul. Behind us is their grandma, in her late 80s I guess. Looking at her, I felt a pang realizing how old she was and should be staying at home. Instead, she was their religiously flipping the rocks to find what seemed to be their next meal.

I asked the kids if they are going to have it for lunch or dinner, just to start a childish conversation. To my surprise, they will have it for breakfast, which I estimated to be around 10AM after a rigorous cleaning and cooking process.

They bid goodbye and head off home but before they left I asked them to visit us in our dormitory. I was planning to treat them for a snack since that morning they need to rush off home to cook.

I waited day after day for them to come but no one showed in the dorm. The following weekend I went to the beach and was glad to find them there. I found out they never understood our instruction, went to a wrong dorm and never found us so they just decided to try and find us in the beach (really smart kids).

We’ve had wonderful moments with the kids and we look forward every weekend to see them. We brought them to the nearest town and bought each a pair of slippers, marbles (as they requested) and food. A few people threw strange stares to us knowing we dress so differently with the kids. Who cares, all that matter to us is being able to make two young hearts happy.

After strolling at the park, we took them home. Seeing their house that looked like it will slump anytime broke my heart into pieces. Located along the coast, I can imagine how cold it could be at night.

One afternoon, I had a serious conversation with Polpol, the older one which was 8 years old at the time. I asked him why he quit studying. His answer was very simple, “My teacher scolded me because I wasn’t able to bring a notebook for our project”. I asked again, why didn’t you bring one? He answered “Because we don’t have money”.

I told him he is going to school by June and promised to support his studies. I talked to my friend Mariz and we decided to provide him his school supplies and weekly allowance which is not really very expensive as he is still in his primary grade and their school is just a few meters away from their house. So we only need to give him a few pesos for snacks each day (which means instead of buying our snack, we will save our money for his allowance).

While I was telling him about our plan, he never said much, just this “I’m afraid you won’t be able to fulfill your promise”. I assured him it’s gonna happen.

February 12 was Mariz’ birthday and we organized a little surprise for her at the VSU beach. I urged Ate Carmille Bales to drive for me so I can fetch the kids. We took them to the VSU beach resort and all our Youth for Christ friends played with them. We gave them some of the food to bring home for their grandma.

Time passed by so quickly and before I knew it, the school year has ended. I enjoyed my vacation, however, I anticipated the coming school year for a lot of reasons and one of them was to see the kids again.

With all excitement, I went back to VSU to enroll. I can’t believe how I was engulfed with so many responsibilities and totally forgot the kids especially Polpol whom we promised to send to school.

Mid-June, we asked their neighbor who was working at our school’s cafeteria of their whereabouts. She informed us that Polpol’s father took him to Manila. I swallowed hard, trying not to burst into tears with the thought that he might either be safe their or better off without his father.

I never got any news of him since that day but until now, he still crossed my mind and it pains me every time. I hope with all my heart that he is having a better life now coz otherwise, I know he would feel bad that I broke my promise.

I just wish destiny will give me a chance to see him again… I wish…

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