Written by: Jenine Silos
A half-emptied bottle of juice–a commercialized Calamansi drink–was rested upon the rounded table. A pile of folded papers was next to it. She was typing keys on the keyboard for quite some time now, and the sounds that it make were the only audible noise in the perimeters of that small room. Under her eyes there were dark circles — anyone who sees her would initially assume that she was stress.
She was nineteen years old but during these kind of days, a week before examination, her age would not agree to her outward appearance. She was always busy in cramming. Oh, yes, she’s cramming–again! She knew it was not normal anymore, especially since she had a lot of free time wherein she could study her school notes and so on. But then again, she was not using her free time for leisure, she was not wasting her time for clubs, she was not even studying in her free time, at all!
She was found facing the computer screen most of the time — that is.
She was writing.
And no one knows what she writes.
The door knob clicked and yet it was nothing to her.
Her eyes were widening in frustration as she faced the computer codes, tracing whatever errors and bugs that she made in the process. If she could not get it this time, then she might fail her exams. Cramming was very frustrating for her, but to complain was not even an option.
“Nina,” Called her older sister, who had just entered the door.
She was hearing nothing.
“What?” She turned her face towards the caller, her face looked interrupted.
Nina looked bewildered when she realized that her older sister looked worried, but about what? When her sister hastily put her bag on the table, she asked, “Are you in a rush, Merry? You just came in.”
Merry, the older one, shook her head while she was looking something into her bag, “I dropped by at the gasoline station to buy snacks. I saw some children on the corner, then a kid grabbed my shirt.”
“And?” Nina followed up, turning her focus back to the screen. “Are they the usual kids? I think I know them.”
“No, they are new faces. She was asking for some medicine for her sister’s fever.” She said, the sounds of opening her wallet was even audible.
Nina stopped from what she was doing in the computer. Then she turned back again to her sister, and asked, “Did you give them food?”
“No, she was only asking for medicines. We cannot give them money, but I’ll cook some oatmeal for them. The older one is sick and her fever is high, but I said to them to wait for me because I will bring food.”
“Nina, I was thinking to give them your gray comforter, is it alright with you?” Merry asked momentarily.
“It’s cold tonight, and it looks like it’s going to rain.” Nina said, “Prepare the oatmeal then, I’ll go and get the comforter.”
Finally, Nina was standing up from her chair after the long hours of cramming with her codes and notes. Debugging and tracing was then nowhere in her mind. She went inside the room to get the gray comforter, the one that her mother gave to her in case of emergency, but she wasn’t using it actually. So what Merry suggested was a wise idea.
And those children will need the comforter more than them, anyway.
‘I don’t get the parents of those children’, Nina asked herself as she entered the room. ‘Probably their parents don’t get it in the first place. If only we could give them shelter.’
“You go and see them, Nina.” Merry said after awhile, pouring now the cooked oatmeal inside the small lacquer box.
“Me? I thought you promised them you’ll be back. If they’re new faces then they don’t know me, either.” Nina replied, the comforter was now folded in her arms.
Merry looked at her with obvious eyes, “You will know them immediately. One of them is sick, and they’re just lying beside the cooler of Rex Drug Store.”
Nina glanced at the computer screen that was left idle for some minutes now. Sighing, she said, “Okay then.”
Merry gave her the lacquer filled with hot oatmeal and said, “I already bought medicines for the sick child. Just give the instructions to the youngest one, tell them to eat the oatmeal first. And don’t give them money, just buy them some mineral water.”
“I see.” Nina nodded then she went on her way.
There were children, of about four, in their dirt faces lying on the cold cement, they were like some tunas in a small can, lying like worms, bending their knees upon the cold just next to the cooler of a drug store, some mere walks away from Nina’s residence. Drawing nearer to the street children, Nina’s heart was then broken upon seeing their pitiable situation, to worry about her cramming and tight schedule was not even enough to endure the anxiousness of these children.
If only…she always thought.
“Who’s got the fever among you?” Nina asked, she was now kneeling down beside them on the cement. The children looked up at her. A bliss of hope was upon their faces when Nina smiled at them.
“My older sister, Big Sis!” One exclaimed while pointing her index finger at the one who was lying very weakly. “She’s like that ever since yesterday.”
Nina sighed in desperation, offering some coins from her pocket, “Can someone buy a mineral water from the store then?”
“Me! I can do it.” The smallest kid answered, dirt covered her temples down to her pointed chin.
“Go then, buy some water.” Nina said and gave the kid some coins in exact amount. The kid rushed to the nearest store.
“Were you the one who passed by here earlier, Big Sis?” A boy, of about four years old, asked in a low voice.
“No. But I’m her younger sister. She already gave you the medicines, right?” Nina said as she opened the lacquer box, then she gave them the utensils. They all nodded.
She turned towards the sicked one, and said, “Up now, little child. You need to eat this before the medicine.”
The girl coughed but did what Nina said, anyway. The boy assisted her to lean her back on the wall, and they helped her to eat.
“Can we eat some, too, Big Sis?” Asked one a moment later.
“Of course, but prioritize first the sick one, okay?”
“Here’s the water! Here’s the water!” The kid who went to buy reported.
“Now, now. When she’s done eating, let her drink the medicine okay? The other two tablets are for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch.” Nina instructed. “But never let her drink it without eating anything first.”
“Okay, Big Sis.” The smallest one replied.
“And oh, by the way, I have some unused comforter here. I will give it to your older sister because she is sick and it’s cold tonight.” Nina informed, unfolding the comforter, until someone pulled it from her.
“Can I have this instead?” The youngest asked.
“No, it’s mine!” The boy exclaimed, pulling off the comforter from the other. Then they all went into chaos.
“Wait! Don’t quarrel!” Nina interfered. Nina pulled back the comforter and said, “This is for the sick one, okay? She’s sick and she needs it most. When she’s fine, then you all can share with it. Okay?”
The children just nodded.
“That’s it.” Nina said, smiling as she stood up. She lay hands on the sick one and prayed within, then she went on her way back home.
“THANK YOU, BIG SIS!” The children shouted.
“I saw them on the streets.” Merry said, closing the door.
“Is she okay now?” Nina asked.
“I think yes. Because they were smiling, I have not seen the oldest though.”
When Nina went back to the drug store, to check them herself, the children were not there anymore.
So instead, she just went to buy some coffee at the nearest convenience. And upon crossing the street she saw the children at the other side, playing some wooden cars. When Nina saw the oldest one, the one who got sicked, who was also there–smiling–and was playing along with her siblings, Nina just then could not explain the happiness she had felt deep inside.
From a distance, seeing them with their brilliant smiles now, Nina almost broke into tears.
Thank You, LORD.
For You have heard our prayers.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the LORD will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
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