Monday, December 8, 2008

My Little Bird

Every Monday morning, the Municipal government has a flag ceremony in the plaza outside their offices. On the mornings I present for the police on behalf of the MRP, I attend as well because the officers' meeting follows immediately after. They normally sing the national anthem and have presentations by the various offices. Ironically, they rarely raise the flag at that meeting.

I was standing at one end of the plaza near a stage watching the presentations. A little girl in worn out clothes came and perched on the wall a few feet away from me. I say perched because she stood on the wall and then squatted down and covered her legs with her shirt. She reminded me of a little bird perched on a branch. She did not say anything, just sat there. I often noticed that she was staring at me. Since the plaza is just around the corner from where Lisa has Kids Club, I was trying to remember if she was one of the kids from there. She wasn't. It just seemed odd to me that such a little thing would hang out at the flag ceremony. It seemed even more odd that she would come an sit next to the only Americano in the plaza. There were certainly better places to see what was going on.

Considering that it is Monday, I was not sure why she was not in school. She looked old enough. Later, I found out that today is a school holiday in observance of the immaculate conception. It still seems odd though that she would choose to hang out there. There is no playground and I saw no other children in the area. Who knows?

Sometimes she would stand and I could see the various scratches and marks on her bare feet and legs. The toenails on her bare feet had once been coated with sparkly purple nail polish. There was still some polish on most of her toes. Her clothes were worn and had many holes in them. Her face was precious and she had the prettiest eyes.

At one point, she moved so close to me that we were almost touching. When I said hello to her she just looked at me. Her expression never seemed to change during all of the time I had been next to her.

Then I used the little bit of Ilocano that I know, "Anya nagan mu?" (What is your name?) It was amazing to see the transformation. Suddenly she had the biggest smile. She told me her name is La-loy. (I am not sure about the spelling, of course.) She also let me know that she is 5 years old. That was about the extent of what we could communicate.

I still don't know why she chose to hang out at the Municipal plaza. Nor do I understand why she chose to be so close to me. But I do know her presence and her smile was a blessing to me today.

Grace,
Tom

2 comments:

  1. I think since you have had a lot of experience hanging out with "girls" she sensed that you were someone she could trust. It will be interesting to see if she seeks you out again. Love to everyone!

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  2. I will certainly be looking for her.

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