Before the last dew of the night kisses the slumbering earth, mother bird left the nest to hunt for early worms that can lessen the yearning of her young’s stomach. She left her little bird unattended; with a heavy heart yet hopeful one. She is determined to find a greener pasture. She may encounter a predator on her way but she is still willing to go out to the forest with a positive outlook that she will find her way back to her little one. She maybe struggling with her broken wings but the burning love for her chicks gives her the strength to continue the journey. The outside world is cruel. Humans and other predators can hunt her for food and nature can release the heaviest rain on earth but she is still willing to face any impediments just to fulfill the needs of her little darlings.
The dark and angry clouds are about to burst, small droplets of water are starting to pour from the heavens and a scary atmosphere is starting to invade the city. Rain, heavy rain. The time when being emotional and melancholic is a normal thing to do. It makes us ponder on the things in life which we tend to neglect during our busy days. I am now in a jeepney after a tiring window shopping in one of Cebu City’s elegant malls. My mind started to wander as I try to kill the time. It led me to my past, present and even to my wildest dreams for the future. Then, my heart started to feel as it was being crumpled as my eyes strike her. She’s sleeping soundly amidst the crowded and uncomfortable Philippine public vehicle. The lines in her face symbolize the years of struggle and hard work. It hurts me to death as I watched her sleeping comfortably in a very uncomfortable place while she is holding her basket of fruits and vegetables. As I look at her, I know that she is one of the vendors in Colon. I know that she is a mother. I know that she is tired but I also know that nothing can stop her from doing that very strenuous means of living. She is a mother, a very responsible and loving one.
This old lady in front of me is a total stranger. I do not know her nor her name. This maybe our first and last encounter but she disturbs me in a very incomprehensible way. I do not pity her, I just despised the fact that she is now in her golden years and should be enjoying her life instead of working. I do not know her struggles. I do not know her past but it could be my future. Her present could be my fallback after my glorious juvenile years. It scares me. It thrills me yet it stands as a challenge. I stepped out from the jeepney with a tearful eye; her face still lingers in my head. I cannot seem to bury how tired she looked when she was visiting the land of her dreams.
The Sleeping Market Queen (this is how I call the lady in the jeepney) made me realized that I should give importance to whatever I have right now; my job, my age and my relationships. She challenged me to excel in whatever I do for me to have a better future and for me to give forward the love and hard work of my parents, especially my mother. She gave me the chance to evaluate my present and be prepared for my future. She’s like the mother bird that is willing to sacrifice herself for the betterment of the life of her youngs. Nowadays, every time I see baskets of fruits and vegetables, I also see the tired face of the sleeping market queen. I always pray that her family would be able to see and appreciate her. I pray that the God Almighty will bless her more for being a good mother. I hope and pray that the next time I see her, no more lines of hard work and worries in her face but smiles and more smiles.
When I am still a young girl, I always dream to be a princess. Now that I have already realized the difference between reality and fantasy, I am not hoping to be a princess anymore but to be someone someday that can materialized all the hard work I made during my young age. I know that contentment is relative. People can have different levels of contentment when it comes to life or even in simple things. The day that I reach 60 years old, I will spend my days baking cookies for my grandchildren, having my afternoon siesta, travelling the world and enjoying simple moments in a rocking chair while holding the hands of my other half. This is what contentment for me. This, I always dream for myself, for my parents and even to the old lady in the market. I always hope for better golden years. I dream of a better finale. When this day comes, I will be forever grateful to the old lady who showed me the importance of preparing for the future or the lack of it. Meeting this old lady made me realized that hard work is one thing and enjoying the fruits of your hard work with the one you love is another thing.
Note to the SLEEPING MARKET QUEEN:
You, with the gift of femininity, were able to to come out from your shell and explore the cruel world. I admire your courage. You’re enduring the heat of the sun, the dust and the unpredictable attitude of the people you mingle with everyday. You don’t have to tell me that you work hard for your family because I already know that from the very beginning. Your inner beauty glows from within in spite of the lines in your face which shows how difficult life has been to you. I thank you for the inspiration. I admire your strength and unending love for your family and love ones. I hope to meet you again someday and finally know your name. You are a reflection of every woman in the world, of every loving mother and of all the dreamers trying to fulfill their dreams. See you at the crossroads of life and I hope you have the best of everything.