The sun was not around.
When he woke up that morning, the thought of a fool-proof way to make his whole day pleasant occupied his mind. He had the freedom to choose so it was up to him if he would invite trouble to his life.
He smiled. His neighbors, early on manning the roadsides, waiting for fresh gossips to be delivered by roaming pan de sal vendors, could not help but be mystified by his sunny disposition. They looked at one another as if asking themselves if it was a full moon the night before or something extra-ordinary happened without them knowing.
He smiled. Even the small children who played in the unpaved streets without their underwear were suspicious of his bright face. In their young minds, confusion resided that they cleared a path so he could walk passed them without delay.
He smiled. A number out-of-school youths who sat in a small sari-sari store could not look him straight in the eye when they saw him beaming. If ever there were emotions inside their hearts, it was fear for the unknown: he had to be left alone or else.
He smiled. Everyone he passed by through the stretch of narrow alleyways and snaking paths never recalled him in a joyful mood. They felt something was in the offing that disturbing him unnecessarily would shatter the peace in the neighborhood.
When he reached the major thoroughfare, the last house of the shanty town behind him, he wiped off the smile he adorned his face. They claimed that smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning. Why was he not convinced of it?
Ah! Being the notorious bad boy in the locality, he was not accepted to be good even for a day. It was against his image to try to start acting nice and friendly. Such difficulty resigned him to his role as being a menace, never to be given a chance to change, to be disposed off in time. To be rid of him was everyone’s wish.