The following series is based on a personal experience. (Not mine.) With some literary licence to add and subtract certain events from what actually happened, I have removed some of the characters to create a fictionalized short story.
Tomorrow would be Monday again! Darn!
Wilson threw a shoe on the paper calendar hanging on the wall. It was not even his idea to decorate his room with all those useless facts: his mother insisted upon it.
Bored inside what he called a prison cell, he could not leave the house because he was grounded for the weekend. Someone at school called his parents that he skipped classes for an entire week.
Well, it was an inaccurate report, he reasoned out. He attended two hours of P.E. in between days.
His father did not say a word: he was once an athlete. And he was specifically forbidden by his wife not to interfere with their son’s studies. She took the whole responsibility by herself.
“You’ll be an engineer!” she banged her hands on the dining table.
Wilson wanted to argue but he was not finished with his meal. The last time he did so, he was unceremoniously sent to his room and starved the whole night.
That memory was interrupted by a video he had not seen before. He was familiar with the song, something his father used to listen to when Wilson was a child.
He sat up and watched.
“Come down here!” he heard the call for the fourth time. his mother would come up after the fifth time he would not respond. She was a strict woman but she never hurt him physically.
He turned off the television and proceeded downstairs. Missing breakfast made his stomach grumble. Missing lunch, however, would make it protest till supper was served: he needed sustenance fast.
“Your father gave me money for your shoes,” she said, arranging the food on the table. “It’s not much but you have to make do. Go to those second hand shops.”
She placed the bill near his plate and said nothing more.
As a teenager, Wilson wanted something similar his friends’ wore. But his family did not possess the affluence they enjoyed.
He hated school. As a middle class student among wealthy classmates, he felt left out in almost everything, materially especially.
“A thousand pesos!” he stared at the bill with disdain. “Formal slippers cost more!”
In a way, he was delighted to get out the house.
“Nothing beats freedom!”
When he reached the town center after a fifteen-minute jeepney ride, he noticed a somewhat fiesta-like mood. People from the interiors trooped to several makeshift shops that lined up the main avenue: it was closed to traffic for the duration.
The unlikely pair who tended the corner footwear stall, looked dead. The man stood like a lamp post while the woman sat on a chair as if a painter ordered her to stay still. Customers seemed to avoid them.
Wilson was a different buyer. He haggled relentlessly until he was satisfied he got the lowest price for his purchase. He even mastered the technique of pretending to leave so the seller would accede to his wishes.
He saw them hanging above the woman’s head and right beside the man’s face. The shoes that looked brand new and in style seemed to call on to him to be their new owner.
“How much?” he asked without further ado. “I want them!”
“Nine hundred,” whispered the woman, her lips quivered.
Wilson wanted to haggle but the low price was a steal. No need to beat around the bushes, so to speak, so he handed her the thousand peso bill.
The man handed him the change and nervously placed the shoes on a plastic bag.
Wilson thanked them profusely, hurrying to get some distance before they realized their error.
“Yes!” he yelled with jubilation.
When he glanced back at the stall, he was dumbfounded. The pair looked livelier, smiling and laughing as if they celebrated one of their best sales. People came over and crowded the stall.
He peered inside the plastic bag: he now owned the walking shoes made of genuine leather.
(to be continued)