Thursday, January 10, 2013

Side Mirror

On the way to work, I saw a portrait of a father and son. 

It was on the jeepney and it sat on the the right side mirror. They were sitting on the front passenger seat. At first it was awkward, the way the two sat side by side. The father was scolding the kid, he was sort of angry for things that needed context for me to fully understand and comprehend.

He was being angry for a lot of different things, really. I couldn't hear exactly what it is but the tone of the father's voice was enough to tell me that he took it seriously. He had an expression of wrinkled anger. The lines on his old and sun-burnt skin showed and creased as he continued to scold his kid. The son was about 14. He had a cheap haircut and he looked like he didn't even take a bath just to go with his father. The simple distress in his face was enough to tell anyone that he was sorry and that it was not fun to be scolded at. More so inside a jeepney where more people, strangers can hear it. He had a creased face, too. Not out of old age but from the way his father was scolding him.

The father stopped talking. He looked out into the dusty and pollution-ridden streets of Quezon City up into the Memorial Circle. We were nearing one of the most congested places in the city, also nearing one of the most deadliest highways: Commonwealth. The driver sped past the rushing vehicles and onto the mouth of the highway. Public buses dragged on with a trail of smoke. The father covered his son's nose, only then noticing that he had fallen asleep; his head bobbing to the traffic and the steering of the jeepney.

As the father looked on, it was evident that he didn't mean to be angry at his son. He had that continued crease on his face, on his brows. I am just assuming here but it felt like he was contemplating on what he had said earlier. He took his hand and put it on his kid's head, leaning it on his left shoulder. The father tapped his son's head two times and kept it close to keep it from bobbing around. Ever so lightly, he kissed his sleeping son's head and kept his hand on the side of his face.

The kid slept throughout the rest of the ride. They happened to get off at the same stop that I did. And into the busy pedestrian streets, they joined the stream of ordinary people, unknown to them that they just told a great story.

That portrait of a father and son is something that digs at me. It didn't have a single frame, it was composed of many shots full of complexity but is simple enough to be understood even without context. 

It could easily have been a short film in my head.

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