Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Met an Arab Boy

On my bus ride to Batangas earlier today, a little Arab boy sat beside me. I’m not entirely sure if he was really an Arab or if Arab is the right word to describe this certain group of people the way we call people from the Philippines Filipinos. So where do Arab people come from? Arabia? Wikipedia calls it Arab World and I laugh at this.

So anyway, this little boy beside me was probably five or six years old and was left to sit with me who is of course a complete stranger riding a bus to a province completely unfamiliar to this kid and to his parents. My first thought was, why the heck did his parents choose to sit together two rows behind their little boy and let their own child’s safety be “harmed” by a complete stranger? I mean, I have no intention to do anything with the Arab boy, but what if he sat beside a pedophile that can just run away with the kid buried inside the pedophile’s huge bag? Another thought running through my mind, are there Filipino pedophiles? I don’t think they have ever stereotyped Filipinos to be that type. Maybe child abusers, as in those who inflict physical abuse, but not playing with a kid for pleasure. Or maybe my memory isn’t just as clear as it should be right now, but I digress.

About the little boy… I was supposed to sleep for the rest of trip like I always do but decided that for this one ride, I’ll try to stay awake and observe this kid beside me. Because I sensed that he was also kind of interested in me by the way he always tried to look up at me when I’m staring out into the window or how he tries to touch my huge two-faced watch and my green earphones. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should be even talking to him since 1) I don’t speak Arab or whatever language he’s been mumbling the whole time and 2) I’m scared it’s some sort of culture of theirs not to talk to strangers (but this is quite a stupid rule if it did exist since it was his parents who initially made him sit beside me). But whatever, those long eyelashes, curly brown hair and beautiful, beautiful gray-green-golden-brown in the middle eyes got me and I decided it was time to play.

I have my Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Candy Sprinkle donuts to thank for helping me get through the little boy. 30 minutes into the bus ride, I offered him a donut which he refused with a shake of his head the way polite foreigners do. You know, how they would even close their eyes as they shake their heads as if they’re really sorry that they refused your offer. That kind of refusal, I see it in TV shows or when we go abroad. Or probably, I’m just being racist. When the initially boy refused my donut, I was not to take no for answer because I know no one, especially a kid, can say no to donut, ESPECIALLY those topped with sprinkles.  The next time I offered, he was pointing to his parents and was making this sleeping gesture and then he pointed to this tiny compartment in front of my seat. For some reason, regardless of the language barrier, I completely understood what he said or did.

He was signaling that we have to wait for his parents to fall asleep before he can eat the donut, and so while waiting, I hide the donut in the compartment. I was laughing when he did all this. Actually, we were both laughing, thinking we understood each other well. And so waited until his parents were fast asleep before he was able to enjoy his donut with sprinkles. It’s cute how he continuously glanced at his back to see if his parents are waking up, but they didn’t. I wiped some of the chocolate from his lips as he drinks some water from my bottle. I was instantly transformed into this little boy’s yaya.

I tried to do more improvising by nodding and laughing and sometimes even narrowing my eyes when he nudges me to say something I completely do not understand. And it’s weird how he actually responds to my gesture, as if I said the correct answer to his question or statement. He might’ve even thought that I actually get everything he’s saying. But I don’t, really.

I think this is what’s really amazing when you’re dealing with kids. You don’t have to talk to understand each other. Actions really do speak louder than words, and I actually mean this in the literal sense. At some point in our trying conversations, I think the boy was asking me what he should call me, and I make out that he was trying to say “friend”. Haha. Friend sounds too cheesy, doesn’t it? But just let this pass by thinking that he really was calling me a friend. Just so I can sound sentimental tonight. Haha.

I miss making friends with little kids and having them on my side, how they’d choose you as part of their team and then you’ll pick on someone uncool or weird. I liked doing that. And so I’ve been thinking about my specialization (since everyone I practically know who knows I’m in med school has been asking me this freakin’ question every freakin’ time). I think I’m going for pediatrics as my specialization, BUT BUT BUT I’m not stopping there. I want to focus either on pediatric oncology or pediatric nephrology or pediatric orthopedics. Go search what nephrology means. But this is just a thought. I just realized it’s better to work with kids than grown-ups who act like kids. And I don’t know, it’s just feels different when you make a child feel better than when you treat a grumpy middle-aged man. 

I waved the little kid goodbye when I get off at my stop. I think he's going to the beach. Buti pa siya. 


  1. What a sweet story (no pun intended - okay maybe a little).

  2. It was! Really wished I took a picture of that boy :)