I remember ages ago I was walking with my Mom in Maria Cristina, the street where we lived after the war. During summer the people living in the neighborhood would come out of their houses and take short walks near sundown taking advantage of the breeze which has started to cool down the asphalt surface of the street. It was a fine time to chat a while with the neighbors in a close community of no more than twenty five families. The street was hemmed in by rows of detached houses, a few two door apartments and about three empty lots and a dead end at the banks of the estero. These walks usually lasted ten to fifteen minutes but may extend to twenty when my mom would stop a while for a chat. It will never go beyond twenty minutes because we would proceed to the Angelus immediately after the walk.
It was dusk and the figures up ahead were just blurry images moving towards us. I rushed towards this oncoming figure thinking that it was my aunt from Cagayan de Oro coming home from her frequent shopping trips. At about two meters away I realized that the person that I was about to give a big hug to was a complete stranger. At the point of almost making contact, I veered away and accelerated like a runaway car not daring to look back to avoid embarrassment.
I continued to run on and on, past the corner, turning towards the corner of the Mercury Theater and upon reaching the corner of Trabajo Street where I felt I was already away from sight, I stopped, heart pounding and trying to catch my breath. I saw my Mom making the bend and I ran back to her arms.