Appropriate Filipino title: Bakit kung sino pa ang inuutangan, siya pa ang nahihiya?
I haven’t really been telling much stories lately, but now I find myself in the mood again. So, I’ll go back to the most recent, standout incident I experienced, and realized a thing or two from; it happened almost a month ago. Take note, if I had the choice, the title of this post would be that-which-is-italicized before this paragraph but, I find myself obsessing once more.
The short story
Back in high school I had this sub-barkada of sorts. There were four of us, and we would get together maybe once a week even if each of us had a real “main” barkada. So there’s me, and the other three whom I’ll name as such: Pusher, Bang, and Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores. Anyway, Pusher and I went to the same college so there’s no doubt we inevitably saw more of each other. Bang was a keeper friend, he is one of those who is hard to forget, so the regular get together was practiced. Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores simply disappeared.
10 years has passed since high school. The only thing I know of Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores is that he is already a father. Two, maybe three children, married, I’m not even sure. There were no text messages sent, no pager messages (as in Beeper 150) sent, no calls made, none which suggests that there is still an existing friendship between us.
One day I woke up to a very funny sentence. “Mark, may tumawag sa’yo kaso hindi ko alam kung sino.” Funny, Ate Adelfa. Instead of losing it, I just let it go. But, I was curious as hell as to who called; caller ID was not much help either. An hour later I answered the phone and to my surprise it was Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores.
“Uy, pare! Kamusta ka na!?”
“Mark, aaminin at di-diretsuhin ko na sa’yo kung bakit ako napatawag. Kailangan ko ng tulong mo pare.”
It turns out, Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores needs some rent money. He has kids who go to school so tuition comes first. He is renting a small house, and if he was not able to produce Php 8,000 by 5:00 p.m. (it was already 4:20 when the call took place), they would have no house to go home to. I felt sorry. In fact, I felt so sorry and guilty. Suddenly I was responsible for the welfare of a family. It was a choice I had to make, and I had to make it fast.
On borrowing and lending money
Let’s just say that what happened after was not something I was proud of. To add to that, there are of course two sides to my story above – one where we say “Ang kapal naman ni Ang ka-sapakan ni Flores,” and another where we say “Naiintindihan ko siya, ganyan talaga ‘pag desperado.” Either way, why is it that he who is the supposed lender is always the one who is nahihiya (ashamed)?
Prior to this incident I found myself on the opposite end of the scenario. I had just came from a small inuman and when I left to pay someone I owed, I found myself short in cash, without any open BPI atm’s nationwide. I called back my friend to borrow a thousand. He said he had none, even if I sounded like it was a matter of life and death. Bewildered, I received a call from the same person. He had called to say he just found some money in his house. It was as if my supposed misfortune was in his hands. This person of course, is one of my closer friends. I’ll do the same to him in an instant.
Why do we suddenly lose balls to tell the truth? That we always end up making a lame excuse why we couldn’t lend money. Is it because the designated inuutangan is always expected to have money? And saying something like “I don’t have money” is like admitting defeat? Is it because we don’t want to let our friends down? Or is it because making up something absurd is our own small revenge to he-who-needs-money, that deep inside we really hate being asked for money, that we end up unknowingly wanting to cause more problems for he-who-needs-money.