I saw that young boy of about six or seven again. He climbed the tricycle with his grandpa. He was made to sit on an improvised little seat inside the tricycle.
He looked at me again with that same look he had when we first met. But this time there were mixed emotions as he stared at my face. As he stared, I stared back. I did not really stare in a rude manner. I tried to paint a smile on my face. I watched him intently, how his brows met each other, and how he pouted his lips. He looked at me straight in the eye as if to challenge me with the game ‘who’s going to last staring’.
Then I began to wonder what he will be in the future. Will he be an architect? Will he be a doctor? Will he be a lawyer, or an engineer? Or will he be a problem child? Will he grow defiant of rules and regulations, and of laws?
His face is so innocent and precious. As he struggled to explain to his grandpa the set of stickers he got in his hand, he sounded determined as he reminded him to take care of his little treasure. Maybe he was afraid his grandpa will accidentally loose the set of stickers.
Then I was reminded of the other children in this road, the ones that roam along, night and day, hot or cold weather, barefooted and most of the time naked. In that same road I traverse each day, the two brothers practically grew there. Their house is just nearby – a shanty that can only hold about two people. And they were nine in the family, excluding their parents.
Though these two little brothers were just children, there was another form of innocence in their faces. It was very different from the boy in the tricycle. They looked like they have many questions etched in their faces and they can only smile about the answers.
How will the boy in the tricycle react when he sees these children in the streets? I wonder if he had already seen them. If he had, how did he react? What could have gone in his mind?