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Every school morning begins like this.
Me wake up in our one room place, grab my journal and turn on a little rechargable light (just enough illumination) for me to handwrite 3 pages of notes. Anything that comes into my head spews itself onto the page for about 30 minutes.
Still dark, I read from my tablet with the light dimmed down until 6am (or Jerry wakes up). I try my hardest not to wake him and at times if I hear him stirring (and if I haven’t quite finished writing) I’ll fly into the toilet and sit on the can writing while he calls my name. Panicing that I’m not exactly where he left me when he fell asleep the night before.
At 6.00am the shouting starts. I dash out to the end of the balcony and call to Annael who is waiting below and throw her the key to the gate. Back in the room Jerry is foxing sleep and is meant to be carrying water from the tank (so we can wash) and put the beds away.
We each have a foam sofa bed which are folded every morning and used for seats in the day. The pillows are hidden behind the TV and the sheets returned to a drawer in the bathroom. Jerry’s never very keen on these morning chores and does everything in his power to get Annael to do his jobs for him. That’s when the shouting really gets going.
Today things were a bit different. Jerry was the only kid out of 10 who had school today. The other 9 kids (the ones we cook school lunches for everyday) had no class, so my friend Emelyn didn’t arrive at 6.30am with enough food for all the kids lunches plus breakfast for Jerry, Annael and me. Hungry.
I dash to the market and happen upon a pile of fresh scallops at 200 pesos per kilo (about $5). A real treat. Buy. Grab some fruit and onions and chili and native rice cakes. Dash back and cook half the scallops in butter and onion and garlic and chili. They taste terrible.
Jerry tells me he’s not hungry, I eat mine. Wash them down with a cup of milo and some native rice cake. Annael eats a few (tells me their delicious) then offers to cook the other half kilo Filipino style. I smile and move them into a plastic bag.
While I’m in the market Annael has ironed Jerry’s little Adventure uniform, he chews his breakfast in his little undies under a towel wrapped tightly on his waste. He’s marched into the bathroom to clean his teeth and put onuniform. Navy pants, official t-shirt, orange neck-scarf, sliding emblem, navy beret, black belt, socks and shoes.
Annael takes Jerry’s school backpack and little lunch carry bag from my hands and carries them down the stairs whle Jerry finds his school ID badge and grabs his shoes. Annael will wait with him on the road until his brother arrives in the tricycle to take him to school at 7.00am. He’s never late.
Work starts. I open my computer and begin writing a blog. Check emails. Contact a client. Check the job boards, Visit facebook. Check emails. Visit facebook. I fill Annael’s container with her daily wage of 9 cups of rice and 100 pesos. When suddenly Annael is in the doorway smiling, packing the scallops into her carry bag to cook them at home. I look back at the computer
I’m surprised when she returns about 45 minutes later with a container of hot Scallops Adobo. Half for me and half for her family. A treat.
© 2018 Melinda J. Irvine