angels among us



i always believe in angels.
when i was a kid, i used to pray to my guardian angel whenever i was scared, sick, or needed help for my examinations. ah such simple problems really. who would have thought?

********

it's 30 minutes past two in the morning and i still can't sleep.
i kept on thinking about my taxi ride this afternoon.
after attending the ejap economic forum at dusit hotel in makati (i was there to support friends like current president mitch remo and directors jimmy dove and iris gonzales) and a chitchat with mitch and iris at sm's prestige lounge, i decided to go home.
i queued for a cab at sm.
as usual, after telling the driver where i wanted to go, i totally ignored him. i took a book (martin amis's money) from my bag and started reading. i always carry a book in case there is traffic or i am stuck somewhere, alone, bored, and has to while away the time.
while the cab was waiting for the red light to change along ayala avenue, the driver asked me what time was the happy hour.
i ignored him. i thought he was not talking to me. i mean, such a strange question, right? he repeated the question and turned his head towards me. i said:
"sorry, i don't understand what you mean," and continued reading.
to my surprise, he talked in english, well enunciated, clear, crisp and flawless. he sounded better than most hosts and newscasters on local tv.
"you look elegant," he said. "so i am wondering which bar are you headed."
i smiled. then looked at him from head to foot.
he was a bit old, late 60s, i guess, dark skinned, a few lines on his face, thinning grey hair cropped short like a military man. he was wearing a white long sleeve shirt with a blue sleeveless vest. black pants. unfortunately, i could not see his shoes.
i stared at his eyes. they were an inquisitive pair. a bit naughty too.
"oh i am just going home,"i said.
he smiled also. then i saw him looking at me from the mirror right above his head.
"i used to live there (meaning the apartment where i was headed). i lived there for a month."
i put down the book.
suddenly, the conversation has turned interesting.
"really? when?"
"oh that was a long time ago. i was in my 40s," he said, eyes on the road again.
"why?"
"nothing. i have nowhere else to go, so i lived there."
hmmmm. i kept quiet. i thought he was just trying to make a conversation.

********
"you are not from manila, are you?" he asked again.
"no. how did you know?"
"i just know."
"how?"
this time he was quiet.
we reached the makati avenue and buendia intersection.
"if i win the lotto i would travel around the country," he said.
"what?!"
he pointed at the giant electronic billboard announcing the prizes for the lotto.
"oh," i said.
"what about you? what will you do with the money?" he asked.
"i don't know. i would be happy with just half a million pesos. i will travel to europe for a month or two. and when i have spent all the money, i will come back here and work again," i said.
we reached my apartment.
i asked him to stop the cab infront of mini stop.
i paid him the fare and got off.
but before i could even enter the building, the guard called my attention, pointing at my back. i turned around. the cab was still there, the driver has rolled down the window and was calling after me.
i approached him.
he smiled and handed me my wallet.
i turned red and thanked him. i felt my face burning.
"be careful,"he said and left.
just like that.
i wanted to talk to him. i wanted to take down his plate number. but he left so quickly. before i could even get my pen and notebook from my bag, the cab was out of my sight.

******
tonight i was thinking, maybe the driver was me, in my 60s, who came back from the future to warn me about something. he came back to also return my wallet. you see i am staying in this apartment for only a month (that is the plan, anyway) and i am now in my 40s.
while i am not a good english speaker, i always sound well when i am trying to impress somebody.
also, i always wanted to become a driver when i was a little one. i used to ride with my father to school when i was in the elementary. i would sit beside him on the front and i always thought it was so cool driving a car because you could be anywhere you want, anytime.
i am a flighty creature. i must have been cleopatra in my past life.
********

i remember my trip back home last december.
in the plane, i was worried that the customs people might ask me to open my three huge suitcases. you know just to hassle me and ask for some money. anyway, it's the christmas season. i have heard a lot of horror stories from friends who went through the ordeal of opening their suitcases because the airport staff asked them to. only to be asked for  christmas "gifts" in the end.
so i was praying. (i always pray when i am on the plane. i always pray for a smooth, easy ride. i am scared of flying. a little turbulence would unnerve me. horrible thoughts would enter my mind, that the plane will crash and i am about to die.)
this time, i was praying that the airport staff would be kind enough to let me go through customs without any hassle. that they won't harass me by asking me to open my three suitcases.
you see, i had a connecting flight to tacloban from manila. so i must carry all my luggage and present them to the the customs official before i could check them in again for my flight to tacloban.
to my horror, i only found one of my three bags at the luggage carousel.
so i went to the airline counter and asked.
it was already 3 in the morning, but surprisingly, the airline staff was cheerful. he asked me to write down my flight number, airport of origin and destination and the numbers on the luggage tags.
then he called somebody over the radio (or walkie talkie).
after a few minutes, he told me that somebody had picked up my two missing bags and checked them in.
how could that be, i told the airline staff, when i was traveling alone. no one else would pick them up and check them in except me. they were huge bags and heavy, i added.
but i just verified from the ground staff and they told me that they found your bags, he said.
not wanting to annoy him, i said thank you and left him.
on the flight to tacloban, i was praying again that the airline staff was telling the truth.
true enough, i found my missing bags at the airport carousel in tacloban.

**********
what do you think? angels or just mere coincidence?
or am i just over thinking something as insignificant as these incidents?

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