She was peeping from the edge of the table when I saw her that day. I and my friend were eating when she passed us by with her swaggering gait and feigned not seeing us. I jokingly gave her a piercing stare just so she’ll know where to properly place herself in the grand scheme of things. This was something I would have to regret seconds after.
She went running for help from her camp, asked for a back up force, and whispered something akin to devilish murmurs to the two girls behind the counter. She then feigned crying like when she feigned indifference when she saw us earlier. Her camp composed of her sister whose adipose tissues in her body rivaled only that of the grease where her ‘pork adobo sa gata’ floats and a thinner girl who wore a pink-colored visor a-la Jollibee food crew; both gave me that look of pity for somebody whose accidentally spilled a liter of tasteless Coke Zero on his immaculate white Gucci shirt. Then this look changed to a blank but an even more painful one, something that demands answer to a rhetorical question: What does a 5 foot-eleven, 24-year old man with muscular arms and chest doing bullying a frail, skinny, grossly malnourished, two-year old defenseless little girl?
I raised the white flag, and declared my unconditional surrender. She won and capped her victory with an impish smile. I swear could hear her laughing out loud that sounded like that of Ursula’s when she finally persuaded the Little Mermaid to give up her beautiful voice in exchange of a pair of legs.
I went back to our place downtrodden and distraught. I saw the two-year old’s malevolent smile plastered on the white walls of the room, on the face of that poodle a womanly transvestite in the building walks with every afternoon in the lobby. I saw her Cheshire cat smirk on the suspicious look from the guards of the building who do not bother greeting anyone unless he is a blue eyed, white-skinned Caucasian, or a suspicious looking hoodlum (for questioning. I obviously do not fit the first category, but perfectly suit the description of the latter so I get questioned ‘What’s your unit number?’ every now and then).
I even saw her face beckoning on me from the busy streets ten floors below whenever I was in the balcony hanging my wet socks to dry.
She’s being called by this onomatopoeic diminutive, Len-len; in fact, I love the sound of her name. It reminds me of a childhood playmate three years older than I am whose idea of fun was to bully the younger kids in our neighborhood, which included me. She ruled our street until we reached high school when I decided I had enough and withdrew altogether from street politics she ruled unopposed. She’s now working for a multinational company that cans pineapple, i heard the last time I went back to our hometown.
No, there was no such thing as transfer occurring here. I sure am a mature individual who knows the difference between a bully from my past and an innocent girl downstairs. I have no intention of demonizing Len-len. She’s a nice little girl, only that she’s a bit sneaky and scheming.
Her older sister told us that Len-len wants to study college at UP which stands for ‘yupian ng lata’. But she seriously wants to study in UP. At least she knows what a good university is.
Little by little, Len-len and I are starting to become friends. Allowing me to take her pictures using my phone is a sign enough, I think. But I maintain my distance. Who knows what this two-year old girl is capable of doing. Whenever I see her around, I know I will not afford to be lax. But yeah, we’re on our way to becoming good friends.
But my guard is up.