On Friday the 13th, exactly eleven years ago today, Marvin stepped on a cow dung. He died the next day, on Valentine’s Day.
Friends, allow me to reminisce about Marvin.
Before I even got introduced to him during the high school freshman orientation, I already knew he was fatherless by the age of five. And that his mother raised him and an older brother alone, by selling homemade snacks in the vicinity of the school campus during the day. But those were not the reason why people talked about them. Those were just peripheral information. It was his mother’s alleged activities during the night that was the real talk of the town. Whether the accusations were true or not, people have already made up their minds: Marvin and his brother were sons of a whore.
“There, that thin guy over there!” I overheard from a conversation among a bunch of girls huddled together. “Oh,…the son of the whore by the gate of the school?”
“Whore boy!” shouted someone, reverberating in the whole gym. Marvin, teary-eyed and shaking with anger stormed out of the building.
Looking back, teenagers could indeed be mean creatures. I swear I was not part of that mob. But that nobody, not even the teachers did anything to stop the teasing still bothers me today. The scene seemed to be imprinted in my memory like an annoying morsel of meat stuck between the upper molars refusing to dislodge.
As unbelievable as it was, our class gradually “accepted” Marvin. Though in return, he also had to accept his fate of being the class clown. With his ultra-slim built and gangly walk, he could easily transform himself into a walking skeleton, or do some kick-ass robot dance steps. But that was an easy pick for him I guess, from being called a whore boy to being a “mere” laughing stock.
One day his mother suddenly stopped peddling her goods by the gates of the school. Someone told me that Marvin was seen shouting at his mother telling her not to come to the school anymore as he was absolutely ashamed of her. He must have said awful things to his mother because she was seen to have slapped Marvin’s face during the confrontation. Marvin did not come to school for a week. Nor did he come home.
As it turned out, Marvin ran away. He boarded a bus to Manila, begged in the streets and slept under highway bridges. But it did not take long before someone from our village recognized him and brought him back to his mother. A pact, I assumed was made. She would not show her face in the school ever again, and he would not run away anymore.
The pact however proved to be brittle.
…to be continued.