Can you believe I quarreled with a 13-year-old boy while in the bus yesterday afternoon?

My morning didn’t exactly start on a good note when I sensed some negative vibes from someone while sending Rene to school. Whatev (no, that’s not a typo.)

And then reading about the Nigerian college dorm shooting massacre on the Internet didn’t help. (Crying is good for the soul once in a while.)

I suppose all that repressed frustration came to a head in the bus on my way to fetch Rene.

You see, I would usually bump into another boy and his caregiver at the bus stop. The boy has autism and he goes to the same school as Rene. He’s in the afternoon session.

His caregiver is a good friend of mine. In fact, she’s leaving for Manila for good next week.

I told her,“Good for you. Enjoy your family and maybe set up a dressmaking business there since you have the passion for it.”

But she told me she might come back and look for another employer. Her autistic ward is a handful and one of the reasons she’s leaving. Oh well..

Anyway, while we were on the top deck of the bus, a group of 4 boys sat in front of us. They were a little rowdy, talking at the top of their voices and playing their music a little too loud. No matter, I thought. Boys will be boys.

Another group of kids suddenly came up the stairs, talking and laughing at the top of their voices as well.

Chia (not his real name), started screaming like a banshee reacting to all the noise. Autistic children have very sensitive hearing, you see.

One of the 4 boys suddenly turned around and shouted at him, “SHAARRAPP LAH!!!”

I was so shocked I reacted without thinking. I shouted at him, “HE’S SPECIAL NEEDS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SO RUDE!!”

He shouted back, “SO WHAT?! SO WHAT IF HE’S SPECIAL NEEDS?!”

I was so shocked again that this time I couldn’t answer his question. All I could say was, “MY GOD! YOU ARE SO RUDE!”

Awkward silence. My blood was still boiling.

I simply could not let this go. I reprimanded him again, “YOU ONLY ACT BIG COZ THERE’S FOUR OF YOU! LET ME SEE! CAN ACT LIKE THAT WHEN YOU’RE ALONE!” By this time everyone else blurred into a red haze in front of my eyes and I couldn’t care less what others thought of me.

Boy #2 “Auntie, relax. Relax.”

Fortunately for them (and for me) we had to alight.

My caregiver friend said, “Ate, pabayaan mo na. Bata lang naman yan.” Sister, let it go. He’s just a kid.

I stood but I had to get the last word, “GOD BLESS YOU!” I threw at him.

Boy #3, “AMEN!”

So much for my last word.

Out of the bus, I looked up at him where he sat near the window. I gave him the “evil eye.” I was thinking—I will not cower away, you little (beep!)

Before the bus drove off, we had a staring session for a couple of seconds. Before I glanced away, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him somewhat hesitantly, give me the finger.

I got to him. Good!

I was literally shaking from head to foot with anger.

While we were crossing the road, my caregiver friend said, “Ang tapang mo pala, Ate. Hindi ko magagawa yon. Tatahimik lang ako.” You’re so brave, sister. I couldn’t have done that. I’ll just keep quiet.

“Ay naku! Kung alam mo lang. Ilang beses na ko napalaban,” I said. If you only knew how many times I’ve got into fights (using words only lah!)

It’s true. Because of my volatile temper, I had to quit a couple of jobs (I wasn’t fired, okay? I quit).

I smashed something on the wall (plastic hanger)while quarreling with my ex.

I walked out of a major art exhibition with the paintings unlabeled ( when I was a graphic designer) because I clashed with the curator on opening night. Ha, served her right!

I will have staring sessions with people who stare at my son because of his condition.

I defended my son’s capabilities to a special ed teacher because the feedback I got from him was all the negative stuff.

Okay, I better stop now because my blood is starting to boil remembering all that.

I can’t even think what’s the purpose of this anecdote…

I’ll give you one—there is strength in numbers, especially when it’s for a good cause.

I’ll come back when I’ve cooled down and give you the rest.


Tiger Within