Was feeling dirty already since it’s been ages from the last time I last visited the barber. I was supposed to get my hair cut at a salon nearest the bus stop, but since it’s fully packed as expected, I had to go to the other shop across the street.
So I was there seated, trying to busy myself on my phone while waiting. Then this kid, maybe 3 or 4 years young, came near me, “Pakalbo ka.”
I smiled at the kid. It was funny.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere.
“Bakla ka. Bakla ka. Bakla ka.”
He repeated it more than i could count.
At that instance, I shrank to the smallest I can be. It hurt. I was angry. I haven’t done anything wrong.
But not to the child, not even to what he said.
I was angry towards the adult people around, the boy’s mother who was the cashier, the other customers, the hairdressers. The world.
The child had no idea what he was saying. But the adults around him – not one of them even tried to stop the child. What’s worse, they all laughed.
Their laughter resonated to my ears like those I’ve heard in my childhood. The reason I doubted myself for so long. The reason I grew up afraid, angry, sad.
I cannot question how they are raising this kid. I am not a parent. I am not know-all-be-all. I am just me – gay.
I just wished that we grown-ups teach kids respect while they’re still young. I just wish we show them how respect is shown; otherwise, how are they supposed to know?
I left the salon, feeling heavier although it was I who got my hair cut to feel my head lighter.
I tipped the barber.
I hope the child grows up soon. I hope he becomes a good man.