May 2, 2011. It was supposedly a quiet night. It’s Monday morning and few hours more, I’m going to my toxic work. I was supposed to be sleeping soundly, readying myself for another week of pressure and anxieties in work. But it became a night of extreme fear and worries. Thanks to the insensitivity of my neighbours and the spirit of alcohol.
May 1 was the feast of Mahal na Señor. Obviously, it was a whole day of celebration. So the new family in my neighbourhood had their own party. Their house is just across ours so whatever noise that comes from them will surely be heard here. It just so happened that they have a videoke. For the whole day, they were just singing merrily, drinking and literally having a feast.
10:30 PM, my visitors went home and so as my father’s. As I lock the gate, I asked one of their visitors – another useless neighbour – to lessen the volume of the sounds. He was drunk already so I doubt if he even relayed the message. I went to my room and tried making myself sleepy through the internet. But the sounds are disturbing.
So 11:30PM, I went out again and looked for someone to ask. My mom also went out and aggressively, she asked if they can lower down the volume in a loud voice. Taken by my mom’s slight anger, I told the drunkards that I have already asked them to do so but they didn’t. One man stood up – the most useless and most boastful person in the neighbourhood – and told the house owner to lessen the volume. It was lessened, and I managed to sleep.
However, around 1:30 AM, I was awakened by out-of-tune voices and microphone feedbacks; not to mention, the loud chattering coming from outside. For the third time, I went downstairs and asked my parents if I could talk to them. My dad got up from the bed and said he’ll talk to the guys instead. I refused to because I sensed trouble.
So I went out and my dad followed. As I was trying to find someone to talk to again, my dad went to their drinking place and talked to the brother of the owner of the house. And then, after a while, one man – owner – came to us and repeatedly said he have been wanting to turn the machine off but the one man (who was the most useless and most boastful person in the neighbourhood) told them that it’s okay. So being new to the place, he said he thought that it was okay to just sing and sing without caring for other people’s welfare.
It was an absurd advice and I started cursing that ‘advisor’ in my mind. My dad said if that’s the case, since the person isn’t there anymore, they should’ve turned it off. But their voices grew louder and the trouble worsened.
I didn’t know who picked up a pipe first. Was it my father or was it them? I don’t remember. All I can remember was my dad asked the younger man if he has a problem too and the latter suddenly looked for something to hit my father with. I was just shouting that he’s not a local here so he shouldn’t act like that. Fortunately, the other visitors managed to control him. I took the chance to push my father away. He went inside the house and was controlled by my mother. I was left alone outside. My brother went out to see the incident but I instructed him to look after our father. He complied.
Then my mom went out. When I turned to see the drunkards, I was shaken by surprise when I saw another man in red trying to break loose, approaching me violently. He was just a few feet away when my instincts told me to go down to my knees and hide. I feared that he would throw me something. But to my horror, my mom was standing and trying to look for something to hide. I shouted for her to go inside and call the police. Then, I heard the ruckus stop.
One old man came to us and apologized on the behalf of the troublemakers. That was the first time I loudly admitted that I fear for my family. Our safety is being threatened. I told him, what if they do something to us while we’re asleep. The old man, panting with stress and worries, told us that nothing would happen. Honestly, he became my calming point. I pitied him actually. It must have been so hard trying to stop three raging men from causing trouble.
And then, I saw the owner and the younger man coming to us. I felt afraid but I sense peace. They came and apologized. The younger one took my hand and even smiled. He was probably thinking that I’ll be enchanted with it since he’s actually good-looking. I asked him why he had to do that to my father. He said he was just surprised and anger took over. He told me that tomorrow, everything will go back to normal. We accepted the apologies. Before we parted in peace, I assured them that there would be no police scenes.
Then, off I went to my family.
Around 2:30AM, I went to my brother’s room and tried to vehemently observe their actions for the fear that they would get back at us while we’re asleep. I tried listening to their conversations since they’re speaking loud. My paranoia went on again. I started thinking of the what-if’s of the story and started connecting everything they’re talking about to me. I heard the words ‘yung dalaga!’ (the maiden!) and ‘may kasalanan ka rin naman…’ (you also have your mistake.) But my brother heard ‘kung lalake sana…’ (if only it’s a boy…). So I started worrying. I was thinking what if it was me who really ignited their anger? What if it’s really me who provoked them and not my father? What if I caused all this trouble?
It was insane, I tell you. I was even close to going outside again and talk to them in peace. I want to apologize. I want to explain why they have to turn that videoke off. I want to tell them that the useless neighbour who advised them to continue should not be trusted. I want to gain peace of mind for tonight. Because I want to sleep as I have to go to work later.
But my parents disapproved. So I had to go upstairs again and talk to my brother instead. He told me his insights about what happened, and he even relayed to me his plan if ever a fight occurred. I knew it was a desperate attempt to settle things down. I know it was a desperate thought. But still, I was thankful to my brother… and at the same time, fearing for his safety.
As I write this, it’s 3:30 in the morning. I sent a message already to our HR person and told her that I might not be able to go to work today. In the office, I wouldn’t be able to think straight for sure. For the whole day, I’ll be worried for my parents since they’ll be left alone here. Though there will be workers tomorrow, I won’t still be able to concentrate with my job. Come what may, I won’t come to the office tomorrow.
For until now, the fear is overpowering me. Tomorrow, I will go to them and apologize properly. I want to assure them that we’re not bad people and we are just trying to live a quiet life in this not-so-quiet place. I will have to talk to the females, especially to the one who was crying a while ago. I don’t know why but I have this instinct that she was crying because of the incident. Well, who wouldn’t want to cry? I, myself, would also want to. Especially since the safety of my father and my family is at stake. I can’t compromise anything.
What happened woke me up to reality. I realized that there is someone who really wants to destroy us here. And I can’t think of any other but that one useless man who continuously bring us trouble and worries. As how I see it, it’s because of envy. And they’re, like, trying to get along with new people at our expense. It’s fucking retarded. I feel it’s envy and jealousy. Does he sees us as competitors? But over what? What is he trying to prove? That he’s better than us? That his family is more popular than us? That he’s more influential? The fuck is that.
I am not sure but this assumption is like filling up 80% of my certainty measure. I know something’s wrong with them about us. And I wish we would know it.
Indeed, this world is cruel. Crabs are everywhere and insensitivity is rampant. It’s another reason why the Philippines can’t grow as a country. Everyone is pulling everyone else down. Nobody wants other to succeed aside from them. And people forget that their neighbours are their responsibilities. And there are laws to be obeyed. There are laws to be respected. And there are human rights to be observed.
This incident has taught me something: I can never sleep without peace of mind and I can never be at ease when I know I did something wrong. Quite far, but if I tell that people should stop being insensitive, then what’s the purpose of telling you this story?