Betting on Park Visits

This happened two or three years ago. I never told this to anyone.

I went to the park near where you lived. We used to go there all the time when we were kids. You even treated me to a feast from the food carts. I can remember your amused smile as you watched me wolf down three hotdogs, cotton candy, and two ice cream cones. You laughed your head off when my stomach bloated afterwards.

I strolled down the familiar cobbled stones, remembering when we used to walk together for the whole afternoon. We would talk about anything and nothing. It seems so long ago. I plopped down the steel benches and gripped my phone tightly. A carefully worded text was already typed out. I thought about how I’ll do this the whole 45 minute ride to the park.

Send.

I stared at my phone. Three minutes passed (an estimate, it wasn’t like I was counting or anything) and still no reply. I took a look around the park. There weren’t quite a lot of people out. There was an old lady eating a half-melted Jollibee sundae alone. A few benches down to my left, there’s a high school couple (you can tell from their uniforms) who can barely keep their hands from each other. It was disgusting to watch.

The park was also filled with a bunch of homeless people. They weren’t dirty homeless people, though. They were the types who wore worn out, faded but clean suits who play the guitar for alms. They were quite good too. I always wondered why the hell can’t they just sell their damn guitar instead of being homeless.

At the center of the park was a little girl wearing a Batman shirt was trying to reach for a coin inside the water fountain.

Beep.

Hey, I’m not home though. Got loads of schoolwork. Sorry.

I sighed. It was a long shot anyway. I make my way to the ice cream vendor and ordered all of the flavors. I always order all flavors if the vendor has chocolate, cheese, cookies and cream, or avocado. I hate strawberry. And ube too. Who the fuck likes ube ice cream anyway? Old people, that’s who. My mom and grandmother likes that flavor. I hope it doesn’t come with age. Like with vegetables. I used to hate my veggies but now I kind of like them. I mean, I’m not crazy over them. But I’d like to have green leafy things on my plate once in a while. God, I hope I wouldn’t grow up to be a mother of five who likes ube ice cream. I’d rather die.

The little girl was still reaching for the coin inside the fountain. Both of her arms were wet with dirty fountain water.

I walked towards her and tapped her shoulder. I take a peso coin out of my pocket and gave it to her.

“It’s no use for that coin in there. Don’t waste your time.”

The little girl huffed. “The coin I’m getting is a five peso coin. It’s mine anyway, I just dropped it by mistake.”

I rolled my eyes. “Here,” I thrust a ten-peso coin in her hands. “It’s worth more than that.”

I walked away without another word. The whole bus ride back to my house was a blur. I didn’t even stop for a bit to see if the little girl stopped reaching for that five-peso coin in the fountain.

I open the front door. My grandmother was already preparing dinner. I yelled something about not being hungry and locked myself inside my room.

When I fell to my bed, I burst into tears.

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