Going to iMall was a month long plan. Although I have been going to the gym all by myself, people in the house were less confident letting me walk alone. Gilly was not around, taking care of his family in Las pinas. I thought its the right time to make a quick trip to iMall. So I fixed myself and headed downstairs. I looked for my mother to tell her I am going to iMall. She insisted of accompanying me but I firmly disagreed. She then gave her blessing. I put on white sneakers to match the light gray shorts and blue v-neck shirt I was wearing.
It’s almost Five o’clock when I stepped outside. I wore a pair of sunglasses, held my white cane using my right hand, glided it’s tip left-and-right on the ground, and started walking. Keeping a steady stride along the right side of the road. Reaching a major intersection, I turned right to the road that leads to Phase 1 of the subdivision where I will take a tricycle to the mall. When I reached the Chapel, I shifted to the left side of the road to avoid bumping several foodcarts spread along the opposite side. I passedby groups of people. Some of them gave way as I walked by, some didn’t bother to move an inch, but drew a smile on my face anyhow to greet unseen faces. I passedby parked cars and tricycles too.
At this moment I decided to look for a Sari-sari store. trying to remember where I was, but I lost count of the corner streets. So I approached a window to ask “tindahan po ba ito?” but heard no answer. I moved to the next window and inquired, but still no reply. Finally a young lady talked to me. She said “sa unahan pa po ang tindahan.” She probably noticed a big question on my face, “pangalawang kanto po mula dito.” she added. I thanked her before I left.
Across the store, I got on a tricycle that took me to the mall. I alighted the tricycle and paid the fare after a few minutes. I asked the driver which part of the mall he dropped me off. He replied that to my left is the middle entrance of the mall. I walked towards the direction the driver gave me. I hit a metal with my cane, extended my left hand and touched what’s infront of me. It’s a glass panel. It’s probably part of the mall window but I was not sure where the door is exactly. So I cautiously moved left. Suddenly, someone took my arm and lead me into the mall. The hand was rough, thick and strong. I made an assumption that the owner of the hand was a man. I gestured for him to let me go, thanked him and proceed with my adventure.
I now focused on my bearing. I knew that if I walked straight, I will be crossing the main hall way, and passing by food stalls, western union, Forex, Lottery betting stand and other stalls. To the right was LBC, a thrift shop, game center and other shops I hardly recall. I walked to the left where I knew would find somethings I intend of buying. My body became tense and felt a little shakey from nervousness but it did not crash my will to move forward.
First shop was Goldilocks, I bought polvoron. Several times, I stopped by some open doors along the hall way, inquired “anong shop po ito?” but got no answer, as if I had spoken to an empty room.
Finally, a guy attending a rack of clothes outside a shop talked “t-shirt po sir?”
“Ah… Hinde. Pero asan kaya ang grocery?” I asked.
“Ayan po sa harap.” He attentively replied.
I thanked him as I crossed the hall way.
Walking through the grocery, I was greeted by the aroma of the freshly baked bread. I looked for the customer service counter. It’s just across the check-out stations.
“Hello! Can I request for assistance?”
An attendant quickly responded and helped me buy a loaf of bread. I took a hundred bill from my purse and gave her. She went to the cashier, came back to me with the bread and the change, and asked if I still need her assistance. I thanked her, asked for her name and said goodbye. Her name was Jen.
Last was HandyMan. I got a toothbrush holder. The same one Gilly bought me, only brown. The staff were very helpful. One of them asked why I am alone shopping. “I have to learn to be independent again.” I replied with enthusiasm. I asked one of the staff to find a vacant chair where I could sit for a while and regain composure. Before he left I inquired for the exit. He gestured using his hand. I held his arm for me to know which way he pointed at.
After a few minutes I decided to leave the mall. I got up and started walking again. While walking, a man shouted “may bata!” I paused to make sure no one was in my way. I reached the end of the hall way but could not find the door. A hand took my arm and lead me out. I immediately got on a tricycle and headed back home.
When I got home, my brother, Romeo, greeted me. He confessed that he was the one who lead me in and out the mall. I felt cheated.
On my bed, before I closed my eyes to sleep, I reflected on the things that happened earlier. I felt so much love because I realized that my family have provided me with so much care. They are always watching over me. Tears fell from my eyes. Soon, I will have my independence again, I know. So I wiped my tears and said to myself “I should not be crying. I am no baby, no more.”
PS: This note was written using Braille input on iOS.