“Kuya, on my birthday I would like to spend it with my brother Carlo, I want to visit him”. That was she told me long before her birthday.
It was so sweet to hear that. Jenica turned nine years old. Her brother Carlo, 11, lives together with the BP teenagers at the Half-Way house of Batang Pinangga in Cebu City.
A day before the birthday Jenica decided to bring her classmates and roommates from Batang Pinangga. Word spread of the rendezvous. Those who would go were excited: classmates Mariel & Isabel, and roommates Sam and Love, but except Judy Ann.
Judy Ann felt excluded; she is not a classmate, but she is a roommate. One child said, “but you are not a friend, and it is her birthday wish”. Judy Ann went to the playground. She saw some school children passing by and was calling for her. She growled back angrily and called them names. She stood wet under the rain.
At the dining table that night, she made eye contact with Jenica; Jenica eyed her back, and that got her. She pushed her dining plate, refused to eat, saying Jenica was giving her the look. “What look?”, Jenica protested. Judy Ann walked away and cried.
Time to clear things up. Jenica and Judy Ann now face to face. “Judy Ann, if you want to go, you only need to ask Jenica, not to be angry. Jenica, is there a reason why you excluded Judy Ann, or maybe you can perhaps reconsider?”.
Judy Ann said, getting closer. “Jenica, can I go with you? I will do your chores in the morning, even when it rains. I will also give you one of my nice clothes, if you like it”.
Jenica was silent, thinking, and said, “you stop farting in our midst, because it smells bad and is very rude”. We all had to laugh. Then Jenica continued, “you promise that you be a good girl, everyday”.
So the birthday turned out to be a good celebration for Jenica. She was very happy and content. But we thought Judy Ann was happier that day, too. As for her promise, well, Jenica is holding her to it till the next celebration.