My neighborhood is running out of kids. At an age when everyone is playing indoors in front of television or computer screens, I kind of miss seeing children chasing each other on the streets. It was us long ago, but we have grown up, and no one seemed to take our place.
Yu is different. And because of the lack of kids his age, he often plays by himself, or rides a bicycle (adult size), or just visits, helps and have a conversation with his neighbors. Age didn’t matter to him. He was friendly to everyone. When he visits us (and usually we’d be surprised to see him come out of nowhere), he would talk to us about anything. Smart kid.
Last March he was invited by a neighbor from another street to join the Way of the Cross on a coming Friday. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to go that night by his grandpa. The next day (Saturday), that neighbor, upon hearing why he couldn’t come, asked him instead to attend the weekly KSP (Kasaulogan sa Pulong) in the chapel for that night. I stayed at home and the KSP started at 8 PM. Minutes after it began, I saw Yu walk past our house and heard his grandpa shouting that he’s not allowed to go out at night all by himself. He just answered that he promised to go to the chapel.
But now my favorite young neighbor is back in Japan with his family. He was brought here just a baby with an older brother, Jin, who just stayed for a while. His grandparents took care of him.
My father was told that Yu is doing well in Japan. Just this morning, he told me two accounts about Yu that are worth sharing.
The first one was when they went for a swim in the pool. Yu’s older brother didn’t let him borrow this thing children use to float and paddle in the water, so he asked his father in Bisaya if he could jump in the water. Although his father, a Japanese, did not understand what Yu was trying to say, he nodded and said yes. So Yu ran and jumped into the pool. Surprised, the father watched, but Yu was already swimming.
In another time, Yu wanted to borrow his brother’s bicycle, but was refused again. He shifted his attention to an old neighbor who was learning to ride a bike. He approached the neighbor, assisted and gave directions in, I imagine, the Visayan dialect. After that, he received a new bicycle as a gift from the neighbor. Way to go, Yu!
Now don’t think his older brother is bad. I have some good memories of him, too, although he stayed for just a short time. I’ve never seen anyone do a series of bows that fast like Jin. He did it in front of me while we were kneeling. We were playing in our house that time. =)