Unsullied

(Note: This is a declamation piece used by the Bulacan Private Schools Association [BULPRISA] in 2010 for its declamation contest – High School division.)    

photo-24768686-woman-with-lots-of-money

      Time to go to school again!  Wait! I seem to have forgotten something…. Ah yeah…. my allowance for the day… But where is mom? I presumed she was in the room of my younger sister who was nursing a fever the past night. I was right… she was there… together with my pop. The door was ajar. There I saw them having a serious conversation…I eavesdropped.

     I thought I was watching an episode in a “teleserye.” My father lose his job.   Monaliza , my sister needs to be brought to the hospital.”

     I walked away from the drama unfolding. With a bothered heart I went to school. . I could not focus on my classes…. I was thinking about my sick sister… I was thinking about my jobless father. What about my college next year? Then,  I received a text message… “Please come home, Monaliza will undergo appendectomy.”

     I may be young but I understand the enormity of our difficult situation. And while I was riding the  jeepney I started sobbing… I am so worried about Monaliza.  I whispered….“Lord, please help us!” Then I noticed a paperbag near my left foot. I picked it up and peeped at the contents… WADS OF MONEY…. Lots of money. I felt excitement and fear…. I felt my heart beating faster than it normally does.  I looked at the driver. He was unmindful of what was happening. Upon reaching the house I went right away in my room and I locked the door.   Then I poured the contents of the paperbag to my bed… crisp P1000 peso bills were scattered in my bed…. approximately a million or a little less… but lots of money nonetheless. Our problems are solved… we have more than enough for the hospitalization of my sister… my parents will no longer quarrel about having no money… I have plenty for my allowance… I can have even ten cellphones… I can have my own notepad… WOOWWWW!

     Then I saw an organizer and an ID. I  I was suddenly faced with a dilemma… will I return the money… or keep it… for sister’s sake… for my family’s sake.

     Then I did what I must do.

     It was nighttime. My sister was already in that hospital room. My pop and mom were asleep. I was still awake… gently and repeatedly caressing the forehead of my sister. Then I heard knocks on the door. My father woke up and opened it. Then I saw two policemen entering… followed by our school principal… and a stranger.

     My parents were surprised… my mom looked at me and asked… What did you do? Why are these people here? Mrs. Villanueva, our principal, answered the question of my mother. “Don’t worry Mrs. Viquiera, we just accompanied Mr. Wong. He just wanted to meet and thank in person the honest youngster who returned the money he left and lost in a jeepney this morning.” Then Mr. Wong, Mrs. Villanueva and the two policemen took turns in shaking the hands of my parents, and mine.  My mom and our principal came to me and embraced me tight. In unison they said “We are so proud of you.”

     Mr Wong said, “I have never seen a person with the kind of character and courage you have displayed today. I wish I were your father.” Before he left… Mr. Wong informed us that he already paid our hospital bills, that he would be hiring my father as his personal driver and that… he will foot the bills for my college education.

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