The Simple Schoolgirl

Most fairy tales begin with: "Once upon a time". But if you noticed it, my story started with the word: "Most"! Now, you must understand this firstly because the truth of the matter is this is not a fairytale - infact this is a sad story! Secondly, I have to remind you that the reason why I wrote this sad story is to narrate the grieviosly melancholic events in the life of a poor young girl whose name is in the main tittle. Having used the words grieviously and melancholic would only mean that: I have no intention of making my readers feel spellbound or enchanted, which normally is the case with a great number of fairy tales! Third and - actually if only to tell the truth - the most important reason why I had to start my yarn the way I did is because the poor young girl's story is like no other and so it requires a beginning like no other as well!

And so before I go further into details, let me once again remind you that this is a sad story! A narration of a poor young girl's life that has nothing in it but pure misery! If you are expecting to read about a Prince Charming with a transcendental kiss, a Fairy god Mother with a magical wand or a Winged White Unicorn who would rescue a Wizard in distress, then this is not the story that you should be reading! I am sure that there are other stories out there that you might want to take hold of, but not this.

Again, not this!

But, If you take extreme indemnification in reading stories about how doleful a poor young girl's life is because it makes you feel that your life is not as sorry as you think it is, then by all means - read along!

If the above reason however is not your sole basis for being here still reading this part of the story and your real aim really is to be entertained, then again, my apologies! This story is not at all enthralling! In fact, at some point it may even be bromidic.

Bromidic or - to use an alternate word - drudging because it is my bitter duty to put into words all the circumstaniality leading to the lugubrious life of that young girl. This of course - in the process - would oblige me to give exact details of all the how's, what's, who's, where's, when's and why's of the poor young girl's very sad story! A process which, for most Grown-Ups, is absolutely boring!

At this point allow me to say that: "Unequivocal trivialities are sometimes a source of vexation to the Grown-Ups!" This personal opinion, if only to be really honest about it, is yet another thing that I don't fully understand about them! Grown-Ups - when in distress and sometimes even out of it - usually demand explanation but never really listen to all chapters and verses specially if it's a child giving them reasons!

Having said all that I have said above, If you are a Grown-Up who abhors having to listen to exact details of all the how's, what's, who's, where's, when's and why's of the poor young girl's very sad story, or if you are someone who feels that you are not geared up to peruse such kind of a story like this one, then leave. I would understand and be assured that I would definitely not take it against you. But if you decide to stay, then it is for you that I shall introduce the luckless little girl - whose name is in the title of the story - of this allegoric chronicle.

The name of the main character of this sad story is: Elsa. Elsa Ragoza!

Elsa Ragoza is a resident of Baseco Compound, Barangay 649, Zone 68 Port area Tondo Manila, an Urban Poor Settlement Community near the Port Area in the Philippines.

Elsa - to begin with - is an ordinary girl. She is a girl like all others! She enjoys playing with dolls and dreams of being a princess. She loves wearing pink dresses and adores the smell of flowers. She likes the refreshing feeling of the rain on her skin and blushes every time the sunshine kisses her cheeks. She loves eating ice cream just like any ordinary young girl and gets thrilled with the thought of staring at the twinkling stars in a dark cloudless night.

But unlike other girls her age, Elsa must wake up very early each morning then go back home very late at night! This is because of her employment at Estrella's gotohan and special mami store in Binondo Manila whose owner requires her to work twice as hard than an ordinary grown-up person.

Elsa must report to work at the gotohan and special mami store before and after school. This means that she must wake up before the neighbor's rooster could even crow and go home at around the same time as the She and He Whores would roam the dark streets of Ermita. This situation leaves Elsa with just around 2 hours and 54 minutes of sleep everyday.

To those who knows what real beauty is, Elsa could be considered beautiful! Her eyes are almond shaped, her cheeks are the color or the cherry blossom, her lips are as red as a polished apple, her nose is impressively high bridged. Her brows are arched perfectly and her hair... aahhmm, her hair is... Oh! how could I say this? Her head is... Okay, She is bald headed! Elsa is bald and the reason for this I shall explain anon in the story.

I wish to inform you further that, Elsa has 1 mother, 2 fathers, and 3 sisters. Elsa loves them. But, they don't love her. That situation of course makes Elsa again, quite different from other girls her age. While most young girl are taken well cared of by their parents, Elsa is treated otherwise. One time Elsa even thought that the reason why her parents and 3 sisters doesn't love her is because she is bald. She was almost convinced of this way of reasoning until she saw a cancer stricken young girl around her age on TV being well taken cared of and loved by everyone. So, after seeing the cancer stricken girl on TV and after realizing that even if one is bald she still deserves to be loved, Elsa was left with no other idea why her parents and 3 sisters doesn't love her. And so she just convinced herself that in this world, there are those who are born who are meant to be loved and there are those like her who was born to be ignored and neglected! Even by her own family.

Springing forward from what I mentioned above, Elsa, needless to say is an a fault! She always thinks that no matter how bad a situation may become, there is always something good behind it. Once her mother, for no reason at all, slapped her face very hard for 11 times in front of her classmates until her lips bled, she thought that the reason for this is because it is only her mother's way of showing how much she cares for her. One time still, while she was passing by a neighbor's house and when all of a sudden the neighbors dog got loose and chased her and bit her all over until she was bleeding then no one helped her, she didn't complain. She didn't feel bad, she just thought to herself that one day she'll own a dog and take care of it well so that it wont bite others and that the reason why people didn't help her is because she must learn how to take care of herself.

Another proof of Elsa's extreme optomism showed up the day when her mother forced her to work at the gotohan and special mami store of Aling Estrella. Being made to work from sun up to sun down means she must give up her playing time and be faced with an adult obligation. But despite that, she still managed to make out something good of the situation. She said that her mother made her work only because she needs to learn how to be independent.

Working at the gotohan in Binondo by the way was not the only employment that Elsa is engaged in. She also has part time jobs! Elsa must also sell Pandesal every Labor Day, Taho every Town Fiesta, Sampaguita garlands every Piyesta nang Nazareno, Kamoteng kahoy every Easter Sunday, Cotton candy every Christmas and Thunder Lolo every New year!

With Elsa's very busy time table, she has no more time to make friends. Making her again, different from other girls her age.

Making matters more lamentable, Elsa has dog bites all over her body. This is because every time she sells pandesal, she must walk along Asu Asuhan Street. The street is so named because of the furious dogs roaming that area. The truth is, if only Elsa has a choice, she wont pass that street anymore. But she has no choice because most of her suki or patrons are living in that street.

In addition to what already seem like a life so full of misery, Elsa always has goto residue all over her clothes. This is because she always gets wet with the hot goto from the gotohan and special mami store where she works.

And to top it all... Elsa only has one pair of yellow worn out slippers with Betty Boop design that she wears only every time she goes to school.

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

1 Comment:

  1. Adnos Uyañe Plein said...
    The Simple Schoolgirl was published on August 14, 2009! This is Elsa's Birthday! This is also the same Month and Day when Elsa's agony all began. Original comments from Readers also vanished early weeks of June 2010.

    I wrote this episode when I was still in Project 3!

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