My Ride Home

The jeepney was crowded. People were sitting side by side very closely. The jeepney dispatcher called for 2 or 3 more passengers even though there’s only space for half a butt cheek. Some riders who were already sitting move some inches forward to let the new ones have more than half-a-butt-cheek seat.

Riders sit in jeepneys so full they could exchanged sweat glands. Leg against leg. Hip against hip. The people don’t say anything. The jeepney engine overrides any sound. As the trip starts, some riders fall asleep. Some check their phones. But most think, wonder and ponder.

During jeepney rides home, there is a sense of unity and community that comes instantly when you’re packed like a can of sardines. All exhausted. All just eagerly breathing through the ride and waiting to get home. No one speaks. But each respecting each other and giving one another space and comfort they can muster to give.

However, even with this crammed packed togetherness, there is also the feeling of solitude and loneliness. This is a rider’s alone time. Time full of thoughts, or of pondering, or simply of sleep; despite being pressed intensely against their neighbor in their seat.

Together yet alone.

My jeepney rides home were longer than most as I was living outside the city. I have sat with thousands of people in my daily commute home. Done for the day, dreaming of my bed, those times were not extraordinary but they were my thinking time – my me time. When wiggle room allows, I’d look out the jeepney and daydream through car smoke and street dust. The traffic noise fading against the loudness of my thoughts and inner voice. I’d then lull to sleep as the jeep sway and bounce like a giant baby swing.

Yes, my rides home were not extraordinary. But they were special.

More so, when my alone time wasn’t so alone.

I remember my rides.

I remember it was your leg against my leg. Your hip against my hip. The dispatcher called for another rider, and I’d move towards you or you towards me to make more room. I felt only your warmth even with another rider by my other side.

I could still think, daydream or plan. Nothing changed. But as riders got off and the jeepney emptied, I didn’t move away from your side. Still by your leg, still against your hip.

However, I cherish the most the memory of the weight of your arm against my back while I slept on your lap. In a tightly packed jeepney, I crossed my arms and made them my pillow while bending forward to your lap. Then with your arm on my back, hand holding my shoulder, you held me in place while the jeepney swayed and bounced through the ride; keeping a look out for my stop.

With no words at all, I heard “Sleep. I’m here. I got this. I love you.”

Just with that, the simplicity of that act: I felt security, service, sacrifice.

I felt love – in its purest form.

The kind you want to bottle up and keep forever.

In a sea of commuters, I had someone with whom I want to share my alone time. The one I stuck with even with wiggle room, whose leg and hip I knowingly felt. An every day act of love I got to experience on my way home.

Love. Yes I do remember.

I’ve come to realized that I did bottle up this great feeling — with this very memory.

Today, he and I have grown apart. But I remember, in that very moment, love was very real. I have bottled it up in this memory. When I want to feel pure love again, I open up this memory and experience it all over again.

I remember that I loved. Most especially, I remember that I was loved.

And my rides home, I remember they were special.

-written Feb 22, 2014

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One Response to “My Ride Home”

  1. Cookie says:

    That’s so cute!

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