The celebration is once again all over TV and the radio – the only media where she’s getting her free connection to the world outside the slums which she has accepted as home. Cruel twist of fate left Noemi no choice. She already knows this place very well from its smell, its noise, its people and along with the small kids that seem to grow in numbers every day.
“Happy mother’s day sa inyong mga mommy!” A familiar voice on noon- time TV screams. This popular gay comedian has been Noemi’s source of cheap entertainment and short escape from reality. She and her gang have made Noemi smile, made her forget someone of her own. She has felt this guilt before in the past years. Obviously, memories remain fresh.
The TV host’s enthusiastic greeting got Noemi’s motherly intuition to kick in, again. ”Pasensya na anak pero mas malakas ang kutob ko na mas mahal ka nila at tiyak na nasa mabuting kang mga kamay.” She could feel the lump in her throat as the image of a lovely yet frail Robert appears out of nowhere. Robert, the name she used to call her fifth son.
A sweaty arm from one of the rambunctious kids rubs next to Noemi and she instantly gets cut off from the thought that has haunted her for years. She lets go of Robert, looks around and fakes a smile as she begins to realize that she is in the midst of other people packed in one of the shanties as they get their daily dose of Showtime. Kids, some half-naked, some dirty, some half-naked and dirty, kept running around. Every kid seems to be here…except for one. Today, Noemi’s guilt has returned.