WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Kindness unexpected. By Gail Ilagan

She's 35. He's 37. They have a 5-year-old girl now fitfully sleeping on top of the cement table where waiting drivers, hospital utility personnel on break, and people in transit like me play dama on the boards some idle souls carved out on its surface. Colored bottle caps are neatly reposed in a plastic bin hanging on the side.


They're from Bataan. They came up here for some lab tests on his detached retinas. The results are coming out at 8:00 tomorrow. It's almost twelve midnight now and they thought it best to wait here for the morning.


It's raining. Natural airconditioning out here in the open. I come down here to smoke and to temporarily escape the cold up there on the fifth floor where the best this hospital can offer is devoted to taking care of my mother-in-law. There must be some irony here that escapes me at the moment. I am just too tired.


And too glad that finally, Mamiluz is well enough to check out of here tomorrow.


She's Gabriela Party List Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan to the esteemed members of the Fourteenth Congress, and since the fateful Batasan blast last 13 November, she became real to many out there who saw her on TV. But as far as we are concerned, she's our Mamiluz and all we wish is for her to be well and all right. If she never again figures in a latebreaking national TV coverage, she'll still be our Mamiluz, beloved grandmother to my daughters.


It is a pain to see her injured in this way and under these circumstances while in the service of the people, but the family has been heartened by the support of friends, constituents, and colleagues as she battles to regain her health and wellbeing.


Allow me, please, to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited, called, texted, and emailed to ask about Mamiluz and to express concern and support, as well as to convey their prayers for her swift recovery. We apologize if sometimes we were not able to reply or acknowledge. We hope people understand that the last week had been quite a trial for the family. This tragedy has, perhaps ironically, made us know so much human kindness.


And today especially, I was a recipient of someone's good deed. In search of a new medicine that the St. Luke's pharmacy could not provide, I went drugstore hopping and lost my cellphone somewhere in Anonas. I thought I lost it for good this time, but the young man who found it was resourceful enough to track me down and get his message for me to pick up the phone in Project 3.


Thank you, Anthony Baylon of Project 3, Quezon City. Your kindness to a total stranger is such a learning experience. I learned that to receive unexpected human kindness feels so good. I fervently hope that kindness comes back to you. If the world were fair, it should.


Looks like there's one thing more I need to do before turning in tonight. I'm heading down to the waiting shed one more time. Have a good night, everyone.


(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to gail@mindanews.com. "Send at the risk of a reply," she says).