My Inspiring Conversation with a Twelve Year Old Boy

Egay and Laika Performing in the 4th Philippines Summer Ballroom Championship

My brother, Egay, aged twelve, had a dance sport competition last Saturday. It hadn’t been a year yet since he joined the world of Dance Sport, but he got to join two competitions already out of several competitive pairs from his batch. On his first competition, Egay and his partner got 10th place out of 31 couples in the entire Mindanao, and it was the first time he got his own award and certificate. Since then he was motivated to dance more.

On his second competition, the 4th Philippines Summer Ballroom Championship, a nationwide competition hosted by Davao City, Egay and his partner Laika got to join. In this said competition, Egay was quite anxious because he got to dance and compete with his own trainers from the studio he was enrolled at. Yes, you read it right, Egay was competing with his own trainers aside from those pairs around the nation. Even though he hadn’t said it, I knew by a glance that Egay was quite concern about it.

During the dance, I was surprised. Egay didn’t have the energy he once had during the first competition.  He was really good at it, but last Saturday he hadn’t given his best. Egay and Laika got into the second round, but after that round, they were dropped. They weren’t able to get in the Finalist round. Even so, we’re very proud of him. It was a nationwide competition, lots of pairs, but he was blessed enough to proceed into second round.

After their entry, I saw Egay sitting alone on the top most stairs in the gymnasium. He was far from our post. He was staring down at the pairs who were dancing at the final round. I went to him and sat close next to him. And I said, “Congratulations.” He didn’t reply, he was just silent, trying to convince me that he was busy looking at the dance. But he was contemplating deeply.

Momentarily, Egay said, “We’re dropped. We didn’t make it to final round.”

“That’s ok. At least you got into the second round. But hey, what happened?” I asked him. “You’re good. But you didn’t have the energy and amore unlike before.”

I saw him knit his brows and he looked at me this time with little embarrassment on his face. He told me, “I didn’t give my best today. Partly I did it intentionally. I did it intentionally.” He repeated.

“Why?”

“I was nervous. Lots of couples. Good couples.”

“But you’re also good. You know it. Why did you lose confidence?”

“My partner is not good!” He burst. And honestly, I wasn’t surprise; he told us many times that he didn’t like Laika as his partner. “How can I have confidence if she’s not good? I’m disappointed. That’s why I did it intentionally to not give my best.”

“You shouldn’t say that. Everyone starts at not being good. And you shouldn’t be disappointed just because Laika is not good. You’re the man here, right, and because you’re the man then you should handle Laika, because that’s what you do in dancing! The woman follows your lead! ” I said.

He looked troubled again. Then he said to me, “I know that, Te. I do understand Laika. I always try to understand her! But it feels so wrong! She’s been dancing for two years, and she’s still not good at it! She doesn’t know. I’m disappointed because I can’t understand why she’s still not good after two years.”

Ah, I get it.

Egay was a very intellectual boy, he was very talented and smart, he was a fast learner, and his standards were often high. And we all knew that Laika didn’t passed Egay’s definition of good, but we always correct him. When we talk to Egay, we do it in a mature way, because Egay is very mature for his age. And you need to answer him very well because he’s quite a Philosopher. Egay often could not understand those people who couldn’t learn fast like him, but he knows anyway that there are such people.

“Well, even so, don’t be disappointed with your partner. Give Laika another chance. You know, just do your best, show to her that you’re doing your best, Egay. Motivate her instead. If she sees you at your finest, she’ll be embarrassed of herself for not giving her best, and later she’ll learn.”

Egay was silent after that. Another hit song started, and the finalist continued dancing on the ground floor. Egay then said, his face now wasn’t much troubled unlike earlier, “See that boy Te, number 157?”

“Yah, I actually like him. He’s really good. And always smiling.”

“They said my style is like that. And he’s a champion many times. He started when he was four years old. He’s so good now.” He said, and I knew for certain that Egay looked up to that boy as his inspiration.

“You can dance even more than that.” I told him.

“In Manila, I will give my best. I wanted to dance and give my best. However…”

“However?” I repeated.

“I hope that Laika will not be my partner this coming July. I’ll request for another partner this time.”

“But why?”

“I want to give my best. I want to perform well. But I don’t want it to be Laika this time because I want to know…I want to know if it’s because of me or if it’s because of Laika. I think now…that maybe Laika is not the reason why I can’t perform well, because she’s not good, but maybe, maybe I’m just the reason why I can’t perform well and not actually Laika. You know. On the next competition, I want to evaluate whether I’m good without Laika, or if I’m bad without her. If I can’t still perform well without her, then maybe I’m the problem. Even so, I wanted to know, and I will try my best.”

I smiled after that. How can a boy think something like this, he who wants to evaluate himself huh? But then, he is Egay after all, a boy who is very smart for his young age.

But I remembered something, “How will you tell Laika? That you don’t want her as your partner next time? She will feel rejected.”

Well, Laika has been rejected many times by her male partners for the same reason as Egay has. In fact, Laika has been doing dance sport workshops for two years, but only when Egay partnered with her was the first time Laika got to enter a real competition. In other words, Egay is the only partner who endured Laika for many months.

“I’ll ask Mam Eve about it. Mam Eve can tell Laika to switch partners, as an experiment, you know. I don’t have to do it myself, she will feel rejected. Just this one time, anyway.”

Our Egay is so gentleman! Even before the competition started, Egay was looking for Laika for a final practice. He was so troubled because Laika couldn’t be found, and he was nearly mad because of Laika’s recklessness, but then, when he found Laika who was actually just sitting on a far away chair, he composed himself. He didn’t let Laika see his mad face, instead, he went to her with a genuine smile, and with such grace of a young boy he offered his hand to Laika–as if Laika was a princess that he needed to take care of. From a distance, I saw Laika took Egay’s hand with a smile. I saw it all, because I was monitoring our Egay. Haha.

Anyway, back to his contemplation, I was so happy at his reflection that I grabbed his face and said, “Good boy! Let’s see then. You promise me that you do your best. When is the next competition?”

“I think on July 19, in Manila. Not sure. Why?” He said, struggling with my squeezing hands.

“Is it a free ticket?”

“Only me and Mom, I think.”

“I’ll go with you in Manila. I will watch the competition with my own eyes. I can’t promise but, I will give my best to save allowance and buy my own ticket, so I can go with you. A possible chance is that I’ll be so busy on that month, but I’ll drop any possible appointments on that day and go with you instead. Do your best, okay?”

“Okay.” He smiled.

My brother already knows how to evaluate himself at such a young age! Praise the Lord.

Now I have to save money to buy my own plane ticket ride! Brilliant haha.

Listen to Me

child beggar

Photo Credit: travel.nationalgeographic.com/

Listen to Me

In a world with numerous people,
Here cries a voice so tiny and gentle
Will someone dare to hear?
Will someone notice a voice so little?

In a city with brilliant, colored lights,
Here walks a child so weak and fragile
Does anyone know that tonight is winter?
Does anyone feel what my stomach aches?

In a street with busy people,
Here comes a creature with outstretched arms
Will someone care to know I’m desperate and sad?
Will someone look at me, drop at least some bread?

In a world with lots of perils,
I care not for riches and knowledge
I survive only for a cent,
A cent which nobody even cares.

In a city where everything is business,
Victory is something one must achieve
But will someone accept me as their gardener?
Then why people look as if I’ve got nothing to share?

In this life where people come and go,
Will someone listen to me, drop at least a cent?
In a world with billions of people,
Am I just a dirty fly?

My second entry to Weekly Writing Challenge: Time for Poetry, from the Daily Post. I don’t have a kid but, I have a special feeling for children, especially those who are abandoned and cold in the street corners. Sometimes it gives me a guilty feeling that when I drink a cup of coffee in a coffee shop, one child is actually craving some left overs. Oh well.

A Writer’s World

My first entry to Fifty Words Poem, from The Daily Post.

Up on a chair I sit.
Breathe, think, and write.
Words in my head, numbers abandoned.
An imagination, thinking without limitations.
Restrict not my talent, yet observe what is righteous.
A world behind my eyes, different from the others,
–not weird, not sad, not evil
Just different among others.