Taxi Tales – The XXX One (Words Fail Me)

I was a frequent taxi rider for 14 years. In my twice-a-day rides, I met countless of drivers whose stories are interesting enough to merit retelling. For a year, my taxi rides were fewer than 10 a month. That number has increased dramatically in the last two months due to errands that necessitate 10-15 minute of taxi rides. Silence reigns in these relatively short drives, punctuated by polite greetings and the occasional political talks. The streak of quiet and time-to-catch-up-with-what’s-new-online taxi rides was broken by a driver with a dilemma.

This is not the taxi driver in the story – the obvious daylight notwithstanding.

After a short polite talk, he asked me if I was married. I said no. He said that it is a shame because he wanted to ask my advice concerning his marital woes. I told him that he could tell me, even though I did not meet one of his requirement.

He narrated that he and his wife have been separated for two weeks. Half of that time, he wooed her back but the woman turned him away. They have a one-year old child together. He said that he did everything for his wife and for their child. He worked hard to take care of their child while his wife was “nakahilata lang” (lazily lying on the bed).

With my prodding, he continued that their child is with her but she does not take care of him because she goes out often. She started to change after she went to a casino with her cousin. There, she met a Korean who was charmed by her. Since then, she became cold towards him and told him she needed space. I asked him how old she is and found out she is 19. I told him that she is too young and she is prone to change her mind. Since she had a baby at a young age, she is just starting to enjoy her teenage years now.

He even added that he wanted to file a case against her. I said that maybe they could settle this in the barangay hall, less fuss and less expenses. He disagreed and told me that he knows several lawyers willing to help him. I just nodded in agreement.

As we turned a corner our conversation also reached its turning point.

I asked him how old he is and my jaw almost dropped to my lap when he said, “40”. I think I said “statutory rape” and he corrected me by saying “corruption of minor”, which was the case he faced after the woman left her. He admitted that she filed a case against him. She was only 17 when he had her pregnant, but her signed affidavit (or whatever) was torn by her aunt who got mad at her for not giving the family financial support. Now, he thinks that the case is dropped.

I told him to just get on with his life and forget about her. He disagreed and said that he really loves her. Not because he was her first. Just because. Also, he forsook his parents for her sake, and now he has nobody. I felt a tinge of pity for him.

As we turned the last corner on the way to my destination, he admitted that they are not married. He has a wife from whom he is separated from. The wife is now with another man. He has a child with his wife, whom he calls “masamang damo kaya mahirap mamatay”. In order to illustrate his wife’s longevity, he described how his wife gave birth to their child. She was cut open and the doctor left her for dead because they had not money for Caesarian operation. She survived it and he gleefully claimed that the operation was free!

I told him that he could have started with these facts before he told me about his separation from the 19-year old. It would have made our conversation briefer. At that point, the tinge of pity I felt five minutes ago evaporated like a volatile chemical.

For more Taxi Tales, please read The Lucky One, Basta Driver, Sweet Lover, The Good Ones, The Naughty OneThe Unlucky One, The Talkative One, The Helpful One and The Proud One.

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