Bloody Ears

A middle-aged woman gets on an FX, blood dripping from her earlobes. The guy who collects fares holds the door open for her while she narrates how she was victimized by a snatcher. She was walking along the corner of EDSA and North Avenue when a young boy darted behind her and grabbed her earrings.

The sight of blood elicits a gasp and an “Omigod!” from one of the passengers. The fare collector tells her that the area is indeed teeming with snatchers and pickpockets.

Dito nga tanghaling tapat, may nang-iisnatch ng cellphone tapos tatakbo sa kabila. ‘Di na mahahabol.” [Cellphone snatchers strike here even at noontime. They run to the other side of the road and you can’t catch them anymore.]

The woman takes her seat and repeats her story to everyone in the car. One passenger gives a polite smile but says nothing. The rest are completely oblivious.

The girl beside her takes out a pair of earphones and puts them on her perfectly intact ears. She was the one who gasped while looking at the wounded ears minutes earlier, but now her primary concern is whether the dripping blood would get into her clothes. She’s seated shoulder to shoulder with the woman after all.

The bloody-eared woman is now silent, realizing that no sympathy or even mild interest can be extracted from her glassy-eyed, earphone-wearing companions. She occasionally touches her ears, checking if the wounds are still bleeding.

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