Let’s call him Johnny.
Johnny grew up in a laid-back town down a countryside which teemed with fresh bounties from its farms and its seas. He was born to a poor family that struggled to make ends meet with the meager profit from the family’s small eatery in the marketplace.
Back in college in the city, Johnny would wake up at four in the morning every single day. He had to make it to his 5:00 AM shift at a huge company. He would walk his way from home to work since there weren’t several jeepneys or kartilyas (horse-drawn vehicles) by the time he left his place.
His office equipment weren’t the likes of computers or any cool electronic devices. His work was nothing prestigious. His work buddies were neither professionals nor fellow working students. Johnny worked with his brooms and dustpans in the morning, at noon, and afternoon. He was a janitor.
After his early morning shift, Johnny would run back to his place to quickly wash up, eat (sometimes), and get ready for school. There was barely time for study. His college days weren’t about “being in college” but coping with life as much as he could. Weekends also meant going home to help out at the eatery back in the marketplace.
Life demanded too much from someone who barely had enough.
After his morning class, Johnny would run back to his janitorial work. He would pick up his brooms, dustpans, and bins, and sweep around the property, in and out the building. The job was neither anything complex, nor was it something easy. Johnny would sweat all over and would need a quick rest every now and then.
He would sit on his tiny low chair holding his broom, dustpan and bin beside him. He would sit there at a corner and watch the company workers walk the grounds coming from either the building or from the gate. Johnny would follow them with a blank stare while smelling the scents of their perfumes as they passed by him.
“Lucky people, they can afford to smell good.” He would give out a heavy sigh, look up to the sky, and would soon go back to sweeping the grounds. Once done with his noontime shift, he had to run back to school again and go back in the afternoon for the last shift.
Johnny graduated with a degree in commerce from a public university but ended up performing as vocalist in several bands singing at hotels and resorts. He’s always been a music figure in his small town.
Now a retired musician, Johnny sings at the church on Sundays. He still wakes up at four in the morning every single day, this time to do his morning jog. At home, he has a total of twelve brooms, some of which he promised to give to the janitor at the marketplace.
And as if he never had enough of the job before, Johnny still sweeps the grounds surrounding his home and his neighbors’…morning, noon, and afternoon. No longer for a meager weekly pay, but merely because he thinks he has to…clean up.
Right now, one of Johnny’s kids is fondly thinking about him, so she wrote daddy’s story. In fact, it’s done.