He seems to be well known around these parts as kids were calling out his name - Lui. He sat beside me and I offered him the pizza again, which he accepted. He just kept gesturing and making the sign of the cross and pointing towards the general direction of Quiapo. I suppose he goes there a lot.
The woman selling corn, who was seated besides me, said that Lui - actually, Luisito Acunsion(sp.?) Bayani, 23 years old - already had a full meal before he left the house. The woman, who called herself Manang Sally (real name: Salud), turned out to be Lui's mother.
Lui is the youngest in a brood of 7. Manang Sally confided to me that she wanted to abort Luisito long ago because after having had 6 children, she didn't want another kid. She said she took several medicines, citing Medicol (a paracetamol) as an example. The baby wasn't aborted but he turned out to be like what Lui is now - a bit retarded, with a mind-age of 5 or 6 by my calculations.
The family are from Valenzuela originally, but moved to Villalobos (Manila) upon the invitation of her eldest son, who has a stall selling mangoes and corn. She was complaining about her husband, who now is living with his mistress. He has 5 more children with the other woman - and he is already 59. "I guess there are men who really are virile even at an old age," Manang Sally opines. She says she doesn't want to creat a ruckus by making her husband come home. After all, she is old now and wants to enjoy life more with her grandchildren - all 15 of them (the eldest son alone had 8 children!).
She also told me an interesting story of how Lui once disappeared from their house in Valenzuela and wasn't seen for three days. They searched for him everywhere until one day, Manang Sally received a call from her daughter in Carriedo that Lui is with them. Apparently, Lui remembered the way from Valenzuela to Carriedo from their constant trips, and may have walked all the way to Manila. Amazing, isn't it?
It isn't difficult to like Lui. He always raised my arm so it can rest around his frail shoulders, and he'd lean his head on me like a kid wanting to be hugged. He makes it a point that my hand would rest on his sternum. Very unusual but because of this, I can feel how thin he really was. Except for some rashes on his inner arms, I am thankful he isn't sick of anything related to the lungs given his obvious frailty and malnutrition. Manang Sally said people would always take pity on Lui - the saleslady at the nearby Isetann would always sneak out to give him a cone of sundae, or somebody would give him a shirt, or offer money, even if just coins.
Since it was getting late and I had to go home, I said my goodbyes to Lui and thanked Manang Sally for her time. I promised to visit them again since we always hear Mass in Sta. Cruz Church.