The Boy Who Only has An Upper half Body

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
He is a ten year old boy who doesn’t have lower limbs or legs. He was riding on a wooden skateboard. His hands always move back and forth to the floor like it was his feet. He only wears a white shirt and nothing more.

Submitted: October 14, 2009

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Submitted: October 14, 2009

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It’s the first day of classes in Malumay Elementary School. Since the barrio is small, the students expect to have the same classmates except for the Grade V students who have a new and strange classmate.
He is a ten year old boy who doesn’t have lower limbs or legs. He was riding on a wooden skateboard. His hands always move back and forth to the floor like it was his feet. He only wears a white shirt and nothing more.
When he reached the front of the class, he finally introduced himself. “My name is Juan Dela Cruz. I am so glad to meet all of you”, he said with a smile.
“Maybe it was a trick. He bends his body and hide his legs at his back”, one student said while staring to Juan’s body.
“Perhaps he is a son of a “manananggal”. I’m scared”, said the other one with a trembling voice.
“Perhaps he went to a zoo and a lion ate his legs.” said again by another student.
Juan heard all of these and they are all wrong.
“I was born with no legs”, he said. “But even if I don’t have any of them, I have two strong hands which I also use as my feet. My parents are the new doctors of Barrio Malumay Clinic. We always travel a lot so they will be able to serve more people. If you feel sick, my parent would surely take care of you!”
Then suddenly, the naughtiest and noisiest of the class bursts out laughing.
“Perhaps God doesn’t love you because he didn’t give you legs. Waaah, what a pity!” the boy named Manuelito said.
“Manuelito, don’t say that”, the teacher scold him.
But Juan still smiled. “It’s my pleasure to meet you, Manuelito. You’re the first classmate I know”,he said.
After the class, Manuelito and the boys of the class went to the place they call “kapatagan”. There are no trees but just small grass, blue sky, the puffy clouds and smooth air. This is the best place to fly a kite.
“My kite can fly high”, said Carlolito
“No, my kite will fly higher than your kite”, said Emmanuel.
“ No, my kite will be the best!”, said Manuelito.
Then they saw Juan on his skateboard. He is holding a blue kite.
Manuelito laughed. “Don’t dream you can do it. You can’t run like us.”
Juan smiled again and said “I have my hands and set of wheels. There’s no way I couldn’t fly my kite.”
“Well, let’s see!” said Manuelito
And the boys started running throughout the field. Juan also run but by his left hand. It touches the land surface and he moves forward very fast. His right hand holds the line of his kite.
After an hour, Carlolito’s kite was still on the ground. It never flew. Emmanuel’s kite flew but it fell down because the thread was cut. Manuelito’s kite flew to the sky. But Juan kite flew higher, higher than the clouds.
“Wow!” said by their classmates.
“Juan is maybe a halfman but he really has strong hands!”, said the other one.
“At last, someone beat Manuelito in flying kites”, said again by another one. It hurt Manuelito very much.
He became very quiet. Then he thought of the refreshing water of Malumay River, their favorite hangout too aside from kapatagan.
“Hey halfman!”, Manuelito said with a very loud voice. “Can you swim?”
Upon hearing this, all of their classmates gathered around Juan to know his answer.
“No, I can’t.” Juan said with downcast eyes.
It made Manuelito very happy.
“See! You are nothing to us. All children of Malumay know how to swim. But of course, I’m the fastest swimmer of all.” he said
But his mean words only made Juan smile even more.
“Really?” Juan said. “Can all of you teach me how to swim? I really want to learn!”
Manuelito laughed in disbelief.” But it’s impossible. You don’t have any legs!”
But Juan pleaded to everyone. “Please. We will never know until we try. Please try to teach me even just for a week. Please.”
“Juan is right. We will never know until we try. Let’s help him!”, Emmanuel said to everyone.
“Yes, that’s right!” everyone said cheerfully except Manuelito whose eyebrows were almost touching each other.
Malumay River is very beautiful. The water is clear. You could see the fishes swimming here and there. It was very wide that five adult elephants in a row could swim together. The shallow part of the river is thickly covered with mangrove and nipa palm trees. This is where all the boys of Grade V class often gather together to swim. They are all wearing shorts. Juan is wearing a short too and nothing more. For the first time, he showed the bottom of his very short hips. It was smooth. There were no sign of stitches. It made Juan to look like an adorable teddy bear.
“You must first know how to breath when you are swimming”, Carlolito said
They all lined up on the side of the river. Their hands were touching the soil and grass that rise high above the river. Manuelito didn’t join them. He swam alone to the different directions but didn’t go far. He was watching them secretly.
“Inhale through your mouth and sink your whole body under the water. After three seconds, exhale through your nose and put your head up” Carlolito said to Juan.
“I’ll do it!” Juan said excitedly.
They all do the up and down motion in the water. Splashes and bubbles scattered everywhere. At first, Juan pulled the air through his nose and blowed it out through his mouth which is very wrong.The water went up to his nose many times that it really hurt. But he never gave up until he did it right.
The next day, the boys gathered again at the same part of Malumay River except Manuelito who swam again to different directions. Two boys went to the left side of Juan’s body. Two boys went to the right side. They all hold Juan’s back so they can keep him floating on the water. They wanted him to learn how to float on his own. The next day, they teach Juan how to do freestyle. But he found it very difficult to do all of these on his own. He often gets drowned without the supporting hands of his friends.
At the fourth day no one came with Juan to the river anymore. But his determination was not lessened. He still wanted to practice. He stayed at the side most part of the river so he can hold on the soil and deep rooted grass if he gets drowned.
“I knew it. Someone like you will never learn to swim”, Manuelito said who only came to discourage.
“But I will not give up!” Juan said.
It went on for three more days. Manuelito began to become tired of watching and laughing at the sight of Juan’s terrible swimming. One day, he brought two things.
“Hey halfman. My father uses these when he was teaching me how to swim. He bought this from the city” Manuelito said. “This one is a styrofoam. Put this under your chest and you will be able to practice the correct arm movements on the water.” He said while handing the rectangular white thing to Juan.
Then he got a pair of two rubber feet which for Juan looks like frog’s feet.“This one is called a flipper. It is attached to the feet to help the swimmer push more water. It’s so funny but I think we can try to attach these to your short hips and see if it could help. I will not let you take these things home. At the end of the day, go to my house and return these to me”, Manuelito sounds very grumpy again.
Juan excitedly swims back to the river. He was very happy that he can now be able to go a little bit farther from the side of the river. There were times he lets go of these things and swim on his own. He practice and practice until he feels he is getting better. Soon, the sun goes down. It was already dark when he went to Manuelito’s nipa hut house.
“ I think I improve very much. Thank you very much”, Juan said while returning the things.
“ I don’t think so”, Manuelito said
Tomorrow morning, the rain poured heavily at Barrio Malumay. The wind was very strong. The trees swayed left and right. Some of them even fell down. The water of Malumay River rises undesirably. It reached the riverbank, the fields and the houses at Barrio Malumay.
But Malumay people and children are all good swimmers. They swim together into the raging water until they all reach the higher land. They went to Malumay Elementary School. They could stay there for a while.
“Juan was lost across the flood. Some of the men went with his parents to save him." Carlolito told to his classmates who were staying at the same room.
Upon hearing the sad news, they hold hands together to pray for Juan’s safety.
“Let’s help them. Let’s look for Juan!” Manuelito said which surprised everyone it made them speechless.
“Carlolito, Emmanuel, would you go with me? We are the best swimmers of all Malumay children.”, he said.
“ Yes!”, Carlolito answered
“ My answer is yes too!”, Emmanuel said
Everyone clapped and cheered for them as they go out from the room. The wind blows weaker now. The rain is becoming just mere drizzle. The three decided to walk along where the higher land and water are touching each other. Their eyes are fixated to the water which is full of floating woods, tree trunks and branches. At this moment, Manuelito’s felt very guilty. He wished so bad that he could turn back time and let Juan borrow the styrofoam and flipper.
After a while, they heard the familiar voice calling their names. It was not coming from the water. Under the kawayan trees that stand strong in spite of the storm that passed, they saw Juan in his tattered shirt. He is waving his hands. He didn’t have his skateboard with him.
Manuelito is carrying Juan on his back when they came back to the school. Everyone shouted and jumped for joy.Throughout the night, they sing, pray and thanked God that Juan learned to swim in the nick of time.
The typhoon may have destroyed their houses. But it brought an unbounded spirit of joy to the hearts of Malumay children as they witness second life and a new born friendship.

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