Girl: Sir, you seem to be an intelligent and kind man. May I ask you a few questions?
Man: Sure, I have the time. I’m actually on a vacation. I was taking a long walk when I saw your beautiful village. By the way, what’s this place called?
Girl: May I ask the questions first, Sir? You know, not many people come to our village. If I don’t ask the questions, I might forget some of them, Sir?
Man: I noticed there are many lilies and lilacs in your village. So I think I’ll call this place ‘Lilac’.
Girl: If it pleases you, Sir. May I ask my questions now?
Man: Go ahead; just don’t make them too difficult.
Girl: But you’re an intelligent man, sir. And you’re older than me. So you must know a lot of things. What it is that you do, Sir?
Man: What do you mean?
Girl: Your job, Sir, do you have a job?
Man: I’m a tourist.
Girl: What does a tourist do, Sir? I’m sorry I ask a lot of questions. But I’ve never been outside
of our village.
Man: I’m a tourist. I’m not working. I’m on a vacation. Why do you ask?
Girl: Because you see, Sir, everyone in our village has something to do.
Farmers work on a farm. The fishermen catch fish.
Man: I’m a writer, in a former life.
Girl: Why, Sir? How many lives are there, Sir?
Man: That’s two questions. I’m a writer because I like to write. I used to write for a newspaper. That was my job before, a columnist in a newspaper.
Girl: What’s a newspaper, Sir?
Man: It’s a bunch of papers which carry news, so you know what’s going on in a community.
Girl: In our village, everyone knows what’s happening, but we don’t have what you called a ‘newspaper.’
Man: Then how do you know what’s going on if you don’t have a newspaper?
Girl: The people come to the plaza and they talk about things, Sir. They will be here pretty soon. Where are you from, Sir? Pardon my asking.
Man: A place called Manila. It’s on the other side of the world.
Girl: Are there plenty of lilacs in Manila, Sir?
Man: The place used to have plenty of water lilies called nilad. That’s why they named our city Manila.
Girl: Is that why you called our village ‘Lilac’ Sir? Other people have called it other names.
Man: Do you have other things to ask me?
Girl: You say you come from another part of the world. Where did the world come from, Sir?
Man: They say the world is very old. That it’s always been there.
Girl: My grandfather is very old too, and he comes from a far away village. But I’ve never seen his village. I’ve never been out of . . . what do you call our place . . . ‘Lilac?’
Man: They say that a long, long time ago, there was a big ball of fire in space. It exploded and from it came many planets, including our world. Do you think it’s true?
Girl: I don’t know. My grandfather said there was a big fire in their village too. That’s why they have to leave. What do you think the world’s made of?
Man: From what the old philosophers say, the world’s made up of four elements –
earth, wind, fire, and water.
Girl: And what do you say?
Man: The world is made up of people. All kinds of people. Young and old people. Strange familiar people.
Girl: From whom was the world made?
Man: Why do you ask?
Girl: Well, everything was made for someone. My mother made this dress for me.
My father built the house where we live. He made it for us.
Man: I guess the world was made for everyone living in it.
Girl: Who’s taking care of the world, then? We live in our house so we take care of it.
It’s our home.
Man: You could say the world is our home too. But I wish I could say everyone’s helping in taking
care of it.
Girl: Why do you say that?
Man: Because the world right now is in a very bad shape. You live in a beautiful village. I don’t know if you’ve heard about pollution, or smog, or global warming?
Girl: Why do you say the world is in bad shape?
Man: The world is not just in bad shape; actually it’s “sick.”
Girl: If the world is ‘sick’, as you say, can you tell me how can I take care of the world?
Man: But the world is so big, much bigger than your village.
Girl: And I’m so small? Is what you’re saying? I take care of Grandfather when he’s sick.
Man: Actually, you can take care of the world by taking care of the lilacs. Someone has to tend them so that they will be always be beautiful, so that they will always be around.
Girl: Does somebody take care of the water lilies in Manila?
Man: Actually, the people forgot. If somebody took care of the water lilies, then the fish in the river would have air to breathe. You need something beautiful to protect the river.
Girl: Like the lilacs in our valleys?
Man: Yes, because there are lilacs, they need you to take care of them.
Girl: Are you saying I’m important to my village?
Man: Yes, you are very important, not only to the lilacs, but to the whole village, and to everybody who will notice and talk about how beautiful lilacs are, especially when they meet in the plaza evening.
Girl: And what will they say?
Man: They will say that if one girl can take care of the lilacs which make a whole village beautiful, think of what we can do for our village to make our world beautiful.
Girl: You say I can take care of the lilacs, but can you tell me who I am? How can I be sure that the person they call by my name is really me?
Man: By the way, you haven’t told me what your name is. You also haven’t told me the name of your village. But I think I know you. You’re the girl who takes care of the lilacs in this village.
Girl: Are there other girls like me who tend to the lilacs?
Man: There are other girls in other villages taking care not only of lilacs, but roses, and sunflowers too. But you are as different from them as they are from you. Even in the field of lilacs, every flower is different from all the rest.
Girl: Am I important to you?
Man: Yes, you are important to me.
Girl: Why am I important to you?
Man: Because you ask so many questions. And because you are going to take care of the lilacs that will make your village so beautiful.
Girl: Did you know that you are important to me too?
Man: Why am I important to you? I’m only a tourist who’s staying in your village for few days.
Girl: Because you’re so kind to me. And because I know you are going to write about the
lilacs in our village.
Man: You still haven’t asked me one question.
Girl: Which one is that?
Man: When is the world going to end?
Girl: I already know the answer to that question.
Man: Oh. . Would you like to tell then? When is the world going to end?
Girl: When there are no more lilacs because there are no more young girls to take care of them. When the world is silent because no one asks questions anymore. That’s when the world is going to end.