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Literary

Ang Hele ng Takipsilim

Itim na ang langit. Nakapunla na ang mga bituin at mayabang na naman ang buwan. Ang nasasakupan ay pipikit ngunit hindi lahat ay hihimbing.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

Hinahalikan na ng araw ang mga ulap sa huling pagkakataon. Kahel ang bagong kulay ng pamamaalam. Sa kabila ng rikit ng dapit-hapon, malamlam ito sa karamihan. Hindi ganda ang natatanaw nila sa paglubog nito, sa halip, isa itong magnanakaw ng oras na sa may salapi lamang sumasamba. Ang paglipas ng araw sa mata ng isang salat ay paniningil ng isang kabang karapatan para sa isang salop na ayuda. 

Napakaraming tumalikod habang kinakausap ng pagkamulat. Pinagkakaitan nila ang kanilang mga sarili ng kalinawan. Lumubog ako sa iba’t ibang mga usapan at hinimay ang mga istorya. Sa bawat talata, maraming hilatsa ng boses ang aking nakilala. Iba-iba ang tinig ngunit hindi nakakarindi, sapagkat iisa sila ng pinapasinaya. Mga magkakamukhang pahayag na nakaangkla sa layuning ang distribusyon ng karapatan, seguridad, at hustisya ay pantay para sa lahat ng mamamayan. Puspos ang pagkalampag dahil buhay ang nakasugal.

Itim na ang langit. Nakapunla na ang mga bituin at mayabang na naman ang buwan. Ang nasasakupan ay pipikit ngunit hindi lahat ay hihimbing. Malamang ay madadala ko sa panaginip ang huling diwa kong para sa mga taong pangamba ang almusal pagsapit ng liwayway. 

Bukas pagbangon, ako’y susulat muli para sa kanila.

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Literary

Confession

It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

To rest is a sin.

In the quiet moments of this new sheltered life, I have come to accept that there is a small dark corner of my mind where all the dates of the calendar are marked. From the first week of April, to the last week of May—it’s all there. It is a small dark corner. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

This small dark corner reminds me everyday of what’s about to come. I explain that I’m not ready, that I need more time, that this is new territory and I haven’t taken a step further since I came here—it doesn’t listen to me. It tells me to get to work. It tells me that this is my priority, this is what matters the most in this worldwide pandemic. It forces me to listen, to do as it says, to be its puppet to be controlled with the numbers controlling my arms and legs.

But this is just a small dark corner of my mind. There are other corners. Much bigger corners.

To rest is a sin. 

I have yet to be forgiven. 

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Literary

Little Bit of Paradise

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

You wake up to the sight of your room’s white ceiling. The summer heat makes your skin sweat immediately. Piled up papers stare at you from the corner of the room along with unpacked belongings from the dorm––ah, yes. You are home––earlier than expected but still, you succumb to this little bit of paradise.

You breathe in the familiarity of your bed sheet’s smell, let every caress of the fabric give comfort up until you check your phone.

Three hundred thirty-nine new cases. The death toll is now at 704. Recoveries at 1,842. The total is now at 10,610.

This little bit of paradise began to crumble from the inside. Like a volcano nearing to erupt. The summer heat began to burn not only the skin but also made its way into bones and flesh. Piled up papers began to yell, screaming for a continuation. Gentle caresses became tight grips with nails digging deeper into full palms.

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

You see posts from people staying up in their ivory towers while waving their flags of toxic positivity for all to see. You grit your teeth in disgust. The screen refreshes, showing heroes and people trying to survive from exhaustion and hunger.

This little bit of paradise of yours completely crumbles, leaving traces of guilt, fear,  and anger, all in one.

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Literary

Finding Courage

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

It’s nice to wake up with the thought of having food served on the dining table for the day. When you know that you have a home, your family beside you, and wondering what you will do for the rest of the day. Make Dalgona coffee? Bake? Read? Watch a new TV series? Finally finish your school work?

Watching the news has become a staple in the household. Seeing the cases increase, people helping one another, our frontliners making things easier for us, and the struggle of the people trying to make ends meet despite the difficult situation. Suddenly, watching the news brings tension, stress, and anxiety. 

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid. It is okay to be scared in times like these but know that these too shall pass. Courage is hard to find these days but waking up and getting out of the bed is a progress. I hope you find the courage to go on day by day.

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