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isang tahanan article, likhang-sining ng batang inabuso isang tahanan article, likhang-sining ng batang inabuso

Literary

Isang tahanan

”Ngayong nagbabalik ka na at mas malakas ako, walang takot kitang lalabanan. Hindi ako nakalimot at hindi ko hahayaang makalimot din ang mga tao lumipas man ang limang dekada. Walang nakalimot. Hindi na muli.”

Artwork by Mikhail Reaño

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Naalala ko tuwing umuuwi ako noon, madalas kong naririnig mula sa aming katabing bahay ang isang batang katulad ko—hindi—hindi siya batang musmos ngunit isang kabataan tulad ko. Lagi kong naririnig ang kanyang pag-iyak subalit, kapag dumaraan ako sa kanilang tahanan, habang sila’y mayroong mga bisita, itinatago ng kanyang balingkinitang katawan ang kanyang dalawang braso at mapait na ngumingiti.

Nang minsang siya’y tumalikod, nasilayan ko ang dahilan kung bakit kaniyang itinatago ang kaniyang mga braso. Mas lalo akong nagtaka, nais ko siyang lapitan ngunit nang ako’y papalapit na, agad akong pinandilatan ng mga mata ng kanyang ina,  ”Umalis ka!” sa takot ko, agad akong naglakad papalayo.

Ngunit sa aking pag-uwi, naisip ko pa rin ang tagpong iyon. Bakit tadtad ang kanyang ang kayumanggi nyang balat ng pinaghalong lila’t itim na pasa? Bakit lihim siyang umiiyak?

Dumating ang panibagong araw at nadinig ko nanaman ang pagdadabog ng kanyang ina, dali-dali akong nagpunta malapit sa kanilang bahay at nakinig sa usapan habang nag-iingat na ako’y hindi makita, “Ako ang iyong ina, alam ko ang ginagawa ko! Huwag kang gagawa kasi ng laban sa akin para hindi ka malintikan! Nasaan na ang baon mong binigay ng iyong ama? Akin na! Kailangan ko ng pera pang-sugal!”, wala akong magawa kundi pakinggang ang iyak at ang kanyang pagsusumamong sigaw.

Nararamdaman ko na sa aking puso ang dalamhati at kakaibang pagnanais na tulungan siyang makawala. Alam kong sa araw-araw na nilikha ng Diyos, araw-araw ring niyuyurakan ang kanyang pagkatao. Ngunit, paano? Paano ako makakatulong?

Dumating ang araw na wala na akong naririnig na kahit anong ingay mula sa kanilang bahay. Agad kong nasabi na marahil ay nagkaroon ng isang himala at nagbago na ang kanyang ina! Muli akong lumapit sa kanilang bahay at laking gulat ko na sa aking paglapit, nakita ko ang kanyang katawan, dilat ang kaniyang mga mata at sa kanang bahagi ng kanyang dibdib ay punong-puno ng mapulang dugo na kumukulay sa puti nyang pang-itaas.

Nais ko syang malapitan ngunit, biglang dumating ang mga pulis at ako’y napaatras dahil dumagsa ang mga madlang nais masilayan ang karumadumal na sinapit nitong aming kapitbahay. Hanggang tanaw ko lamang ang mga nangungusap na kanyang mga mata; nagmamakaawang siya’y tulungan kahit sa kanyang huling sandali.

Humahagulgol ako’t napatakbo papunta sa aming tahanan. Wala ang aking mga magulang at dali-dali kong kinuha ang mga gamit ko.

Nasaan ang kanyang ina na sinasabi siya ay aalagaan? Nasaan ang kanyang ina na araw-araw naman siya’y sinasaktan?

Hinanap ko. Gusto ko ng kasagutan.

Alam kong nagtatago lang siya sa malapit. Nasaan siya? Kailangan niyang pagbayaran ang lahat!

Lumipas ang mga araw at linggo, nagbalik sya sa kanilang tahanan, nagbabalat-kayo bilang isang maamong tupa. Umaasang tulad ng daloy ng tubig sa isang bukal, ang nakaraan ay agad ng lumipas.

Animo’y walang delikadesa kung umasta na walang bahid ng dugo ninuman ang kaniyang mga kamay; na parang inaruga’t inalagaan niyang mabuti ang batang minsa’y nangarap lamang na maalwang pamumuhay. Nagpapanggap na ngayon ay kaya na niyang mamuhay muli na walang sinasaktan at walang pinapatay.

Ngunit huli na ang lahat, agad kong itinaga sa bato ang aking paninindigan, ”Ngayong nagbabalik ka na at mas malakas ako, walang takot kitang lalabanan. Hindi ako nakalimot at hindi ko hahayaang makalimot din ang mga tao lumipas man ang limang dekada. Walang nakalimot. Hindi na muli.”

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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.

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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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