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Literary

Lucid

DO you remember those moments when the world shuts down and you’re just trapped in such an occurrence? It didn’t matter whether the moment was worth of memory or deserving of oblivion, it just stops.

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DO you remember those moments when the world shuts down and you’re just trapped in such an occurrence? It didn’t matter whether the moment was worth of memory or deserving of oblivion, it just stops. You don’t have control over it because the mind becomes impermeable and pain merely becomes an object of existence. Pain signifies the sign of existence, the symbol of normality. People, most of the time, say that it’s normal to be hurt; to undergo the burdens; to truly make us more human. But I have one question that did not cease to live; will a lot of pain make us human enough to be accepted or to fathom the limitless viewpoints of people?

The place stopped; the world was impeded by the sight. I stood there, speechless, a couple in focal point. My feet felt glued to where I was, and my eyes stuck to the pair. The blood surged from my brain and past the entirety of my body. I saw my dad – kissing someone who was decidedly not my mother.

Television shows contributed a lot to my way of thinking; I always had this idea that as long as I kept my thoughts replenished and reasonable, I’d be able to absorb everything around me, even if they were painful, absurd or well. Reasons kept everything lucid for me when the world seemed to be doubtful and cruel.

The kiss wasn’t too brief nor was it too long. It ran long enough so I could contemplate about the structure of my life. My knees were wanton and I walked back to my mom, silent about what I saw. That was the very first time that my innocent mind learned to jail thoughts and feelings.

I woke up to the ringing of the alarm in my ears. It went on violently slapping the alarm clock away. Tiredness consumed me last night, the sadness attempting to pierce through my chest. I sat up and looked out the window.

“Hey honey, I prepared you cereal for breakfast. You need to leave in an hour or you’ll be late.” My mom spoke from the other side, turning the knob from side to side to open the locked door.

“I’ll be down in a minute.” I began to clean up, putting aside the mess.

My mom was a housewife. We lived in our grandfather’s house after my parents decided to part ways. Legal separation didn’t come into the picture though. They’ve been married for over 20 years and neither party has found a valid reason to come into terms and make the family whole again. There were random times when she’d ask me if I wanted everything differently; that she’d go back to my dad if I wanted her to. I wasn’t selfish enough to put up the I-want-the-family-whole-again proposition for the reason that she was deeply hurt and placing her to such pain again was never an option.

“Do you want your dad back?” My mom asked, her feet shifting from pedal to pedal as we were driving down the highway. I was strapped to the seat, the seatbelt securing me.

“What if I do?” I answer in return, my head turned towards her, watching her heave a sigh.

“That’s all up to you, you know I can do anything as long as you’re happy,” she responded with a smile that I knew very well to be a façade.

Then there’s another one of my great moments of truth. I see how people can dream of only something so mere, something so small. How people aspire to grasp happiness even if they were to go against pain. Tears began to pool around the edges of my eyes and I can feel my heart softening. I held back my tears and lay against the passenger seat.

There were days that I’d give the whole family thing a lot of thought finding myself dwelling on such. It was my dream too, no matter how much I tell the people around me that I don’t think about it, that I’m not affected by it.

The car came to a halt and I’m pulled out from introspect. I’m reminded that today’s the release of the college entrance exam results and I’m frustrated over it.

“You ready?” Mom is already out of the car and I followed after her.

The boards were placed across the hall, names all over them. I stepped over to the first one and drag my finger along it so that I could find my name – none.

I look for it on the next board, none as well. I turned to my mom and found her crying.

“You passed, oh my goodness.” Tears were streaming down her face but I knew happiness lit her up somewhere. She hugged me and I just cried as well.

It was nice to make my mother happy and see her like that because it means all her hard work for me has paid off. It didn’t meet my whole family dream, but it definitely fulfilled one of the best low-key dreams I’ve ever had since I was a child.

The next day we coincidentally ran into my dad in a mall.

“Hi.” I called out to him.

“Oh, hello.” He casually spoke to me as if I wasn’t his daughter. I almost took it in hard but I saw my mom and him smiling at each other. It wasn’t the sarcastic, fake kind of smile. It was more of the calm smile. They also waved at each other, engaging into a conversation about my studies afterwards.

As I stood there, watching them talk, it makes me think about the reason why my father left us. It was very vague, I never had a valid reason as to why they went other ways but now, all I feel is ebullience. A lot of people walk in and out of our lives, some are meant to stay, and some have their certain time period. Once a person exits your life, you do have the choice to either pull them back or watch them go. However, I’ve never thought of their choices. When we get to see that they do have their own decisions, you’ll feel yourself slowly forgiving them. You’ll find that reason for understanding. When you do, you won’t feel any anger towards them. Instead you’ll feel hope – hope of a new beginning for the people are on their way and are fated to stay.

Photo By Chelsea Murphy

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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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