Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pain: The Storm Surge

I boiled a little water using a shiny but broken pot.
Just a little boil is enough to make the water safe.
Just a little water because there is so little left.

If I can use my tears for drinking, maybe I would. They wouldn't stop flowing, so I guess it's endless.

But it's too salty, so it won't help much.

Would you want some seafood cup noodles?
Or maybe a cup of coffee?
I know you hate the seafood flavor, but it's all we have now, so you've got no choice. Ha ha.
I would love a cup of coffee, yes.
But this is for you, not for me.
And we have so little... so little.

So what will it be? Coffee or cup noodles?
Ok, I will decide for you. Coffee it is.
But we have no sugar or cream, so just plain black coffee.
It will be bitter, yes. But it will at least have that aroma. That calming, soothing aroma.
It will help you, I guess. 
I hope. 
I pray.

Tears again. Damn! These tears won't leave me alone.
I can't help it. You know I rarely ever cry. But when I do, it seems like there's no stopping.
It's like a valve has been opened and it won't close up until I'm dry.
I will soon be dry though. Getting a bit dehydrated here, ha ha.
There's very little drinking water left.

How ironic that it's wind and water that devastated us so, yet it's what we need but lack in the aftermath.
They called it a storm surge. For me, it's just a play with words though.
What do I care about what they call it? All I know is that it was a devastation, a destruction. A big havoc that we had no way of running away from. 
No way of predicting. 
No way of changing. 
It was an inescapable hell.

For you, maybe it wasn't just a play with words. Or maybe it was. I wouldn't know. 
I don't know what you think most of the time, especially now.
But don't think that I don't care about what you think. Oh I do. I definitely do. I always will.

There's still no food. We have no spare clothes. No blankets. No shelter from the rain. No nothing.
Ah, sorry. Nothing, yes that's right. You'd be stark raving mad if you hear me say "no nothing".
You hated grammatical errors.

See? I care about what you think. Or would have thought of, if you heard me say that.

We've seen planes arrive. Government planes that contained hopefully some food, clothing and medicines. But it's been days since they arrived and there is still nothing. People have started looting stores. They took some food, meds, bottled drinks, clothing and whatever useful stuff they could get their hands on. I can't blame them. No one can blame them. Me? I am too weak to be a part of that.

My phone's dead, too. Not because there's no electricity or because there's no carrier signal.
It's because it drowned during that storm surge. Poor phone. 

Poor you. Poor me. Poor everyone.

Alas, I have finished preparing your coffee. Took me a while, yeah?
It seems that I've been stirring this coffee for eternity.

They're calling me now. We better go, they said.
Ok. Alright. Yeah.

Holding the cup of coffee in one hand and using my other hand to cover it, I joined them.
I'm not sure if the coffee would still be hot, or at least warm, when we get to you.

I hope you wouldn't mind, even if it grows cold.
I have prepared it for you, see?

We walked and walked and walked.
How long are we going to walk?
How far is it?

I'll be there soon.
I will give you this cuppa coffee.

Here we are, one of the men said.
We scattered for a bit, the people.
We wanted a little privacy for ourselves. Even for just a little.
I stood in the middle of this big muddy ground, all alone.

Tears again. Oh my.
I placed the cup of coffee on the ground.

Here you go, your cup of lukewarm coffee.
It's not the best you ever had, but it's all I can give you now.
Is this the spot where you lie? I wouldn't know.
I hope they laid you all down carefully, you and a hundred other people in this massive piece of dirt.

Maybe it's better this way, me not seeing you in that devastating water-soaked body of yours.
The smell was unbearable. You have been decomposing for a couple of days when we found you.
I ran towards you, I wanted to hug you; hold you close. But they stopped me. Three men did, I think.
I raged and raged when I saw you.

You would have hated it. You would have hated me seeing you in that form, you were always so conscious about what you look like. You would have hated that I cried like a wild beast at the sight of you.

While you lay there, we are getting older, more tired and hungrier.
Our government that you so believed in, where are they now?
While you lay there, decomposing in the ground, and I stand here, dying of hunger, the politicians smile and shake hands. While their other hand snakes its way towards the money that should have been used to help us. The money that should have been used to buy food, water, medicine and clothes for us. 
The money that would have saved us.

I tried to speak, tried to say your name, but I couldn't.
It's like a rock has blocked my throat and nothing's coming out.
Nothing but tears.

I choked on your name. I choked on the thought of you.
I pressed a fist on my mouth, trying to block a sob.
But I couldn't. Really, I couldn't help it.
And when that sob escaped my mouth, the others followed suit.
This is a storm surge. It's a raging storm inside me, threatening to tear my whole being apart.
My shoulders shook like earthquake and my tears rained down heavily.

I touched the ground. I caressed the loose soil between my fingers.
I lifted my face to the sky and thought, why? Why? Why?

But there is no answer. Even you won't answer.
Are you there? Are you listening?

I love you!

Don't worry, my dear. Wait just a little and I'm sure I'll follow you.
Just a few more days of no food, water or shelter and I'll be dead as a fly.

But in the mean time, I would have to bear this pain.
This pain of losing you.
This pain of being isolated from you.
This pain of longing for you.

The pain of this storm surge inside me that won't end.

A work of fiction by Jairene Calabia Cruz
November 13, 2013

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