The Storm Cleansed Us When It Left Us

Naalala ko lang. A few years ago a super-storm hit the country. Claimed thousands of lives in nearby regions. When it hit home, there was no rain, just strong winds. The gusts had a voice. It was deep. It was determined. Stomping, making its presence known, as if it came to reclaim what was originally hers.

When the storm was over, the sky was clear. But none of us had the time to look up, because our hands were busy. Packing rice. Packing cans. One night, my limbs were sore from an entire day of volunteer work. I tugged on the gate, knocked on the door, waited for my mom to let me in. I looked up and glanced at the sky.

Brand new. All the stars I never seen before quietly announcing their presence in the inky vastness. We are here. We’re visible now. Then, I was sure that the storm did not come to claim or reclaim, it came to cleanse. Its ways were violent, unforgiving, peppered with whys. To this day a mother laments the loss of a child. Multiply that story across an island. We raise our fists to the sky, ask it why, how dare you, do you not know who we are?

The skies do not contain the answers I thought I needed. But it held stars I did not know existed. A mystery refuses to close itself. Another mystery opens. Maybe this is life, maybe this isn’t. Maybe we’re not supposed to know.

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