Chapter 1: Dusk
There was always the unexplained melancholy in the day’s ending. The darkness’ uncertainty and the eyes’ blinding pointed to the unknown of ghosts and mad men. Stories of evil spirits and ghouls would fill our days to scare us to be home by nightfall. I believed somewhat in those fantasies but knew the reason why there was sadness in sunsets. What begun would end.
Dusk came early the day I was born. My mother, a young woman of nineteen was on her eighth month of pregnancy. Nana Munti, her sister who was a teacher at the elementary school, came home with the bad news. My father who was a soldier in the Army had been killed by Communist rebels in an ambush. No, my mother and father were not married at that time. She got pregnant soon after they met and he was off to Quezon. He promised to marry her soon after he had enough money and that he would take her with him. Their correspondence filled with longing tried to bridge the distance and the absence. Until that day.
The spasms and the labor pain soon started after the news. Nana Munti had the midwife summoned and the bed and the white sheets were prepared for my coming. I was not ready. I still had a full month to live within the peace and contentment of my mother’s womb. What awaited outside was just suffering. I did not want to go.
The labor pains came like wave. Then they were torrents. I could hear my mother cry as she called out my father’s name. The midwife urged her to breathe, to push. I felt my mother’s pain and the blood started to ooze. Too much blood. Nana Munti and the midwife started to panic. My mother’s heart started to beat slower. The midwife said push. No. Please keep me inside. Let me die with you and my father. And we would all be together in heaven. Please do not let me go. I do not want to be alone. Push, the midwife implored and my mother with her remaining strenght pushed me out from her womb into the world. I cried. The midwife wrapped me in an old t-shirt and placed me by my mother’s arm. My mother looked at me with fading eyes and said I love you as her tears fell. She slipped into oblivion as I continued crying. Let him cry, Nana Munti said. He just became an orphan.
The night’s silence was broken by the crickets and the occasional wooing of the owl. That night, my crying pierced the clouds, the sea, the trees and the little huts of the town I was born. They knew my pain and the lonely life I would tread.
I would be alone.