It All Falls Down
taho - (ta [as in father]-HO) soy bean curd, caramel and tapioca, really good.
I'm sitting here beside you now, holding your hand and talking to you. Talking, talking, talking the way I should have done before. Can you hear me? In this cold, sterile silence, where I hear nothing but the hum of the air-conditioner and the sound of my voice gradually getting hoarser, can you hear me somehow, wherever you are?
Do you remember what happened? I do. Every time I close my eyes, I see it happening, over and over again. The angry shouts some distance away. The warning cry. The single gunshot splitting the thick. smoggy air. The sight of you falling forward, your blood spattering against my white uniform blouse...
And the shadows, dancing between us.
The doctors say it's a miracle you're even alive. The bullet had merely grazed your head. But you have been unconscious for five days now. They say head wounds are unpredictable. You could wake up tomorrow, completely normal. Or you could remain like this for months or years, then wake up not knowing who you are. Or you could not wake up at all.
But you're alive. And I know you're here. You just need to remember how to come back. Come back. Please come back.
Things have been happening so quickly back home. Do you remember the "dirty ice cream" man? It turned out the rumors were right; he really was an undercover cop. So was the man selling taho/, and the man tending the barbecue stand near the church. It turns out the gun you were shot with was an unlicensed weapon. The guy who shot you squealed at the police station, and identified the man who has been supplying the neighborhood with unlicensed guns. That night, the cops came to the house with a warrant for /Tito Bernard's arrest.
It all happened so fast. My mother and I are still staying in Tito Bernard's house--it's not like we have anywhere else to go. Maybe we can find a small apartment somewhere. I can get a job as a waitress or a saleslady somewhere. Don't worry. We'll figure something out.
My mother's, well, surviving. She said she'd been having suspicions about Tito Bernard all along. I'm not sure how much I believe her. Sometimes I catch her rubbing her hand wistfully over the sheets on the Tito Bernard's side of their bed. Sometimes I hear her crying in the bathroom. Sometimes, all I can do is put my arms around her and rock her as if she was the child and I was the mother. It seems to help, somehow.
I've been coming here for the past five days, just to talk to you. Your brother said he thought he saw your fingers move last night, so there's hope. Oh, what am I saying? ThereÂ¡Â¦s always hope.
As for the shadows, they're gone. Not completely, of course. There's no way to destroy them, not as long there are human minds to create them. But it's just a matter of choosing what you want to see. There's light, too, everywhere. Beautiful lights that make you feel warm and loved and glad to be alive. I know because I've seen it, and it's wonderful, so wonderful. I can teach you how to do it, too. We only saw the shadows before because we learned to see out of fear, and that fear has tainted us. But fear is just one small thing, not everything. There are other things, too.
There are shadows in Sta. Rita, but Sta. Rita is so much more than the shadows. So much more than what we thought it was. You can see it if you want to, my love. All you have to do is open your eyes.
If you're reading this...THANKS FOR READING! And if you reviewed and/or rated this story, thanks too, sincerely, no matter how you rated it. ^__^