Saturday, October 20, 2007

Road to Salvacion (fiction)

It is dawn, and the sheets feel warm and cozy on my skin, but I know I have to get up. The bus bound for Salvacion leaves very early at the terminal, so I must be there by six. I had already packed my things the night before, and so I just take a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee before I leave. I stuff a Tupperware full of puto for the trip, and filled my water bottle.

I sat on a wooden seat next to the window, as the bus starts its four hour journey to Samar. The events of the last few years flashed in my mind. I was a wreck.

Yesterday, I learned I was pregnant with Ronnie’s baby. I was so excited to tell him, thinking he’d leave his wife like he promised. That day only ended with a heated argument and Ronnie hitting me on the face before he stormed out of the small apartment. He had wanted an abortion.

As I gazed at the bruise on my cheek in the mirror, my face stained with black tears from the mascara, I tried to pick up the pieces of my life. The relationship was over, and so was his financial support. I would have to move out before the month is over.

The floor of the bus creaked loudly, and the passengers filled in at every stop. I look out the window to the winding path ahead. The road climbs steeply and into the heart of Samar’s mountains. The winds still had a cold tinge.

I first met him during a seminar at the university, and he was among the group of speakers. Charming and boyish, he went out of his way to be kind to me. I saw the ring on his finger, but I paid no heed. I was smitten.

He was the kind of man a girl would be proud to bring home to her family, that is, if she still had a family who would accept her. I smiled sarcastically. It’s been two years since I last saw my parents. They wanted me to stop schooling for a while because of financial crisis. I was sick of it, so I left. Ronnie was my hero, he got me an apartment and paid the bills. I was his mistress.

“Some hero.” I muttered under my breath. I felt nauseous again. I felt vomit starting to rise.

“Ummph.” I covered my mouth with my hand and stuck my head out the window, as the contents of my stomach emptied through my mouth. There was vomit on my hands, my dress, and the side of the window.

The bus had stopped, and the passengers looked at me curiously. The old lady beside me took pity and handed me a cloth to wipe myself. I washed my face and hands with the water from my bottle.

I was nervous as it is to go home like this. And now I reeked of vomit. The bus started again. The wilderness was giving way to rice fields, and I saw the vast flat lands ahead. We were two towns away from Salvacion.

My stomach knotted. I was tired. The bus slowed down as it reached Balangiga, and stopped in front of the cathedral made of stone.

Below, I see passengers scramble and make their way to the bus. A young woman with an infant in her arms was carrying a large carton too heavy for her to lift. As the conductor went to help her, our eyes met for a brief moment. She smiled.

In the last hour of my trip, I finally saw the familiar fields and unpaved roads of my hometown. I got off on the dusty road, holding the bag close to my chest. In the distance, I saw my parent’s house. I walked the final steps towards the green rice fields.

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