An unfortunate event opened the eyes of the solitary artist — enabling her to write about the value of life upon realization of the possibility of death.
Their eyes had been opened by all-different tongues of flame — not of the sun, but by flames coming from their own home. The workers of their air-conditioner factory had already ran for their lives — workers who managed to awaken only Father. Father awoke in mad hysterics, attempted to leave the living hell on earth which was, at that time, had been their own home, and tried calling for help. Despite being given the liberty to escape hell and save himself as his employees had done, he dashed right back into hell to save his family. His wife, his daughter of two and ten years who had been very enthusiastic with her studies, his son of seven, and his youngest at three, cuddled together in pure madness, probably had shed tears that only those who are about to die can measure. This family, clutched to each other, took breath by breath of unbreathable air, probably praying to their God to save them — a God who had been silent the entire time as they trembled in fear, in desperation, in full awareness of the fact that death had finally come for them.
But Mother prayed to God, to the Holy Virgin, to all the angels and the saints. Mother prayed and prayed to all pious images, to every single name she could remember, until she ran out of names to mention. Daughter cried. She could hear brother crying, too, and little baby coughing, completely unaware of what was going on. Father held on to them, perhaps hoping that his arms could give them air to breathe, or shelter them from this hell that surfaced on earth.
The house burned, and burned, and burned. They cried, and cried until they were short of breath. Already they could hear the people outside, and the ruckus they caused as they tried to save the family suffering inside Hell.
It was two in the morning when the fire began. It was about three when the fire had been extinguished. It was before four in the morning when the bodies had been found: completely burnt, the coal-like lumps closely together, the sexes undefinable,
People mourned, and mourned, and mourned. Neighbors moruned, and mourned, and mourned. Spectators mourned, and mourned, and mourned. Rescuers felt grief. Those who were responsible felt guilt. Those who knew them felt deep, neverending emptyness. Father was loving. He could’ve loved more before he died. Mother was pious. She could’ve inspired people before he died. Son was shy. He could’ve been better before he died. Daughter was so full of potential. She could’ve conquered the world before he died. Little child was beautiful. He could’ve grown many years older before he died. They should’ve grown many years older before one of them died. They could’ve spent many more years together. There should’ve been more times to hold each other that close. There might have been more chances to cry together.
But it was in that morning, when they all had to die.
We mourn. We grieve. We feel guilt, and sorrow, and pity, and pain… But, is it enough? Can we mourn enough to give justice to their suffering? Can we cry enough to match the tears they have shed together as they said their final words and final prayers? Can we blame those who are responsible, enough to let their souls rest in fulfilled justice? It this truly enough?
Nothing can ever equal the emotional torture that their experience towards death in Hell had brought them. Nothing can ever match the immeasurable helplessness as they held on to each other, coughing, suffocating. Even if you imagine yourself engulfed in the scenario, you can never truly understand the agony that they had been through, because you know that this pretense is just a dream, an attempt to somehow understand the situation in the way the victims might have percieved them. But it had been just as difficult to them, perhaps, to try to convince themselves that hellish hotness from the flames were mere fruits of halloucination; that the choking, suffocating smoke were nothing but a part of their imaginitive minds.
I wish to just slit my wrists deeply this time, and hope to feel the same helplessness as they had — the feeling of helplessness towards the inevitable seizure of death. But, in their honor, I will strive to live, and try my best to live my life in the best way that I can; in a way that they could’ve enjoyed, or a way that they could’ve experienced.
This is for Father, Mother, Daughter, Son and Little Child of the Go family of Novaliches, Quezon City.
This is for all those that died, who still begged for life until their very last breath.
This is for all those that hoped to die, who still couldn’t understand how lucky they are to be alive.