When I was sleeping
In front of the church, families head home after the Sunday Mass, the children playfully running toward the gate. They are happy and grateful for life.
But two blocks away an old woman is sitting beside a tomb surrounded by dry leaves. It is cold and windy. The woman is crying, her hair disheveled by the wind, her torn dress trailing on the ground.
A year earlier the woman was in church, thanking God for His blessings—her family’s wealth, her loving husband, their healthy son and daughter. One day, her husband won a family trip to a province known for its nature spots. He told her the happy news and said they should grab the chance to enjoy a vacation. She was also happy with the prize yet for some reason she could not explain, she was hesitant to say yes. But she saw the excitement in her husband’s eyes, and decided to make arrangements for the trip.
It was dusk when the family left home in the car. The children slept contentedly in the back seat. Midway in the trip (about five hours of travel), the wife glanced at her husband. He was focused on the road. She smiled and glanced at their sleeping children.
She didn’t realize that she herself had fallen asleep. Minutes later—or hours, she could not say—she felt her head striking something. She had been thrown against the windshield, and her hands were trembling. There was blood on them, and on her clothes. A sense of terror flowed through her body.
Her mind pushed her to move forward. She looked behind her but could not see her children in the back seat. “Where are my children!” she shouted repeatedly. She looked at her husband but he was not there. “Where are you? Please tell me, where are you?” she begged. No answer came.
Hysterical, she walked away from the scene. She walked and wandered, not knowing where to go.
After walking a long time, she reached a church and saw playful children and their families happily heading home after the Sunday Mass.
Two blocks away, she saw a tomb surrounded by dry leaves. The place was cold and windy. She read the name on the tomb, realized that it was hers, and began to cry…
This story took form when I was sleeping. It continues to give me goose bumps and tears. It’s a dream that has haunted me every night.
Manal Sugadol, 19, is a new communication studies graduate of Mindanao State University Marawi.
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