I would have never woken up early but that day was different. With the condition of sleeping on a table, under a roofless house seemingly vulnerable to anything, sleep was just something I can only imagine but could never do.
Since it had rained, our living room was once again flooded. I helped my father in de-flooding the house. Later that day, I helped in cleaning up our very messy second floor.
The thing about the first day after the storm, people were already expecting relief goods, especially with the sight of helicopters flying up high. But there was none.
The victims, us, went about our businesses. Cleaning up the things that we can. People tried to look for food and water. When we heard of a local pharmacy opening and selling goods that survived the storm, my mother had immediately went to the place, anticipating our stay there would be longer, to buy milk formula for my nephew. See, we had 20,000 pesos because it had been meant for my tuition. My mother used that money instead, to buy us some potable water since we still had canned goods. My sister and I caught up with mother because my father wanted to tell our mother to buy matches.
I had no intention of going because I expected to still see dead people along the sidewalks just us our neighbours retold the story of what happened in Tacloban, dead people along the streets.
There was none. No dead people along the street because the people of our town placed all of the dead in one place – our semi-destroyed Cathedral church built during the Spanish era. But the town didn’t look like the town I grew up in. I didn’t seem to recognize the place as the houses have always been my points of reference. All the light posts were down, many branches on the streets, it didn’t smell nice. The smell was nauseating to me. The condition of the houses were all the same for 99% of all homes. There were only two houses that I saw that had little damage, only windows were destroyed.
Outside that pharmacy, there was a long line. People were screaming at the shameless people cutting in the line. I could feel the desperation from there on. I felt it. It wasn’t obvious yet. But it was in the air,the desperation, the misery, the complete unfathomable sadness.
But we did our best to cover them up. Just as that Rascal Flatts song went, “Put your best face on for the world. Fake another smile and just pretend.” But we all know that this is the truth – “But you’re just putting off the pain, and nothing’s ever really gonna change.” Perhaps, we should just have Let It Hurt.