Child of the ABC


EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a five-part series in line with the Dapitan 2019 theme Insureksiyon. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers.


I REALIZE now that man was born to rebel.

His very birth is a struggle. From within the peaceful lull of the womb, he is delivered into the world kicking, screaming, and covered in blood. He tries to deal his payback through the intensity of his wails—he attempts to cause the same disturbance that was brought upon him earlier. He cries as hard as his feeble voice could muster, but no one pays him any heed. To them, it is but a natural reaction to his surroundings; to him, it is the lament of his newly-emerged existence.

He enters the world as a blank slate; as a being dependent and helpless on its own. He is an oblivious object, and yet from the moment of his delivery, he is already bound to society, subjected to its various norms and taboos. Within hours of existing, he is already confined into a role he does not know.

He is handed into the waiting arms of his oppressors, fated to live under their rule. He is their prisoner—a person shackled to the weight of the very same filial bonds that created him. They confine him inside a wooden cage, and it is between its bars that he observes a revolving world.

In his observations, he learns and fluctuates. He searches for his voice by imitating others in gurgles and coos, in the making of sounds incomprehensible to everyone but himself. He takes control through the use of his body, through the wild movement of his flailing arms and wriggling legs.

It is only a matter of time before he turns out to be just like his forefathers. Soon enough, meaningless babble will turn into wise, eloquent words, and in a heartbeat, weird and awkward movements will evolve to be strong and powerful gestures.

His ascendants led rebellions, waged wars, formed insurrections, and he too shall follow in his own way: he will disobey, talk back, and misbehave. As he grows a mind of his own, he shall lead protests, speak out against authorities, and break the norms of tradition in defiance just as his predecessors did, for the spirit of revolution is embedded within him and within the nature of man itself.

He will carry a burdensome weight: a flag that is to be planted into the ground where it will stand sturdy and stalwart against the test of time. It is the symbol of his fight against his caged fate, and with its arrival comes a new dawn.

As he inspects his handiwork, he will look back on the moment when his rebellion began.

It started with a single word.


The oppressor looks at me incredulously. “What do you mean no? Eat your vegetables.”

He stares me down and I look back. I dare not break eye contact to spare a glance at the murky green slop on my plate.

“But why?” I ask, even though I knew perfectly why.

He gives me a smile full of gritted teeth. “Because I am your father and I said so.”

At that moment, I stood up. If I was going down, I was going to do so the way my ancestors did: not without a fight.

Father’s eyes widen in anticipation of what I am about to do.

In one swift motion, I pick up the plate and hurl its contents out of the window.

Then, I ran.

As I dashed away, I could hear father’s angry bellows and threats of feeding me with more icky goo.

I smiled.

Long live the resistance. F

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