Shattered Glass


Art by Julia Dominique Yancha/THE FLAME

Editor’s Note: This piece is one of the works in a nine-part series in line with the Dapitan 2023 theme Panopticon. All works are written by The Flame‘s Literary staffers.

MONICA TIGHTLY held an unsealed letter as she sat at the table with her cousins. Their hushed whispers and judgemental glances directed at her went unnoticed as she drank another glass of water to steady her racing heart.

At that moment, she had something more important to worry about—the letter about her revoked scholarship in her hands.

Monica did not have to scan the room to find where her mother was. She stood among her siblings and cousins. Even from afar she knew they were talking about her. They always did. 

Her mother never congratulated her for her achievements. Yet, around other people, her mother assumed the role of a proud parent. 

Those were the only times when Monica was acknowledged. With it was the extra weight of the expectations from people who began to think highly of her. They viewed her entire existence through a magnifying glass and every mistake stood out with great intensity.

The thought made the letter she held far heavier than ever.

Monica took another glance at her mother who seemed to have met her gaze. “Monica, come over here.”

Reluctantly, Monica made her way to where her mother was. She tried her best to compose herself and stifle the panic crawling up to her throat. Expectant smiles from her relatives greeted her as her mother tightly gripped her shoulder. “You know, Monica is a scholar.”

Those words drained the color from Monica’s face as the chorus of half-hearted praise began. She hid the envelope behind her back without missing a beat. To her dismay, her mother was quick to notice this.

“What are you hiding there?” She took the envelope from her hands before she could protest. All that followed was the sound of glass shattering and red wine spilling all over the floor. F

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