by YSABEL SACRAMENTO
THICK SMOKE from passing vehicles swarm España’s streets. The sky blends dark hues of orange and blue. Below the setting sun is the usual traffic and the crowd of students rushing to hail a tricycle, or racing to the nearest pedestrian lane.
Manila’s humidity and Cecile’s hasty steps form beads of sweat on her temple. Inside her dorm room awaits a pile of academic papers that are yet to be revised, as well as her uniform for her part-time job at a fast food branch. If she does not walk any faster, there is a chance she might miss the jeepney bound for Taft.
She makes a mental note to herself to pass by the supermarket later to stock up on instant coffee. Summer classes have never been easy for her, and she does not want to make it harder by possibly failing tomorrow’s exams.
The dark circles under her eyes kind of match the color of the clouds above. Her tears threaten to spill as she tries to recall the last time she had a full eight hours of sleep.
In a matter of minutes, the sun will be engulfed and the skies will turn violet, then blue, then black. For now, Cecile takes a breath.
She looks up at the clouds that somehow remind her of fortitude: a constant in the vast, changing skies. A reminder that one can stay the same from dusk until dawn, unchanging and buoyant—like light and dark coexisting, like struggle and perseverance. F