Tuesday, June 25

Her

photo by JOSE JAIME RAPHAEL TAGANAS/ THE FLAME

I MET her when I was younger. She would play by the river near the hut where I used to live. Her hair was black and luscious, her skin as clear as the river that flowed between us, and her eyes sparkled in the morning light. I would catch her giggling and merrily humming while enjoying the lull the day had to offer.

There were times when our eyes would meet and she would smile, but I was too shy to acknowledge it. Her presence reminded me of the diwatas my grandmother would tell stories about. Sometimes, I could not tell if she was real or not.

I met her once again when I was older. The cigarette between my lips was warm. I puffed out a cloud of smoke into the city’s night air while I leaned on the concrete that separated me from the garbage-filled river.

“Stop.”

I lift my head and I was greeted with two clouded eyes. My hands shook and I almost dropped the cigarette on the already polluted river. I would instantly recognize her face anywhere.

I could tell the years were not good to her; soot covered every aspect of her body, her hair was as disheveled as a bird’s nest, and her once youthful glow was dimmed, yet somehow, she remained as majestic as the bright moon above us.

She looked at me pleadingly, grabbed onto my shirt, and said: “It is only a matter of time before I endbefore everything ends.” Her voice wailed while her form faded into the night sky. MARIA PAMELA S. REYES

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