Tuesday, August 11

Backbreaking

photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS/ THE FLAME

“MA, mag-eenroll ba ako?” my son asked me.

I did not know how to answer.

Work hard. This became my mantra as I continued working on-site with the promise of a higher salary. I never let the mountain of paperwork on my table faze me in the slightest. If I have to go home late to finish them all—if I have to lose sleep, then so be it.

The excitement on my son’s face when I hand him his much-needed laptop makes the dark under-eye circles and the fatigue all worth it.

Almost there. This is what inspires me to start a business. From the moment I get home from work, I start making dishes so that I can respond to numerous orders of food online. On weekends, I deliver the products myself. The fulfillment of the quota is a reminder that I am only several thousand pesos away from affording the miscellaneous fees.

Although I am not that well-versed in cooking or that I cannot taste well the food I had made, this promise is what keeps me going.

Finally. This is what I breathe out in relief as I realize that I can now cover everything: gadgets, online classes, and the Internet bill. I was able to do it. There is still a future for my son.

I feel the swell of accomplishment as I look at my late husband’s picture. My chest tightens so much that I think I am about to cry.

I cough. ISABELL ANDREA M. PINE

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