Bartolome sighed and gently laid his cleaning tools in the storeroom. He just finished his last shift that was intended to compensate for his cash advance. The restaurant he worked at went bankrupt due to the prolonged quarantines. Tomorrow, he will look for doors with “For Hire” signs.
Despite his empty pockets, a bag of warm pandesal bought with his spare coins clutched against his chest on the way home. He walked past a chapel and gazed upon a statue of the Virgin Mary. Bartolome did the sign of the cross and walked along.
As he got home, he placed his worn face shield on the table and gave his wife a tragic look.
“Wala na?” asked Nena. Bartolome shook his head and stared blankly at the altar where the statue of the Virgin Mary stood. Nena whimpered; she suddenly wiped her tears as she gathered their children to pray.
“Hail Mary, full of grace…”
“Aba ginoong Maria, napupuno ka ng grasya…”
A chorus of prayers was sung; the old statue of the Virgin Mary listened by the candlelight. When Bartolome’s wife and children were asleep, he kneeled before the altar once again. He closed his eyes and clasped his hands, weeping.
Mary’s statue began to move from its post, but not even Bartolome heard her footfall. She caressed his shaking shoulders and kissed his brow until he fell asleep upon the house floor. When dawn broke, his job searching still began anew. F CZERIZHA KAIZEL S. ADZUARA