So, you smashed your head right into your phone, hoping you’d remember to pull up your defenses. It was a gun game, you get shot. Hide behind a wall, car, a dumpster. Yes, run into the church in the Frigid Wetlands. Have faith, dear child. Pray for a miracle, a head glitch.
But no, you were Eve, running wild in Eden. You fed the fire in your belly, starving for blood-red apples hanging on your enemies’ shoulders. You kept on dying, oh poor reincarnate. Once, you became god, sending thunders against your body. Your arms now tender to the bone. At first, it was just because of your stiff hands. Then, it was your hair, your goldfish brain, your grumbling stomach. You played a game of whack-a- mole against your body: every wringing pain, a score. Finally, a victory. Unseen winning streaks now lie beneath your skin. Tomorrow, you would call them sins.
So, you woke up early the next day, hoping for a fresh start, with a hangover from last night’s grind. You made your family’s breakfast, overcooking the eggs. Still, it was a miracle to your mom you’re up before noon. When she said, perhaps you were sick, you were pleased. Someone finally saw you were still capable of change. Maybe, maybe the crack on your head had bled out the stupid in you. Finally, you could now permit yourself to heal.
But your body was not your mood. Wounded, it refused any flitting apologies. A headache beat you into confessing the pain was not a sign of distress but a cause of it. Your guilty conscience claimed your punishment was a rectification.
Before your mom could fish out the truth in what you’ve done, you told her there were more eggs for everyone. Yolks for rosary beads, your Glory Bes. A Novena, for your mom to overlook this morning’s mystery. Her furrowed brows looked down on your burnt batch. So, you insisted on your generous offering, you’re cooking rice for everyone too, you said. You pat the angel on your shoulder.
Eventually, you were back in your room, as if you were safer on your own. Mindlessly, your hands responded to your body craving for tenderness. You felt for your skin, stumbling upon the bruises you couldn’t see— one on your left leg, another on your right arm. The assault was all over your body. And you thought you could deny yourself some shame—such blasphemy. Your body was a temple and the home you kept running to.
Kath Gerobin is a Filipino writer. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Currently, she is a full-time writer for an education consulting company. On her days off, she tries to write too, but this time, for herself.
image: Alan Tenhoeve