They say that when a person dies, the wife or girlfriend would know easily because she can feel it within her or she would see a white light or anything that would let her know that the loved one has departed from the earth. Yes, somehow, I have believed in the signs. But I could not feel it. I did not see it.
After Haiyan struck my hometown, Tacloban, I did not know what to do. My boyfriend, together with his family lives in a coastal community of Palo, Leyte (about a 20-30 minute drive from the downtown area of Tacloban City). I had relatives in Palo. We were supposed to check on them but there was no means of travelling. My dad cannot bear walking with his gouty arthritis victimized foot and so we had to ask people coming from the direction of Palo if Cavite East (where my grandma lives) was okay.
I, on the other hand would secretly ask the people if San Joaquin (my boyfriend’s community) was okay, but they would only shrug and say that the barangay was wiped out due to the storm surge. I cried. I hid what my heart felt. I hid the pain. But somehow, my sister caught me. I cried really hard. It was painful. My room was my refuge. I cried secretly.
Somehow, if I lost him, I would have just accepted what happened. Move on with my life while nursing the wounds of my heart. I coped well outside, I cleaned my room, washed my clothes, took out my bed, emptied my cabinets of college research papers and threw what could not be used again.
For days, I continued that habit. I went on with my life. Crying a little when I remember my love from time to time. Begged in my prayers that if i dreamt of Aries for just a single night, that would signify that he was already gone. And for those nights that I prayed, I was partly scared to go to sleep because I might dream of him.
I never dreamt of him. Every morning I gained strength telling myself that maybe he is also busy like me. Cleaning and fixing their house. I knew him. He’d rather clean than hang outside with friends.
One more day, I counted, and it will already be a week since the typhoon struck and still no news of Aries. I went inside, gathered clean clothing and prepared for my bath. I forgot to get my towel. I stepped out of our cr outside the family home. I heard my sister yelling, “Riva, Riva adi na tim gin hihinulat. Man waray ka na feel kay buhi pa hiya. Kadto na dali.” (Riva, Riva, the one that you have been waiting for is here. See, you did not feel anything because he is still alive. Go out fast.)
I looked up to him. I wanted to cry seeing him with his disheveled hair. He looks mighty thin. My baby looks tired. We talked for a short while and I knew he had to go fast because his dad was waiting and he was just really pre-occupied that he could not go to our house. to check on me and he had to prioritize his family first. I knew where he was coming from. I understood him. He was after all, a victim also. I just told him, I could not have known what to do if he was taken away from me.
My heart is now complete. I did not lose anyone I love. I lost a house but I have my family, friends and loved ones and they are the ones that make up a home.
I wanted to hug him and hold him tight but I can’t. My parents were there and I know they would get paranoid if we had a public display of affection.
I have already relocated here in Davao City (Mindanao part of the Philippines) and he is in Cebu City with his sister, I have learned his story of survival and up to this day, it still gets me teary eyed. Thank you God for another life. The survivors shall live it with utmost appreciation and love.