It is a Tuesday afternoon in the month of January, in the year when the earth supposedly ends. The weather still cool and favorable compared to the midsummer warmth the country is known for. The wind tunnels in between buildings and bodies, tagging some dust and an earnest sense of reality for the holiday season is definitely done.

Lenore, a sophomore university student walks to the dentist’s office, for a routine practice of adjusting some wires and bands entwined to correct an overbite. The procedure is swift and predictable, no adverse events occur. A casual exchange of vacation experiences and some advice for the future is placed, and the conversation pleasantly closes for the parties involved. How lovely when that happens.

Aware of the possible aggravation with the incoming dull gum pain, her dentist entices her to eat as soon she leaves the dentist’s office. Perhaps, a warm bowl of porridge from the nearby Filipino food restaurant would provide temporary relief aside from a dose of painkillers. So she sits by the window to wait for her order.

Outside, a dug out construction site is seen. In the adjacent block, a towering yet unfinished residential structure boasts as another ace for a premier real estate developer.

To imagine the number of people who would be moving in that building, to think of the couples starting a family, to watch a child about to ride his school bus, to find your aunt on the rocking chair by the window, to have your lolo take his medicine by the kitchen counter. The yayas preparing some baon or taking out the beloved canine for a walk. The drivers waiting in the lobby, or the guards making rounds on twenty or more floors. The administrative staff in their cubicles, taking in payments for electric and water consumption. Families who have breakfast in haste, room mates who study together in the afternoons, or maybe a traveler, taking a sip of wine as he watches the cars on the highway.

Within the student’s mind, a depiction of how the real estate mega-developer must be living in a life of extravagance, or how that much money would fuel a number of lifetimes. It’s a sound business. She shrugs off the thought with hope that she would too, achieve success in the next ten years.

She sets out her eyes to the east, where a mountain range furnishes the rest of the scenery. Houses dotted on the mountains made white more common than green. People here, people everywhere.

Back in the restaurant, the waitress could have passed as a mother due to the soft look in her gibbous shaped eyes. A little bit out of color, her face was emotionless. Her hands, hypothetically wrinkled from dishwashing, carried Lenore’s order, a steaming bowl of porridge. Even the Santo Nino in the corner approved of a simple merienda that afternoon.

Lenore’s eyes trailed to the triad of yellow heavy construction machines in the construction pit. She has no knowledge about engineering and marvels obsessively. How deep would they go? How would these machines return to level ground? How tall of a building will stand there? How many earthquakes can it bear? Where are they bringing the dug up soil? And speaking of soil, would it be nice if she would bring some garden soil for her aunt waiting at home? She felt silly at the thought of having too many questions.

A text message appears to bring news of a relative’s death, someone who she just had seen the past Christmas. Recalling the family genealogy, she forwards the news to other relatives. And as quick as the message was sent, drops of rain appeared on the window.

And on that serene Tuesday afternoon in January, Lenore finished her snack, ended up thinking more about time and age and family and life and death and people here, people everywhere as the drops fell on the construction site. Everyone ends up in the soil, no matter how high they built towers in their lifetime. So to make plans for the future, to make every minute count on the year when the world supposedly ends, would have to begin but with not much panic. She wondered if her overbite would ever attain a more natural alignment sooner.

(I always have a hard time ending stories. & thank you, random name generator lolz)


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