Monday, October 22, 2007

Death at the Mall

My family and I were at the mall yesterday. We had no choice but to be there. The mall has everything we need including a much needed respite from the oppressive heat. Lately though I’m beginning to think that suffering from prickly heat is a much better ordeal than being haunted by thoughts of explosives.

The story about the bomb that tore through three stories of Glorietta 2 is still on every news program and broadsheet. Yesterday the news said that nine had died. Today, the morning news said the number had risen to 11 with close to a hundred still suffering from injuries.

While the government is busy discreetly defending itself against allegations that the explosives were taken from military supplies, some of us mourn. I may not know the people who died but somehow, their imagined personal stories fill me with misery. It is the touch of personal tragedy that has become more poignant in this story. Somewhere out there is a family without a father, mother, son or daughter. It could have been my family.

To be honest, I am selfish. I would love to die quickly any time soon so I can stop trying to live better and failing at every attempt. It’s a different story though if someone I love has to leave ahead of me. That would make life unbearable. Yesterday at the mall, I made sure I was always beside my husband and baby. In a horrible, twisted kind of way, I was thinking that if a bomb exploded, we would hopefully die together.

This is sadder than anything I’ve ever known—the feeling that you can’t live life. In the Philippines it’s not just poverty that’s stopping us anymore. These days it is also well-founded fear. Somehow, our people have become both materially and internally impoverished.

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