City of Manila
Years passed, I witnessed how people were so happy celebrating the Christmas season. I don't understand why they showed so much joy. For me, Christmas is just like a normal day. I will share blessings and I will show joy if I want to.
"Why are these people so happy knowing that another Christmas is coming," I asked myself.
9 days before Christmas and the mass at dawn has started. A lot of people are so happy about going home after the mass. It's not that I'm against it but I found their reactions too much. For me, they're just being overreacted. Well, I respect them because that's how they think about Christmas.
The night has come and the surrounding is getting cold. I heard the children singing to my neighbours. The children are doing carolling because it's part of Christmas. This is one of the things I love during this season. The happy faces of the children and their joy that captivates me.
They're outside my house while I'm standing at my door.
"Is it fine to do carolling?" They asked.
I was surprised and I smiled.
"Of course you all can."
"Just sing it well so I will give you a bigger amount of money."
They are happy with what I just said. They were murmuring to each other. It's funny seeing them getting excited about what to sing. I could hear them whispering to sing the best song they have. They're saying to each other to be serious. I just watched them being pressured what kind of song to sing.
*They started singing "Oh holy night."
I seriously listen while they're singing. I closed my eyes from time to time. I want to feel their voices and I want to understand the song clearly.
I rubbed my chest about acting like something in it. Actually, I just touched it because something in my heart was hurting. I feel emptiness.
I spaced out because I was carried away by the song. I gave them money and they were jumping with joy. The amount I gave was bigger compared to the other houses. They left and said "thank you" repeatedly. I know they were so happy. I don't mind the money as long as I am happy with it.
It's the second day of the mass before Christmas. I was asked by my neighbours to serve in the Church. I will be the first reader of the Gospel before the parish priest. Actually, I hesitated because I was shy but I didn't want to reject an offer if it's about God.
Days went off so fast and Christmas eve is coming. I'm alone at my house and unlike other households. I didn't cook food or placed wine over the tables. I'm standing outside and just sightseeing in my surroundings. Most of the people are so busy preparing food. Their children were the one being told to buy something.
One family who owned the house next door came back home from abroad. They are so happy celebrating together with their loved ones. Usually, it was just that old woman who was living there. But I was surprised when there were people inside. I could hear them shouting and laughing. I think they're just too happy being united with their mother.
A boy maybe ages 12-16 years old called me. I smiled at him as he said "Merry Christmas" and with a happy face.
I don't know how to respond to it so I took a pause.
"My grandmother invited you to eat with us."
I don't know why but it surprised me so I replied, "why?"
The boy just shows an "I don't know" expression.
I just then followed him and stood in front of their door. I'm shy to get inside because I haven't done it before. The old lady who is my neighbour pulled me.
"Don't be shy. I know you're all alone there."
I just got inside right away and felt uncomfortable being surrounded by her family.
"I saw you the other day so happy when the children sang you a Christmas song. I just thought that you loved Christmas like us."
"I decided to call you and join us."
She said with an uplifting smile.
I stopped myself from the falling tears. I thought her words and expression touched my heart. I don't know if it's about Christmas or if it's about her. I don't feel any special about Christmas if they just know.
I started eating as their party started as well. They've been doing parlour games to wait for the mass of Christmas eve. The mass will happen for 10 in the evening and will finish at 12. When this time comes we will be able to meet the birth of Jesus. That's part of our tradition long ago but it made me confused why I don't feel anything about it. I remember when I was a child I was so happy during this season. But now--.
"Will you have this sock, sir?"
A child startled me when he handed me the red sock. They are playing but I don't know how to join in because I was imagining how I was before.
I stared at the sock so long. Memories are flashing but just unclear. It's unclear but I am feeling sad all of a sudden. My chest is getting heavier as my heart feels in pain.
"What is this?" I whispered.
I continue to force myself to remember those memories. I asked permission to go home to all of them. I said I'm not feeling well. I lied. I actually need to be alone.
" Father, it's Santa. Santa just smiled at me."
"Yes, son. Santa is here because of Christmas."
"John, Jay, let's eat so that we can attend the mass. It's Jesus Christ's birthday and we should be at the Church to meet the day of his birth."
"Yes Jay. Let's eat because there will be angels in the sky and Santa will be there as well."
Jay was a 5-year old boy who really loves Christmas. He was influenced by his parents who love Christmas so much as well. His parents were giving a gift to the children. They also attended a Church event. Their house was full of Christmas lights and decors.
The tragedy came into this family. When they were walking to go to Church. The wife of John carried their son. They were singing Christmas songs and greeted the people "merry Christmas." They were so happy and excited to attend the mass.
Their son pointed with his finger the children wearing angel suits at the back of the Church.
"Father….Father…it's the angel---"
*The lights blinded John's eyesight. When he could see clearly the people were shouting. His wife and son faded in front of his sight. The sound of a car drifting was the last sound he heard.
A car crashes into a house's wall. He found his wife near to the car covered with blood and fainted. He called for help as he ran towards his family. Tears were raining. He couldn't go on in his life seeing his wife and son lying on the ground.*
He kept calling his wife and son's name but didn't answer. He went into the hospital but they're dead on arrival. The doctor just shook his head because there's nothing he could do for it.
John has the saddest Christmas in his life. He felt disappointed after what he did. He was so devoted and yet this happened to him. He couldn't accept his loss. Who would be?
The pain was making him crazy. The loneliness of his family was killing him. The feeling of missing his family triggered him to kill himself. He committed suicide because the pain was too much. He couldn't bear the pain. It was too much for him to handle.
"That was me and that was my memory."
I cried remembering my past. I was wondering why I didn't feel special about Christmas.
"So I got amnesia after I jumped into the bridge. I remember everything now."
I cry and cry remembering my family. Tears endlessly falling. I cherish the memories I had with them. I squeezed my brain to remember it all even if it kills me. I must remember them and I must recall the feelings I had with them.
The pain is coming back as the happiness I felt with my family returned. It's painful indeed but I must treasure it. They were the best things that happened in my life.
The chilling feeling during Christmas is at my heart again. Although the pain is devouring it. I will endure it and celebrate my memories with them today's Christmas eve.
"I will visit them tomorrow at their grave."
I said to myself while walking towards the Church. It's like the incident that happened to me 5 years ago was fresh. The happy faces of my family are so vivid. I became emotional as I saw the children wearing angels at the back of the Church. I couldn't help it but cry with no sound. Only the tears fell to the ground.
I was surprised when my neighbour greeted me. She's the old lady who invited me to their house to join them.
"I'm happy to see you back now."
She smiled at me and I cried out. This time the sound came out. She cared for me by just watching from the next door.
I replied to her with a smile. My voice was shaking because I cried. Her grandchildren who are just small came at me.
"Merry Christmas, mister."
They greeted me and hugged me.
I certify that my entry to the The Ink Well Writing Prize is my own original work and has been published exclusively to The Ink Well and my Hive profile. I understand that my entry may be excluded from the Writing Prize if I have not met the Rules of Entry and the Community Rules. The Ink Well and the Writing Prize is supported by the @ocd Communities Incubation Programme and the @curie curation initiative.