My grandparents lived on a hill in an island, and to get there we had to ride a ferry boat, drive several miles to get to the bottom of the hill, and hike up the path to their house on foot. As kids, it was quite an adventure. As adults, it was literally painful–sore legs, achy backs, and numb arms from carrying whiny kids who refused to use their own feet.
But as soon as we’d get to the top, the view of the ocean and the coconut trees waving their fronds at us was breathtaking. It was worth the climb and the sweat and tears.
My grandpa owned several animals: dogs, roosters, chickens a-plenty and their little chicks, geese and goslings, ducks, pigs, a cow, a carabao (water buffalo in the Philippines), goats, and of course, his pet monkey. Who needs a zoo, right? We loved it there.
I could probably tell you a million-and-one stories of our adventures, but I will only tell you one today. My siblings and I witnessed the birthing of three little kids plus one–a runt. Sure we were seeing one of the miracles of life happening right before our very eyes, and yes we didn’t care for the gross details of it, but we were more focused on the baby goats and the idea of “owning and naming” them. We couldn’t actually take them home with us–my mother would’ve had a big fit. But we were ecstatic when Grandpa said we could pick our favorites. So naturally, we fought over the prettiest, or the biggest, and no one wanted the runt, which was scrawny, covered in slimy goo, and was quivering on its four thin legs. When my younger siblings started fighting, I, being older than the rest of them nitpicky lot, took the runt for myself and named it after me. Yes, I did. I was feeling sorry for myself, I believe. Poor little Cherie! (the goat, not me.)
Our squabbles over, we ran around like wild ducklings and chased each other until it was time to go home. Down the hill, back to the dock, across the sea, and more driving–at which point, we were probably snoring in the backseat of my dad’s car.
A few weeks later, we went to visit our grandparents. This time, high excitement ruled the day at the prospect of seeing our goat counterparts (yes, the siblings were copycats and also named their goats after themselves) having grown a little bit bigger. Would they remember us? Would Grandpa let us play with them?
At the top of the hill, we learned the truth. A snake had eaten the kids. Only one survived. And that was poor little Cherie, who was probably too slow to keep up with the others and thus escaped their fate.
*closes story book*
What? You’re waiting for the moral of the story? Good grief people, must I do everything here?
Oh, alright. Here it comes.
We, unpublished writers, cramming in our hectic days and sleepless nights into a Word document filled with dreams and sighs and longing….
We, of the unseen, unacknowledged lot who squint at the screen with blurry eyes, with fingers cramped from typing, and not getting a darn thing for all this work we’re doing….
We, who keep on writing because to stop would be to carve out our souls, like Jack o’lanterns come Hallow’s Eve left hollow and empty on doorsteps, our grinning faces plastered on for the world to see while we die…slowly die and rot inside.
We are the runts who watch from the sidelines, biding our time because we know. We are survivors of countless heartaches enveloped in standard rejection forms. We are survivors because we stand on quivering legs and keep on standing.
We are artists who dare to dream. For in dreaming, we live and create life. This is who we are and we do not forget.
Our journey is our own–whether through vast waters of staggering depths, or steep hills under the scorching sun, we keep on moving. We meet kindred souls belaboring under their own struggles, and when we look at them we see mirrors. A thousand faces, beating under one heart.
Words skitter from our minds into paper, ink spills oozing black and red…our bloodline.
Soon, soon we will reach the top and the coconut fronds will meet us, greet us like old friends. We will triumph and feel, here…here is where we belong.
We are writers.
To all writers, cheers! Never stop dreaming.
P.S. I just want to thank Carissa for handing me another Versatile Blogger Award. You are awesome, sistah!