A Medal for One

FEU Advocate
August 15, 2021 04:51

I took a sip from a cup filled with my night prompt, one that I learned to love a little more in the passage of time. A sip of coffee to remind me that my day is destined to be spent differently. To be honest, it does not cease my indisposition. In fact, to be mining gold while being handed rocks is so dreary that it makes me want to go back to sleep. The funny thing is, it is always the same reason that makes me do things. Oh, to think at night with a muddled mind. 

Maybe it isn’t all news of despair tonight. I got past an article about Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal! No wonder, she deserves it. In that same moment, I had the desire to uncover the answer to a question of, how long in our lives have we been taught to bear all the weight into triumph?

For a moment, I felt even more restless. Both of my eyes fell into a wink that made its own way to put me in a reverie. There, suddenly the faces of familiar people flashed in a place unfamiliar to me. I sat behind a man that seemed ironically alike and different from someone that lifts great weight. The weariness in his eyes and the affliction in his figure. Perhaps, he is vying with the struggles of life. To carry his load of passengers if not the burden of having none.

Wait! Isn’t this Mang Dado? I must have memorized him even from behind as I used to ride in his jeepney throughout the everyday traffic. I would see him frown as I hear him say, “mabagal na naman ang pasada, konti na naman ang kita.”

Is his toil merely devoted to bearing this great weight? God, it must be so heavy.

I noticed familiar faces and known images carrying different weights. One is wearing a native hat called salakot, with his hands covered with dirt and filled with crops, beside him stands another man with fists clenched onto a net full of fish, then a woman in a pair of glasses with a handful of paperwork, and even a child with an empty can that looked so heavy. 

Are they lifting such a load from day to day? God, how heavy must the weight be.

I hear an appalling rhythmic beat out of my core as I figure that I am no longer seated. Right then, I try to catch my breath -- lost in the middle of an unfamiliar place with the sound of a million footsteps. I am running along with my countrymen whose faces were covered, with their empty pockets and foodless plates. 

Painted behind every unseen appearance is a restless soul. Lawless, yet there is one thing that I can see clearly: We all have a medal. The only difference from the ones that won the Olympics -- is that ours are without recognition. 

I opened my eyes in the midst of confusion, searching for a medal nowhere to be found. The one thing that kept playing in my mind: all this time, the Olympics have started far beyond a time we all could recognize. 

- Florence Anne T. Taiño

(Illustration by Shalea Mae Minon/FEU Advocate)