Written on filipino independence day

Yesterday morning started with the alarm going off.  4:30 in the morning and it is still dark.  I fumble around and flick on the switch that julz has made out of sardine cans.  Instant light, a comfort and a luxury that is still too precious to be taken for granted.

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  I blow out the night light, the kerosine too precious to waste even for a few minutes.  I nudge my husband awake, as soon as he looks at me i bring my finger to pursed lips and look pointedly at our still sleeping son, “don’t wake him” i say without speaking useless words.  He rises quickly and goes straight into the kitchen, flicking the light on as he goes.  i know without asking that he is making me a coffee, the morning ritual so ingrained that even the prospect of a big trip into the city doesn’t sway it. The last minute packing is done franticaly as the lightening of the sky tells me that time is running out.  We drink our coffee in forced calm, discussing the trip and whats left to be done. Mackie, our friend and neighbour, is moving Rosie (our caribou) to better grazing.  He is in a nearby rice field and i yell out good morning, he asks if we would like to bring some bananas as a gift for my family in the city.  They are growing right behind him and he points them out, i yell out thankyou and i’m excited about giving them to my grandmother and brother along with some other veggies.

We get to the jeep in good time and end up waiting for a heavily pregnant woman who had been having cramps on and off throughout the night.  The weariness was on her face as she heaved herself onto the jeep, there was momentary confusion as her pregnant state shifted her place in the hierarchy.  There was a rich wife of an OFW with her young twin daughters taking up the exclusive front seats but the crowded jeep was rearranged so she could sit close behind the driver where it was more comfortable.  The exchange, being silent and mostly cultural, was entirely missed by Julz who didn’t move from his place.

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