Despite the bleeding soles
Your pink dress suits the Monday morning breeze—reminds me of roses inside colorful pots in the front yard that you and the children used to water every afternoon.
The plants are not awake yet; the sun is still half asleep when you flip every switch on, lighting up every space in the four-cornered room. Spiders already began stitching their webs between each frame of the presidential portraits hanging on the wall. The seats are still there, unperturbed with dust resting upon them.
The room greets you with the scent of your own perfume the moment you step in. And like the chairs, your desk was no exception to the array of dirt. You wiped it clean, making sure your classy leather handbag stays shiny. You place it next to the pile of papers you keep revising.
The slice on your index finger from the papercut you got yesterday is starting to dry. Your fingers are busy pressing every letter on the keyboard…
You did not even feel the sting.
Judging by the dark circles under your eyes, deadlines are stealing some of your sleep again, or perhaps it is because you are breastfeeding a little boy at 3 AM. You want him to wake up in your arms every day, but it’s always another child’s mother who takes him out of the crib.
You miss him every minute.
But you leave him still, to bake wisdom for the rest of your children. Setting each rim of freshly printed workbooks, ready to be taken to their doorsteps.
The clock ticks at 7 AM, you find yourself waiting for a loud clang of a rusted bell that would wake the entire surroundings and yet, earsplitting silence ensues. You miss singing the national anthem with the taste of your morning coffee lingering in your tongue. You find yourself waiting for the sounds of tiny feet racing towards the flagpole. Instead…
Young voices echo from the outside through the ajar school gate.
You spot children wearing faded red handkerchiefs as makeshift veils that shield their little faces from each other’s imprisoned breath. With rags for clothes instead of crisp white uniforms, carrying half-empty plastic sacks instead of backpacks heavier than them.
They are hunting for empty cans and bottles to trade for coins.
You turn your attention back to the glaring screen. The clicks grow louder as your fingers press the letters with renewed care. You remind yourself that deadlines are not your purpose, but rather, it is the heart-wrenching view your eyes just saw.
Distance may have stopped the whole world, but not the dedication within you. And when distance puts thorns between you and the children, even if they are as sharp as the ones on the starving roses一
You walk on those thorns.