‘Tis the Golden Season
I flinched as a small bang! blasted out of a sudden. Dizzy from the crimson red spikes pulsing at the edges of my vision, I tried to calm myself. As my eyes adjusted, I realized that it was the third firecracker of the day. Even from inside my room, I could see the amber murmurs of the children in the air, probably running around the streets.
Excited. Enthusiastic. Happy.
I ignored the aching sting in my chest. I stared at the already spotless floor that I spent all morning scrubbing. I had cleaned every nook and cranny, and sorted every trinket or trash I could find. I continue to turn my apartment upside down, I haven’t even had the chance to lay upon my father’s altar. Still, I made a mental note that the muddy water in the glass vase is begging to be replaced. Throughout the years, the place has turned into a museum of memories – every object an echo of the past, every turn a reminder of what once was, and every space a relic never to be filled again. By the time I finished reorganizing my room, it was already dimmer, and the air felt colder. Despite my apartment resembling more of a bomb site rather than a room, it still looked blushed and golden from the recent holiday. I looked around and everything seemed different, yet the hollow hum in my chest stayed the same.
Nothing had truly changed.
Suffocated, I frantically searched for my car keys, not minding how cold the metal felt in my hands. Then I drove around without a real destination in mind. Before I knew what was happening or where I was, I had already parked and started walking thoughtlessly. I focused on the scarlet and wintergreen ripples that surrounded me as the busy market came into view. The chatter became more audible as I slowly made my way into the market bustling with life and heard their plans for the end of the week. I scanned aimlessly, looking at dotted garments and round fruits meant to be displayed. Shivering, the chilly strips of wind welcomed me, a subtle reminder that the season of joy has yet to come. I laughed, wishing to feel the sunset waves everyone seemed to be enveloped with. I rubbed my eyes hard enough to make the painted patterns disappear, but even after twenty-one years of attempting to do so, my hearing synesthesia never went away.
I longed for a time where I didn’t have to wonder what warmth and solace felt like. A time where my peculiar senses brought amaranth bliss to me and to the ones I love. A time when my father believed I could make a difference. A time when he was alive and I believed the same. Now, my soul died the very same day his body stiffened on the hospital bed. The only thing that warmed my empty vessel of a body was the liquid courage I swig ever so often.
The vibrant colors did nothing to hide the painful throb of my heart. I don’t hate that I can hear, smell, or taste the waves of pigments other people once deemed as mere hallucinations, perception always seemed like an illusion for someone with my condition. A sensory rabbit hole too difficult to ignore since the pillars of the world are built out of monotonous gray ornamentations. Against all odds, I lived a carefree life as long as I had my father by my side. He listened to my stories with nothing but pure wonder and acceptance, with eyes as vibrant as my narratives, unlike those white plank doctors who dismissed my visions as delusions. But as cruel as the dull world is, god or whoever deity runs this world took him away from me. My father. My only ally. My one true companion.
I woke up from a daze as the magenta hymns of augury started playing from the television I left open. It was no wonder how I got home as the burning sensations in my throat and gut filled me in on what I couldn’t recall. Like a ghost without memories, I glided to open the windows and lit the mini firework on my hand. Glass beads started to roll unconsciously on my face, an endless stream that showed no signs of stopping. The agonizing pain in my chest that I have ignored the whole year had started to overflow out of my eyes and lips. With one hand holding the sparkler and the other clasping at my chest, I gasped for air as the gaping hole that my father left started to feel like an abysmal depth with no end in sight. Crawling from my chest to my throat and up to my head, the technicolor shards stabbed me uncontrollably. Slowly, the voices rang louder as I turned into a tangled mess, unknotting itself as the countdown ended. Explosions of cheers painted the sky in different patterns and shapes, while I remained a delicate chaos on my knees. I stared at the handheld firework as the sparks flew despite the metallic wick falling short. Sorrow and loss engulfed me but I held onto the little hope in my soul. I cannot afford to do over, I can only look ahead and move forward.
For once, the spirit of festivity hugged me tightly.