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Bedoor Bluemoon

Everyday writing to expose the soul

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The Lie That is Brown Sugar

brown white sugar

Lately, people are becoming more nutritionally conscious and care about what goes into their bodies.  This isn’t to say that we never cared before, it’s just that nowadays the overall direction of people is towards healthy living and green diets, therefore our trending hashtag is #healthyliving.

Restaurants (specifically fast food) are requested  and maybe even obliged to supply their customers with the calories and nutritional information each item on their menu contains.  Some also altered their menus to provide health conscious customers with a variety of items to choose from such as lean meat brown pasta with tomato sauce instead of pepperoni pizza.  Ingredients like quinoa, kale, and edamame are suddenly popping up in menus and markets for people to buy.

Also interestingly, some people are religiously defending the idea that human beings are not supposed to consume cow’s milk after the age of three.  It is said that cow’s milk is custom designed for calves and humans could actually lose their calcium by drinking cow’s milk.  Instead, we humans can substitute it with almond or soy milk because almond and soy milk are not custom designed for almond and soy babies.

The other day I asked my husband to get some brown sugar cubes because we were running out.  He got a pack of white sugar and a pack of brown sugar cubes stating that there is no difference in the nutrition facts on the packs and that I should compare them.  I chose to consider his comment later on because if what he said was true it would mean that one of the pillars of my beliefs would be susceptible to questioning and there’s never a good time for that.  So instead, I took his word for it and a few days later I googled “what is the difference between brown and white sugar.”  Surprisingly, google laughed out loud and answered nothing much.

What I reached in my research is the following:

1- White sugar is more processed than brown sugar

2- Brown sugar contains molasses and thus tastes a bit different

3- Brown sugar has bigger crystals

4- Brown sugar looks more organic

5- Nutritional value of brown sugar is slightly more than white but not significant enough for it to be measured

So what now?  Should I start questioning the cow’s milk?  Should I start questioning brown vs white rice, brown vs white bread, and brown vs. white eggs?  Should there even be a difference if we are vouching for equality?

So the lie that is brown sugar has finally been revealed.  The next time you see someone choose brown sugar instead of white to sweeten their drink, chuckle a little inside and let them be.  Their perceptions could make a difference as per the placebo effect (the sugar pill experiment where a group of people were given real medicine and another group were given sugar pills and had similar results in their treatment.)  It is the importance of beliefs and obviously nutritional values are on top of people’s lists these days.  It’s a great way of opening new business opportunities, I tell you.

Advice to your Younger Self

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A few days ago I was feeling nostalgic and the question, ‘what advice would you give yourself’ popped into my mind so I posted it on my Instagram.  I got one reply only.  I was expecting people to interact with my question given its severity and depth but, apparently, people are just like me: we choose not to think of this.

Why is that? Because it would mean that we have regrets in our lives and the more you dig into the ‘what ifs’ the more you will end up feeling like you should have known better.

Yes, you should have known better but this is you today comparing yourself to you back then.  You didn’t reach where you are today nor who you are without being that pimple faced lost teenager who doesn’t know better. The journey of being who you are started with that weirdo you once were and its alright.

Let’s go back to the question: what advice would you give your younger self? Would it be related to your health, wealth, social status, or what?  The advice, in my opinion, would probably be something that is aching you today, making you lose sleep and which still feels painfully real. So your advice is basically the issue in your life. You know when people say ‘he’s got issues?’ This is the ‘issue’ they’re referring to.

For me, till this day, I choose not to answer this question. I am too scared to look inside my soul and search for the thing that makes me ache but which, interestingly, is what makes me ‘me’. It is the thing that I know in my subconscious but act like I don’t which pushes it back even further to my inner soul and personality. I choose to coward away from looking inside, from choosing to unravel the complexity of myself. I choose to live today accepting the fact that I made mistakes and that I learned from.

Would you go back and do things differently?

If I could see what path it would lead to and I have my current blessings wih me would it be a better choice? It’s similar to a choose your own adventure book which were once so very popular. You get to make decisions in place of the character and I kept on peeking into the consequences of my decisions just to realize that it’s very rare that the book gives you a good ending so, why exchange what I have today and where I stand today for the unknown?

People who are regretting where they are and what they went through, please count your blessings. Count your blessings and know that grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side and if it is, try watering your own grass and make a difference in your life.

What advice would I give my younger self? Stop fretting and start doing. Things aren’t as complicated as they seem. Take control of your emotions and embrace them, speak up, and live.

I wonder… if pilots have performance appraisals would it include “reduce the amount of turbulence by 70%” and “make sure to speak eloquently in the microphone so passengers can understand?”

cockpit-1

Live a little-Put Your Phone Away

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Mobile phones are becoming a continuation of our bodies.  They are forever glued to our hands and our eyes are always diverted towards the screen.  Is it the fact that these smart gadgets are opening new realms and worlds through the net or are we just choosing to live our lives away from everyone?  What amazing functionality have these mobile phones given us that they are taking over our thinking and daily relationships?

Let’s take the example of the calculator in the smart phone.  Now for people who have I-phones you can imagine how easy it it to access the calculator and find out the answer you’re looking for, whether it’s 40 x 2 or 76213 x 761.  It wouldn’t matter what the mathematical problem is, you are used to using the calculator on your phone that you have become dependent on it.  I’m not sure whether or not school students today are required to actually use their brains to multiply, divide, add, and subtract or are they allowed to use their smart phones to help assist with these problems that, honestly, can be done in a shorter time period.  Whether or not the development of their brains would be affected, I cannot say, I hope someone would actually conduct a study and we can find out 20 years from now how math actually helps/does not help us at all.

We used to have our friends’ phone numbers memorized, how many numbers do you know by heart?  It’s so much easier to get your gadget (go-go-gadget) and press the name without even acknowledging that there’s a number stored or even realizing that if you’re put in a situation with a public phone you would have no idea what number to call (given that your phone’s battery is dead).

I am not against smart phones, I understand that they are helpful devices that can make our lives easier.  An example of a great application is the maps that helps you get your location and find out how to get somewhere.  Here conspiracy theorists will be glad to inform me of the dangers of smart phones and location services, having Big Brother watch, listen, and know where we are all the time.  I doubt Big Brother cares where I buy my groceries, honestly, or when I talk about my day at work.  Big Brother can probably listen to more important and interesting conversations that mine.  🙂

Relationships nowadays are being affected by the constant use of smart phones.  When you’re with your mom, dad, husband/wife, sister, brother, and child, please have the decency to put the phone away.  You do not need to see the latest trends nor do you need to hear the latest joke sent on your Whatsapp.  You do not need to read the latest news about your favorite star nor do you need to look through the Instagram pictures of food, how to lose weight, latest fashion trends, or the bombardment of advertisements that just waste time.  And no, you do not need to hear every single snap from our fellow bloggers; their lives only seems interesting because this is the part of their lives that they choose to show you.

So instead of watching other people’s lives, try living yours.  Stop comparing your days to that of others, you don’t need to eat out everyday nor do you need to take pictures of your dinner if it’s just fish and chips.  You do not need to hang on every single word coming from strangers because it’s not important.  Think: what is important?  Will I DIE if I miss out on today’s Snapchat?  Is it your choice to watch someone’s day instead of living yours?  What kind of relationship will we have with our friends and family if we are too busy to listen?  How often have you put the phone down, kept it on silent, or stashed it away for a couple of hours just to spend time with others?

What matters most?

Who matters most?

Use your senses.  Use your eyes to capture memories, you have enough pictures already.  Live in the moment and cherish it in your heart.  Be there for your child when he/she speaks to you; give them your undivided attention because they’re worth it.  What use would pictures be when you’ve spent the last few years of your life using the smart phone instead of talking to your sick parent?  What use would it be if you weren’t really there to hold their hands and look into their eyes?  What use would it be if you aren’t saving and hanging onto every word they say?  What use would it be if your husband/wife feels neglected because you choose to play your candy crush game before going to bed every night instead of talking about your fears and dreams while you hold each other?

Use your senses.  Use your brains, accept your feelings, live your life and enjoy it.

What matters most?  Who matters most?

Fashion Forward or Backward?

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Image found on http://kikiochii.deviantart.com/art/Fashion-Sketches-1-4-134403761

At a certain age, we are all sucked into the idea of fashion and what is fashionable vs. what is not.  I remember my first interaction with fashion was in the 7th grade when bell-bottoms were a hit.  I had to beg my mother to get me a pair of, interestingly, cotton bell-bottoms and I was so happy wearing them on the free dress day in school. Back then, I didn’t get what was fashionable through the internet but through girls at school who probably got their fashion ideas from their parents or other sources such as magazines.  At then, I never questioned the “in” girls, I just wanted to be “in”.

Or basically, not be “out”.

The next fashion statement we had in school were the Docs:  Dr. Martens shoes.  For those of you who don’t know what those shoes are, you can google them online and imagine little girls and boys wearing the boots version to school in very hot weather.  It wasn’t the prettiest sight but no-one questioned fashion.  In addition, they cost a lot of money but who was I to question them?

We grew older and realized that the “in” girls and boys weren’t as “cool” or “hot” or whatever word in currently used by this generation to show how hip a person is.  I started not caring when they were wearing skirts instead of the boring serious uniform pants I chose because I started realizing who I was.  By the way, even books were in or out of fashion so at that stage everyone was the same which really isn’t what school should be about.

Now this makes me wonder why our teachers weren’t so keen at making us understand that individualism was important and that each and every one of us is unique in a certain way?  Aren’t teachers supposed to be our mentors who would guide us into understanding life better?  What about our volleyball/basketball/soccer coaches?  Weren’t they supposed to be closer?  What about the counselor?  Shouldn’t he/she help us go through the difficult time when we were all lost teenagers?

Well, I stayed away from fashion and the cabbage patch dolls and chose to pursue other matters.  I realized that it doesn’t really matter what you wear as long as you’re fine with it and accepting it.  You won’t see me wearing something out of this world but I can say that I have always dressed decently to never look back at a photo and cringe.

You know those photos, don’t you?  The ones where you want to scream at your younger self “what are you thinking?!?!”  Well, I do have some pictures with black lipstick but never again will I make that mistake.

Benjamin Franklin said, “eat what you like, but dress for other people.”  I completely agree if people are normal and don’t come up with insane ideas.  This will probably get me hated by many fashionistas who make a living by trying on, checking out, assessing, blogging (seriously I don’t know what they do but I’m sure it’s important because who am I to disrespect their work).  Alright, yes fashion designers come up with some insane ideas sometimes but I think it’s society and the “in” girls who make it a trend.

Who is today’s fashion icon?

For example, a few years ago eyebrows were ridiculously thin that you could draw them using the eyebrow pencil.  Next, eyebrows were cut in half where the outside half would be removed because, apparently, girls only need half an eyebrow.  This was the “Chinese eyebrow” phase.  Nowadays, eyebrows are thick but shapely.  Interesting what people do to waste their time.

How much blusher is just enough?  What’s up with the makeup contouring nowadays, we never had a problem with how our faces looked without it all those years, so why do we need to look sculpted all of a sudden?

Now comes the serious part.  If you were invited to a birthday party with people you know are better dressed or more fashionably dressed than you, accessorizing and making sure all their bling was evident to the eyes of the beholder, and you were a mere guest, would you have the guts to dress the way you want?  In our society, many women are covered so if you were a covered woman and were invited to a party with uncovered women (which is very normal), would you be expected to change the way you dress?

And do you allow fashion to take up a lot of your time?  If so, why?  Does it really matter what you wear or how happy you really are?  Where is YOUR point on the spectrum of fashionable-unfashionable?  Where are you content with yourself and not ridiculed by others.  Image is important, but how important is it?

اللبؤة

lioness

عودي اليّ بعد يومكِ الطويل

وتقمّصكِ دور اللبؤة

تدافع عن صغارها وتجول في الاماكن

متيقضة، غامضة، وجاهزة للانقضاض

عودي اليّ واسدلي بشعركِ المسجون

اعتقيه من لفتّه الضاغطة

ودعيه يتمايل على ظهرك بتموّجه

دعيه يرتطم على صدري

كالبحر الغاضب

ودعيه يشعر بأناملي تحدّثه

وتسرد أخبار يومي المجنون

فأنا أتوق إلى الجلوس مع شعرك

لأخفي في طيّاته الكثير

 

عودي اليّ بعد يومكِ الطويل

وتقمّصك دور اللبؤة

اعيدي مخالبك إلى الدولاب

وامسحي وجههك الباهت من التعب

وضعي مساحيق الحب وائتني… قطة

تمشي باستحياء بثوبها المخملي

ائتني لأزيح همّك بابتسامة شكر

وأريح بالك بحلول منطقية

وأكون جبلا صامدا يحميك

لكيلا تكوني لي لبؤة

فهذا الدور لا يناسب عشّنا الصغير

كوني للناس لبؤة

وكوني لي… أنتِ

طفل سوريا

image

لا تشح بوجهك عني

انظر ما اصبح من حالي

كنت في بلدي البسيطُ

طفلٌ يلعبْ، ولا يبالي

حالتي، نعم، لم تسرُّ

ولكن امي كانت قبالي

تقبّلني كلَّ يومٍ

ارتمي دوماً في الأحضانِ

تُلبسني احمر او اخضرْ

تشتري كلُّ ما في بالي

كنتُ مدلَّلٌ محبوبٌ

تَعَبَتْ لتوفِّر كلُّ آمالي

ويوماً سَمِعْتُ أنّ الحربَ

جائَت لِتسرِقَ كلُّ ما لي

أصبَحَتْ امي كالمجنونة

مصدومة بهالاحوالِ

ولا زِلتُ العبْ وأرقص

فما الداعي لكل قتالِ؟

مطمئنٌ كنتُ كلّ ليلة

العب، أرضع، فأنامِ

وتبقى امي ساهرةً

تضرِبُ اخماسٍ واسداسِ

كأنها علمت بأن الموتَ

سَيُخلِّد يوماً أنفاسي

وجاء ذا اليوم المشؤومُ

انقلبت كلُّ حساباتي

لن اكبرَ وأصبح طبيبا

سأكونُ عَبْرةَ الجيّاشِ

احضنّي يا بحر، احضنّي

لن اري قلمْ او كرّاسِ

سلامٌ لك يا كُرَتي

سلامٌ يا كلّ النَّاسِ

فها أنا ذا الطفلُ البسيطُ

افضحُ نوايا ذوي الكراسي

خيالُ طفلٍ على شاطئ

مات، ومات الإحساسِ

Little Wonder Boy

mom and son

You know the less fortunate people you see working as cleaners or housemaids or who are sometimes still looking for a job?  Those people who you act like you don’t see and feel a bit awkward when you have eye contact with them? People who are always in front of you but you choose not to see them and you walk past them like they don’t exist? Well, I hate to break it to you but if you close your eyes they will still be there.  They will continue to be part of the reality you choose to ignore.  They are not part of a TV show so you can change the channel, neither are they aliens you can send back to their planet.  They are real.

By now, some readers may have closed the window and others will be skimming through really quickly and remembering something important they suddenly have to do.  Some will just feel bad and look for a charity that basically has nothing to do with poor people and contribute by buying tickets to their expensive dinner where they will “feed the homeless” by serving canapes and a few drinks.

Well, from someone who can speak for the less unfortunate, I would like to say please keep your charity money and your feelings of being superior to yourself.  These people who you consider substandard are a part of a reality you don’t understand.  You are forgetting that they come with hopes, dreams, and families.  Their dreams are similar to yours; I’m pretty sure their dreams are very far from where they stand now.

I am one of those less fortunate people.

My name is George and I grew up in one of the little poor suburbs in India.  My parents got married and when my father found out that my mom was pregnant, he was ecstatic.  Fathers around the world have a funny way of being relentless and anxious when waiting for a baby to be born.  So my mom, who was so tired with the pregnancy for nine months, was relieved when she felt her water break.

I wasn’t born easily. Like some children in the world, I took two days to finally be born.  I was immediately loved and cherished by my mother who quickly said a prayer to ensure that no harm will ever come in my way.  She held me close to her and kissed my forehead, and felt like she was complete.

By the time I was six years old, I had three sisters.  Being the eldest and a boy was the best thing that ever happened to me back home.  I was constantly fretted over, spoiled, and looked up to.  My mother would give me a glass of milk every morning before my sisters and she would pat my back saying I’m a “good boy who can do wonders.”

And that’s what I believed.

I went to school that year and would sit with my friend, Alex, and dream of our future.  I wanted to be a pilot and see the world.  I wanted to wear the uniform and fly the plane.  Alex wanted to be a surgeon.  At that age, we only knew what we were taught so our dreams were very vague.

No-one questions dreams.  They are a private part of your soul.  They consist of what you perceive yourself to currently be and what you want to be.  Sometimes dreams don’t make sense but, who are you to question them? Why were two little boys from the little suburb in India dreaming of becoming pilots and surgeons?

No-one questions.

We grew and our dreams grew.  Our family had some problems when little Gina got infected with a virus.  My father had to sell one goat to be able to afford her medication.  My mother was heartbroken so I would try to comfort her.  She would pat my back and say that I’m a “good boy who can do wonders.”

Gina didn’t survive the infection and I was mad.  If only we had enough money we could have gotten her to the city earlier.  She could have been saved by a great surgeon.  I went to Alex and made him promise that he will be a great surgeon someday and help poor people.  I cried and he promised that he will try his best.

So the next year in school, Alex and I worked harder and got better grades.  We wanted to get scholarships and continue to get our diplomas then maybe we can achieve what we dreamed of.  Alex’s father passed away and he had to leave school to work in the farm.  He was also the eldest child and all responsibilities lay on him.  I didn’t care for my grades anymore, he was the surgeon and I was the pilot who will take him around the world to help patients.  The night Alex’s father died, Alex’s dreams also died.

I graduated from high school.  The “good boy who can do wonders” was finally ready to face the world.  My grades weren’t high enough to continue studying just yet but I was ready to work.  I booked a ticket to go to Mumbai where my uncle will help me look for a job and I was so proud!  My sisters looked at me like their savior; Lana asked me to get her some Gulab Jamun as soon as I get paid and Tatinka asked for some money to get her new shoes.  You see, she always got Lana’s hand-me-down shoes and they were worn out by the time she got them.

I promised them both then went to my mom for her blessings.  She hugged me and gave me a pat on the back, saying how proud she was of her “good boy who can do wonders” and prayed for my safety.  She gave me my packed lunch and waved good bye as my father and I started walking to the bus station.

On the way, my father told me that I should listen to my uncle, that I should trust him fully and he will show me the best way to get to my dreams.  His eyes were teary as he told me how hard life is and how we sometimes need to sacrifice things to live.  He told me how hard it was all these years to afford all the expenses of keeping a family and how hard he worked.  We reached the bus stop and the bus was driving up to us.  I thanked him for his advise, asked for his blessings, and went on my way.

On the bus, I dreamed.  I dreamed of being the best pilot.  Of wearing the uniform, of flying from country to country and meeting different people.  It was the closest I have ever been to my dreams and I could almost taste the happiness of achieving it.

I reached Mumbai and saw my uncle.  It wasn’t what I expected.  Everything was so fast paced and everyone seemed to be in a hurry.  We stayed in a flat with seven other men and would barely have enough space to cook and eat.  I lived in that flat for six months, missing my mother and father, missing Tatinka and  Lana.  But mostly, I missed Alex.  I knew that Alex would find a way to get to our dreams.

But where was Alex?

So by the seventh month, my uncle took me to a recruitment agency.  He told me that there was hope for my employment.  It was a small office with a man sitting behind his table, smoking.  He looked down at me and tapped his fingers on the table while my uncle answered all his questions humbly.

“Is this him?” he asked.

“Yes,” My uncle replied,

“200 rupees”

“Oh, Thank you very much, sir, thank you”

The next thing I knew, I was signing employment papers.  I didn’t quite understand why my uncle had to pay him for my employment.  I can be employed based on my skills and knowledge.  I am, after all, the “good boy who can do wonders.”  I knew I will be employed in a foreign country and my heart skipped a beat: I will finally be in a plane!  I will finally see how a plane flies, and I will meet the pilot.  I was truly getting closer to my dream.

A week later, my uncle took me to my family for a quick visit because I won’t be able to see them for the upcoming two years.  I cried, my mother said she can’t wait to see me again and wanted to get me married as soon as I got back.  Tatinka and Lana made me promise to call them everyday and were envious.  My father looked content.  He told me that I finally understood my duties and he is proud of the man I’ve become.

And before I left, my mom gave me a pat on the back and called me her “good boy who can do wonders.”

I left home with my dreams packed away with my lunch.  I looked forward to this trip all my life.  I thought of Alex who was covered in soil as he wished me farewell.  He said he will try to come along but his mother found him a good wife and he will be wed next month.  I knew he gave up on his dreams when I looked into his sad eyes.

When I reached my destination, I was shocked.  I didn’t meet the pilot.  I was shoved around like a piece of nothingness when I stood in the middle of the airport in awe.  I was screamed at, scolded, and looked down at when I sat down to eat my lunch.  I didn’t know why people were so mean.

And when I got to the country I was employed in, my dreams shattered.

I was apparently employed as a construction worker.  That night I couldn’t sleep in the shared accommodation.  I missed my old life.  I missed when Alex and I dreamed.  Then it hit me.  Everything my father said was true.  He never said I was going to be a pilot.  He never said life was easy.  He never lied.  I just never listened.

It’s ironic how the “good boy who can do wonders” ends up being a construction worker in a faraway country.  It’s ironic how climbing on top of buildings is the closest I will ever get to flying.  I was tired, homesick, and heartbroken.

I cried…

Then I heard a little voice next to me “pssst… are you okay?  What’s your name?”

“George,” I answered

“I’m Jon.  What’s wrong?”

“I never thought I’d work in construction.  I had big dreams for myself.  Didn’t you?”

Jon snickered,” I wanted to be an engineer.  You?”

“Pilot”

Fear, Terror, and Disbelief

Residents-in-Cebu-City

It was like any other day for Kevin as he sat at his desk entering the sales numbers with his mind wandering off to the weekend. He would sleep in for a couple of hours before taking the girls out to their friend’s birthday party.  He wanted to spend time with them since he gets home very late during the week and they’re already in bed, sleeping peacefully.  He knew that someday he would regret not being there.  He grew up in a home where his father was also never available, just trying to make a good life for the family.  Now he was doing the same and feels guilty because he knows the consequences.  He knows that they will forever wonder whether or not he loved them and will always come to the conclusion that their father loved his work more.  It was so sad to think of but he couldn’t do anything about it.  The company pays him well and without a college degree, he was thankful to have found a job like this.

What Kevin tries to do to compensate is spend as much time as he can with the girls during the weekends.  It was their time and he was always looking forward to hear about how their week was and what drastic and amazing things happened at school.  He needed to ask about the little boy who had chicken pox marks and whether or not the kids stopped calling him Leopard.  It wasn’t such a bad nickname, he thought to himself, it would actually be intriguing once he reaches high school.

Kevin was lost in thought when it happened.  It was surreal and totally unexpected.  He felt the table shake from under him for a split second.  That’s strange, he thought to himself.  He looked at his mug next to the keyboard and his mind went blank when he saw it shake.  It happened so quickly, he didn’t have the chance to digest the fact that an earthquake just hit the city.  He didn’t know what to think or feel when he saw the side of the building collapse.  It was just seconds ago when his colleague was sitting at his desk working and now the colleague, desk, and half the building was lost to nothingness.  He felt the sunlight shine through and take place of what was just florescent lights.

He froze.

Then everyone screamed.

It was mayhem.  Everyone was running around screaming like headless chickens, with their minds totally dysfunctional.  He stood in awe, frozen and blank.  Come on, Kevin, MOVE!  His friend said, pushing him towards the door.  He starting running.  Where should I go?  What just happened?  He wondered.  Stairs.  I must get to the stairs.  Yes, that’s where everyone seems to be going.

He followed the group to the stairs and started walking down.  They reached the third floor and the person in front halted suddenly.  There were no stairs.  Wreckage covered the steps and everyone was panicking.

“What shall we do?!”  Someone screamed.

We have to get out before the building collapses!  Half of it is already gone, I don’t think it can stay up with half of it gone.

Dan?  Have you seen Dan?  Dan! DAN!

Kevin was concentrating on finding a way around the rubble.  Help me up, try to push me up.  We don’t have to go around it, we can go over.

They started pushing each other over the wreckage.  Shoes were discarded, clothes were covered in dust, faces were distressed and alarmed, and Kevin had one thought on his mind: his family.

The people in the building barely made it out in time before they felt another earthquake.  The aftershock, he thought, I remember teaching Laura about it last year.

He started running towards the havoc that was once a very normal and fairly quiet street.  He looked up at the building, it was cracked open like an egg with one half on the ground.  He heard screams coming from under the rubble and he saw his coworker run towards the screams. Dan!  He heard her scream.  Dan! She was covered in grey dust but continued to look for Dan.

I must look for my family, Kevin thought.

He looked for his car keys and realized that he left them in the office.  He looked at the roads  and decided he couldn’t have used the car anyway.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  The earthquake was over but the it was still the beginning for him.

He ran towards the school.  He didn’t want to think of the possibility that something happened to his wife.  He wanted to believe that she was fine and she was also thinking of their daughters.  She would be running to the school too.  He thought to himself.  Mindy’s fine, she’s a strong woman.  I’ll meet her there. 

The school was worse than his office building.  He heard the children cries from a distance and the teachers trying to calm them down with worried voices.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  The paramedics were rushing in and trying to get everyone seated and teachers were counting and recounting the students.  Ms. Addison from the administration was running as fast as her little feet would take her with papers.  She went from one teacher to the next handing them out: they were the attendance sheet.  Great, Kevin thought, I can find my girls.

Ms. Addison, he said, jogging by her side.  Would you happen to know which class my girls are in?  Where can I find them? She apologized for not being to help and muttered something that sounded like a little prayer under her breath.  He looked at the children’s faces just in case he sees someone he recognizes.  Then he saw them.  Two little girls huddled under a tree with their faces buried in a hug.  He knew it was them and ran.  Laura!! Stephanie!  He screamed but they didn’t hear him.  He screamed again and they lifted their heads.  He saw tears running down both of their identical faces and felt so helpless yet relieved.

He hugged them both tightly to stop the trembling.  It’s OK, you’re alright.  We’re all alright.

It took them a few minutes to calm down.  They didn’t share what they saw nor did they talk about what they felt. Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  They just held onto one another while being carried by their dad.  Then Laura said, “is mommy OK?” ” I don’t know, I’m sure she is” Kevin answered and held onto hope.

They went over to the paramedics.  Sir, let me check the little girls, please.  The medic checked reflexes and asked them a few questions.  “All clear, sir

Could we have someone drop us home?”

“Sorry, sir, we are working as fast as we can but we can’t move any of our units, there are five kids missing.”

Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

Laura and Stephanie started crying.  It took Kevin a while to figure out that the missing children were in their class.  Leopard was one of them.  Ms. Addison came back and assigned Kevin a few children to take care of and he gladly obliged.  He never knew she would be strong in difficult situations, never knew that a person so small in size can sum up enough courage to keep people calm.  He looked into her eyes and expected to see a hero.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.

Kevin tried calling his wife but the network wasn’t working.  He thought it would probably take a few days to get it up and running.  He looked at the time, his wife should have been here by now.  He knew that she would be worried about the girls.

Then he started getting worried about her.  Really worried.

He looked over at the children and wondered where their parents were at.  Then it hit him, some of their parents might not come to get them.  Some of them might be stuck in the rubble.  He recalled the screams, Dan! Dan!  Then realized that Dan was sitting on the Eastern side of the building, the side that fell.  He realized that Dan also had a family that was worried about him.  Where is Dan now?  Where is Mindy now?

He started praying.  Praying for the parents, praying for the five missing children, praying for the loved ones, praying for his wife, praying for Dan, praying for the young and old.  He thought of the hospital and the people there.  He hoped nothing happened to the hospital.  It was a normal day, doctors had operations scheduled and could have been in the operation rooms.  What happened!?  He wondered in shock.

He looked up at the sky.  It was late afternoon and people were still scurrying.  Children weren’t crying as much: some were taken home by their parents and some just gave up and went to sleep.  He looked at his two angels who were playing with some grass.  He thought of his wife, where are you!?

It was getting late and he had to go home.  He had to check on his wife.  She could have been home and had something fall on her!  She might have been stuck all that time while he was waiting for her.

The last of the children under his supervision were picked up and he went over to the medics.  She drove them home. Throughout the way, Kevin prayed and prayed.  Trees were fallen on the ground and parts of buildings and homes were scattered across the roads.  Some people were still walking around and Kevin could hear parts of their conversations.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

They reached home.  The lights were on and the two girls were running towards the door as it was suddenly opened. He looked at the figure in the doorway and realized it wasn’t his wife.  Where’s mommy?! They asked, scared.

In the distance, he could still hear the cries of his coworker in his mind, Dan! Dan! Dan!

Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

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