The past year has been filled with a chasm of uncertainty. It crept into our veins as if we were living in a big world of suspended animation. The lockdown happened in March 2020. It was particularly daunting for me because I spent my 28th birthday knowing that I would wake up the next day under a serious stay-at-home mandate by the government. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months until the holidays arrived.
What was traditionally a festive Christmas season for my whole extended family was turned into a simple celebration with just a very small group of people in our bubble. That, in itself, was quite unusual. We’ve never not spent the holidays together. But seeing how my parents, aunts, and uncles are all senior citizens with various co-morbidities, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
So 2021 arrived without the usual fanfare that you would normally expect for a traditional Filipino family. For us at least, since we’re all cooped up at home still. I watched the New Year countdown on TV and thought that maybe it will be better this year. Maybe we’ll finally see that it was all worth it. All of our sacrifices, the tragic news from friends and families who have been hit hard by the pandemic, maybe it will finally make sense now.
But now I’m here writing a #BehindTheVerse post about the poem I wrote a few months back. In the aftermath of the second lockdown last March 2021, I can’t help thinking about that first line: “No one predicted we’d still be here.” Because it’s true. Who would have thought that we’d be back to square one after a year? And judging by the news, it might seem that it’s far worse than the year before.
We’re still here, still hanging on, trying to find solace in the midst of uncertainty. When you hear the news of your friends, families, and co-workers who tested positive from COVID-19, we still try to soldier on. We get on with our lives as if we’re desensitized with everything that’s happening around us. We like to think that at least we’re better than most. We still have our jobs. We’re still here, exhausted but still alive.
This poem, 2021 is a sentence, was recently published at Sledgehammer Lit. Check out their website here and see more works from their amazing contributors.