5/30 Things Before Leaving 30: Days Like This


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Have you ever had an instance in your life wherein you felt so much peace for a moment that it scared you a little bit?

It was the morning of January 25. I just finished admiring the view outside our hotel window in Tokyo: the buildings, the sky, the sight of the trains passing by. It looks amazing too at night. I took a photo of it and decided to lie down in bed, opened my Facebook and saw news about this new coronavirus from China and Taal. I’m more focused on the latter. The volcano has been causing serious threat for about 2 weeks now, and we are hoping that the worst possible things are now over because our flight back to Manila is today. When the volcano started to spew thick clouds of ash, flights were suspended for I think a day or two. We’re lucky, this trip still pushed thru. Now, vacation’s over. If Taal will continue to behave like what it has been doing for the past days, we’ll be back home by midnight, as scheduled.

This feels like in the movies. The calm before the storm. Because 9 hours later, we heard news about the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Turkey upon boarding the plane. 2 days after that, Kobe died (yes, it was a historical moment). 5 more days later, the first case of covid-19 in the country was reported. And here we are today, 2 months and 26 days after that one peaceful morning: the country has now a total of 6,259 virus positive cases with 409 deaths. And we are stuck in our homes.

I have literally put the phrase, “this feels like in the movies, the calm before the storm”, in my phone journal. I was unexplainably calm, yet uneasy. I know these two words doesn’t go well together but that’s the truth. I was calm at that moment but at the back of my mind, I was certain that something’s going to happen. I was just not sure if it’s good or bad.

I’ve had those days. Just like when I had a dream that I was playing hide and seek in my grandfather’s house and when I woke up the next day, I was told that he passed away. I don’t know what you call that but I’ve had a number of those kinds of coincidences in my life. If only I knew, I should’ve not stopped looking for “tatay” in my dream. Because even if I was so happy playing hide and seek, I never found him there.

I knew I will always look back to that morning on the 25th of January. Because having moments of peace in this crazy world is a luxury. And I was lucky I’ve had it for a few minutes. I know I will always look back on that day. Not with regret but with hope. Because just like what Van Morisson’s said in his song, “I just have to remember, there’ll be days like this.” Days to admire the view of the city, or maybe just to play hide and seek.

So hold on, self. We’ll have days like that again. 

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