by Izrahmae Suico (The Philippines)
Audio: "Four," read by Izrahmae Suico
A falling star taught her how to wish, but a falling star apple trunk taught her something else. What that is, she still doesn't know, even now. It can only be felt.
It was a windy day, with the sober smell of threatening rain. It was also the season of the star apples. The trees’ double-faced leaves flap in all directions, turning and resisting and letting. And what else turns in the season of the star apple, you ask? It was the girl, turning four.
She had with her a younger cousin, who followed her wherever she went. And it was fun sitting on a makeshift bench alongside the flowerless bougainvillea, eating star apples and sugary star breads.
Her uncle, the cousin’s father, was far across the front yard’s outhouse when the wind caused the hovering trees to break a fat trunk. It cackled first, like a fighter’s knuckles readying for a fracas, before falling sideways towards the girls.
The younger cousin quickly hopped off the bench and was carried by her father to safety. She, on the other hand, struggled to wear her slippers. And the trunk dropped.
She wouldn’t tell you it hurt, because it didn’t. It was mesmerizing, in fact, to look up and have the sky’s sullen light vanish as a firm shadow instantaneously covered the spectrum of her sight. If only somebody else could see how the leaves trailed behind; it must have been a real falling star.
And would anyone believe she saw it in slow motion—the way the trunk broke into two before her, and how she saw slivers of light in the gaps between the cluster of leaves that followed? The ground caught her, too, although softly. She would later know it was because a bed of leaves formed at her back as she descended. She stayed unmoving for a while, awake and unusually comfortable. Her uncle nudged the leaves away, lifted her, and brought her inside the house.
“Por dios, por santo!” Her grandmother mumbled over and over, feeling every body part before shaking her granddaughter’s shoulders and finally kissing her forehead.
“Por dios, por santo!”
As it turned out, she only got a long slash on her right thigh. Nothing else hurt, until her grandmother wiped it with a warm cloth. There, she cried.
Izrahmae Suico, age 17, is a senior high school student from Bohol, Philippines. Growing up with her grandparents, her earliest memories consist of kid parties and rural life. This piece is an account of one of her experiences as a child.
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5/17/22, 4:27 PM
5/16/22, 11:40 AM
I am waiting with anxiety what does she doesto fight back these things which are very complicate to handle for a teenager...... I am Very anxious because I am in the same situation..... So I want to know what will she do.....
5/15/22, 3:16 PM
This is such a wonderful piece. I love it so much!
Rain Wind Thunderstorm
5/13/22, 10:46 AM
You are really good at writing. And at such a young age! If you don't mind me saying so, your writing style is warm and cozy. And also at the same time, very deep, meaningful and relatable. I especially loved the "The Reflection" part.
5/13/22, 9:28 AM
I really wanna know what does she does to fight back these things which are hard to handle for a teenager.
5/11/22, 2:37 PM
I loved every word of this. Maybe because I am relating too hard. I hardly possess any of the love or filial piety I am expected to have towards my family. I am dubious of anything my grandmother says to me and have long learned to just swallow it all with a smile though I question how much I know. And. Just. Knowing. That you will be forgotten by your extended family for the rest of the year but still held up to their expectations. Thank you for writing this! I'll always remember a beautiful #ownvoices story :).
5/10/22, 6:57 AM
I really am curious about how she is gonna fight this situation and will she be able to fulfill her dreams which she once had
5/6/22, 2:03 PM
Ooh I really love this! What a great ending too. Fellow students, we've got this!
5/6/22, 1:53 PM
I love this piece so much. Novels and writing rarely makes me cry, but this was just too relatable.
5/6/22, 1:51 PM
This was so beautiful, and created such a detailed image in my mind!
5/6/22, 11:35 AM
I thought that was a truly insightful piece. As a teen writer myself, your words were a refreshing reminder of the meaning behind adolescence. Thank you for bringing your writing into the world, and hope to see more of it soon.