it’s black saturday again and to be honest, i can barely remember what happened this time last year. actually, i remember smack. i don’t know what happened anymore.
right now, i’m just at the back of the crowd, leaning against the wall and casually typing away on my phone while they all devoutly listen to the priest.
everyone has candles in hand but i’m just here with my phone, tuning out the religious words. the girl child calls my attention, telling me to turn my eyes to the priest and the fire. she beckons me to get closer to the commotion but i simply stare at her before looking towards my phone once more. i don’t want to be here but i have to stay; they don’t know i’m a non-believer.
we’re all inside now, and it seems i’m one of the few without a candle. “do you want me to get you one?” someone asks but i shake my head and smile. “but we’re going to renew our baptismal vows,” they reasoned but i just shook my head. i don’t want to say things i don’t believe in.
all the lights are off, as is the usual practice during the easter vigil mass. people have their phones and flashlights out and i feel like i’m going blind. white spots dance in my vision as they enter my eyes. the stark contrast of the multitude of small lights against the darkness is hurting my eyes; it’s making my head ache. i don’t think this is the right occasion to have worn contact lenses.
what is this? my ears feel like someone stuffed them with cotton. it‘s like an airplane ride where you yawn to remove the thing in your ears. but, i’m not in a plane. i’m sitting in the first pew of the chapel, cold rising from my feet to my hands as the beginnings of a panic attack envelopes me. i feel nauseous and it’s like i’m on the brink of fainting. i crack my neck, as tension was starting to build there; but it did nothing to alleviate the heaviness.
another reader takes her place in front and the beam of her flashlight shines directly into my eyes. my heart is beating warily, sensing the panic building in my stomach. i feel hot; but not the good kind. cold wind attacks my skin and my body creates heat, trying to fight the artificial breeze the fans are making. my stomach turns, and i wonder if i’m just hungry, or about to hurl. i feel like i’m falling but i’m still sitting down. i feel out of balance but i’m steady on my feet; or at least, i think so.
i look up, wanting to tune in again so that they won’t get suspicious. but the flashlight beam is adamant; it shines straight into my eyes with no sign of stopping. behind me, another flashlight is on and the brightness still manages to reach my pupils.
“i don’t like this!” my mind screams, sending all my organs into an anxious frenzy. “me too,” i reply, dizzy. i decide to keep my head down to minimize the damage the lights are inflicting upon me. but even then, i’m not safe. even when i close my eyes, brightness taunts me through my eyelids.
i can’t wait for this to end.
31 march 2018