Slowly

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1

Her a head’s a buzz with “It’s okay. It’s okay.” She couldn’t count the exact times her therapist said these words but she gets the implication. Or she tries. She takes every word and pulls it down and down until it sinks inside herself–an anchor latched unto a reef–never to be forgotten. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

2

Her mind is interrupted by the scribbled prescription. Thirty tablets. She didn’t even try doing the math in her head; she just stopped herself from walking further and pulled out the rectangular phone from her bag and taps the calculation. Big digits. She decides to buy half.

3

She placed her phone on her pocket and resumed the walk to the pharmacy. There weren’t too many people, just a bunch of men eyeing her. “Motor, maam.” She turns her head, declining. Another pair of eyes. This time there’s a hand, an open palm. An old man asking for alms.

4

She walked resolutely straight. Not giving him any harsh look, just moving forward. As if his eyes and his outstretched palms didn’t affect her. She turned left and picked up a priority number card and waited for her turn.

5

Inside her head, she’s rehearsed it. “Fifteen tablets lang.” She didn’t have to wait long. She got her medication and stuffed the change on her pant’s pocket. But she didn’t went straight to her office. Instead, she took a quick detour in a fastfood chain and bought two meals, each consisted of lumpia shanghai, fried chicken, rice and softdrinks.

6

She stopped in front of an old woman who sat on a brown carton board, her hands outstretched, her graying hair pulled in a loose bun. She handed her the packed meal.The old woman took it slowly, almost reluctantly, as if thinking, “this could be a prank.” After putting down the softdrink, she moved swiftly, crossed a street near the pharmacy where she had bought her medication.

7

She handed the last packed meal to the old man, who moments ago asked her for alms. He took the package, slowly. But unlike the old woman, he didn’t give her the same suspicious look-over. Rather, he had this thoughtful expression that bordered between grateful and surprise. She returns his look of glee, reluctantly, as if she herself didn’t expect the old man to be THAT glad. She has her reasons for doubting things, but she knew better than not to soak on that precious moment of hope.

8

“It’s okay. It’s okay.”

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