The pale orange color that lit the streets of Verga Subdivision in Bunawan switched on right before the sun started to set. The doors and windows had to be shut to keep the mosquitoes out. For most kids in the neighborhood, it was time to go home. For most parents, it was time to make dinner while they listened to local news on the television. The houses I passed by had their porches lit, the owners turning their lights on for relatives on their way home. Even the shabby houses of settlers in the area were loud and bright.
Our house was not far from the highway, but I had to walk two blocks the other way around before finally going home. During the day, our house didn’t stand out. But at night, it would be lit from inside with candles. Our house—which had two storeys, a garage that could park two cars, and a closed mini shop on the front—used to be as loud and bright as other houses in the neighborhood.
I used my phone, which I’d charged to full capacity in class earlier that day, to light my way to the front door. Our doorbell was so loud it could draw the neighbors’ attention. So, I knocked until I heard footsteps that tried to be discreet in an empty house so quiet. The curtain behind the window next to the front door moved a little, a pointless move since the porch was so dark.
“It’s me, Nay,” I told my mother. The door opened and the smell of lit candles wafted to my nose.
“Nganong nagab-ihan naman sab ka?”
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