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A Religious Trip

It was 12:45 in the morning. A number of people was waiting in room 15 of south bus terminal. All had their reasons to be in Bacolod. I am here to visit my brother. As the time moved closer to departure, anxiety builds up the room. There was a chorus of silent prayer for a safe trip among the passengers.

The guy sitting next to me, maybe in his forties and dressed in faded gray shirt and cargo pants, kept on packing and repacking his baggage as if like a new set of clothes are brought in every 15 minutes. While the young lady at my front, wearing a Fooda sales lady uniform, sleeps but only to wake up every 5 minutes. Perhaps she was afraid to be left by the bus.

Finally, the signal that the bus is here came in unison with the loud crack of a thunder and strong fall of heavy rain. The silent prayer by the passengers was all in vain. It would be a slippery ride home for most of us tonight. But before the bus leaves, seems like I have to fight for my seat. There was no chance that a single bus can bring 200 people back to their home. After the long line and a lot of pushing and shoving, I found a seat at the back.

All seats were taken but people kept on entering the bus, one person after another. They were hoping that  there may be enough room for homesick souls. Unfortunately the bus can only accommodate so much. The remaining passengers had no other choice but to wait for another six hours for the next bus.

Inside the bus, people were busy setting their baggage. Inside those bags and boxes were pasalubongs, proof of their labor in the city. Seems like a number of construction workers had a bountiful year. One box after another and then another. It filled the aisle. Going out would be a challenge for us seated at the back. A mother of four who was seated at the very end complained because of the inconvenience those boxes would bring to her family. Good thing the driver was smart enough to play a Christmas song.

The fear brought by the heavy rain and irritation because of the boxes subsided. In that instant everybody was bounded by the spell of the “Winter Wonderland” song. The passengers were silent, the song reminded them the reason for their journey.

Not long after, the bus started to move. There was a sense of relief but the heavy rain that was hitting the bus tells us that it would be a difficult journey and that the shelter of the bus would not be enough to save us from the fearful sound and sight of lightning. So once again the chorus of unspoken prayer lingered the bus as we listen to “Silent Night”. I then closed my eyes and let myself dream in seeing my brother. Hoping that my dreams and the song might deviate me from the fear brought by the storm.

I fell asleep and had a horrible dream. It was all black but there was a genuine macabre feeling. It was all black but there were screaming. It was all black but I  felt the ground moving and the wall pushing. My head hurt because I can’t find the reason why there’s wall in a bus. I had trouble breathing because I was in a panic for I forgot how to wake up. So I let my nightmare be and focused on the darkness instead. And then I heard the song “Silent Night” again. Alas! No more nightmare. I felt at peace.

I slept really well because for the first time I failed to read today’s headline that says –

“No Survivors on a Bus Accident”

(I wrote this when I was on a bus on my way to Bacolod. Below are some of the photos I took. It was a very safe trip by the way.)