Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ichijiku: A Winter Story



It was the year 2013. After great and tragic natural calamities and disasters occurred all over the world during the end of 2012, the Philippines lost 75% of its population, leaving behind a wasteland of death. Great climate changes began to take place as the South Luzon region of the country began experiencing extreme snowfall, leading to the beginning of an ice age.

Lifestyle became hoarse and wasted for the provinces of this region. However, a lot of people from foreign countries started settling down on this country, thus giving birth to new civilizations. The province of Laguna, now dubbed by new inhabitants as Edenia, is filled with the most snow in the region. 

A little girl named Sierra Sarabande lives in Keylim, formerly Calamba. She goes to high school in the midst of the cold weather, fulfilling her deceased parents’ dream of getting a good job somewhere, even at the destruction of the country. 

Each day, she rides the jeep going to school. This school is only a few meters away from the former SM City Calamba (mall). But one day, she encounters a guy who always wore shades, and whom she would always see at the jeep she rides. She was intrigued by his presence, as if something in her heart starts to react. Though she would always deny it and keep it inside her heart, she eventually found herself always expecting him at the jeep.

But she was too afraid to ask of his name.

Later on, she found out that the guy works at a stall in a small portion of the former SM City Calamba. Even at that point, she was too afraid to ask, since people might intrigue her. But deep in her heart, she felt a strong connection to him. She felt as if she already had the keys to escape from this boring lifestyle in the ice age and live under the sun in some sort of paradise world. With these thoughts, she began to drift away from school and life itself.

Her grandmother noticed her actions, that on one night, she gave her these words:

“Paradise doesn’t exist by itself. Only you can create it.”

The next day, Sierra was very much deep in thought that she almost bumped into any object she comes across. And later on at the jeep, she almost slipped.

Luckily, that guy with the shades saved him. She never thought that they would go home at the same exact time. She thanked him in a shy way; not looking at his eyes, then ran off to the district where she belonged.

However, the next morning wasn’t very kind to her. The guy wasn’t there on the jeep. Sierra thought that maybe he’s absent or sick. Because during that time, almost everyone had either acute, moderate, or severe winter sickness that would usually display excessive coughing, cold, fever, and the like, due to the weather condition.
Sierra was in deep thought the whole day. She couldn’t focus completely on everything she does.
Later on, she decided to stop by at a shop on the way home. But on the other side of the road, there was a banner/tarpaulin of someone who died. Though feeling nervous, she quickly ran towards the place, and was greatly shocked.

It was the same guy at the jeep whom he admired and who saved her life. His name was Kouichi Nakagawa, a Japanese immigrant, and died just yesterday.

Although she was deeply hurt, she decided not to barge in and kept the matter to herself. 

The next day, she decided not to go to school, but to the mini stall where Kouichi used to work on. On her way near the highway road (which was quite deserted because of the heavy snowfall), she meets a guy in a blue jacket, with shades. Upon getting closer to him, the guy takes off his shades and tells her these words:

“Have Faith in God.”

And then he left. It was Kouichi’s spirit. It was definitely him. 

Sierra’s heart began to race as tears started to burst from her weak eyes. Then suddenly, she saw a blinding light towards the horizon. Without regret, she ran towards the light and spread out her arms, as if she was going to fly.

When she opened her eyes, she was in a completely different world. Looking back, she saw her dead body lying in the snow, and looking forward, it was a sunny paradise, with all of the people who died before and during the ice age. This was her dream. Now it’s a reality.

At a walking pace, she sees a guy under a fig tree. It was Kouichi. Sierra had no more regrets and ran towards him. 

In year 2013, a little girl proved that even small miracles can occur during great disasters and hopeless times. We are all humans who need happiness. There is no one else who can supply it to us, except ourselves.


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