The last hours of 2013, I’m writing a story for charity, based on the music: Hymn of Faith by Jochem Weierink from the album Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines, which has been created on a theme of Hope.
The stories will be compiled into a companion e-book anthology for the album, with all proceeds going to Gawad Kalinga.
“Over 30 gifted composers hailing from 16 countries collaborated on an inspirational album, initiated by Peter Ebbinghaus to raise funds for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. All profits from the album, and companion ebook, will go to Gawad Kalinga (“give care”), supporting the efforts in distributing food and rebuilding the devastated lives and damaged cities across the Philippines. More information on the album can be found at the Soundtracks and Trailer Music site”
Here’s my story of Hope based on Hymn of Faith – Jochem Weierink :
Darkness slow and deep, I lie quiet, quiet, still, unmoving, unbreathing in a dark, sugary sleep: no pain, no joy, no sight, no sound, no taste, I remain floating, distant. It is too much, I shall not wake up, I shall stay in this cotton wool world, its soft-sleepy music lifting me up through the roof, through the banisters, the rooms up above, through the entire weight of the building, its steeple, I shall keep rising like a frothy bit of cloud.
I shall not face it, hell, I have no face to face it with. Yesterday, they told me I have to be prepared, there is not much of a face left under the bandages. I was alive, that was the main thing. He’ll come and finish me, no use these tubes and covers and kindly voices, but I don’t tell them that.
I wanted to see my face, my not-face, my face he had snatched from me. I wanted to know how much damage a cup of liquid could cause, a Venti-sized, green-and-white plastic Starbucks cup of acid slung into me, all that burning afterwards, oh the burning, the hot needles of burning in each pore of my cheek, my forehead, my throat, my breasts, my stomach. I thrashed and snatched at the bandages, so they tied my hands, for my own good, they said, and put me upon this cloud. I will stay here in this cotton-wool cloud, see them when I can open my eyes better, when my left eyelid is unglued. The important thing is, they said, you still have eyes, we can save your eyes. Now, sleep.
Two months since I lost my face. It is doing well, they said, you’ll go home next week. And don’t worry about him, he’s in jail, and he’s not coming out any time soon.
I have seen it. I’ve seen the black mask. I’ve seen one eye glued shut, and the other, unblinking pupil. I have seen my teeth, no lips, two gaping holes instead of my nose. I have seen my head, peeling strips of skin. All my blonde hair, gone. Nothing a wig and some make-up can’t fix, they said, you’ll see. I threw things at them. I threw words. Bad words. I wanted to throw the bed at them, the room.
Shush my darling, they said, hush, we’ll bring you back your face. Promise. They patted my face with creams and oils, with words and smiles, with soft looks, with the love of my parents. They brought me my dog, who recognized me. Licked my face. Tickled me. Made me laugh. Laugh. Laughter.
Look! How beautiful you look, Frieda, darling, they say, holding a mirror. I look into it, and I see their hands on my face, their laughter, their love, their tears, their sleepless nights, their hands holding mine, their starched white uniforms, their lab coats, the stethoscopes, the bedpans, the tubes, the jars of ointment. Two years.
I have eyes, I have a nose, I have lips, I have cheek, chin, throat. I have hair. Not my hair, but still, hair. The main thing is, I have a face.
I will not hide. I will face the world. I have a face to face it with, after all.
I smile. And they smile with me.
I’m beautiful, and so are they.
Signing off 2013 on a note of Hope. Hope that 2014 would be a better year. That we will all find those who give us hope, and that we’ll bring hope into other lives.
Wishing you all a Joyous 2014, full of Peace, Happiness, and Hope. Do you see Hope in 2014?