Love in the time of Haiyan

Here are short love stories that have been passed by the mouth. They are real stories about Taclobanons during and after the storm. I have written them in the character’s perspective, making it sort of fiction yet the gist of the story is still there. 

Swept away

As the flood water entered our house, I could hear the muffled cries of my kids upstairs. My wife and I were up on a table, trying to save as much furniture as we could. She passed me the DVD player while I carried it upstairs. We did this as fast as we could, the water looking like it would be at knee level. The wind roared outside, and I could feel my ears going deaf because of how strong it was.

“Check on the kids honey. Antonio may be hungry.” My wife said, painting a smile on her face. I nodded, and kissed her on the cheek.

“Antonio? Leah? Are you kids okay?” I said as I climbed the last step of the stairs.

“Papa! The water is entering our room!” Leah panicked, hugging my waist tightly. I made my way to their room, and sure enough water was slowly getting into the room because of their shattered window.

“Get into the master’s bedroom now!” I bellowed.

“Where’s Mama?” Antonio asked, his eyes wet with tears.

I ran towards the stairs as fast as I could. The water was rushing in with the wind ushering it, our door broken in half. I looked onto the spot where I left her, looking for that reassuring smile that could lift spirits. But what I only saw water raging our house with gusto.

That’s when I realized, she was gone.

Looking for her

I smiled when I woke up because I knew I’d find her today.

Left and right I would see debris and fallen trees as I made my way towards Tacloban. People were walking beside me, like zombies looking for brains. There were zipped up bodies everywhere, and my heart wretched at the possibility that she could be in one of them.

“Noel! You’re alive!” Julio made his way towards me, a smile on his face. He gestured to give me a hug, but I shook my head.

“I’m looking for Leila. Have you seen her? She said she was going back.”

Julio shook his head, then gave me a pat on the back before leaving. The streets were becoming unrecognizable because of the missing buildings as I made my way towards downtown. Some people were crying as they carried dead bodies, and some people had blood trickling down their leg. When I was near the church, I saw her walking towards the gate.

“Leila! Leila!” I grabbed her shoulder, which made her jerk towards me. “Where have you been?”

“Who are you?” 

It turned out that it wasn’t her. I said my apologies to the woman, then began to look for her again. As the sun made its way down, I felt dismayed I didn’t  find her, but tomorrow is always another day. When I saw my house I saw a newly dug grave beside it. I felt enraged that someone would bury their dead beside my house, so I marched towards the grave and intended to pull out the body. There was a cross on top of it, with a writing on it.

“Leila Montenegro”

A thousand memories flashed, the last one showing how I buried her lifeless body beside the house. I began to cry hysterically, thrashing out on her grave. Five neighbors carried me towards the house, the floors filled with mud and rain water. I thanked them, and soon fell asleep.

When morning came, I smiled to myself. I’m going to find her today.

Almost Saved

When I woke up, I saw water slowly making its way to my room. Panic began to surge through my veins, as my laptop that I placed on the floor began to float. I instantly grabbed it, along with my other things and climbed the top of the bunk bed.  I don’t know why I didn’t wake up when the storm started, as the wind seemed to be roaring to make its presence known. Since I lived in the dorm room all by myself, no one could have warned me. Haiyan began to whistle, like a scary movie about to take me.

“Help! Help!” I screamed, trying to get the attention of the others. 

The lights were off, making matters worse. My window was already shattered into pieces, and outside I could see the water rushing onto houses with force. I cringed when I saw one of the roofs flying through the sky, along with big leaves from coconut trees. The water below me began to rise, but I had no way out. Who knows how deep the water is on the first floor. I began to call out to the others again, but no one seemed to answer. I began to worry about my dorm-mates who lived in the first floor, who were heavy sleepers like me.

When I looked at the mirror that I hung on my wall, I saw my swollen eyes and red nose. I remembered how I broke up with Mike last night, with things getting nasty. I felt my eyes began to tear up again, as there was a chance that I might never see him again. Though I hated his guts, he was still my first love.

“Katy! Katy!” I must have been hallucinating, because I knew I heard his voice. “Katy where are you?”

My heart began to beat hysterically, threatening to leap out of my chest. The water was about waist level now, and I knew no one could survive coming here. Especially if they came for me. I soon saw a flashlight come through the bottom of my door as it reflected onto the water. 

“Mike! I’m in my room! Mike, I’m here!” The door flung open, and revealed a very soaked version of my supposedly ex boyfriend. The water was at his stomach level, and with the door open it made the water rise faster. 

“Come on Katy! Everyone is on the third floor!” I was about to jump onto his open arms when the water began to rise to his chest. His eyes widened, and he climbed up next to me. I immediately hugged him, forgetting for a moment that this guy was a jerk. The water continued to rise as we backed up against the wall, the cold wind entering the room. My teeth began to clatter, so he hugged me tighter.

“Some rescue huh?” He said, his voice reverberating in his chest. When I looked up he was smiling at me like an idiot, and I jokingly punched his arm. The storm still raged outside, and the water was now almost near the second bunk bed.

“What if we die here?” I asked, my voice small. 

“Then I’d be happy I died with you.”

That was the last thing I heard him say, before flood water from our window came gushing in, filling my lungs with water. My hand grabbed his with all my strength, before I blacked out.

The last story was inspired by someone telling me about people finding a body of a male and female holding hands and frozen. May all of the souls in these stories rest in peace.

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25 Replies to “Love in the time of Haiyan”

  1. My eyes teared up reading these. I know they are fiction, but they're based on real events and it's just so heart breaking.

  2. You are so talented, what a great story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm speechless. The way you wrote everything made it seem as if everything is being played out in front of me realistically. It's inspiring and sad all at the same time. may all the souls of these stories rest in peace, indeed.

  4. That's intense, and very well written!

  5. I came back to share it on Social Media. 🙂

  6. My prayer are still with all of you who lived through this awful storm. Your stories gave me goose bumps, especially the last one. I am glad there are some stories with happy endings.

  7. Tragic. You wrote these so beautifully.

  8. Such heart break in these stories. Only made more tear jerking as you realize just how true they are. <br /><br />So glad to see you are safe, but our prayers go to all those who are missing loved ones.

  9. What a hard, sad time for all of you. I feel so bad for those who did lose their loved ones. Your stories are beautiful, sad but beautiful.

  10. Your stories are so vivid and real they made me shiver. You have an awesome writing talent.

  11. Your stories are so vivid and real they made me shiver. You have an awesome writing talent.

  12. I have missed reading your posts 🙂 you really are an amazing writer!!

  13. Gosh this had me in tears.. I can even start to imagine ..

  14. Aww. What a tragic ending. I will definitely be saying a prayer for all the victims of Haiyan.

  15. What a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story. So bittersweet.

  16. I cannot imagine what everyone is going through over there. There are no words that can be said to make it better though I wish there was something I could do. I just keep praying that there are no more victims and families are reunited as quickly as possible.

  17. What a sad story at the end. It has to be eternal love to want to die with the other person. I&#39;m really happy that you&#39;re all ok though.

  18. These are all such sad stories, totally made me tear up, especially the last one 🙁

  19. R.I.P to all the people in the story! I think it is so sweet that the last story the people passed with frozen hands together. Made me think of the titanic. I am a sucker for romance!

  20. Bravo! Every time I read your stories, they tear me up inside. Such horrific events, but you are sharing your feelings and thoughts with us. Well done.

  21. All beautifully written and gives me such a feel for what everyone was going through. I did especially love the last one, although very sad.

  22. Such a sad story. I feel very lucky I&#39;ve never been through something like that.

  23. Beautiful stories! I remember hearing about them finding a body of a female and male together holding hands… so beautiful.

  24. I have always loved oral traditions because they help to preserve stories from the past that otherwise would not have been preserved. They help to teach you a lot about culture and family.

  25. How heart-wrenching these stories are. Is is sad that so many have had to face these realities!

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