MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 01 May) — I was in a nightmare, I was walking and roaming a street that seemed so familiar, oh wait this is not just familiar, I know this place!
I let out a great sigh as my heart kept on breaking into small pieces. I have been kept far from this place for almost a year now, to the point I can’t even recognize it anymore, not because of the time that passed by but because of the changes, damages that happened because I kept my distance for so long.
This used to be a lively place, cars usually drove around these streets I am walking on right now, you will hear cheers and laughter of students walking their way home as street vendors call them to direct their attention to their goods. In a place not so far, you will hear a crowd cheering simultaneously with the bouncing sound of a basketball.
I continued to walk and my tears just showered down. I know this place! This used to be a place where you will see bright smiles of children enjoying a breeze as they show off their roller skate tricks.
What happened? What happened to this place! Wake me up now! This nightmare is too much! I want everything back, there is too much darkness, sadness, death and memories in this place. Wake me up now!
I closed my eyes and let the tears fall down as I felt the breeze of cold air filled with sadness touch my cheeks, hoping to wake up to that same old place I used to have.
Then here comes reality with the dagger of truth stabbing my heart, waking me up into a reality far worse than my nightmare. Now I know! There was never a nightmare, I was able to see a horror of reality, a horror that took place in our beloved land.
Reality came far worse than my nightmare! Now my heart suffers as I know now that I will have to keep my distance again, only God knows for how long but all I know is that I am scared, I am scared of that distance we will have in between, the unclear vision of the time blinds me, leaving me nothing but tears in my eyes falling endlessly.
When will I ever see you again? Seems like I will have to be far away from you again. I wonder what will you look like when time passes by. I dream that you bloom with the life we used to share.
Know that I may be far but my heart lies in you as you bear my beloveds, know that I will never give you up so just hold on. We will heal all those wounds together and that’s a promise.
You were imperfect but you were enough, you are enough for us. I’ll see you again and when that time comes that you are beside me again, I will never let you go.
Oh my dear Marawi, you are worth it! You are worth all the efforts and the tears and I will never ever give you up. I’ll see you again! and in this distance that will be between us, I will promise you that the world will see, will understand why you are our everything and why you are priceless.
Hold on dearest and be in slumber, because when you wake up I will be with you again and we will heal together. For now, rest because my fight for you is just starting and I promise you, I will not lose.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Khayriyyah Faykha Alonto Ala, 17, is a Grade 12 student at the Mindanao State University Senior High School in Marawi City. Permission granted to MindaNews to share this piece she posted on her FB page on 01 May 2018, a day after visiting their home during the Kambisita sa Marawi. Ala, who is among thousands of Marawi residents displaced by the five-month siege last year, wants to pursue Human Resource Management in college).