Asking the Question

It’s nine o’clock and I just got home. I left the school at a little after eight, feeling accomplished that I had some ninety sets of National Achievement Test review test papers stacked neatly on my desk after hours of encoding, printing, and stapling. All in a day’s work as a high school economics teacher. For dinner I had some leftover bean gruel that my colleagues had cooked for lunch. I ate it while I was checking and doodling on my students’ English activity notebooks. Dinner part two was a lone banana, the last piece sitting on the kitchen counter top, gobbled up after I got home. Before that meal, I had fed the dogs, and now, I’m cooking their food for tomorrow: a huge pot of corn rice and fish. But before feeding the dogs, I had pulled down the circuit breaker in the faculty room and locked the door. I had sighed because my back ached and I had a bad cough. But I had to go, so I used my phone as a torch and walked to the school gate, and politely said goodbye to the school guard. Then, I walked to the highway and hailed a tricycle to the market where I considered buying tocino but banished the thought when I remembered the dress I had to fit into for the prom. I rode another tricycle, and finally walked from another highway crossroad to a dark and lightless house I called home.

A little over a year ago, it was ten o’clock and I just got home in another city. It was big, noisy, often dirty. Life was faster there because people badly wanted to get to this and that someplace. But I liked the work. I was being paid to read and interpret stories from all over the internet, which I did all the time anyway when I procrastinated in college. But there was a panata, a promise to the self, that needed keeping, so I quit the work.

I am now here. It’s ten o’clock and I am thinking about the answer to a question. Why stay?

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