(This is the bastardized version of Conrado de Quiro’s Flowers in the Rubble.)
Reading de Quiro’s take on reality just made me feel nauseated.
My heart cried for change but my head sniggered who am I kidding? The world is too big to cover all grounds, to house all street children, to feed all the empty bellies. At first, i read his craft because of his good writing style, using metaphor to get his point across. I viewed it more in the objective eye of a literary reader. But as his words started to seep through, things began to level in a more personal plane. Objectivity was tossed aside.
I hated his guts, it was official. He’s a pessimist, an idealistic prick, criticizing every public official, government policies, economic schemes that suits his folly, even department stores were not spared. I thought here’s a man who shies from popular ken to get attention. But as i read further, i felt a different stirring inside me. I couldn’t quite put my fingers on it at first. Then it became clear what was so unsettling. I hated the writer not because he was biased in his writing but because he had the audacity to tell the truth.
Truth hurts — everytime. This particular truth hit me to the core. The cold truth about the hungry children dying out there in the streets while I sleep soundly in my soft bed — orphaned lot who lost their family, innocence, trust in the humanity of mankind, and all hope that someone (anyone) will care about their plight. In this society which embraces apathy as a virtue, that truth is like a slap in the face.
He writes with raw anger at the government, he haunts the conscience of our country’s leaders who turned blind and deaf to the pleas and cries of the oppressed. My heart bled as I read, how much more he who wrote it. I admire de Quiros for being brave enough to embark on a duel with his own conscience. His writing made me feel guilty about my own lifestyle. I normally shy away from reading anything that stirs any feelings. But this book is unlike any book i’ve read.
A good novel usually leaves me by the end seeking for answers. What happens next? But this book made me ask myself what will I do next? I guess the difference lies in the fact that this book pushes you to get involved in the moment, to move out of the pages and take to the streets, do what has to be done. After i’ve put the book down, i can’t make the uneasy feeling go away. I can’t blame those people who seek for answers up in the mountains. Maybe it’s their way to appease the voice inside them, the voice that won’t let them sleep in the night, haunting their dreams, or wakes them up at midnight breaking in cold sweat. But i wont take that radical a step.
Much as my anger is raw and my chest is heaving, i have to let good reason take control. In my own way, i am waging a war against poverty. I dont want to feel guilty everytime i look at a lovely dress in a department store. Those things make me feel good about myself. But one look at the beggar sitting across the store with tattered clothes and grime-soaked feet, and all good feeling disappears. What’s left is only self-contempt. Woe to you De Quiros! You crumpled my tiny little world like a piece of badly-written poetry. Maybe i can just be like all the rest, shut my eyes and muffle those cries for help. Or i can stop reading de Quiros altogether? But that won’t solve the problem in the long run.
Woe to you de Quiros for making me feel this low about myself. But i guess only when i’m this low will i be able to have a better view of what’s really happening in the world below. From this plane, even the slight sound of a growling stomach can be defeaning. I feel helpless that i can’t row the boat of change with my bare hands, even worse, that the people in higher position, those equipped with the resources, power, and knowledge to cure this epidemic or at least treat its symptoms, are turning cold shoulders on this. I’m not the kettle here. I am as black as it can be. In fact, i’m a self-centered bitch. I only want to make this feeling of self-guilt disappear and go back to my care-free shopping days. If this is the only way to make al those asses move and do something about this epidemic, then it would do well for all of us to be a little selfish. It is not selfishness, but indifference that makes this world cold.
De Quiros deflowered me in the rubble. He assaulted me with his onslaught of ideas. All pretenses were stripped down, so i can feel his reality against my damp nakedness. He eased me down by literary techniques and aimed for penetration. His thrusts of truth shook my entire being. I will never be the same again. I don’t expect to have my naivete back. You can’t unbreak a broken hymen, but at least give me back my clothes to cover myself from this cold truth. I’m exposed, no thanks to you. But you can argue that it had to be done so that I would be more aware of how corrupt the world around me really is. I guess this is a classic case of how the end must justify the means.