is an online magazine of the literary arts.

2 March 2003 | Vol. 3, No. 1

Isabel, The Damaged

In her dreams of November Isabel was always free. Consider: November in the district of Novaliches is the perfect medias res. The anticipation of the holidays makes the children eager for play. Earlier, and the floods found them mired indoors. Later, and they were off to the relatives and to tedious reunions.

At age 4, November for Isabel was a time to raise her eyes to the sky, to beseech rain, and go running from the house after school to catch the pre-dusk clouds turn orange.

That day, Isabel ran out of the house and was promptly hit by a speeding jeepney. The impact was terrific. The jeep was doing 80kph on a late Friday afternoon, along a narrow, newly cemented street. Isabel was thrown into the air, the ribbons in her hair coming undone, and flipped twice before landing beside a leaking fire hydrant. She came down, head first. Half her skull was shattered, her left arm twisted from the collision.

The jeepney screeched to a halt. The driver got out. He inspected the blood on the bumper, walked over to Isabel, and squatted down beside her gory mess. He ran an exhausted hand over his face.

Isabel looked up and said, "I'm sorry."

The driver smirked, nodded, and admonished her for running right out the street just like that when she knew there were cars zipping about. She should be inside. It was getting dark. It was a school day and she should be doing homework. Where the heck was she going anyway? He asked as he helped her up.

Isabel pointed to the tall wate