By: Aeron Plania Arador
Aeron's work beautifully highlights both the tribulations and the triumphs that arose from this pandemic. He reminds us that through the chaos of daily life, the small things are what matters most. His style of painting a picture of his experiences as well as his personification of fear itself shows us that fear is only a temporary problem. This is Fear is Here:
Fear has always been there, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right chance to drag you down into the abyss of darkness with him. For so long, he had been kept in the dark from all of us. Disregarded. Secluded. Unnoticed. But not anymore.
March 13, 2020. A Friday. I was on my way home from school when Fear opened my eyes to see the chaos the world had gotten in to. It was the day that I felt Fear had become closer to me than ever before. People wore different face masks as if ancient times had brought the plague, carrying boulders of eco-bags filled with groceries. People were calling, worried about their loved ones' well-being. I was so caught up in the hectic school work that I didn't realize Fear had already embraced the world on his arms. That was the day I saw Fear in everyone's eyes, including mine. My mother suddenly called. She was telling me that we need to get out of the city and stay at our house in the province. Throughout the call, she was trying to be calm, but her frantic breaths said it all. When we're at the bus to the way home with my mother, I went to Facebook and checked how bad the situation was. I later stumbled upon news from a reliable news page that there had been a positive case of COVID-19 in the Philippines. I found out that the patient visited some places in the Philippines before the patient was tested, including Cebu, but it wasn't stated exactly where. That news was posted a week before. I started to feel sweat all over my body. My heart was ice numb.
Then I thought, if the news was posted a week ago, that could mean that the city was already infested with the virus. During the first weeks, I stayed at home. Every member of my family was focused on the news. Everything happened so fast. I witnessed every event as it flashed before my eyes. I felt that Fear was slowly crumbling the world in his own dark hands. The nation started to go under community quarantine. Positive cases and the death toll were increasing day by day. I saw some of my fellow Filipinos begging the government to help them from hunger. We're also starting to run out of food, but gladly we utilized the fruits and vegetables planted by my grandparents. My mind was so stressed it became lethargic after a day. A month passed by. I started to drive my attention away from the pandemic.
I muted my social media, wrote some stories, and practiced singing musicals. At some point, my heart calmed. I started to appreciate the world around me. The birds' chirping was louder. Skies were brighter, seas became purer, and daily breezes became fresher. My family also became closer than ever. We played board games, watched movies together, and tried cooking some new recipes which never been more fun. We played Frisbee, which we never played before, and my little brother imitated poses from Teen Titans Go while watching, which made the whole family laugh. We went hiking in the early morning to greet the morning sun. It was a feeling of happiness I never felt for a long time. Just like Anna in Frozen said, "I wish that it could be like this all the time." This might be a bad thing to say, but COVID-19 had made me divert my attention from material things that kept me occupied all these years to the things that were more important in my life. Those days, my heart couldn't be happier. But like Elsa's reply, "It can't." A few weeks after, I went back to social media, and I saw a glimpse of hope. Frontliners were battling the virus head-on, creating probable vaccines that could terminate the pandemic once and for all. Death tolls were decreasing, and recoveries were increasing. People were finding ways to support the frontliners in the war. Someday, the pandemic will be in the history books, and Fear would once again return to the dark.