The Holidays for us are…
Long hours, discussions, food of varying quality and a great group of people.
Let me tell you a little secret. You might have gone to this university for several years now without knowing it. Close by the main entrance, there’s a large parking lot. Follow the short trail there, it will lead you to the music societies’ house. But behind it, there’s a hill, and if you notice, the trail continues, spiraling towards the top. At the top of the little hill, there’s a building. Do you know who uses countless hours planning, discussing, photographing, editing, and writing within its very corridors?
We don’t work here every day, but when we do, you will know it when you enter the building. Perhaps it’s the sound, of either heated debate or roaring laughter. Perhaps it’s the mood, lightened by our mysterious force. Or perhaps, it’s the people inside, who smile and radiate openness and forthcoming. I do not know. All I know is, we’re something special. Perhaps you can’t feel it, but I know for myself, and I hope it does for everyone else in that building, I feel like I’m part of something special.
The season of jolly and exams does not halter our work. Even if we’re not in the building, we still rigorously continue. We power through with caffeine, a cat on our lap, or blasting motivational music, whatever necessary to deliver.
But today, the final issue of the year, many of us are gathered here. Some of the faces are more familiar to the paper in each issue than in the corridors of the building, and nonetheless, they’re as big a part of us as any other.
We go through the final editing, arranging pictures and sentences in many ways to please the eye. We plan ahead for the next issue, discuss future arrangements. We sit next to one another, proofreading and trying to fill the silence with occasional small talk. We go off topic, ending up in a spiral of jokes which not only hurt productivity, but also our stomachs from laughing too much. We cook dinner together, some responsible for the food, some for setting whatever table can accommodate us. Both succeeding to various degrees. But whatever quality food or table, we always enjoy ourselves. Because it’s time spent together.
And that’s why we’re here, isn’t it? Of course, we want to give a little piece of ourselves, others, truth or even joy with our articles, interviews, recipes, short stories, satires, quizzes, reviews, news. But the reason we stay doing it? Perhaps some hope for fame, others experience. But I think, deep down, those of us who stay do it for the people, the laughs, the discussions, the critical point of view, the smiles.
And how could I forget.
To make one hell of a student newspaper.
In a dark cave, hidden by the forces of time, in a chasm overrun by the skeletons of history, there’s the resonating sound of tools clashing. It bounces off the walls, the crumbling ground, and the endless ceiling. The sound cannot be described as humans cannot hear it, nor has a word been invented to encapsulate its strangeness. But the sound, is that of stars being forged and painted into the constellation that may redeem Sister Fatuas’ many eons here.
Her tendrils pulsate with energy as with each stroke, they shine brighter than before. Her eyes twist and shine with excitement in their sockets as with each stroke, they transcend their restricted form. Her long, slimy tentacles breathe and vibrate with satisfaction as with each stroke, she is painting a new constellation to embellish the cosmos.
The others, they had painted the wars of gods or mortals, of conflicts of the past and resolutions of the presence, of the creation, the end, and the rebirth. But never something quite like this, so obscure, perhaps even obtuse some would say. But Sister Fatuas had finally understood. After watching and listening on so many, the realization dawned on her.
She does not need a constellation that is perfect, nor tells tales of the past and future’s endeavors, or symbolize the profound meaning the cosmos hid even deeper within its very core. No, what she needs is something which may evoke and stir the emotions of whatever creature lays eyes on it. A painting which may suggest a hundred meanings, or a thousand conclusions, yet none are right, and none are wrong.
Just like what the Holidays were to the humans, Sister Fatuas painting could be to the celestials. Her contribution, her purpose, her redemption. The cosmos would end and begin anew. But one thing that remained, were the paintings deemed worthy by the celestials. A never-ending cycle doomed to repeat, its only divergence, the sights along its path. Such is life.
After countless days of work, her labor had come to fruition. Her painting is done. She had poured her heart into it, and with each breath of the painting, her heart pumps a wave of stardust. But at the ninth breath, her heart spit out something else.
A gray, tiny pulp with a single eye, tentacle and a dress of tendrils. Her heart produced a child. Her child. But it is not hers to raise. It belongs to Sister Tellus, it was her inhabitants’ spirit which gave birth to her child. Perhaps, once the child sees Sister Fatuas painting, perhaps it shall know its origin. But for now, Sister Fatuas’ mission is fulfilled. She is done, her emissary complete. She shall return and be judged.
Her tendrils softly cuddle her child one last time before she leaves. Perhaps she would see it again, perhaps not. But before she left, the child would need a name.