April 19, 2024
to a brother
To a Brother is an epistolary piece that was written during the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Enjoy reading!

To a Brother

Rashid Mandi
Somewhere in Bonny Serrano Avenue
Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City
October 15, 2022

Dear Brother,

I could still remember the day when the world’s longest lockdown began. The streets were devoid of people; whatever few souls braved the streets  call the “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.” I feel like a caged bird right now. It’s so weird that they have this flair for semantics, when they can’t even use public funds properly. Here are a couple of other names that they gave to this social experiment: General Community Quarantine, Modified General Community Quarantine, and even Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine. Glory be to God indeed, and all praises to the Almighty for having such an amazing government! Saints say it’s a test of faith. I say it’s a simulation of faith.

Maybe they’re indeed trying their best, but this one has surely been a very bad and nauseating roller coaster ride. I’m not boarding this trip ever again unless they give me lots of gold and glory. And dignity. Yes, dignity is what I need. Sometimes, I thought that if I were to be one of these bureaucrats, I just want to have “Supercalifragilisticexpialidociously Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine,” just for the hell of it. Yeah, that would be awesome, at least I get to name something that will go down in history! And no one will go back and say that it was awful. After all, they would be hypocrites if they hunted me in the past for that matter, no?

I can’t even go out to have my vacation with my girlfriend right now. That just sucks. Instead, I’m stuck here, having to zoom in and out of Zoom. Or spend hours on WhatsApp and Telegram so that we could communicate with each other. But at least, it’s fine, because we are both safe and healthy. We will have great trips once this is over. The present will be in the past.

I want to go back in time, be a chronomancer or a time wizard, and banish the bat and the pangolin that caused all our sufferings. Or maybe say hi and interview them before putting them into heaven. I’ll ask them: Are you happy that you just changed the lives of an entire planet? Are you happy that you trapped us and rendered us helpless? Many questions indeed…Maybe we’ll get answers. Maybe we’ll not. Or maybe, in an absurd manner, they’ll claim innocence, saying that they didn’t know what they were doing…There are many possibilities in the future. But they don’t exist at all. Right now, the main matter of life is to survive, and to void the number 2020 into the archives of the oddity that they call the past. Yes, the past is but a wish now.

I don’t know what will happen, but keep healthy and stay safe. I do hope that you stay in the present, to live life as it is. It’s the greatest gift we’ll ever have, moy droog (мой друг).

Buena suerte,


To a brother indeed.

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