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Adam Christopher Chan

Singapore

Leaving your home to study abroad isn't easy, but taking that challenge was what shaped who I am today. Ever since coming to Singapore to study, I've been working continuously to improve my writing skills, and I hope to be a published author one day

Message to Readers

I'd like to hear your opinions on the overall quality of the content, characters, language, plot- anything! Thanks for reading! :)

Chasing Sunlight

June 13, 2018

Richard longed for the sun. Today, he was going to see it.
 
The decision had been weighing on his mind since a year after Noah’s Companion began, but he was eighteen now. He wanted to pursue his own path.
 
Taking his few belongings in an old bag, he made for the door.
 
“Where do you think you’re going?” Richard’s dad mumbled loudly, obviously still drunk.
 
“I’m leaving, dad.”
 
“Eh? Leaving where? You’re just going to abandon the fields I worked my entire life for?”
 
“Dad, the fields are flooded and useless; they always will be. Ever since that day-”
 
“Nonsense! You just need to drain out the soil every few hours. We can still grow rice!”
 
Richard looked down at his slippered feet. He had heard that line a painful number of times.
 
Noah’s Companion- the name given to the unending rain above the Philippines. In June five years ago, a series of typhoons had struck the islands in a series of disasters, but no one thought much of it- a few days of incessant rain in that season were nothing uncommon due to the Southwest Monsoon, or “Hanging Habagat”, as the locals called it. However, weeks passed, and the rain showed no signs of letting up, instead spreading all over the island of Luzon. It didn’t matter how strong the rain was. A light shower or a heavy storm- the rain didn’t stop.
 
The agricultural provinces were hit hard. Crops were drowned, and draining the soil washed away with it all the essential nutrients necessary for life. Villages on the coast who subsisted on fishing and farming were forced to relocate away from the fast-encroaching waters.
 
Perhaps the hardest hit of all was Richard’s family, who had just purchased a large plot of land shortly before Noah’s Companion. Richard’s father had been saving up his entire life, working three different jobs around the village, to buy back the plots of land taken from his ancestors by the Spanish invaders, clinging to those stories passed down for generations like moss to a rock.
 
It goes without saying that the day the rain ruined the fields, his father broke as well, sleeping all day and falling into the clutches of alcohol. With his mother dying shortly after giving birth to him, and being an only child, it was all he could do to stay alive, questioning his life more with each passing day.
 
Without looking back, Richard walked through the front door into the slight drizzle of rain. The preparations were ready- the boat, the supplies, the weather. There was only one obstacle left for him.
 
“Rick!” a voice cried out, obviously concerned.
 
There was the obstacle. Rick had hoped that he could depart quietly, sneaking under Jessica’s radar.
 
Maybe it was because their parents used to be close friends. Maybe it was because she was older. Maybe it was because she knew Richard didn’t have a mother. No matter the reason, Jessica was the closest thing Richard ever had to a mother figure. When his father was ill, Jessica would often stay over to help take care of both of them.
 
That was before Noah’s Companion. Richard had made it abundantly clear to Jessica not to bother with him or his father anymore. Naturally, Jessica only got more caught up with his business. Richard no longer had the money to go to school, so Jessica acted as his teacher in basic English and Mathematics after class hours, even going so far as to administer her own exams.
 
“Where do you think you’re going?” she shouted above the now strengthening rain.
 
Richard staggered. He was at a loss for words, wondering why it was so easy to brush off his father, but so difficult to run from Jessica.
 
Richard looked up at the hydroelectric rain catchers in the sky. The government had installed them after Noah’s Companion. He didn’t understand much, but they were supposedly widely praised. To Richard, they were a perverse sight, a testament to his people’s defeated acquiescence of their new lives.
 
“I’m leaving,” he said, only being able to repeat his words to his father.
 
“To where?” Jessica asked.
 
“To a place where the rain is a friend, not a monster. Anywhere that isn’t cursed to drown!” Richard replied. With every word, guilt was eating at him. “Why?” he asked himself.
 
“You’re leaving by sea? That’s beyond stupid.” Jessica said plainly.
 
“You can’t stop me. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me so far, really, but it’s time I went away to my own path.”
 
Richard started for the shore.
 
“Wait, Rick! What about our dream? Our dream to study and make it abroad? Didn’t we agree to look at the sun there?”
 
“That’s your dream, Jes. I could never be an honor student like you. It’s been great, but we’ve reached the limit. Because we’re just that different.”
 
He had been mentally preparing for this. Pushing away his only friend in the world to chase his dream- he accepted that it was his fate.
 
He sprinted for the boat. Any longer, and his will would crumble.
 
Jessica sprinted after him, her slippers indenting deeply into the soft soil.
 
Quickly, Richard untied the rope holding the boat and jumped onto the small vessel. His fate was left to the wind.
 
As he departed from shore, a figure jumped from shore with a running start, barely landing on the same boat.
 
“Jessica? You idiot!” Richard said. “Get back to shore before it’s too late!”
 
“You’re coming with me!” Jessica said, gripping the makeshift paddle.
 
Suddenly, a slightly larger wave rocked the small boat, and Jessica lost her balance and the boat capsized. Two screams were the last things Richard heard before everything turned black.
 
Richard came to on the sand. Beside him, Jessica stirred.
 
He excitedly shook Jessica, waking her up.
 
“Jes! Look!”
 
Jessica sat up and directed her gaze to where Richard pointed. Above them, peeking through the clouds ever so slightly, was the shining sun.
Being native to the Philippines, I got the idea of this story during the June holidays when I came back for a short vacation. The monsoon rains were rough, and it never seemed that they would ever end.

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