A year later
It has been a year of office bliss and without a single visit from our hairy invaders. The school personnel had finally heeded our pleas and detonated some poison packages in the ceiling. Though some unfortunate incidents transpired because of that—such as decomposing rodents stinking up the whole office—in general, Operation Rat Elimination was a success. We thought.
No one really made a head count of the casualties. After leaving the poison and getting rid of a few carcasses, no one probed deeper into the problem. Furthermore, the new high school building was finally finished and teachers moved en masse to a spanking clean, freshly painted and rat-free room. Out of sight, out of mind.
We could now leave bags of chips, fruits, leftover bowls of sardines, and kakanin anywhere without fear. Days and nights were devoid of any scratching sounds above our heads. We did not sight a rat for a long time. Until I saw one scurrying across the basketball court and up a pipe one afternoon. It was as huge as when I saw it up the faculty office air-conditioning unit. Another teacher saw our old neighbor and commented, “Weren’t they all poisoned?” Guess not. Another responded, “It must be so hungry now that no one’s leaving food around in the old faculty office. No wonder it went down.” I nodded in agreement, waiting for a hairy surprise reappearance, watching behind the clear glass window of our new office building.
Yes, we dealt with the problem like wimps. Instead of blasting all of them to microscopic pieces, we merely packed our belongings and scurried away, praying that somehow, someday they will shrivel up and die of hunger all on their own. We moaned, discussed, asked for help but did not make sure that the problem was solved conclusively. A voice inside me says that our weakness will allow our night prowling enemies to return and haunt as again. Perhaps the rats are already planning how to attack our new headquarters. Perhaps we did not really get rid of the rats, the rats got rid of us. We left the old office, they didn’t. Perhaps we really lost by walking away thinking the war is over. But who’s keeping score? We are blissfully secure from further ghastly attacks… for now.
Jocy So-Yeung is a faculty member of the Davao Christian High School. She is a Fellow for Creative Nonfiction at the 2011 Davao Writers Workshop being held on October 11-15 at Lispher Inn, Matina.