Gunita

In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘gunita’ or ‘memory’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!

Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.

***

Luke found it while digging through a pile of his gym clothes, shoved in the recess under his desk. He’d been looking for whatever was causing the weird musty smell that had driven his momma to take away his car keys on the insistence that he cleaned out his room ‘today, Luke or no car for the rest of the month’.

Momma didn’t care that it was the summer, and he was supposed to be relaxing between working on his extra credit assignments and running fitness drills for track. It was going to be hard work to get into college and Momma’d already told Luke she hoped he’d be the first in his family to go out of state. But there’s no way they’ll cover the fees on Momma’s wages and loans will only get him so far; a scholarship in track might just be the ticket.

The only problem was the feeling Luke got whenever Momma talked about his future, something so distant but closer now than ever before. The sick churn in his belly that came with the knowledge that the choices he might make in the coming months of campus visits, applications and interviews could change his life and the fear of not knowing what he even wanted from it all.

But the photograph in his hand, though dusty and creased from years tucked at the back of his desk, was like a dose of the banana medicine Momma used to give him when he was sick; calming the churning and soothing his head. He remembered the day of that particular science fair, remembered making models of the components of life and pointing out the habitable requirements of a planet. When the teachers came by he’d had a presentation all put together on the possibility of life on other planets and what science told the world it might look like. He’d won an award and Momma was so proud, so pleased that he’d done his best.

Well there was proof now, not a whole lot, but enough that people everywhere were saying it was going to change the world. Luke did pretty good in science, more than good really when he thought about his grades. Numbers and hypotheses and chemical equations made sense in a way that English classes never did.

Maybe it was enough to get into one of the decent astrobiology courses, maybe not. He’d need to talk it over with some of his teachers, no doubt there would be a lot of other kids taking an interest if the social media chatter was all that. And who knew what kind of scholarships a school with a great program might offer. It was a direction though, a track to follow just like when he ran, and wasn’t that what Momma’d told him along?

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