Takipsilim

In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘takipsilim’ or ‘twilight’. 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.

***

Maliha checked her watch and sat back against the barna tree. The sky above was painted in shades red and pink, bleeding into cloud smeared indigo. The past few days had been some of the hardest of her life and although a glass of chai in the shade couldn’t bring her the sense of peace it might have once, the moment to breathe and settle her thoughts was invaluable.

It had become clear that there would be no way to rebuild their office, too many of her peers had already contacted Ramin and confessed they were considering going home. Work like theirs relied on dedication and enthusiasm that was difficult to maintain when faced with the reality that lives could very well be in danger. Maliha could understand and even sympathise somewhat, but there was no cooling the fire that had been stoked in her belly. She might have to accept that the night was drawing in on this particular endeavour but surely that wouldn’t mean the whole project was lost.

“The world is sitting heavily on you tonight.”

Maliha startled a little, so lost in watching the sky change colour that she’d missed her grandmother’s approach. She jumped to her feet, catching the chai glass just before it spilled, and rushed to steady the older woman.

“Nanni, you shouldn’t be up!” Maliha exclaimed, but her grandmother was already waving her away.

“Hush Maliha, this is my house and it is my right to come and see my granddaughter when she is moping beneath an old tree like a fairytale maiden!” Her grandmother replied, although she allowed Maliha to take her arm, the skin paper thin and soft, and guide them both back towards the house.

“I feel like I am at such a crossroad, Nanni,” Maliha admitted. “I don’t believe there will be a charity to employee me much longer, but I know the work I was doing was helping to create change and I need a plan to keep it going, when everyone else has already given up. With no office we could make do, but without people we have nothing.”

Her grandmother didn’t speak for a little while, but seemed to ponder the comments; her face creased by a considering frown.

“It seems to me,” she said, at the moment Maliha had begun to suspect the conversation was forgotten. “That the real problem is you’re attempting to revive something already nearly dead, rather than looking at making something new.”

There was blunt honesty in her grandmother’s words which struck Maliha to the core. The passion she held and love that it stemmed from hadn’t changed, but it could be re-directed with the right amount of support. It would take people and it would take money, potentially a great deal of it, but more than anything it would take dedication. And Maliha had dedication seared to the very marrow of her being.

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