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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)

TITLE: Come Back, Typhoon Ameng
By Erwin Robledo


The storm tore the country apart with its powerful winds, leaving every object away from its place in search of some vital artifact like a diver in search of air. It flashed its light to enhance its search, and when it failed, roared its frustration with a voice booming over the already shattered land, and went into its bedroom in one part of town where it materialized into Ameng – a short, simple looking woman with dark hair and brown skin covered in a black dress that matched the color of the sky. Even the room was a mess, yet her search there had also been futile. In between gasps she shouted for her passport.

In a corner of the room stood Nonoy, her five-year-old son that had several features resembling that of his father. Silence was one of it, secrecy another. Who knew what emotions he felt in seeing his mother whirl about the room, tearing and uprooting even the walls and floor? He stood there counting his breaths.

Ameng looked around; the place looked terrible. “We need a maid,” she thought, and cried. She wanted a house; a small one made of cement and had three bedrooms; a nice, second-hand car, tuition fees for Nonoy and his sister (they will definitely have another, she decided) until college, or at least part of college. Not even with her power and determination could she find the money to produce it here; not even her husband’s meager construction worker’s salary is enough. Only a foreign master can provide that; to take care of his home was to find coins in the dust bin that grow into money bigger than the ones grown back home.

Growing money takes time, however, eight years to be exact. When she returns from that foreign soil Nonoy would be thirteen. What would he look like then? She was sure; she would not recognize him when they meet after her contract. Would he? Could she bear it? She resumed her search, carefully this time, putting all inspected items on one side of the wall until only the cabinet remained, its lower door unopened.

The jig was up. Nonoy ran with all his speed toward that door, dug up the passport under the heap of clothes, and embraced it with all his might, bawling with the sound of a small thunder.

“Give it to me! Nonoy, give it to me! Mama’s already angry, I need it right now!” A determined five-year-old was a hard wrestle, Ameng realized, and resumed her previous fit. She could not take a plane later than scheduled; masters did not take latecomers lightly. She had met a girl who had arrived late at her master’s house and was forced to make part of the kitchen her lodging as punishment. Worse stories flooded her mind, and determined to use her arms to claw her way to the artifact. Nonoy’s strength failed, and her mother retrieved her passport at last, able to fly to a land that grew bigger money.

The struggle had not ended however, and Nonoy embraced Ameng’s leg tightly, begging her not to go. She had to go, dragging his weight as far as the door of the room with urgency at first, but slowed down when she reached the door and collapsed embracing Nonoy for a long, last time, mother and son drenched in rain, loud as the thunder I the sky.

The storm went on its way to the West, where money grew bigger and Nanoy would forever be five years old.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips08/03/05
I'm not sure if I understood the ending or not. I read it several times. Either Ameng left, and didn't come back--or the storm took Nanoy. Not sure. I liked the story, but got a little confused at the end. Enjoyed reading. God bless ya, littlelight
Julianne Jones08/05/05
Interesting story. I hope I'm right in assuming that Ameng has acepted work in another country and Nonoy has hidden his mother's passport because he doesn't want her to go. Has she made the right choice? I was hoping that she would change her mind. Fascinated by the title and the way the storm 'materializes' into Ameng: interesting imagery. Keep writing!
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/06/05
Fasinating imagery, such a sad story. I enjoyed the taste of another land.
Shari Armstrong 08/07/05
I don't think any amount of money could make me leave my children. What a heartbreaking story!
Suzanne R08/08/05
I loved this piece. It is so sad ... but so real. Well, situations like this. The things some people do to make a better future for their children ... so hard. I really liked the imagery of the storm and the scene as she searched for the passport, and then the storm in her heart as she went to earn some money to provide for little Nanoy. WELL DONE!