Friday, November 12, 2010
“Dear Mr. Jesus, they say that she may die.
Oh I hope the doctors stop the pain.
I know that you could save her
And take her up to the sky where
She will never have to hurt again.”
Allana Blanche Nolan was not a child of mean streets or war zones. She lived in an area known for spacious, old-fashioned apartment homes. The residential compound that carried her family name stands across the street from a Catholic college, beside the city’s most modern hospital. It is surrounded by artists’ hangouts, restaurants and live music joints.
Days are lazy in Bacolod. Folks live at the maximum 30 minutes away from each other. The speaking syle, that drawl, partly stems from a milieu where you can take coffee breaks from work and gather round shady trees in friends’ homes and then go back to work, refreshed. It’s a city where friends call each other to ask what’s up for lunch, because everything is 10 minutes away and a fine dining place comes with the price of some fast-food turo-turo in Manila.
In the past, Bacolod winced whenever its pride – sugar – got linked to blood and sweat and tears. When Joel Abong hit the covers of magazines, and Kahirup Ball references turned into Batang Negros, it was a wake up call, and it took years to recover from the blow.
Allana was not a waif from the farm or the city slums. She was from an upscale family, went to a good school. Her parents hobnobbed with other chic young adults of the city.
But not all was well in Allana’s world. And nobody knew about it. Not her teachers, not her friends, not the neighbors in their compound. If anybody knew, he or she kept mum.
Because by the time the world knew of Allana, it was too late.
She was six; it was Oct. 27.
The cold words on the page of medical reports tell only part of the story: Damaged kidneys, injuries all over her body, a vein in the head that burst. The report folder on her case includes a picture of a belt and a flat iron. The medico legal officer says her genitals showed three old lacerations.
Her parents were 26, 27.I doubt they had ever felt hunger, unless of a type due to deliberate self-neglect or the byproduct of abuse of certain chemicals.
Rachel Esguerra, 26, and Bernard Nolan, 27, brought Allana to the hospital. They have waived their right to further investigation. They have kept mum on the matter. Nor have they tried – so far – to shift blame for the crime.
Allana was laid to rest in a Negros Oriental cemetery. Grieving grandparents placed her in a pink coffin.
Looking at the photo by Aksyon Radyo dyEZHer, I have to : Did they ask themselves, Where did things go wrong? It is a question raised the world over by perfectly decent folk whose children turn out to be monsters.
But that is a peripheral question. The ones that really matter can not be answered: Did she plead for mercy? Did she try to tell anyone?
When she saw classmates hugged by parents, what did she think of?
Did her parents pretend the same loving relationship to the outside world?
How did she feel when kin and neighbors smiled and told her parents how lucky they were to have her?
I cannot shake the image of this lovely child huddling in pain and fear as nights closed in on her. I cannot stop asking: What were her last thoughts as she fell into oblivion?
I do not know. I will never now. I can only take comfort in this song, shared by dyEZ. Sort of take comfort.
Dear Mr. Jesus, it was too late for doctors
To stop Allyana’s pain
A part of me wants to rage,
Didn’t you hear her cries?
But maybe you did; save her, that is
Took her up to the sky
Where she will never have to hurt again.
Maybe you want to save her parents to, by freeing them from the prisons of their souls, that they may talk of what pain they gave their child, and what drove them to this.
Maybe some lessons learned from this could save some child, so he or she doesn’t need the rescue of death. (All photos by Aksyon Radyo dyEZ)