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She came to that town by the sea knowing next to nothing about it. She assumed life there will mostly be the same in the city, except with fresher food and cleaner air, more peaceful afternoons. She hoped people would be kinder and have more time for small talk. Reasonably manageable expectations. On her first morning, a little curly haired boy knocked and asked for her name. He offered her a basket of wild flowers that smelt of lemon. The boy said that townspeople are waiting at the plaza for her. She asked why. "You're our new queen," he said.
Saying you don't care means you do care. And if you think about it, a certain percentage of living things lost the capacity to adapt, and they died millions of years ago. One person may regard death as something that happens /to/ someone, another may see it as something that someone /does/. It shouldn't have to be a passive matter, like, you will just keel over and die. Someone once said that he would die aggresively, exit this life with pomp, stomp, get angry, shout "I'm dying!" As if it's an activity, akin to "I'm getting married today," a celebration.
Dear person who is dead: This is part of my coping process--thinking of you simply as someone I once knew, who has now departed. Not someone whose voice I want to hear right now. It helps desensitize most of the pain. But just now I was in the hall and this hope to see you at the top of the stairs, where you usually prayed the rosary, assaulted me. The Mother Mary statue is still there, but you're not. You'd be happy to know that there is something greater than this longing, and that is knowing we'll meet again.
The first time I drove along EDSA was unintentional. See, I was navigating random streets near our house, and suddenly came onto a street I didn't recognize. I figured I'd just follow the jeeps because surely they'd lead me to a street I know. I was following this jeepney, right, then I saw familiar shops and it hit me that one more left turn and it's EDSA. There wasn't time to panic and hesitate because uh-oh here I am now steering the car to the left, up to the intersection where buses are speeding by. I liked that jolt.
I did it! Drove up an incline without backing into the car behind! Clutch and gas in perfect harmony! I was relaxed, too! "Ok, what the hell, let's do this" were my words. Kuya was there egging me on. A few seconds before I had to go I looked back to the car behind and instead of the usual feeling of dread I willed myself to feel confident, like I'm untouchable. When the time came, I let go, and I moseyed the car up the incline with such expertise. A smooth gliding perfection. I felt invincible! Then I woke up.
In my room there is an intense sunlight thing going on at 4:30pm thereabouts, my window would be reflecting this almost-blinding yellow light and you could tell by the intensity that it's going to blow over in a few minutes. A love like that may either die of too much strength or will morph into a quiet, stable presence. At a quarter before 5pm my window is suddenly grey and the happy yellow of a few minutes ago will feel like a dream, something that happened but did not really. Little reminders sprinkled throughout the day about impermanence.
There is a pocket of time in the mornings when I have delusions of persecution, aka "why do I have to get out of bed" sickness. It usually lasts five minutes, until I briefly fall asleep, and then wake up and subject myself again to the perceived awful pain of having to get up. I remember cracking the code of how to stop this, wake up to better mornings, wake up to better versions of me. But I don't know, somehow I mange to go back to hating the very act of waking. Anyway, after those five minutes I'm good.
Dreamt of driving again, this time the roads were narrow and tricky, and in the dream I was expertly weaving through them. There was this one scene though where some guys decided to practice singing inside my parked car, which I left unlocked. So I approached them and asked if it was common practice in that place (I was new there apparently) to randomly get inside someone's car, they said yes. They seemed harmless. In the next scene, however, I am shown frantically driving away from them, and there was a boy beside me trying to help. I got away.
I'm old. I'm an old grandma who is old. I'm an old person who is so old she winces when young people express their desire to grow old fast because she knows how it is to be old, and it is both good and bad, but mostly good. I had to sing Live While We're Young at work today. Out loud. At work. The IT guy heard me do it and now I don't think I can ever face him with dignity again. Kidding. Of course I sang it proudly because I'm hip, current and One Direction is my jam.
No, really. One Direction. A colleague asked me if I'm a 1D fan and I said yes without hesitation. Well, okay, I said I like their songs. We were talking about Tito, Vic and Joey then The Beatles then Eraserheads then 1D then he mentioned Ariana Grande, all this because of a Tables exercise on Word. Anyway, during dinner with Moxy at Adobo Connection I noticed they were playing Four. I felt so proud and even intimated to Moxy that 1D is rebranding to reach more adult audiences. Few more words and I'll stop rambling about them cute European boys.
You take it for granted that you can swallow food without pain in your throat. Other things you take for granted: roof over your head, arms and legs that work fine, food on the table, your father always in his chair tackling his crossword puzzles, a sunny day, a decent set of clothes, your friend on the other end of the phone line, this girl who adores you, the cheerful guard who greets you by first name every morning, the ocassional cookie from the quiet girl you never thought to really thank. Now, imagine these are all gone now. Poof.
I'm bad company during fun and exciting times, because I rarely get excited. I'm not snooty, choosy or condescending, it's just, you can dropkick a whale and rotate the planet in front of me and I will just sit there and go, "Cool," and go back to whatever I'm doing. This is advantageous for me when I am presented with really bad news, because it will take days or even months for me to process it. My default reaction is always, "There is a bright side to it so why worry?" or "Ah." If you're like this, then hey, hi.
This past week had been a reminder of lessons in humility, openness and kindness. Things are changing, I just can't pinpoint where and how exactly. I also always have to keep myself in check for when I'm nearly losing hold of who I am, or what I believe in. Sometimes, I resort to rudeness or anger when I feel cornered. There are also times I don't like how easy it is for me to read someone, because then my intuition tells me something bad and I go into overdrive trying to make it good. Most times it's not really necessary.
Somebody asked me yesterday what I was thinking right then and there and I answered "I wish we didn't have to wear pants every day, or get out of bed. I wish we can just walk around in our underwear slurping melted ice cream and always have to be walking towards a pizza pie or Harry Styles." Because it's true, my thoughts are populated with bed, food, comfortable clothing, and One Direction all the time. I think she was expecting me to say the oft-expected "Joke lang," but then I didn't, and she declared, "You're serious." I said yeah.
She wants to escape from the constant reminders that having fairer skin, a lithe body, and shiny hair are what makes a person beautiful. She wants to live in a world where nobody is rushing to share the latest "news" online, where photos only show love, spontaneity, and kindness. She wants to discover a place where person A and person B can have a quiet meal without the distraction of an electrical device; where sunsets are anticipated, and watched, only with eyes and hearts brimming with contentment of being here, now. She wants to find someone to run away with.
Most people are rushing to be first to assert their superiority. Or rushing to be first, period. They think condescension and rudeness put them above the rest. Anyway, the Internet can be tiring, no? I like the Humans of New York page on Facebook because even if there are negative people in the comments section, they are outnumbered, I think, by the positive ones. And I almost always have a good cry reading those mini stories, even the comments section yield really powerful snippets of people's lives. Complete strangers and simple moments that we often overlook, miles away from here.
I'm looking at your hair while the wind is playing with it. Just your hair, its color, its curls. On days when it gets a little stuffy I just think of your smell, the hint of sweat whenever you pass by, or are sitting next to me. I find myself yearning for your scent on days when people get a little tiring and in-my-face. You're my sunshine and balm and you make my senses clear, I only have to think of you and your smell, and it makes me happy that I've known that scent in this lifetime.
It's three days before One Direction's Manila concert (Day 1) and I am excited. I'm not going to watch but what I'm excited for are the online updates about what they're going to do at the concert, what Filipino words they're going to say, and how much they will like the crowd, because it's true, the Manila concert crowd is kind of great. Also, I'm having fun imagining randomly running into Harry Styles because you know, we can dream, right? I feel like a teenager. It's fun knowing that these cute ones are going to be in my city. Eeeee.
Woke up 40 minutes before my alarm, I think it was the baby crying SO LOUD that pierced through my sleep. The old me would want to shout at the neighbor to please make the baby stop crying, or simply be annoyed and hate her life. But, this isn't the old me, what happened was, I thanked the universe for the extra 40 minutes to either sleep or get up and have an early head start for the day. Also, the baby's cry kind of sounded like Brysen's cry on his first day here in the house. I miss him.
There was a shop sign in Baguio, I think along Mabini Street, that I really fancied during college. I would walk past it and would always make it a point to spot it, it was a simple rectangular (wooden?) sign that read "Parallax." I never tried to know what they sell or what they do, or even thought to peek inside. It was one of those shops that weren't on street level, I think you had to go up one storey, or maybe I'm wrong. I don't know if it's still there. That signage is one of my favorite memories.
ONE DIRECTION IS IN MANILA!!! Okay now that's out of my system. Listen, slight tangent here, this is the first time in my 10+ plus years of working that I've worked in an office that's so near my house. A manageable walking distance, maybe 35 minutes if I'm slow, and 20 minutes if I walk fast. I've been in this new job for two weeks and it's only now that I get to really appreciate how nice it is to get to walk to and from work every day. It's so convenient. I take the tricycles sometimes though because pollution.
I want a name for every thing you do. The way you look at the sky right after you close the door behind you, like you're praying for a good day, I want a name for that. The way you purse your lips while looking for the perfect parking spot, I want a name for that. The way you squint and bite your lower lip when you're trying to remember something, I want a name for that. The way you look at me and then look away when I glance your way, I want a name for that. Give me.
I dreamt of "bounty hunters" at a wedding. A solemn occasion marred by violence. There were conniving men holding big guns, talking about killing the groom. It sounds like a nightmare but while I was dreaming, it seemed like it was a normal occurrence in my dream-life, IDK. Listen, I think this is because I came across something about a grandmaster on Humans of New York yesterday, and something about the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique (so...Kill Bill, and that wedding scene). Anyway. I unearthed a bracelet I bought in California (2012). Wearing it makes me happy.
Another dream about driving. This time it is a very accurate depiction of real life. In the dream I did what you would call "accidentally safe maneuverings." I did gruesome turns wherein I almost hit someone with my side mirror, merged into a lane and almost collided with another vehicle, swerved into the opposite lane and almost killed myself. That dream was a story of almosts. But I was never hurt. And that holds true, that is how I drive. Whenever I get home I praise all the angels and saints for guiding me. Seeing our blue gate is victory.
Just saw this on Humans of New York: There is a German word, Weltschmerz, which means worldpain or world weariness. I wonder how many other words they have over there that the English language can't express in one word. Like, "my brother is far away and I miss him every day and I want to eat pizza with him and make funny faces across the table and then have him check my teeth for food bits because it's something we like to do and it makes me feel fuzzy." It's a long concept yeah but I really miss Kuya today.
One Direction announced today that Zayn Malik is leaving the band. I'm not going to lie: I cried. When I became a fan late last year, them breaking up--and the subsequent sadness it will cause--was one of the first and most important realities I've had to make myself remember will happen. Look at me all serious about this. See, this is why attachment should be avoided. On a lighter note, the sadness lasted for a few hours. It's one of those things you just have to get off your system. There are four left now, let's do this.
When I was younger and didn't know better, I used to ridicule things that were new and strange to me. We hate what we don't know, yeah? My reaction was often of disdain and pride in an effort to make myself feel superior, what for--I have no idea. I would make fun of something I didn't understand, I would point out how something sounded so stupid--all because I was too proud to admit that I didn't understand it. Complex matters that seemed stupid, I would write off as nonsense. I'd like to think I've gotten over this ignorance.
On the first day of first grade, the teacher asked the class to gather in the back of the classroom. She said she'd call the students in alphabetical order for the seating arrangement. Katrina was second to be called. The teacher said "Bring your things." Katrina froze because she didn't know what "things" meant. She honestly didn't.
The teacher sensed this, and pointed to Katrina's plastic envelope perched on one of the tables. The six-year-old heaved a sigh of relief. For a few seconds, she was scared people would laugh because she didn't know how to speak English.
I remember an afternoon during elementary involving me, chocolate ice cream on stick, and a stranger. My service was parked by the school gate waiting for other students to take home, and I was eating my sweet treat with my head and arms poking out of the jeepney window so as not to mess up my uniform. It was messy, all right, and my face was smeared with chocolate. Then an adult passed by and tsk-tsked to my face. I responded by licking my ice cream the most dramatic way I could. I want that cheeky little girl back.
That irritating yet weirdly comforting and familiar summer kind of heat is just around the corner. Woke up this afternoon with a hint of sweat and I'm quite surprised, really, that it's been this cool until now. But what do I know, my memories of a Manila summer are fractious at best, I don't think I ever really immersed myself into the whole summer thing since I automatically go into a Baguio state of mind at the slightest feeling of humidity. I look forward more to pine trees and mountains than sea and sand. But anyway, hi summer, welcome back.
I have a new favorite word: Sylvan. Saw it yesterday on Butch Dalisay's column in The Star. Last month my favorite word was "vacuum," I think. Because it's an intelligent way to clean. Anyway. This month huh? It seemed too long and too eventful on my end. How was your March 2015? And what's your favorite word these days? Also, what's your favorite song right now? Do you like pockets? Do you like quesadillas? Burritos? Shawarma? Does the smell of Jollibee Yum! burger take you back to your childhood? What's your favorite ice cream flavor? I really want to know.
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