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If I mention Session Road in this entry, and if you happen to be reading this, it's understandable if you think I'm talking about you. How many nights have passed since the last time we walked up and down Session Road thinking we were in love? It's understandable for you to surmise that maybe I'm still pining for you. I can understand everything now, you know. It's been, what, I-don't-know how many years. Okay, to be honest, I know how many years it's been. And so this is me, mentioning Session Road and admitting I'm talking about you.
person, yeah. Typing out my deepest, darkest hurts on Facebook for strangers and pseudo friends to see and not care about. Those years were so juvenile, so...raw and unforgiving. I look back now and manage a smirk, a silent question to my younger self: What were you doing? What were you thinking? And it's funny now because a lot of things are funny in hindsight. Looking at today and anticipating tomorrow, I'm grateful that I'm here, now, and not in that godawful July where everything was blurry. I'm also grateful for that month though.
I know some friends who, if they were reading this now, would raise a hand to my face and say "Stop, I can see where this is going, and you have to stop," because I've spent so many months just...spewing out ugly stuff, thinking they made me the better person. But! That's over and done. At present, this here, this is a long-ish letter for you wherein I just say thank you over and over again. I think about you sometimes and I must admit, there is always a pang, but overall what's left is gratitude and wonder.
If you know someone for so long, you have permission to believe that you can predict what they're going to do next at any given moment. Open the gate, pat pockets, secure bag straps, adjust sunnies. The basics. Flop on the sofa, pick up the remote control, lower the volume, look at you to check if volume is okay. The every-days. Receive bad news, throw things, walk fast to nowhere, come back calm, receive a hug. The complex. You know someone too well, and you still get a surprise sometimes. You love them a little more because of this.
I had a song for you back then, "Dahilan" by Barbie Almalbis, was it. I've grown much too old to remember the specifics or maybe it's normally what happens as we age...we forget, no big deal. What's left are abstract memories, some of them we aren't even sure really happened. A feeling of safety on a foggy night, moths dancing around a dim light bulb, and the smell of rain in the distance. A taxi ride too long and too bumpy, someone holding your hand, and an 80s song on the radio, a train ride, yellow droplets of rain.
If I allow myself, I can say hurtful things on here. Of course, they wouldn't hurt you. What will happen is I will only hurt myself. I've learned this a long time ago, and this lesson is something I'm really grateful to have learned, as cliched as it may sound (cliches are the truest things). I can choose to talk shit about other people, complain, and be mean to people who are nice to me, or...I can put extra effort to being kind and being more friendly, to smiling more, and just generally being a good person. Starting today.
August, so far, has been unwieldy and hazy. It's only the first week and already I feel like weeks have passed. As always, I have a lot I want to say to you, and find it hard to find the right words once I am in front of you. It's not even about finding the right words, I feel, it's finding the purpose of even saying them. Perhaps if I simply write them without the intent of letting you know, it would be enough. Perhaps not. It's possible you won't ever read these. I prefer that, to be perfectly honest.
My grandaunt used to request I bring home everlasting garlands for her. Baguio used to be that place where market produce were cheaper and could be bought in much larger quantities than normal. I remember bringing home brooms, broccoli, limes, ube jam, and other vegetables that my mother or aunts requested. Young corn and baby potatoes usually. My grandaunt would lovingly place the garlands on the Virgin Mary statue at the top of the stairs. The blooms would take months before they properly wilted, almost to the point like they would last forever. I forget, but maybe they didn't wilt?
I've been misusing idioms and other English phrases lately, even Tagalog words I tend to misuse. It's like my brain's getting ahead of me or maybe it's the opposite. I remember we had a quasi-fight over a text message. A single-word text message. That was, what, 15 years ago? I remember it like it happened a few hours ago, the same way I remember a lot of things about you. There are some details that are now very far and vague though. We were walking along Bonifacio Road, was it, and I told you to stop complaining please.
I feel like I'm shooting blanks. Not really saying anything with all these things I've been addressing to you. So might as well stop now and write about something else. You know that thing about wordless goodbyes being the realest kind of goodbye? There are some people we spend days saying goodbye to, knowing somehow that we'll see them again. Whatever's the opposite of that is what I feel now. I know there'd been protracted goodbyes between the two of us and then there was silence, and I know now that's all it's ever going to be. It's freeing, this.
In an old entry, I said I associated August with bravery because...lion. I don't know where I'm going with this, just...there's a feeling of tiredness about a lot of things. I remember when a boy I really liked called me his friend, and how it made my heart skip. Not in the romantic way, but in that kilig sort of way when you confirm that someone looks at you as a friend. Having new friends is always nice. I remember in 2012 in an Iloilo island when I slept on a wooden bench while a storm was raging.
It's been raining for weeks. It will be an understatement when I say I miss the sun because I never see it, not like before anyway. I wear sunscreen before I go to sleep, I don't know why really, aside from because I maybe miss doing something that has any connection with daylight. I don't miss-miss it, no. I like nighttime better. It's just sometimes when I wake up at 6 pm and it's already dark out, I get sad. I think about how for most people the day is about to end and mine's just about to start.
I've been missing a lot of gatherings because I'm asleep all the time that I'm not at work. All I do is crave sleep and oversleep and think about sleep the moment I wake up. I was talking to Ma before bed the other day and, not that I'm complaining, work is good, but...I don't know where the stress is coming from or maybe I do know and I'm just keeping myself from admitting I do. I keep thinking of making a change but there's no concrete action that's happening so far. I keep starting and I keep stopping.
I'm watching the skies over at Ortigas and I can see that it's sunny there. It's pouring where I am. I'll be walking to a cab with an umbrella and still manage to get thoroughly wet. I'll arrive at Ortigas dripping while everyone there is dry. This is how I feel most days back then. By back then, I mean when I wasn't so sure of myself as I am now. Don't get me wrong, I'm still not so sure of myself now, far from it. Just, I'm always that person looking over at a place where it isn't raining.
Consider this: A day with absolutely nothing to worry about. Your favorite pizza place having a buy-one take-two giveaway sale and your favorite TV sitcom airing a whole-day nonstop marathon. Your loved ones are safe, you're sure. It's not too warm and not too cold, and you're bound for Baguio in two days. Manila is kind, tolerable, quiet. Your past mistakes too far away for your brain to access. Someone you love beside you on the couch, breathing quietly, slightly wheezing, seemingly dreaming of nice things. You can smell his breath, coffee and cigarette. You like it.
There's a room on my floor that has long been unoccupied, five years perhaps. I'm sure there's no one there because I've seen it from outside from all angles and at different times of the day, too. I've gone through lengthy efforts just to check, yes. I pass by it twice everyday and there's never been a sound, a shadow, a smell, nothing. Door is locked, though. I've asked my landlady about it and all she told me was: Don't mind it, don't worry about it. I'm not worried about it. I'm just curious about this feeling that someone's inside.
What gives me the feeling that someone's inside, you ask. Well, you know how when you have a problem or you've had a bad day and there's no one you can talk to, or no one you want to talk to? So you just sit alone and stare at the wall? Numerous times I've been in that position and almost always after being quiet and just leaning on that wall that connects my room to that empty room...I end up feeling lighter. I don't know if this is something I'm imagining or if there is help coming to me.
She likes giving people and things new names. Sometimes just names that helps her remember them better. She does this to animals, too. The black and white dog next-door she calls Giraffe, for reasons she now forgets. In her head, she calls her father Roy even though his name is Ralph. She forgets her reasons now, only fragments, and she is aware she would have to explain these to someone someday somehow...She calls her room Narnia, for obvious reasons. She doesn't come out for days upon days. And true enough, years pass her by while inside. It's okay.
Quite wrong analogy there. Only a short time passes by in the real world while you are inside Narnia. Once you leave Narnia, hundreds of years pass by in that world while you are in the real world. There, that's over and done with. I've corrected myself, but there is still a lot I want to correct. I'm learning how to make kombucha. Slight digression. Here's another one: It hasn't rained for more than 12 hours, that's new hereabouts. It's strange when the ground is dry, a bit disconcerting, even. Like, anything can happen any minute now. Like getting soaked.
Dear You, It's now reached the point when I begin a sentence with "I remember..." there's a feeling of wanting to just not remember. Don't know where I'm going with this. I'm just writing whatever comes to mind. I want new memories. I keep writing to a future love, I keep hoping someday I can hold someone's hand again and know that it's real. My friend, Honey, told me about how she reserved a "place" for her future love. A space for someone new in her life, if you will. Maybe I'm still too selfish of my time. Or scared..
Or too lazy? Too heavy perhaps. Whatever it is, I'm just enjoying all this alone time wherein nothing ever happens. There would be days and days that I don't text or call anyone, not because of any reason other than...nothing. There's nothing. I have a friend who semiregularly checks on me and I'm mortified each time because all I keep saying is "same same." Work, home, lounge, sleep. Not even trying to learn anything new. But before I sound more like a misanthrope or whatever, I just want to say...I don't know. Honestly, this month, no nothing. Nope.
Starting to really like Pinoy Big Brother Teen nowadays. My favorite's Marco haha. Anyway, did some adult thing some time in the immediate past. Too much debt, I think, but not panicky as I'm confident I can discipline myself. Kind of wanting to stop dear diary direction of this month's set but there's really no juice coming out, none none none. Just going to write and write and write and finish this month and try to come up with better material and maybe theme for next month which is September aka start of Christmas season yay yay yay yay yay!
"How can we manufacture more time?" or something like that, read this from my favorite blog, dooce.com. Heather's writing is beautiful, read her, seriously. Back to her question, how? When I'm in my room and I'm just letting the phone downstairs ring and ring and ring because I choose sleep over having to go down and exert effort at picking up the phone and talking, this thought always crosses my mind: What if it's an important call from an important person and it's the last time they will ever call and they chose to dial your number, what then?
Aaagh. This month's dragging on and on. April to June just went whoosh! Gone. I don't think I've properly sat down with someone and told them about that June vacation. To be honest, I haven't sifted through my thoughts yet and I fear that I'm losing too many memories as we speak. Like how Mama's arm would brush my arm gently, quickly in that white van where we spent almost half a week driving from California to Nevada and back. Or how Brysen's little snore made me smile, or how, when he wakes up he looks out the window first.
Or how, in an Old Navy somewhere in Tustin, Brysen attack-hugged my legs and shouted "I got you!" with a mischievous smile. I will not forget that hug because he was holding on really tight as if believing that, indeed, he got me, and if he so decides, I wouldn't be able to get away from his grip. I remember him looking up with an expectant smile, maybe waiting for me to surrender. But I said, "No, I got you!" and hugged him. He squealed and was happy that I got him. I wanted to stay in that embrace.
The last five days of a month go by so slowly. Like it's an equivalent of two weeks, these last five days before month-end. One day is double and a half, even. Don't know what I'm in a hurry for, just that I want it to be September already. August to September is such a big leap. I mean, the difference is jarring sometimes. I exaggerate. Maybe it's people's moods? The slightly cooler air? The Christmas lights? Our birthdays getting near? I don't know. My laundry's piling up. Kinda wish I can use magic to clean all this mess.
Have some time to ruminate and wow, 2014 was a difficult year. Had so much time to watch movies then and the ones that spoke to me were the likes of Laggies, Begin Again, and Pieces of April. Was jobless for 75% of that year but it felt like the world and other worlds were on my shoulder, breathing down my neck, screaming at my face. You know what made it okay? Family, friends. Looking back, I don't know what bad thing would've happened if Kuya didn't ask Tiki to quite forcibly take me out to dinner that one time.
I had a grandaunt, Gadiosa, and I've been dreaming of her a lot lately. Some of my friends got to meet her when she was alive, some know her as the person I want to see first if there's a heaven. I really don't have much to say. It's more of I want to hug her and touch her face. I want to hear her laugh again and I long for those afternoon naps when she would scratch my back and stroke my hair. I was a mean kid, disrespectful, petulant. I just want to see and smell her again.
Hi. You know? That long letter I wrote you? I kept a copy of it just in case I need to be reminded of how lovesick I was during that time. Getting so close to begging: Please love me, too. People do that sometimes...be beyond brave and not care. You would say, Ah but that's not brave, that's selfish. You won't be wrong but I can't say you'd be right. I'm guessing you never even read it, or if you did, that you threw it away. I have a copy, just some assurance for myself that it does matter.
I remember in Guam, there's this route that Ate and Kuya used every day when they drop me off at work. I liked it, it's downhill and quite snaky then leads to a flat road lined with graffiti and flowers. Restaurants had this unsweetened iced tea that you have to put syrup in according to your preference. I liked Guam except maybe the heat. Someday I want to come back (with more money and time) and maybe spend a whole day at the beach. And explore that short strip of Japanese stores. And of course spend time with the kids.
In San Francisco last June, we were in the car waiting for Kuya and Ate to get pizza. Brysen was beginning to get cranky as he was tired and looking for his parents. I had to entertain him by pretend-talking to his Mom on the phone. And for some reason, when I asked him if he wanted to talk on the phone and "hear" his Mom's voice, he refused and insisted that I just pass on his message which was "Hurry up." He was near tears for about half an hour. How must it feel to be longed for?
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