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I'm writing this on April 17--the last day that March entries can be submitted. I guess I "started" this batch late March then forgot about it. The advantage to this forgetting is now I can write this batch in one go and not have to wait until the month is over (a batch does not go online until the month is through). Which then leads me to wishing we can do most things this way--in hindsight, after the fact. It's safe that way, yeah? These days I just go for what is safe, which is boring yet necessary.
I intended the previous entry for the March batch. To be honest, 9 more entries following this entry are intended for the March batch. I was hoping to cheat the system, write a batch in one go, and have it published instantly after completion. The batches "close" every 17th of the next month. If your batch is incomplete by then, it does not go online. I thought I had 24 more hours (now's 1 a.m. ET, April 17). It's
the 17th, not the 17th. I know and understand this now. The word "until" is always confusing.
That was just me confusing myself with the word "until." The site does not even use it (at least not in the prompt you see every time you access your active batch). Anyway! Now that's out of the way. So the few following entries were written last night. I have a vague recollection of what exactly happened in the past two weeks. Or I am just lazy to recall them, I am lazy all the time. Always have been since I was a kid. I like cleaning though! Twice a year. Why spend too much time on it, I reckon.
I'm tempted to go back to what happened last month and document it here, day by day. There is a line in One Hour Photo about not wanting to take a photograph of something you would rather forget. I guess that's what's blocking the temptation. I am confused about why it's tempting in the first place. That was a lie. I know why it's tempting...it's because, for me, that would be the easiest way to go to finish this batch in no time. It's lazy. There is always an allure in things that are easy. A sort of spell.
Have you seen the bougainvilleas? They're aflame. Bursts of pink, orange, yellow, lilac, white. If you're lucky a breeze will gift you a petal confetti during one of your walks. This summer is mild so far, at 2 p.m. there is harsh white light, yes, but also a considerate--almost benevolent--type of heat. None of that oven-like feeling yet. It is only mid-April though so...you know. In my journals (for 2018 I have decided on 5 notebooks--I am planning the heck out of this year) this is what I often write: I am grateful!
My grandaunts spelled Kuya's name as "Brain." Sifting through old letters can remind you of an exact feeling sometimes. It's quite a painful trip, really. This is why I avoid those boxes now. On some days when I dislike people in general, there is an urge to burn all the letters and keepsakes. What then? We can only get rid of tangibles, never memories. It's funny how we keep something because someday we want to be reminded of how happy it made us feel. But we also keep remembrance that we'd rather forget. Why do we do that to ourselves?
This isn't to say that the remembrance of those Brain letters are painful. The opposite, actually. I was thinking of something else, thus the digression to sadness. So here, back to joy. I like seeing "Brain" written in that old-lady way--an elaborate, round script that you know was written in a slow and deliberate manner. It's what I imagine a queen's handwriting would be, because queens can have all the time they need. I know my Dada Gaudio wrote that way, anyway. "Dear Brain, Happy Birthday, God bless you." It's endearing. "Dear Brain, Dada loves you so much."
I also found three letters written in sardine labels. How and why that happened I can barely recall now. Maybe there was a picnic and we had sardines? They were farewell notes. I was leaving my barista job then to try my luck in Baguio again. There is a note that tells me I was close friends with someone who I do not even remember now. I have a silhoutte, a voice, and a vague recollection of how we connected. I have her name and yet there is 2% of her that I can dredge up. Names are useless sometimes.
Last January I had a note to myself saying I hadn't spoken to Ma in a month, which means I didn't even call her on her birthday (January 3). I am confident there was at least an attempt to call, but knowing how impatient I am, maybe I gave up on the first try. I'm sure there was texting somehow. But a month without a phone call? What was up with that? I honestly cannot recall. I need to hear her voice at least once a week. So to have gone that long...and to not remember why. Kinda strange.
I lied again. A bit. Last year, I have come to know for sure that I dislike phone calls. Call me only when necessary. A phone call wherein we talk with no urgent objective? No. I'd rather you text me. And even that will cause anxiety because a response is expected right away. The truth is, I'd rather you e-mail me. Or snail mail. That is perfect. Snail mail. I wish I was joking. I am not being rude, it's just the way it is. If it were possible (well, it is), I'd rather get rid of the cellphone.
In a far corner of my brain, I have come to believe that I have lost some of my friends because of this. Well, it's either I said too much or said too little. Did too much or did too little. This way of thinking informs you that I tend to see my relationships in a way that puts me in the center. You would be correct in thinking that. Thing is, I cannot find the balance. It's either I entirely remove myself from the situation or I make the story about me. No me or all me. It's tiring.
I make excuses, is what I do. In a way, I am like a lot of the people I disapprove of. A little bit selfish, sometimes too selfish. Worries too much about what others will think, sometimes too oblivious. A little bit lazy, sometimes too wrapped up in work it's annoying. No balance, always on the edge. Too proud to ask for help, too afraid to try something new. Sometimes I don't know what I mean by what I say, I just say or write stuff to convince myself there is purpose in what I do. I'm not making sense.
Looking back now, I can see how I might have offended and alienated some of my friends because of my self-centeredness. You will agree me when I say that 60% of the time, we are unaware how daft, dumb, and selfish we are. It's usually in the form of good intention or harmless humor or "I will try this now I'm sure no one will notice." Self-deprecation as a front for compliment-fishing? Ugh. What about downright arrogance: I am so good at what I do! And then being met with silence? Friends are not ornaments. They're not.
I go about life in a tentative manner. Like an extraterrestial learning how humans react in various scenarios. There is no right or wrong way to treat them, there is only the right or wrong timing. Most times, I just give up, i.e., cease connections with that human. It's too much work, loving someone. One day you get love back, some days you get nothing, most days you get resentment even if your intentions were shooting for nothing of the sort. It's frustrating to get the opposite of what you're hoping for. You learn to shrug it off though.
Right, I will try to write fiction starting from the next entry. I'd just like to document an encounter I had with a True Value employee. I've been eyeing this juicer for weeks and I know exactly how much it is. But you know how you ask anyway to justify your presence in the store? So I ask this guy and he curtly says 6k, because he is evidently lazy to check. I know it's half the amount and I was tempted to call him out in a not-so-nice way because I was kind of pissed, right? (continued...)
(continued...) For a few seconds I had the urge to humiliate him. I knew then that I am not a very good person sometimes. The box was right behind him! He was arrogant and made me feel like I was disturbing him! Anyway, I smiled, told him, "6k? Can you please check?" He made a face then checked. I live for these moments of vindication. His face when he saw the actual price? Gold. He apologized in the way of a smile, and the sincerity of that gesture absolved him of an angry letter to the manager. I'm so Tita.
"Every time someone uses the passive voice a giraffe loses its magic." I dreamt this the other night. What up, brain? Do you have a dream journal? That reminds me I should start on that dream journal stat. What is your opinion on adverbs? Should have I even opened this can of worms? Alright, moving on. This is me making an excuse btw, for what, I'm not sure I can say what exactly. I feel like if I write something down, I am then allowed to forget about it because it is "somewhere safe." Hi, tell me about your dreams.
I'm cleaning my room and I find stacks of unused holiday and Thank You cards from 2006 and 2014. I remember now how I shove all paper-stuff from my travels in one folder and keep them somewhere not easily accessible, like the back of a cabinet or way deep under cold-weather clothes. I just found a P500 bill in one of the cabinets. It was inside this sheer violet pouch. Do you do this? Insert some...thing in a book, keep it, and forget it, because someday you want to "surprise" yourself with something nice? I like it.
Yesterday I was giving a friend directions to a building nearby, and as I sent the message I was pretty sure it was clear enough. Well, clear to me of course. He sent another query because my prior direction seemed vague. I reread said direction as not-me and it confused me, too. What if he did not clarify it because he didn't want to bother me anymore or he wanted to just wing it? How many clarifications did we choose not to do? How many assumptions did we take, just because we were too shy or lazy to ask?
It can become an addiction: Expecting problems to resolve themselves after a half hour or less, like in Friends. If a problem still exists at 00:31, a reasonable person might go on finding a solution, but a quick-solution addict would find it more appealing to take a depression nap. He or she would then wake up after 4 hours, not knowing what time it is, a bit angry and entitled, yet a bit calmer, but also with the realization that the problem is waiting at the door. This addiction is comforting, as all others are. Please send help.
Summer Tongues came on shuffle, and just like that a two-year attempt at acceptance comes crashing down. I then allow myself to queue songs by Anberlin, Copeland, etc. "Allow" is always the operative word for my actions when it comes to you. Because I have learned a long time ago that it's easy to switch feelings off. I'm an expert, thanks to you and all the others. I fall in love with the wrong ones...those who cannot love me back and are honest enough to tell me so. They won't even give me the illusion of being wanted.
What else has she learned? Instead of love, many of us turn to rejection first. We like to know that we were the first one to reject. We kid ourselves that we are safe in that act. That's what she remembers from the house with the shiny brown floor. Looking into the kitchen, she sees her mother preparing her father's favorite sinigang. Her father arrives, moody and unreachable. Her mother sees this and instead of offering dinner, she locks herself in the powder room. This has been a habit, a dance of who is the first one to serve coldness.
I might make it work--make Shangri-La Plaza a kind of temporary home. I mean, for starters, True Value alone can occupy 3 hours of my day. That's already almost a third of our awake-hours. Sweet Inspirations can take care of WiFi needs. And the restrooms...wow, cleanest and most accessible restrooms I have encountered, ever. All I would need from actual home is a bath and proper sleep. Once I get a new job, stand-by hours will decrease and become more manageable. I can just come home for a total of 5 hours max. Mostly unconscious.
I wanted to add a twist to my usual oatmeal + maple syrup breakfast so I added cayenne pepper powder. Contrary to my earlier belief that I put just enough, turns out I added too much. I can still feel the pepper lining my insides. In the process, I rubbed some of it in my eyes. Brilliant. It's now 8 hours after breakfast, it's raining, and it's too humid. I'm not complaining (it sure sounds like it), just stating facts. Don't you wish sometimes for it to always be raining; for you to be in bed, under the covers; always comfortable?
Eighteen years ago, someone told me to grow up. Eight years later, someone told me the same. Yesterday, someone told me that again. The first two times, I felt insulted. But yesterday I felt calm, accepting. Yes, I agree, I need to grow up. Other things I'm usually told: I sweat the small stuff. I take most things personally. I am a people pleaser. I assume I'm the center of the universe. I'm paranoid. I'm polite to a fault. The younger me would be angry. The me of now is just grateful I have people to call out my mistakes.
Nice, solemn wedding at Makati today. Papa was ninong. I wore a dress nice enough to supply happies for the whole day. Small weddings are quite memorable, no? In general. Been cooking a bit the past few days. Kitchen is welcoming sometimes. Too hot though. But nights are kind, yes? How many times do you tell a lie in a day? Hmmm. Month's almost over. Seeing Harry Styles on Tuesday. My friend, Irene, came in clutch and got us tickets. Yay! We also want to see 1D reunion tour. The new Zayn and Liam songs are catchy. I lub 1D.
There would be a whole week when she'd dream of him. Usually, there is an element of waiting. One Thursday a woman cut the line at a Starbucks. An older lady called her out. They exchanged insults, and this ended with the line-cutter throwing mean-spirited comments at everyone else in the line. She did not get her coffee, no, maybe the shame got to her somehow. The coffee shop was silent after she stormed out. Then, tentative laughter. In this dream, she saw him in the corner, waiting for their eyes to meet. Waiting to smile at her.
There is a medium-size tree in front of her gate. Dry leaves that fall from it litter her front yard every day. She would wait a week before cleaning it up. She often plans to knock next door to ask her neighbor if they could have the tree cut. For some reason (A case of It Is Not A Big Deal), she chooses not to even at opportune times. Maybe she likes the act of sweeping the leaves, gathering them in a mound at a corner, then scooping them all at once. Maybe she likes the sound they make.
Their union (or almost-union, depending on whose perspective it is) was like a haphazard house. Someone built it, sure, and it protected them from the weather. But if one examines the house, they would see that light switches are installed at the side of the room opposite the door. One would have to walk across the room, in the dark, before they could turn on the light. Upon switching these on, however, one would be informed that the bulb is busted. Cross the room again to look for a light source. Flashlight, candle, matches, a sense of direction, transparency.
Half of summer done. Bye. How many years have you been dreading summer then wishing for it once it's gone? Someone somewhere is wishing for rain. Once it rains for days, that someone will wish for the sun...anything but wet socks and moldy walls, sad commutes and selfish train passengers. One wishes for what is not there, of course. How many years does it take for someone to learn how to be thankful for what is there? A bright white 2 p.m. at the park, a sweaty little girl in the shade, giddy, waiting for friends and playtime.
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