REPORT A PROBLEM
It's 8 p.m. and the sun is about to set. There's a chill; the neighbor's orange roses seem to be shivering. If only there's something she can do. Do it. Do what. Run away. Forget. Start again. By the window she sighs, watching the neighbor park their car, obscuring the roses she wanted to protect. Dinner time! Her mother's voice from the next room. Except her mother's not there. It's an alarm she set to go off every 8:05 p.m. This ritual comforts her. Why would she run away when there's no one to run away from?
There's a photograph of that day but I don't remember it. Sometimes I get a taste in my mouth for a few seconds, something familiar. Bread. Naan? I try to remember it but just when I think my brain is nearly there, the answer slips away. Memory is cruel, sometimes generous, sometimes useless. I stay in bed an extra 2 hours trying to get back to a dream. There are snippets here and there. A face here, a feeling there, but never the whole thing. Are dreams even whole? They are fragments of ourselves. When are we whole? Awake? Asleep?
Was buying a dozen eggs and the lady suggested I buy 15 instead so that...I forget the reason, just that it had something to do with the rounding up of the price. I spent the whole walk home wondering why we buy eggs by the dozen and why we do the things we are "used" to doing. I used a new route home only because it got tiring thinking of the eggs and why we allowed ourselves to do these things just because we have grown accustomed to doing them. At home, I looked for something new to do.
Today I decided to be quiet but then I saw a funny meme on Tumblr and wanted to share it with my 4 friends so I sent them that and nobody reacted so I went back to deciding I wanted to be quiet. All the time, all the days. Being quiet is the way to go. No rejection, no expectation. Today is Sunday it's supposed to be mall day or movie day, True Value day. A day to venture out to Crossing or Ortigas. Watch the sunset via the glass walls. Occupy myself with the phone while the world happens.
Yellow-lit hallways. Long golden walks. Warm-colored tunnels. On TV a man is expressing his mistrust of science. Mother Earth is out to get us, we are the virus. Laughter. Incredulous laughter. My brother turns off the TV and transfers to the computer. I bury my face in my phone, the tablet, anything but a book. The Last Dance is on in a few. I browse Tumblr for memes that I save on my phone for future use. I used to have friends, two friends, three? whom I loved dearly. I don't know now if it was ever love.
The washing machine conked out again. This is maybe the third time it's given up on us. Last repair cost a lot and I announced to the family then that if the machine ever acts up again I won't have it repaired anymore because of the stress you know it's not easy. Or maybe it's easy for someone else but for me I don't like making a call, having to wait, setting a schedule knowing fully well that people are going to be late, losing sleep over a goddamn machine. I'm angry I catastrophized today it wasn't a good day.
A constant chant of the smallest thing causing the worst result. Take any small thing and my brain converts it into a disaster. Bits of rice in the sink drain will result in major blockage and the kitchen will be flooded. Gate latch not properly locked it's like a welcome sign for thieves they will walk in even if we're in the living room evidently the house is available for theft because the gate latch is not properly locked. A vicious cycle. If I forget to keep food in fridge it will go bad we will go hungry for days.
Started watching Transparent somewhen this week. Good so far. Really good. I feel like my routine changes from week to week. One thing that stays the same is I go down and get milk for coffee and take my seat at the table, have my meal there with the fan, with or without company I eat my meal quietly and discreetly eye the TV where it seems the world has also changed forever, reruns, old stuff, no more concept of time. We are comforting ourselves with the unrealness of it all as if there's still a place we'll return to.
I get annoyed by the smallest things, it's like a hobby or muscle memory, it's all I know how to react. I'd like to say this is the old me but it's still very much the me of now. I try to be kind and understanding but it's challenging. Look at me whining. I treat myself kindly, too, I feel like that's important. To speak to myself gently and not spew out hurtful words especially when I wake up late and not have enough time to do stuff, I feel like I'm wasting sunlight getting up at 3 p.m.
I'm experimenting. Seeing how long I can stand that vinegary smell emanating from my...neck? Not sure. I smell my clothes and it's not there but I smell it...somewhere. Showering used to be a chore, now it's something I look forward to every day except when I'm in my experimentation mode which is often. Also not sure what the point is of all these May entries just typing whatever comes to mind. I spend lots of time staring at my white hair and wondering when I can have a proper haircut should I just cut it myself. Yeah no.
Monday!!! I'm very proud of my new ability to poach an egg. It's perfect. I love it. Noodles are perfect they are soft and friendly and settle in the stomach just right. The hot soup hugs my tummy and tells it of better days and some days I get a bad gassy tummy and can't sleep so I employ the warm compress and use it on my wrists, too, and I get relief for a few minutes but then there's 30 more hours in the day and I get both defeated and fired up and it's tiring but also fine.
The Last Dance's newest episodes are so good. This series is so good. Haven't been invested in a show this way in a long time. We used to have VHS tapes about the Bulls and their 2 three-peats. My brothers and I would watch them again and again. I liked that. Imagine, 22 years ago. That's equivalent to one adult person that can make their own decisions, fly on a plane alone, and start a family in the Maldives or something. I like texting Kuya after every viewing: "I cried a lot." I like getting his reply: "Me, too."
Sometimes I can be a dick. A backstabber. Envious. I've just been through an Instagram feed of gorgeous photos and it annoyed me. I'm not even sure now why I follow the person if this is how I often react to their content. Are beautiful, talented people annoying? They're not. It's wiser to stay offline. There are times when I go online again in a different headspace and I can appreciate properly. Just now I was admiring a short sentence someone wrote that had combinations of words I'd never thought to use and it made perfect sense. That was nice.
I'm going to try enumerating stuff I watched in the last 9ish weeks in no particular order (some rewatch): Homecoming. Transparent. Tales from the Loop. The Night Manager. Never Have I Ever. Better Call Saul. The Last Dance. 3 Idiots (second time around, not as magical as the first time 9ish years ago but still good!). Elite. Money Heist. Fleabag, The Office, Friends again and again and again. Electric Dreams. Upload. Princess Diana docus. Mystic River. Broadchurch. Lady Bird. After Life. Feel like there's a lot I'm forgetting. The first sign of life is crying. It means all is well.
It's been raining the whole day. Woke up at 6, then 8, then 1 and my window presented the same dark picture all times. Like it's been 5 a.m. the whole day. Not too hot today, yay for that because if you remember yesterday...all the sweat just left your body am I right. Small movement sweaty forehead miserable life when will this end. But today, today is fine. Gorgeous. I regularly check the bucket at the stairs landing because that part of the ceiling has decided to give up as of last week's heavy rain. How are you?
Week 10, Day 63. The stairs and hallway flooring have been creaking more than usual. Because I'm awake at night I often worry that I'm being noisy, and then I remember my housemates aren't sensitive to sound as I am. Still, sometimes I get the urge to mark the non-creaky parts (like in A Quiet Place) so I know where to step, because I always forget. I have a map in my head but...Anyway, recently I noticed some of the creaking subsided in the usual spots. Wood does expand when it's humid yes? But it's always been humid?
Another Sunday! Reading through this month's previous entries I noticed that I mixed up a couple of days there. My brother asks me every day what day it is. Well, he confirms it. Sometimes I do the same with him, just to make conversation, because there's not so much to talk about nowadays really. We're all just usually in our respective rooms occupying the 52+ hours of the morning, waiting for dusk and sleep. What will you remember this summer by? I hope it's something positive. Let's get goopy for a minute here, I hope you remember everything with fondness.
TBH I determine what day it is via stuff I wait for online. Okay, as of late my weeks have been like this: Sunday, The Last Dance, Better Call Saul, Wednesday, Thursday, Radiohead, Saturday. So yeah, Better Call Saul ended a couple weeks back. The Last Dance ended today. I hope Radiohead continues uploading full concert videos for the foreseeable future. This particular Monday (technically Tuesday Manila) had a bonus in the form of Harry Styles' Watermelon Sugar music video premiere. Didn't disappoint. That was A+ entertainment. Now I'd like to spend the following days replaying The Last Dance highlights.
Been trying to plow through these two books that I'm too proud to give up on. I'm almost finished with one of them. As for the other one I put it down again just now because it doesn't surprise me, I can see what's about to happen and at the same time I have no idea. It's not a good combination. Not sure what I'm saying here. It's Tuesday and sun's about to set. I can see tinges of rusty light through my window. I'm ensconced in my room with the AC and fan on. Good night, Tuesday. Sweet dreams.
Dear Ma. Today has been good, foodwise. We had Bermuda Hotel delivery (pancit canton, lumpiang shanghai, crispy pata). Papa also ordered some stellar beef and gravy. Weather-wise: Eh. Could be better. Why do we assign names to everything? When we can't describe something we get frustrated; sometimes we have zero words for some things. A feeling we feel for the first time. The way sunlight is resting on that same spot in the backyard. That urge to love someone who's a little bit hard to love. Looking forward to seeing you later this year. I miss you love you.
Ma. Sometimes I refuse to do things because of prior failures. Now I know I'm not alone in this but it sure feels lonely most times, especially when it's something to do with being of service to other people. Too abstract? Ok, for example: I'm a bad judge of quantity in general. If you ask me to buy food for 3 people, I'll either buy 10 people's worth or 1.5 people's worth. Way off the mark. So I end up avoiding that responsibility for years, then I do it and fuck up again. So. A cycle. Help. Need help.
Megamall has been open since the weekend, I think. Finally bought a new-ish phone. Just really need something that will not die on me in the middle of important transactions. But as it goes, I'm also not one to research prior to purchasing. Realized just now that the last time I bought a phone was 2006ish? Motorazr v3i. Everything else had been a hand-me-down from Kuya. Anyway this phone I bought looks like a total loser. Not putting myself down though because I'm already proud of myself, being able to get out of the house at all.
Ah these trippy dreams. Slept the afternoon away. Got up in the morning just to call Ma before she sleeps. After we talked I browsed a bit, watched Game Night, I think...then dozed off again. You know those sticky afternoon naps when you wake up from time to time because of how sweaty you are but somehow you're comfortable enough so you wave off turning on the AC and you go back to a strange dream that you know you'll forget anyway. It's just while you're there in that world, life seems livable and kind, different and calm. Preferable.
Ma, I know what you'll say regarding my refusal to do things on account of past failures. You'll say: "You learn from your mistakes and do better next time." I agree, but see...it's not absolute. For one, some people, even if they try hard to do better, they sometimes still end up failing. Other times of course they do better, and yay for that. Another thing, some people are so hard on themselves that they end up not doing much, really. I told you before, I need help. Mostly in taking the first step. Not being afraid of failure.
Dear Ma. Been listening nonstop to Carrie & Lowell. Sufjan Stevens said something about the difficulty of mourning someone who wasn't really present in your life but who you've loved and longed to have in your life. "Should Have Known Better" is on loop the most. Yesterday Kuya and I had an hour-plus-long talk about feelings. Gold. A few hours ago at the dinner table I was near tears as I was asking Papa how he was feeling, was he OK (he said yes). All these kindnesses weigh heavy against the daily pains and it all sometimes seems easy.
Week 11, Day 73. Got up early today. Errands done by 11 a.m. Had 2 servings of strong coffee. Had lunch at 11:30, dinner at 4:15. It's now 5:10 p.m. and I'm ready for bed. Brushed my teeth, now comfy with a hot compress. We look at the time before, while, and after doing something as if it contributes to the act. Time. The truth is it's forever and we're a blip in the grand scheme of things. Forgive me for that platitude. It's both easy and hard to ignore this neverending moment. Need rest.
Dear Ma. Not a very good day patience-wise. Lunchtime here at the house is often challenging mainly because I get frustrated by everything that's been dirty the night before (not my doing) that need to be cleaned. I don't have to be the one to do it but what if, e.g., I need the food cover for the microwave oven and it's dirty? Then I have to wash it right? These small slights are like apps in my head that I just swipe up. Disable. Force stop. But then. BUT THEN. I tap the app again. Boom. Volcano.
Ma, if I never become a mother, it would be fine. I decided this today. You can just teach me, perhaps, how to love like you do. How to swallow my pride. How to think of other people first. How to be tender and firm at the same time. How to be patient. How to show anger even if it's not how most people express love. You only feel angry toward someone when you love them, right? If there's no love, any untoward emotion is not anger—it's disgust, indifference, unfamiliarity, defense. I want to understand you more. Teach me.
Ma. Yesterday I was out for errands. I can't find a way to do some things online. I want you to know I tried. Anything to lessen the necessity of having to go out. Schedules are adjusted many times to accommodate urgent stuff, as you know. I've learned not to be rigid about these things. I worry at night, however, are the doorknobs clean, is the table wiped down, are the fruits washed properly. Is there anyone else worrying with me, in this house? Are they sleeping okay? I mouth a thank you for another day of safety. Tomorrow again.
Ma. Whenever I see Miley Cyrus I remember you. You once said in passing that you like her "because she can really sing." I think this was circa-The Climb. Last night I was rewatching her Ariana Grande and Lana del Rey covers and...yeah. She IS good, she can make you appreciate songs you didn't really take a liking to before. I wonder if you still like her now. Is there anyone else you think is good? I must remember to ask you the next time we talk. Things here aren't well, as is where you are. Take care.
Mama. I woke up strange today. Cried a lot. Didn't reach for the phone for a long time. Had coffee first. Cold pizza. Sunshine outside. I miss you everyday. Those mornings you'd be at the kitchen counter stretching, coffee cup steaming in front of you. Good morning, you'd always say. There was no awkward moment. There'd be food on the table. Even if we were already grown-ups you'd still prepare food for us. Motherhood is sainthood. Mothers who abandon their children, maybe they still feel that connection. There are days I long for you too much. I love you.
The Tip Jar