It was a “fortuitous happenstance” that you were at the mall a few weeks ago. You were planning to watch a movie with your friends and you were looking at the movie posters when I spotted you. I couldn’t recall the movies that were showing then but I do recall they were mostly crap.
You brought a book with you to pass time: The Zombie Survival Guide. I asked if you were preparing for a zombie apocalypse and you laughed. You said a friend gave you the book and you found it entertaining.
We talked about med school and how you wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I told you I couldn’t imagine your sausage-y fingers fiddling on someone’s brain.
Then your friends came and you had to go to buy tickets. I invited you to drop by at church if you have time. Sure, you said.
I didn’t know which movie you and your friends picked.
I didn’t realize that would be the last time I’d see you.
You will be missed…
They could not grasp the enormity of the task. Perhaps all they imagined was some scrubbing here, some dusting there but most of it, in fact, involved tchotchkes and thingamajigs that have accumulated through time. Each piece of junk had a story to tell, some of those stories weren’t even mine, but whatever story they told, I had to let them go.
China and cutlery: they had to go.
Oven toasters in disrepair: they had to go.
Fragments of chores in suspended progress: they had to go.
Receipts, scraps of paper and their secrets: they had to go.
There is something cathartic about housecleaning. I am not talking about the daily effort of keeping things tidy but the kind that happens once in a few months, or years, when you resolve to get your hands dirty by sorting through stuff and scouring every nook, every cranny of the house. I feel as if something in me has been purged in the process, some excess passion or some emotional tension. I feel as if I have moved on, but from disorder to order aside, from what? And to where?
I gathered the trash in bags and a truck transported them to some landfill where some will be salvaged and given new life to tell a new story but probably in a different form: the fork becomes a can opener; the oven toaster, a paperweight; the receipt, the mechanism inside an iPhone. Some will ascend into a state of non-form and then into non-existence. While the others will persist through centuries, and their stories become anonynomous memories of a faraway past.
I have been making it a point to arrive early at work. So far so good, I’d say. Of course, arriving early at work means having to wake up early. My body clock has adjusted to this and I can wake up early with ease. So it seems I have paid off any sleep debt I have accumulated in the past.
Upon waking up, I would discover that the house is still dark. Usually, I would find it, in the same state as it was the previous night. A chair aligned at a certain angle would still be aligned at that same angle. A faucet dripping at a certain tempo would continue to drip at that certain tempo. And the atmosphere wanting of words would remain devoid of them.
I would take a shower, change, select a playlist, put on my earphones, walk from the house to the main road and from there take a jeepney. A lady sitting beside me might complain because I stepped on her foot. I would tell her I didn’t mean to and apologize. My mobile phone might ring but I would ignore it. I know the caller only bothered to call because I have something of interest to them. Occasionally, my earphones would fall off and I would plug them back. Occasionally, I would fix my hair and the wind would ruffle it again.
Upon arriving at the office, I would discover that some things are in the same state as they were the previous day. The chair I tucked under the desk would remain tucked. The coffee mug I left unwashed would remain unwashed. And the bugs I left unresolved would remain wanting of a fix.
I would wash my mug, make myself some coffee and begin my inquiry into the nature and causes of these bugs.
I recall reading about the 613 kinds of sadness from a book. Who knew such a diversity of sadness existed? There is the “sadness of hands”, the “sadness of domes[tic]ated birds”, the “sadness of a bad convers[at]ion”, even the “sadness of feeling the need to create beautiful things”.
I wonder which particular sadness overtook me. Keen as I am to classify, this one eluded my attempts to identify it. Perhaps it is an amalgam of different kinds of sadness, a chimera of sorts. Or perhaps it is simply the sadness of being sad.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”
– Psalm 42:11
I noticed that for quite some time now, I don’t get to talk much on weekends. My average weekend-day word count would probably be less than a hundred (or fifty even) if talking to one’s self and singing would be excluded. Unless I meet with friends, the only time I could speak is when I take public transportation or buy stuff. Then, I could say things like “Plete palihug” or “Lugar lang” or “Two-pieces burger steak with extra rice. Pineapple juice ang drinks“.
And it did.
When I went out of the Osaka Business Park station on my way to the office this morning, I thought it was drizzling. I was about to get my umbrella but I observed that instead of the wet arrows that make up a drizzle, there were tiny fuzzy white fly-like things drifting erratically in the wind. Without a sound, they vanished the moment they made contact with earthly surfaces — the pavement, my jacket, and my skin.
”This must be snow,” I said to myself, my words were wisps in the chilly air.
I stepped on fresh cement. It was an accident but it reminded me of explorers setting foot on virgin lands, forever leaving a mark in soil and story, not a mere “I was here” mark but rather an “I was here first” mark. There was no conspiracy, however, to it. No question as to the authenticity of the landing. I simply stepped on fresh cement.
I spent around three hours attempting to decipher the usage of TestCaseClassLoader in the context of my test codes. Resources in the Net were close to nil and the JUnit API was of little help. But I’ve got the critter now and like a puppy, it subserviently heeds my instructions to roll over, play dead and load the class I’m testing. Ah… I love this feeling of triumph!
Last Thursday, I experienced what it is like to be immobile for a day. The previous night, after going to the gym (I only did my upper body routine) and eating dinner, I played DOTA for around two hours. When I went out of the cafe, I suddenly fell down and to my alarm, found out that I couldn’t stand up. My legs get stiff when I try to do so. Good thing Reggie was there. With his help, I managed to stand, only to fall off some short ledge a few steps ahead. I stood again and realized that I have to walk in goose marches to avoid tumbling down. Well, I got home safely but in my room I fell down twice. The second time, I hit my head against the table’s edge. I could no longer rise no matter how hard I try, I had to prop myself with a chair to get into bed. The following day, when I woke up, motion was still limited so I took a leave from work. The only way I could traverse across my room was to sit on a chair and propel it forward with my weight.
It must have been one of those disabling spells. Pat said I should get some cockatrice pinion, available at the local item shop, to rid me of paralysis. But it wasn’t paralysis of some sort, thank God! My leg muscles were just tense and tired, I guess.
I remember Hagu of Honey and Clover, who after an accident, got a disability that hindered her from doing her art. While I can still do my art, I just can’t go anywhere. I thought, at least Hagu can walk even as far as leaving the hospital with Morita. As for me, I’m stuck in my room. At first it felt surreal being not able to stand and walk but when it kept me from going to work or at least do certain necessary activities, it became a big inconvenience. It is quite frustrating when your mind says you can but your body says it can’t.
The following day, however, when I woke up, I was already able to get back on my feet. I skipped. I hopped. I dashed and lept. Ah… it felt great.