I’m sorry for being silent the last couple months, but at the same time I know if this online journal has to be as honest as it should be there is no need to force writing entries. Life has been full. I now have gigabytes upon gigabytes of photographs to share, and much more, so many stories I’d like to put into words.
November and December roll on without travels or trips and many times in between I felt like I was going to get sick. It’s hard to be so idle and yet so lost at the same time. I can’t sleep on most nights wishing it were easy to travel or to get to your dreams but I realize it won’t be easy because nothing great is ever achieved right away. I silently make plans and hope for the best in the future. But in these months, I decide I will do all that I can do and so I start the crazy but fulfilling feat of fixing the smaller details of my life.
It took me a month to fix my room. I don’t know when I stopped sleeping beside my dad to move into my own. I only remember being afraid of the dark and then all of a sudden I started hearing him jokingly telling our family friends I was already growing up because I wouldn’t hug him at nighttimes anymore. I think I moved out of my parents’ room shortly after. It has been my home ever since. But after getting back from Australia, all I was was unhappy and my room didn’t feel anything like home. I hated my queen-sized bed for one, that table I can barely use to work on, all the added weight and unnecessaries. I guess I needed to find a way to be happy about being home. I threw out all things that didn’t belong to me anymore. The bed, the three-paneled mirrors, books and clothes I’ve outgrown. My mom reasonably didn’t agree on anything (she had worked so hard for all those furniture — when I was a lot younger, she wanted to make me feel like a princess – don’t all moms do?) and my dad just let me be as usual. I remember going around hardware stores and discussing my plans with a carpenter, measuring my room’s dimensions and figuring out how I wanted to arrange all things. Sometimes I’d laugh at myself. I haven’t bought anything for the past months but here I am spending most of my savings for a humble, wooden bed, two drawers, and lots of apothecary tools.
My room was in shambles for a couple weeks and I’d work on a tiny orange-lit corner I’d kept clean. I don’t know how but I sit on my floor exhausted one afternoon and I was done. I cuddled with my sheets that night and felt at home for the first time in so long.
Everything was peaceful then. I had no camera (I’d use an iPhone to document little moments) and all I could do was plan. I spent time with myself mostly. Monday nights for the water, many days-turned-nights writing and planning under my orange lights, some days driving myself to the to the movie house and then quite a few times I joined theatre workshops of my former mentor and felt all the more that I’ve changed. I was feeling a little sluggish and down one particular Monday when my sister tells me we are expecting a visitor. I think when you’re so used to being alone sometimes, the idea of entertaining strangers seems dragging. But the Universe has its ways and try as I may to avoid good by taking a bath early so I can leave earlier than I do for night swimming, Unko Tom arrives earlier than expected and five minutes later I am almost crying. We talk about many good things, beautiful countries we’ve been to, shared hopes and plans for the future.
Unko Tom is a very special person to me, and to all who meet him no doubt. He is so loving, and so true. We only had a day to spend together but I’m glad we even did. I bring him and another good friend Bryce around some of my favorite spots in Manila. Quiapo was amazing and crazy as it usually is but my favorite part of the day were the LRT rides just because it’s been a while and also because I had the pleasure to be stared at and be so utterly scared on the inside to have my American-Hawaiian Unko speak to me in English so loudly. It was hilarious. I’m just glad we got out of there alive, with all valuables and body parts intact. I bring him to the airport later that night as I try my utmost not to cry. We hug each other goodbye and I don’t stop saying thank you because that’s all I really felt. I know Jehovah will bless him. I don’t know when we’ll see each other again, but I know someday too we will again and it will be just as wonderful.
I meet Cisse one Sunday, who flew in from Paris to meet her lover who just happens to be our family’s friend. She is so lovely and so sweet, her beautiful almost unblemished ebony skin quite unlike anything I’ve seen in my life. We take her out for Mediterranean lunch and I think she gets slightly overwhelmed (by I don’t know what — either by our loudness or hyperness or the fact that we don’t stop talking even when the food arrives) she starts to cry. We talk a lot about China and France and South Africa and the Philippines but we laugh mostly, really. I bring Cisse and Allen to Tagaytay the following week and while the day was overly warm, it was enjoyed. When she leaves she tells me I can visit and live with her in Paris anytime I would like and I don’t stop thinking about it for a couple days after.
And then my tita Peachy comes back home from the States by mid-December and the next two weeks we find ourselves doing random, silly things together, drinking moji-rum and exchanging family secrets during wee hours of the morning, night swimming with intensely cold winds, haggling fifty percent off almost everything we want in bazaars, and filling ourselves with so much buffet food, many times we felt so sick. I missed my tita Peach but she flew away again and it all felt so familiar. Goodbyes are almost like a routine for me already.
When I look back on those months, I remember no grand spectacles and amazing encounters. Only quieter moments of happiness and being better acquainted with oldtime friends and family I already have. It’s been a while since I have been content with being content, but in those days I fight hard and learn to do so.
(If you have to know, I remember all these only because I write my everydays down on a journal. Also, I find time to write these now that I am sick and there is an overflow of words and ideas.)
Much love, C