Sunday, January 18, 2009
9:15 PM |
Chocoloco and Old Friends
I'm trying to write a new story today. I've titled it "Towards the End," and it is supposed to be my exorcism: fiction always does it for me, the way it was when I wrote "Pete Sampras' Neck" for Quddus many years ago. There's nothing like the formal device of storytelling to make sense of things, and at the same time, to consider things a little more objectively, because you are treating the familiar with a device that requires restraint to be effective. I'm not sure, though, if I am successful with that with my first line: "You realize it is a paramount struggle, every single fucking day, not to love him anymore." How's that for restraint?
And then, like on most Sunday mornings, I begin cleaning the pad. Again. This time more thoroughly. I am ripping things off their usual places -- all my clothes from their closet, all my footwear from their rack, all my sheets from the bed, all my books from their shelves. I proceed to attack the most minute of dust, thinking all along how life unguarded can gather so much ... waste. My laundry bag becomes full of clothes still unworn; I just want them smelling again of detergent wash. My shelves, now bare, awaits a new classification for my books and DVDs; they demand new order, new sequences. All along, I think about my story.
I compose another paragraph in my head while I attack the windows: "The randomness of things that are left for you to find. Those are the things that nobody thinks about after the bitter separation. How one common day can suddenly pause at any random instance at the sight of a pair of socks. Or a shirt that still smells of his musk. You don’t mean to, but here you are, pausing from your Sunday spring cleaning -- and you are holding the shirt to your face, smelling in every bit of what’s left -- the familiar but long-gone odor tantalizing you into small panic. And you think of your resolve, weeks ago, when your certainty was solid and angry. But a shirt.
A stupid shirt makes you crawl once more back into the shadows of questions: did you do the right thing? how could you let him go? was it worth it? And then the one question that you refuse even to acknowledge: Is he thinking of me?"
There goes restraint.
Kuya Moe texts me in the middle of the afternoon. Arlene and Justine, too. They want to take me out for coffee. "But I swore to have no coffee today," I say. That answer does not stop them from trying some more. It must have been the vacancy in my voice. But I don't mind: I think I'll need company today. I promise to meet them later in the afternoon.
"Damon's here," Kuya Moe says.
"Damon?" I replied. "Damon Sattler?"
"Yup, our old friend. He's back in Dumaguete for a vacation. He's with a friend. We're meeting them in Cafe Noriter for coffee."
I decide to kill two birds with one stone, and meet them all
, in Noriter. I walk out into the Sunday, and I contemplate the suddenly shining sun. Where has it been? Not that I have been missing it. There are huge parts of me that still long for the wind and the clouds, and I know for sure that I miss, like a lover, the frank coldness of the past few days, when bundling up in warm clothes was close enough to intimacy I can get these days.
I step into the cafe a few minutes after 5 in the afternoon.
"This is Patrick," Kuya Moe introduces me to Damon's friend. "He's from Chicago."
"You look red," I say.
"I went diving the other day."
"But there was no sun."
When the girls arrive, they take over everything with their laughter. In Noriter, things happen. Spontaneity
, Arlene says, that's our motto these days. We don't plan. We just do.
We all talk, all of us old friends. Some of us have green tea. Some have coffee. Some have some a fancy concoction that include a piece of graham cracker. I have the cappuccino, just because. There goes my "no coffee" for the day.
We all decide to have dinner at Gabby's Bistro. We have beer, we have the adobo, we have the mongolian beef, we have the chocoloco. Sinful chocoloco, the height of all pleasures. There is talk, and more talk, and meeting other old friends who are dropping by for dinner. The Bistro feels like home.
And then we all go home. And I'm here thinking about how days happen, just like that.
Labels: friends, life, writing
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