Saturday, April 21, 2018

Poblacion on a Friday

This neighborhood is where you sliced me open with one endless conversation, right there on the rooftop where we could gaze at the Makati skyline outlined by bright yellow lights. You left me with a gaping wound that I let fester with every stoop conversation and covert sidewalk kiss, with every secret shared over cheap beers and chicken skewers, with loose change dropped into empty hands, and sly smiles, and wordless heavy glances that made me burn under my skin. On the fringes of this neighborhood we shared a small room and a small bed, and small cups of coffee sipped in between small puffs of smoke – small things barely filling the enormous silences we both knew the simplest way to fill but both of us were too cowardly to do so, even until the very end. We saved our sentiments for when they could easily be tucked away, a footnote, not a philosophy, there were more important matters we needed to focus on.

The small bar with the narrow passageways was where I closed the wound you gave me, where I purged myself of that infection with liquor and erstwhile flirtations, single-serve affairs so awkward and so brief, they reminded me of the sound of my own laughter – a comfort, even if it's directed towards myself. Wounds close and pain goes away, and places you once loved you can still love – our stoop, our sidewalk, our small room, our rooftop, our skyline – they’re all still there, though we no longer are.

But I guess I still am. I pass by these places often, while away hours there doing as we did, as I always have.

I no longer ache, but I will always remember.

Remembering is tedious and tiring for a scatter-brain like me, thoughts constantly in a tangle – I am always afraid I might forget. But here, in this neighborhood, remembering is knee-jerk, it’s natural. I look at the swell of unfamiliar people, and I can still make out your face. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Notes from Birmingham

It's a great city for walking around quietly, but maybe that's only when you're led by the hand by someone who knows it. There are traces of broken rules and neglect if you take a moment to notice: used needles, graffiti, broken windows looking like the smile of a drunkard whose teeth got knocked out in a bar fight.

If you're up for a wander, the canal is a good place to start. When you follow the water, it feels almost like an expedition. Even if you don't really know what you're supposed to discover, it feels exciting anyway.

Friday, July 15, 2016

How to say goodbye, I suppose

Tonight, my dog and I were alone in the house. I took her out of her kennel where she had been cooped up all day (she’s attached to an IV and can’t really move about), and walked her around our garden, trying to get her to pee, because peeing means she’s getting better and her kidneys are working again. No pee. Dejected, I started to lead her back to put her in the kennel.

When we got back to the front porch on the way back in, she stopped and sat down. I tried to coax her in to the house, but she just looked at me as if to say, ‘sit with me, human.’ So I did. She sat on my feet as usual, and we watched as the rain started to pour. We sat there for a long time, both of us just watching the sky and listening to the raindrops. For a moment, I wanted to just run out of the shade and get wet, but she couldn’t come with me and I thought it wouldn’t be fair to make her jealous. So I just rubbed her behind the ears — one of her favourite spots — and her head grew heavy in my hand and I think both of us felt peaceful for the first time in days.

A few days ago we all got blindsided by the news that our sprightly little dog had end stage renal failure. A couple of months ago, she was given a clean bill of health, and yet here she is now, hooked up to an IV, barely moving, barely even eating.

I suppose its too much to ask for another few years with her, even if that’s what I really want. And seeing her miserably restricted to small corners of the house at a time because of her IV is depressing, especially since this dog loves moving about and discovering new corners to hide in.

I hope I’m wrong, but our time with the pup feels like its coming to an end soon. I’m happy we watched the rain together tonight. I could do it every night for as long as she can hang on. But if that was a goodbye, I couldn’t ask for a better one — looking at and listening to and sharing a little corner of the world, just us two.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Game

Like many of the games we ended up playing, this one started in bed.