“Nganong naabot man ka diri, Nong?” (What brought you here, Nong?) “Unsaon ta man, day, diri man nako nakit-an ang akong pikas sa kinabuhi (It can’t be helped, day, I found my other half here),” answered Nong Tony who has lived in Britania for 15 years. The tone he used for unsaon ta man appealed to me as a resignation: a resignation that life needs the other half to continue living, a resignation that a person must leave a place to find another for a sole reason: love.
“What time did you go to bed last night?” asked P, who is always concerned about my crazy sleeping habits, which he thinks detrimental to my health, health-conscious as he is. “Hmm. Four, I guess?” I answered. There is no point in lying because he could easily see them through my eyebags and constant yawns. “Reading?” “Yeah. Middlesex.” “Thought you didn’t like it.” “Yeah, I didn’t like the first five pages.”
“I love reading books,” a certain Japanese answered the trivial getting-to-know-each-other question, “what are your hobbies?” though we both know to know was misplaced. I expected another bout of suspense thrillers since most Japanese find Haruki Murakami too baffling. “Do you know Kobo Abe?” The science of coincidence! My eyes widened because Kobo Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes was on my desk—to reacquaint myself to the ambiguousness of his sand for a travel essay. Rewriting is a painful process; it is an emotional and intellectual bloodshed. While rereading doubles the pleasure. Every read, another layer of meaning, understanding peels […]
There is something about the clouds. Their beauty is their fleetingness. They are “unburdened by memory of any kind” unlike us. I could remember the pile of cup noodles below the television swaying, and if they had fallen down, it would have been a signal that the waves won over the ship. Luckily, the waves were not furious enough, but they constantly reminded us with their disturbing presence. A man steadied himself on the lower rail of the ship while painting its exterior white. He was left unperturbed by our cloud imaginings on the second deck. Everything was moving—the clouds, […]