Saturday, April 26, 2008

Slice of Night

I found myself alone among abandoned files, crumpled towels in a chair, half-opened chicherias, half-opened books, unread newspapers, my favorite coffee mug filled with water. They did not forget to turn off the air con, this time, like they did the other night. I tapped on the keyboard and listened to the whizzing of the electric fan. I could hear the rumblings of distant jeepneys, the scream of a street girl, a whistle of a balut seller. But the hoot of construction workers, the thrashing and grating of metals, the roar of heavy equipment around the skeletal building being built across the street seemed to have stopped. In their place is an engulfing silence. I scooped my pants pocket for coins and kicked off my shoes. I could play DonMcLean in his 30s singing the American Pie over and over until the lizards tilt their heads an inch off the wall, nodding to its rhythm. Or, I could play Gorillaz, over and over, until my eyes get so drowsy, I could hardly open them. I could open my new tarot deck I have kept locked in the drawers and discover ancient wisdom. I could read F. Sionil Jose's "Poon," translated into Tagalog by Lilia F. Antonio when she was in Osaka. But instead, I think of my Ma and how, I have never given her a single gift ever since I was born.

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