Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sunset in B'la

B'la is a place where you grow up in order to escape. But once you've done your escaping, you long to go back to it over and over again until the longing for eternal return threatens to break your spirit. This was what I was telling Pa as I rummaged through the dusty remains of old books and letters, one day I arrived home in B'la.
B’la came from the word B’laans, who owned the place before the settlers arrived, I heard myself saying. B’laans, the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, who were already here before the Visayan settlers came in droves. The Visayans, whose tongue had trouble pronouncing B’la, turned it into Bala, loosening it and unwittingly losing something beautiful and important. "That's not true," Pa protested, "That's a lie!" he said, "This whole place was owned by the Bagobos, there were no B'laans here!" His voice was shaking, he had trouble breathing. After all, it was Pa who beat the rest of the settlers by arriving here when the whole place was still a lauaan forest. But I love the name B'la, and I want to create a myth; and B'la and the B'laans fit in well together in the world I want to create. "Calm down, Pa," I said, "Calm down, calm down. Let's listen to a story."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

For the Dork: Part II

“You got berated by a—whaaat?” asked J.A. Romualdez, not related to Philip Romualdez, when I told him about the chauvinist pig. “Verbally abused,” I corrected. “No wonder!” J.A. sighed. “What can you expect from those people?” he continued. “They are stupid, mean, ignoramus, they think like machines. Unlettered. Bastos. Couldn’t appreciate the simple things in life. Oh, yeah? An engineer, eh? You know some people, their minds are like engines, and more often, a screw or two loosen/s up, and that’s what you get from them: loose tornillos, malfunctioning engines!”
This was the first time that J.A. took my side in my protracted battle against the Dork, another name for the chauvinist pig. For in all other things, Ja and I always took opposing sides; from the war on Iraq, VS Naipaul, to GMO; from Davao Death Squad to mono sodium glutamate.
Even when I used to rant against the chauvinist pig, JA would often offer irritating remarks against me in favor of the pig; because every time I speak ill of pigs, JA felt he was being attacked.
But I was not attacking J.A.. Not at all. I was only talking about the Dork, another name for the pig, whose number on my phone I had accidentally pressed the dawn that my boy ran away and I was in panic. I was supposed to send a message to my sister but I still had an unsent message for the Dork at noontime the previous day. I had tinkered with my phone for far too long looking for my sister’s number when I accidentally pressed the unsent message to the Dork, and so it happened; at 12:05 midnight when everyone was asleep, my message was gone out of my outbox with hardly a poof! Afterwards, I heard a soft tinkling sound from my phone.
Hoy, na’y mga batang nangatulog diri, pagka-wa gud nimo’y batasan!” It was the Dork. I was shocked and awed by his manners; so gruff and low, if my mother had to describe it. Yet, I also wanted to laugh! The Dork sounded really upset and troubled, he must have been having a hard time with the one-year-old baby. I wanted to laugh because finally, it was the Dork’s turn to be in trouble. I felt like rejoicing. I wanted to dance.
If the pig had only known what I had gone through all those years he dumped me and left me alone with the baby to survive. I was numbed and dumbed sterilizing bottles and doing the laundry, I hardly had enough sanity left to write a sentence at work, where my editor used to wait for my story. Now it was the Dork’s turn to lick the toilet bowl, God is Kind and Full of Mercy, Halleluiah!

Monday, August 06, 2012

What is going on in my Garden?

I said, what are they doing here? Why did I bring them home? I should have given them to Sean’s teacher, whose grounds are so stable with the blessings of Patriarchy. Here, they will only wilt and die as they witness my devastation. What are they doing here? Are they flowers for the dead? What is there to celebrate? Yet, when I put them in my doorway, I noticed the starcluster in the pot about to burst with flowers; and another green came up with unexpected blooms; and my sage at the backdoor was leafing ferociously. Come on, I'm supposed to be dead, what is going on in my garden?

Turbulent August

I thought the only thing that would confront me this month is the trouble with my eyeglasses. I just had this new pair issued by my doctor the previous week but I had wanted another one, because this doble-vista only makes me feel blind in the middle. But then, Ja left in a huff and my whole landscape changed. Now, I am faced with the horror of sudden, unexpected moving. I needed not just glasses, but a whole new apartment for me and my boys. I needed extra effort to focus on my work because everywhere I go I get confronted by the pressing demands at home; such as what to prepare for dinner, what uniform Sean had to wear the following day, fixing things up, washings; I’m already too exhausted to do other jobs afterwards, including writing. Home is a total chaos right now because we are still in the act of packing. Even the DVDs that I bought on the eve of Ja’s unexpected departure had lain somewhere in the rubbles, totally forgotten. It was the BlueRay copy of “The Adventures of Tintin;” and now, I could not enjoy it, anymore.