I’ve identified myself under the “writer” label ever since I was a kid, and now at eighteen, I still do. Nothing is as comforting as that feeling after you write a piece, that surge of relief, that final sigh — indicative of the bleeding you have just done. The best feeling in the world, though, is reading through it for the first time and feeling mighty proud of yourself, for, hey, perhaps this is what you were born to do, after all.
Still, there are moments when you are just too damn tired, or your attention remains closely resembling that of a five year old’s, to think of those hard-hitting adjectives you are so usually bursting with to describe whatever majestic moment it is that’s unraveling before your very eyes. No, actually, screw that — writing is and will always be a secretion, to borrow from Abad, for me, and it is precisely this which makes it the most beautiful way man could express himself. The tragedy is this: words don’t always arrive at whim. They do not hover above in midair, waiting for arms to reach out to them, gravity to assume and dominate. They have a life of their own.
Dusk, dusk — I remember now it was something about dusk, or maybe dusk itself, that I wanted to write about, but couldn’t. The surrender of daylight to darkness; the sun six degrees above the horizon, then twelve, then eighteen.
I was sitting at my favorite spot on my bus ride home, the last row on the right, where you can see everyone but no one can see you. Rush hour and nothing defines it more than the word exhaustion. The characters may switch, may vary – Manila is a city of over twenty million after all – but the chatter remains indistinguishable. You follow a conversation about the weather or note a lovers’ petty quarrel, but the voices soon fuse together into a persistent murmur that you drown out with some Incubus, asking you for a kiss to send them off. On nights when you struggle home drunk and disoriented, these voices keep you in the moment and it is them, sounding familiar and strange at once, that lull you to sleep.
It is the same at all times, you know because you spend more or less four hours on the road every single day. But something about chasing the afternoon’s last light glorifies the experience, prompting you to ask of stories you will never be told, anyway. The morning rush is different, it gives off an uncertain vibe no matter where in the city you find yourself at 7 AM, a continuity of dreams, or the recognition of the absolute absence of. It is a fight to be awake, much less staying so, much less wanting to.
Dusk, though, knows no pretensions. It does not ambush you back to life, swooshing in uninvited, the way morning does.
It eases you into evening, at its own pace. You don’t mind the kilometers as much anymore, knowing very well that by the time headlights and streetlamps are all you have to distinguish silhouettes from things that are there, those that remain regardless of what light source illuminates the outline and reveals the contours of its shape – and you do know you have mistaken phantoms for permanent fixtures way too much, way too often before – you will be home.