On the true state of things



I. The end smells like barako coffee and corned beef on toasted pandesal. What it looks like: cloudy, with a hundred percent chance of rain not letting up for hours. So go ahead, drench your sorrows in caffeine and rainwater. Accept finality as cooking oil settles on your lips.  The end sounds like yet another song on how about really, there are worse things in life. Press replay and assure yourself survival. You owe yourself that much.

II. When morning comes, allow it. Do what needs to be done.

III. Find a recurrent name being dropped by your friends on a night like this. Feign nonchalance at first but later on feel like your silence betrays you. Recuperate by divulging tidbits of information, both ambiguous and vague. Your shallowness dawns on you once you say things out loud. Realize how you have idealized gestures which are probably meaningless to another in your head, how you have been nursing them for months, hoping for some organic unity in deeds and intent. Find no such thing now, hear the imaginary unifying thread snapping.

IV. Later on when the band starts to play your song, isolate the bassline and lose yourself for a minute or two. Never mind all else the street calls to mind, never mind regretting, never mind finding fault. Never mind sloshy Expo nights and footsteps sending ripples through puddles, never mind warm palms and the distinct tightness of a grip. Forget reasons and longing. Forget what is amiss. Forget everything but this. The song ends and the crowd goes wild. Smile and cheer yourself. Raise your bottle — one last toast to memory.

V. From here on forward, there is no going back. Set off into the proverbial unknown thinking you aren’t leaving anything behind anymore, anyway, nothing binds you to these ruins. Mean it this time. Resist the urge to pick another distraction to function as your anchor, start sketching an itinerary instead.  Settle into your seat, the sleeping world passing by your eyes. Keep humming about how you don’t want to learn what you’ll need to forget.

VI. Look outside and see your face reflected against EDSA, almost entirely void of lights and sounds, desolate but content. Morning will arrive soon. Life will, too.


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