Dry Season

In the country of the ochre afternoon
it is always still and hot, the dry leaves stirring
infrequently sometimes with the rattling pods
of what they call “women’s tongues,” in
the afternoon country the far hills are very quiet
and heat-hazed, but mostly in the middle
of the country of the afternoon I see the brown heat
of the skin of my first love, so still, so perfect,
so unaltered, and I see how she walked
with her sunburnt hands against the still sea almonds,
to a remembered cove, where she stood n a small dock–
that was when I thought we were immortal
and that love would be folded doves and folded ores
and water lapping against eroded stone
in the ochre country of the afternoon.

– Derek Walcott


It was friday night, and my officemates and I were sitting around a table in the McDonald’s on Paseo. We’re all dead tired, yet Jerry from C/S decides it’s a good time to talk about love like we’re on some inane late night radio show.
He asks our audio tech how he got past it. To which the tech replies, you just do. You find someone else, you forget, and voila, you heal. The whole idea of moving on is built around the notion that there is an actual cure for heartbreak, and that this cure occurs in the wake of forgetting. As if memory were an objective repository for misery (as well as other things of course).
Being the only girl at the table then, I had to answer the question as well: “What did I do to get past that last relationship that ended in heartbreak?”

I didn’t. That was my answer and that still is. Whatever pretenses I put on that I’m past anyone who broke my heart in the past, I’m not, and I don’t think I ever will be. It sounds pretty lame, but something chips away from inside you the minute you latch on to someone else. No matter how petty it was, with every part of you that is discovered in the context of a relationship, a part of you is taken away in its absence. In its place is a wound that is as much a part of your self as a mole on your chin or your lack of a vocabulary to describe the gravity of that kind of disappointment.

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Dead Bodies Everywhere

We were on our way home last night when traffic slowed along Sumulong Highway and two police vans came into view. Further along the road, a man was sprawled on the shoulder, his leg broken and twisted at the knee. A hit and run victim: judging from the number of people surrounding him and the dust and debris that had settled on his corpse, he had probably been there for quite a while. I wondered how many people had already stopped to gawk before the cops arrived.

Just a little further along the stretch, a little boy was being pushed on a cart in the middle of the lane by an older child. In spite of the grief, the horror that took place just a little up the road, life still goes on within the same stretch of time and space.

I’ve never seen a dead body before, but I find myself insensate in the presence of one. I didn’t know the man, and people die every day in varying degrees of brutality or in the tender arms of sleep. It’s the only certainty we’re granted in this fickle lifetime. Me, I want two kids–both boys, an apartment in Malate, and a job in a museum. There are no guarantees to any of these but I do know that one day it will all end and the only thing that I won’t be able to change is the last thing I had on my mind the moment it happens.

I’d like to be on vacation when I die, I want the last thing on my mind to have nothing to do with work.