That title is from an ongoing correspondence between Claudia Day and Stacey Levine. Which reminds me, I need to go to the post office.
I have never lived outside of a city, so I find it particularly unsettling when my ears are only met by non-urban white noise. I can’t hear a bird chirping without expecting that sound to get cut by a car horn or a neighbor’s doorbell. I have never had to walk more than a couple of blocks to access public transport.
But the life I’ve led to this day, in Manila, greatly resembles the settled and stable cliches that come with rural residence. I’ve always had my own room in a house I didn’t have to pay any rent for, but always felt the burden of earning my keep in by living under someone else’s rules. The rules in this case are simple: keep each other company. Anyone growing up in or who grew up in a Filipino household would be familiar with the seemingly innocuous traditions that accompany Filipino family ties. When my dad first moved out, his phone calls would be punctuated with the usual questions, like “Have you had lunch?” even if it was already close to dinner time. Or “Where’s your sister?” or “Where are you going?”