It has been 1,500 days since she left. I’m not really one for counting the days. I just know she’s been gone for four years. Come to really think of it, that’s quite a long time and with all the hell and things and stuff that has gone through in my brain, I’m not so sure how I got out of it with my head still more or less straight. I’m not even sure if I ever got out of it. One never knows with these things. But then I’m writing this stuff down so I guess things are still moving as the universe intended it to be.
Sometimes you feel you’re just a passenger going somewhere you don’t know.
I dreamt of her a few days ago. I do not remember most of it now but I do remember feeling so delightfully surprised upon seeing her and it seemed that that was her plan all along and she was laughing out loud because the surprise worked. And then we gave each other a lengthy I-missed-you-so-much kind of hug. It felt so real like I wasn’t dreaming at all. But I knew I was dreaming and I also knew I didn’t want to wake up … yet. But I eventually did wake but I still thought it was a good dream.
So, for those who care to know, I am fine. I feel better than the week before. I look old, time-wearied, assuredly tired and broken in a few corners and places. But generally, I’m fine. The world turns and since I am still alive there are responsibilities to take care of. There is still walls and spirits to mend.
I woke up to a somber morning. It was still dark and the smells of last night’s air still lingered about. The streets were unusually quiet for my neighborhood even at this time. It’s either people are still asleep or have gone to their hometowns for All Souls Day.
All Souls Day.
Then names of people come streaming to mind. Rosario. Juanita. Doroteo. Dennis. Beatrice. Gregoria. Alberto. Nenita. Michael. Emmanuel. Rene. Sonia. Michaela. Bea. There are many more but I do not remember now but then, I’ve always been bad at remembering names.
The streets was still asleep as I stepped out to head for the office. Meng, wrapped in a thin blanket, was still sleepy on his tricycle.
I wonder if they knew that I was thinking of them. I wonder if they knew that I see their faces in the places I get to visit or in the moments I remember. Sometimes, I wonder if they are actually watching over me or is it just in my head. Then I see some pouting face form in my head. Well, I hope they are watching.
The bus was cold but the seat is comfortable and I settle in and nap.
I remember a series of moments strung together with each name. That widening smile when we see each other. That boisterous laughter. That facial or vocal expression only that person can give me. The way they’d take may hand or scratch my back. I remember broken images of the way they would tell a story.
I wake just a couple of blocks from my stop. Ned or Ted gives me my coffee and I walk to the office.
Tonight I am going to light a candle for all those names and all those remembered moments. All Souls Day. I hope they’re watching and smiling at me.
I don’t usually come here but the company and the conversation was worth it.
Take a lot of photos — a good number of them. Take photos of things that catches your eye. Take photos of mundane things. Catch moments even if you think it doesn’t matter for this particular time. It may have more weight in the future. Basta, take photos. Practice. You might get lucky and you’ll see an image or two that you actually like.
This is one of the first few photos that I took that I liked.
This was taken early morning, the first of January, New Year’s day, some decades ago. The mist is actually the smoke left over from the previous night’s New Year fireworks and revelry. The guy on the bicycle is what one can call a newspaper delivery boy on the way towards the Malacañang area. One can still see the barbed-wire barricades further down the street guarding the entrance to the Palace gates.
This was photo taken on film — the dark patches on the left is from its deterioration because I’m bad at keeping this thing.