Superficial (1) (Fiction)

 

 

 

Goodness, what time is it?

I reached for my mobile phone, that also serves as the alarm clock for my everyday activities. Not that I have much to do these days. But it never hurt to keep the habit of waking up early and do more.

Not today, though. Forgot to set it last night. The sun is already up, threatening to melt the black top laid new outside my landlord’s house, of which I am a tenant, with the rent due sometime soon. Made it to the common sink all tenants use and washed my face with water already warm from the heat. Eyes felt puffy. The beginnings of stubble easily discernible on my fingertips, as my brain registers the fact that I am awake and I have to do something today.

What was it?

Dried my hands and face on the towel hanging by the veranda, still clueless of just what it was I was supposed to be doing. Filled the electric pot with warm water from the tap to boil. Barefooted and with dirt accumulated from last night’s dust settlings, took a few steps to the bathroom and relieved myself of the previous night’s caffeine consumption, noticing the grime from my bare feet on the wet floor. To use the bowl would require a lot of water because the flush is broke, so I aim for the drain and pour water around it, and the mud like dirt on the floor.

My Toshiba left on all night managed to finish the virus scan last. Thank fully, I have kept this laptop working even if the joint is about to lose it’s integrity, as I look for new emails.

No. No new job offers today. Drying my feet and legs with the tee I took off this morning, wet with perspiration and now also with slight stains of dirt. It’ll come off if I wash it, I assured myself, and threw it right smack into the clothes bin, and sat on my black monoblock chair, and lit a cigarette, the first of many, for the day, while browsing for news.

Ah.

There was supposed to be a call yesterday that didn’t come. I’m supposed to submit the drawings I did and get the balance payments. Sadly, I think they have no money, so play the waiting game.

But no, that was not why I had to get up early today.

The water boiled and I pull the plug, and made myself coffee. Hot as it is, I savor the smell and taste. Took a few puffs of smoke and tried to do some stretches. The usual ambulant vendors with pushcarts and baskets are already doing some good business outside with vegetables and fruits. I coul hear the guy selling watermelons, with his well modulated voice yell “PAHKWARYN!” over and over.

I’m hungry.

Not really, but something in my head says I have to have food today.

Got a fresh tee from the closet, took a second look and changed my shorts too. Because I noticed the sticky stuff that dried on the crotch on the one I was wearing. Remnants of last nights solitary sexual gratifications. One does that as the only relief for being alone in this city. I tell that to myself so I don’t mess around. Not anymore.

Quick look at the mirror and I went down the stairs, out the gate and walked to my favorite food stand. Favorite, because the manang there let me eat and pay later.

Which is what I’m about to do now since my wallet hardly has anything in it, just receipts and Pera Padala forms, and my coin purse is protesting that I can’t even fill it up with money. Macaroni soup, two servings for Php24, rice, meat and vegetables for about Php55 and I promised to pay her after I get my money from clients, lying through my teeth because as of today, I still don’t have anything to collect, just a finished project from the client whose finances are only a bit more flexible from mine.

After dodging jeepneys picking up passengers on the street, I made it back to my room on the second floor.

And what was it really that I am supposed to do today?

My coffee’s still warm, and I think I’ll just have the macaroni soup for now. The rest I will have for lunch. fervently hoping it would not spoil in this heat. The sky, so blue promises a day of unrelenting sunshine, that will surely burn the social networks with status posting of “Ang inet!” complete with hashtags and photo attachments, I smiled.

A soft wind managed to lift some feathers left by birds I caught playing by the veranda. And I could see pigeons way up.

Then it hit me.

I wa supposed to meet with a potential client for a storyboard job.

Goodness, what time is it?

8:22am.

Still enough time for a quick bath, and be in Sta.Mesa by 10am.

Okay.

Move you old fart. Time’s a-wasting.

(To Be Continued)

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

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A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Not Looking Back

I had nothing to do but listen to the rain making noise outside, while the barge plying the river to and fro makes its final trip for the day. Just got back from Bicol and my fever came back with me, so I winged it and stayed in my rented room, where I came to occupy after my previous landlord decided I had to leave. The room is good enough for me. The only worry is in order to get to my room, you have to to negotiate a particularly steep plight of wooden stairs set on welded steel frame built by my new landlord himself. No, the stairs is the least of my problem. The stove is at the top landing, next to a good pahingahan hanging on a cute little veranda where the gas tank is also located. Sometimes I wonder if the landing should suddenly give out, the tank would surely make a loud boom. Heck, I survive a Don Mariano bus trip every night, a treacherous 100-km speed ride everytime, I should be able to deal with this.

So, with my coffee almost gone, and cigarette butts need to be discarded to make room for new ones, I sit in front of my borrowed computer ( running on XP Ultimate, with a 1.5Gb RAM and a whole lot of history. Yup, this particular pc  came from the wake of TS Undoy) I try to keep from screaming inanities at the dark. Somehow, I’m still full of fire despite the fact that I am 42.

Just like Johnny Storm, I rage. I rage for the loss of a good friend. I snap, crackle and pop at the lost work I have been doing on my laptop, now probably gone to some seedy pawnshop by whoever killed Mamu for some easy buck. Gone with that portable pc are the writings and scenarios for my graphic novel. These losses aggravated the fact that even with a good employment, I still have to find freelance work to make it even in this day of  instant noodles and cult of personalities. I burn at the way my government is a pushover at dealing with my country’s lack of progress. My heart steams from the seemingly unrelenting pop-trash culture being peddled in almost anything.  My psychotherapy of novels and books and music and good movies are all that keeps me from throwing it all away and heading back to the mountains.

Several storms have been making the rounds around here. But the real storms are within. Good thing I still have real friends, old and new ones. I may be distant and preoccupied now but I will be a better friend for them, those that when I cried out screamed back ” Shut up!”, those who when I asked for some help with money problems, offered and delivered, or at least replied to my text messages and emails saying “Sorry, Bro, wala din e.” For someone whose life is a lightbulb readying itself for imminent demise, these guys, the Indios came through for me. And  that someone very special who, in the midst of it all, always seem to make things right, whom I love dearly, I thank you. I thank all of my friends.

Times like these, I feel like what those nasty jokes my uncles and aunts taunt me with, just might be true, that I was adopted or “Napulot ka la-ang sa tae ng kalabaw!”

Recently I picked a nasty time to make my thoughts known to my brothers. All because I was really pissed off at the way our youngest botched another money problem, something that involves my oldest brother kept in a private homecare for the mentally ill, my second brother who pays the bills, and the youngest, whom I have to pick up the slack by fixing up all the glitches with two consecutive homecare bill problems and transfers. They don’t know what I had to go through to make that transfer. Nah. I told them my previous unemployment was the eventual result of these problems. Second Oldest didn’t believe. Told them I dropped out of college because Ina cannot support me and my little bro at the same time, him with a pregnant girlfriend then, but no they only believe I was a quitter.

So there, even with the rains still banging the tin roofs and winds making some wild attempts at the record, I rage. My work with Tv5 Creative Services – News seem to be a sobering  therapy for me. Another privilege at working with a talented Boss and crew (not condescending here, just stating facts) makes me feel wanted and needed.

So I won’t be looking back. I’m burning bridges in the dark because it’s the only way I’m going to see where I’m going. And I’m moving on. Got my girls to think of, a graphic novel to rewrite and some more adventures in this stage.

Bring it on. I’m getting the hang of  climbing icebergs.