I like smoking. Smoking and I have a mutual understanding. Cigarettes are my hoe, my prostitute, my personal Magdalena. At a peso fifty, I get my own cheap thrill. Ephemeral, but no less satisfying. Cigarettes don’t ask nothing complicated. Cigarettes don’t speak. Cigarettes don’t judge. For a peso fifty, I have a friend, companion, and a lover. Cigarettes don’t leave me as long as I can pay a peso fifty. We have an understanding. I kill her, she kills me. Nothing complicated. I love it more than I love myself, apparently. I love it so much, hell if the doctors allow it I’ll ask for a cigarette on my deathbed. I’ll ask for cigarettes before I get sent to the gallows.
But you know what I Iike about cigarettes most? The sanity. For three to five minutes, depends on how hard you hit it, it’s my personal heaven. It’s just me and the smoke, the embers, and the delicious sting of putrid white that goes from my mouth, my throat, down to my corrupted lungs. From the moment I light a match or flick a lighter to life, to lighting the damn thing, and watching as the white paper dissolve and slowly turn to embers and remnants of my past sins, up to the moment I crush it with the sole of my foot it’s just me and the cigarette and nobody else. Cigarettes keep me happy, smoking keeps me sane. And killing myself, my solid vice.
A lot of people say that smoking is murder – murder of the self. Smoking kills. Wow, what’s the next thing you’re going to tell me, water is wet? They tell me this is suicide, well, so long as it keeps me away from them, it’s the sweetest suicide there is. And I’d take a stick any day than take another load of their shit. My choice is my deathbed. And while the rest of humanity pontificate in the good and evil of things, the rightness and faults of our being, and run around in circles going over about the world and its problems, I’ll keep my life simple. Away from dull disputes, obtuse prattles, and janus-faced felicitations. While the rest of the world drawl about and jabber with your exquisitely dense estimations of the rest of the human race, and count each day pass and their dreams die, I’ll be here smoking. Going on with my life until I get extinguished myself.
Misandry a work in progress
A quick rundown
Days following my official resignation from work, I have resigned myself to go about some bit of soul-searching. Initially, I had planned to go home with only some books, my phone, and a few easy clothes on my bag and take it to the mountains and just write, or become a vigilant; whichever came first.
As for my reasons why I left work, I would leave that to your imaginations — and no, I was not fired. Much to the consternation of some people.
So there I was, wide-eyed and unemployed with only half the month’s salary on my pocket. Like I said, I had already planned a pseudo-soul-searching/ mutinous trip to the mountains when a trio of old and faithful friends came knocking at my door (Thank God.)
Robert, Leah, and Natalie are three of my batchmates from Teatro, and so far the select few whom I consider my equal when it comes to passion, talent, and temerity over the art. Robert has been my technical director in over many a production, while Leah my lights director. Natalie on the otherhand, is the Capability Brown of Graphics, and also the Rachel Berry to my Kurt Hummel for four years now. While both Leah and I are both graduates already and Robert and Natalie study from different schools, we’ve managed to keep an immaculately close friendship over the years and not once had a fallout, compared to others.
Apparently, they’ve been active and had managed to maintain a close eye on the upcoming production. Natalie was Stage Manager on the recent production, while Robert and Leah were frequent visitors. Although Q. keeps me informed on things, I haven’t the chance to really catch up due to my then rather volatile schedule.
Talks of joining the production ensued, and while I was hesitant at first I eventually acquiesced to the idea and accepted the offer to reprise my position as Costume and Make-Up designer, which was offered to me days prior. The plan is to celebrate the final student production we never had and have that final theatre bow, for my part at least.
And while all the while it felt wrong, hanging out again, like students, when there’s a nagging intuition in my brain that says I should be job hunting, I felt remarkably at peace. A kind of feeling I’ve seemed to have forgotten, for a long time now. It felt right, the talks, the planning, conceptualising, everything. It felt as if a gnawing hunger is being satiated, whatever that is.
I remember once telling my Mitch, “I want to see the sense of things again. Why I’m doing all of this, whatever THIS is.” And I don’t know if I’m doing exactly just that. If you would remember I had written something, no more than fortmonth ago, about finally trying to go with the flow of things. If perhaps that was a better path for me. Evidently not. I guess I will always be the perpetual vagabond. I’m much too a romantic, and I’m 98% sure I will die a romantic.
But now that things are less uphill and I’m now just a call away from my first day re-employment, I don’t think its jinx to say that circumstances are finally loosing up to my favour. And while I never really had that retreat, the past few weeks have been a remarkable repose after everything. At least my horizons are more or less shaping-up, compared to that amorphous eddy I was in that day, some time ago.
"To be less cynical — yes, I want to be. But I doubt I can do that."
A word of warning: stray dogs, no matter how cute, playful, and innocent they make themselves look, when they ask you to pat their head — DO NOT PAT THEIR HEADS.
I got bit by a dog last night, a stray one, somewhere in Asturias, Dapitan. I had to travel back to Zambales because the parentals insisted I go home and take and do my shots and recuperation here. I took the 7 a.m. bus and got home around 10.
According to the doctor, who also happened to be my cousin, I have to take 3 shots. I’ve already had the two today and would need to return tomorrow. After that, I would still need to do check-ups just in case I’m down with dengue or chikungunya, since it’s mosquito season, afterall.
A lot has happened since I last wrote here, I’ve left work and got hired by another company. I turned 20 and got my first birthday surprise in my life. Also, I auditioned for a play and got the part I was eyeing. So a LOT OF BIG THINGS HAPPENED. But I won’t go through any unnecessary details. I wouldn’t want to bore you.
But speaking of the play, we were supposed to have our first scriptreading and analysis session earlier. Of course, I wasn’t there. So I’m a tad disappointed here. I’ve been looking forward to it the whole week since Monday. And I was supposed to turn in my designs, I’m the Costume and Make-up designer, by the way. But that’s gone
too. I am disappointed, but not as much as I reckoned I would. Q. kept watch of me the whole night last night. He knows how I get with these things, and I think he expected a more violent reaction on my part. Like getting a gun or something and blowing the hell out of that mutt. Or something like that. But these are unexpected and uncontrollable complications, I told him. Sure, I would have loved to have gotten my just desserts, but that wouldn’t really change anything. I would still need to go home and get myself vaccinated. So rather spend my time being angry, I put myself into perspective and readied my things for the trip home.
A lot of big things are happening. Hopefully I recover by tomorrow and get good results from the examination. The stay has been nice and the free food even better. But as fate would have it, I haven’t the luxury of time. Erstwhile, I would have taken all the pleasure of staying and abusing my stay, but this bitch needs to hustle. In the meantime, I hope you’re doing okay, and if not things I hope better days for you. Ciaó!
The boat we were able to commission was small one. It was a dingy, about 3 meters in length, but surprisingly capacious. It was painted fresh of cream white, and glistened under sunlight. Although its interiors, which mostly consisted of thick bamboos, were stained with rust, scratches, cigarette butt marks, and a whole lot of memory. It ran on an old Toyota motor that made nervous coughs every now and then. I was told that it regularly does that but has not once failed, but that didn’t help settle my already growing anxiety.
I’m not much for travelling; in fact I hardly travel at all. I put much too high a value on my sedentary lifestyle and would outright reject offers of long roads and foreign soil than lose sleep.
But it was summer and I had just earned a degree in Journalism. I figured perhaps I do deserve this and should stop being so gay about it.
The weather had been immaculately agreeable. The sun was warm, not hot, and the wind was gentle, not pressing. I watched in benign distress and gazed as the water turn from bottle green to a deep unsettling blue. From the east the horizon was washed with hues of blue and bright yellow. Distracted by the scenery, I had not noticed we were already nearing our first destination.
The Anaoangin Cove is a recluse island spot sandwiched between a small, craggy hill and the open sea. Around a decade ago, it used to be all trees and marshland. But after efforts to transform the forest wonderland into a hit tourist spot, it’s now demarcated in two parts: a warm sandy beach cove and a grim Moorish lagoon.
From the wooden beach houses, one can cross a corrugated makeshift bridge that leads directly to the main camping ground, which was enclosed by sentinels of foliage, pine trees, and the ubiquitous cugon grass. Here it was stark, shady, and had a romantic gloom, where one can explore the area and even walk through the shallow, murky bog where the occasional catfish, tadpole, and other fresh water critters can be seen. If one listened closely enough, one can hear the gentle roar of a more reclusive waterfall.
After lunch and an unhealthy dip in the warm water, we then went back to the boat and proceeded to our next stop.
The Capones Islands is a cluster of three islands located a little far off from Pundaquit, the mainland. From Pundaquit, it takes about a good 15-20 minutes to get to Capones by boat. According to locals, the three used to be one big island until in recent centuries the ground beneath began to deteriorate and separated into three islets. The farthest one had an abandoned parola (lighthouse) which was erected sometime during the American period. Now it stands alone at the peak, rusted but sturdy.
From afar, the nearer islets look like a figure of woman facedown. This peculiar formation inspired a lot of urban legends among the local community, tales of old wives recount about a mermaid called Maria Caramot (scratching Maria) who annually takes locals and tourists to an early grave. Of course, I did not tell this to my equally neurotic friends until we reached shore.
By the time we got to the farthest of the islands, it was already high tide. From the boat you could see the corals below. The light made it look shallow when it was already about 10-15 ft. deep. We were cautioned by the divers to take extra care when swimming, lest we slip. We wouldn’t want that.
The water was nice and the waves merciful. After our obligatory “tourist” photo-ops I had the chance to rest myself near the foamy banks. A great sheet of cumulonimbus had already collected in the sky, with strings of god rays peering in between, and the rest of the world was around me. For a moment, I felt the earth move, and realised what a speck I am in this big blue dot.
An uncle of mine just passed the day before. It amazed me to think that while a family is bereft with grief, the rest of the world continues. But I guess, like what the Japanese say, ‘shikata ga nai’, it can’t be helped. In the end, the world goes on. I found myself thanking whatever gods maybe for that moment.
The water was clear, the wind becoming a healthy breeze, and there was a slight drizzle. As the boat sped back to Pundaquit, I watched as the figures from afar become bigger, and the land nearer. For the first time in a long time, it felt as if the world was opening its doors to me. And it felt nice.