Sunday, March 27, 2011

City Love

This city offers a very lonely sight, like an ocean of warm bodies with not one I can embrace and not a familiar soul to commune with. As I further sink in this state of irreparable destitution, I realize I can easily die just by holding the hands of a beautiful stranger or by putting my arms around her. For one, she might toast my nuts to fine ash with her Taser. For another, I do not have balls the size of Ireland, which is just about enough license to be a braggadocio. Try as I might, my shit is still bananas. Attempts to be happy by intoxicating my self in a drunken haze will only make me realize a more or less cerebral disposition, which is this: I am as thirsty for life and love as before, and beer can only quench it as far down as my throat. And the more sober I become, the more I feel that there is never a substitute for the real deal.

A million or more transients call this city their home, at least for a while, and yet they who share this one big urban roof for a sanctuary remain complete strangers. They are neighbors who are not quite like neighbors but more like peons in a colossal citadel. They are not really sure why that is so, or if they are all better that way. Nobody even bothers to ask why. Perhaps, nobody ever will. Everyone is too busy with everything, even breathing, as if nothing can ever be as alarming as realizing a heartbeat that has always been there. Here is where the ground shifts by the second and a minute lost feels like a lifetime too late to recover. With very few friends to get by with my life in Quezon City, things are bound to get lonelier.

But not if I have a city love.

Sometimes I easily drown in the tides of my imagination. Once upon a time, about three days ago, I took a commute by railway and I thought I have seen my city love. She was sitting by the edge of the cabin with her legs crossed and eyes lost in the pages of a Murakami novel. Her skin radiated life, reminding me of Chrysanthemum on the full bloom of spring, of leaves in golden slumber and of petals that reach for the sky. I desired to slide my fingers through her raven black hair, thinking how endless a glide it might be had I only bothered to invoke a slice of courage. But there being none, I satiated my curiosity simply by glancing in her direction every so often until I had to leave. By the time I got off, she was still reading Norwegian Wood. I went my way thinking of her, the nameless girl, and I swear I felt I missed her all of a sudden. Each step I took was heavy enough to drag my heart down. The train where she was went farther north. I walked south, or perhaps it was south. I do not remember. At that point, the only direction that made sense was north.

The other day I was sitting by the sunken garden. Of all the strangers minding their own personal pilgrimage en route to some place between nowhere and everywhere, I thought I saw her again, only that she seemed quite different. At that moment, either the rest of Diliman was silent or I was completely deaf. Maybe it was both, so I hummed a tune without hearing my voice. And then I thought she approached me and said hello. The first word to break the muteness of that solemn Sunday sunset somehow found its way through her crimson lips. I noticed that she has not really changed after all. It was my memory of her that did.

And then I woke-up. Suddenly, there was sound. I should have kissed her before the dream was over. I tried to close my eyes again but she was gone. Perhaps it is true after all; you cannot find someone with your eyes closed.

I found out yesterday evening that she never really completely vanished. I thought I saw her again in one of the few places near the campus where students drink away their Friday nights as a grand salute to the birth of another weekend. She was as beautiful as before. Her right hand gently held the bottle of beer, slightly tilting her splendid neck upwards so that the liquid will effortlessly pour itself down her esophagus. Upon emptying the bottle, I looked at her and she looked back at me. It was the longest five seconds of my life as far as I can remember. The night went on until it was early morning. Like the occasions that went before, she had to leave even before the rest of our lives can begin. I cannot tell for certain if she was the same girl but I sure felt that the difference, if there was any, was all the same.

In 1995, Edward Adelson created the same color illusion. Two squares in a checkerboard may seem different at first, the one darker and the other lighter in shade. In truth, however, they share the same shade, or hue, or color. The optical difference is misleading; there is none. The closer you look and the harder you stare, the more you think that you are able to set them apart. Or, the more you think about their differences, the more you become convinced that they are completely distinguishable objects. Unfortunately, you can only know as far as you want to believe. I thought I believed they were one and the same girl but that is only as far as I can know. By trying to fit a uniform glove on every hand one at a time—without any intention of sounding perverse but with only every intention to sound metaphorical—perhaps I am becoming an obsolete lover. Or maybe not even a lover; I do not love anyone, at least not yet.

But what the hell, a city love is still a city love. I will find her even if she is not lost.


sub said...

im really wondering how a good writer like you, who would easily make a woman fall in love with just his words & writes of love and its beauty in all its lucidity is still single and (as he claims) loveless...

im still here...hahah! joke. missed your writings!

SPLICE said...

Hi Sub! Nag-iipon pa kasi ako ng kumpyansa sa sarili hahaha :))