I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for the past few days, for several minutes just staring into the monitor, my blog account open and waiting for my new entry. Some people have been asking about the overly long intervals between blog posts (feeling in-demand, haha) and while it has been easy to answer that by simply talking about my taxing schedule for the past two weeks, that isn’t the whole truth.
The truth is that I have found myself unable to write.
Some days, writing is the easiest thing in the world. A topic comes to mind, perhaps in the bathroom or during the commute home, and already I craft the words in my head, twisting and turning phrases as a pandesal panadero mixes his dough. Sometimes I just sit down, mind blank, and after a few moments, the words come rushing out and my fingers race to keep pace. The past few days, however, there has been nothing coming out. And even though there are so many things to write about, I find that there are no words.
I wish I could be like the woman who kneaded my back in Boracay a week and a lifetime ago, who talked about your knots like they were secret burdens in your heart. “Pagod ka na, matulog ka na,” she would whisper gently. But you find yourself in tears, for her words resonate with your personal truths. “Dito sa Boracay, lahat ng tao masaya. Kaya mas mahirap maging malungkot.” I drift to sleep, idly thinking of how she must have looked like as a young woman with wind-blown hair, looking pensively at the sea, face glowing from the light of youth, first love and the midnight gasera. Some days, indeed, our only chance of survival is to live vicariously through the poetries of other people’s lives.
Charmaine — crazy beautiful Charmaine who turns her mishaps and missteps into beautiful prose and wears them like garlands around her neck — asked me in Iloilo if I regretted what I had decided on and if there was a chance of still going back. I said no. She asked how I was feeling. I started to answer but then found that I could not. And that was when I realized there were no words, none at all.
In a text exchange last night, Emman, another friend of mine, asked how I was. We hadn’t been able to catch up in a long time. I replied chirpily, telling him that I was ok and I was happy. And that was when I realized that my ability to craft words had turned into the skill to churn out lies.
This morning, while walking from SM to Gateway, a cat jumped at me. Let me tell you about me and cats. Only Jordan knows about this story, as we both have our weird cat stories. The earliest childhood memory I have is of a cat jumping at me and scratching my face. It’s one of those memories in a vaccum, no context of time or place. I only learned about the real story when my Mom told me about it later on. We were in Paco Park then, I was two and being taught how to walk. A cat jumped at me and knocked me down, causing me to wail loudly. From then on, not only were cats sinister creatures to me, everytime something bad had happened, there would immediately be an image of a cat jumping at me. During a terrible incident as a child, the image of a cat appeared. When my high school friend Charisma’s foot was run over by a car while we were crossing the street near Greenbelt, my mind’s eye saw a cat jumping at me, talons outstretched. When I had my big heartbreak in the year 2000, there was a cat as well.
When the cat jumped at me today — a live one, colored black and white — I stepped back a little. Momentarily, but only physically, caught off-balance. I stopped to catch myself. I stopped to wait. And then I realized, there was no fear anymore. No familiar pounding of the heart. No feeling of closet doors suddenly throwing open, with the skeletons ready to spill out. There was nothing but the desire to hurry up to Gateway to get my shopping done with.
And that’s how I knew the words will eventually come back.
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