Two girls

For close to a week now, we’ve been walking the two girls at the small park downstairs. As soon as we wake up, we prepare a simple breakfast of often bread and whatever spread we have in the ref, but never butter, or when hunger has not yet seeped in, we take the girls down for a short walk, maybe 15 or twenty minutes until both of them have peed and pooped. It’s often the only time we go out, always wearing face masks, and careful not to touch the handles of the doors that lead to a small street, which, across from it, is the park in question.

This is life under Covid-19 lockdown.

Panicky

We stood a few meters away from the escalator that leads to the supermarket of Shopwise in Cubao; it was 11:30 in the morning. After a little over an hour, a guard in polo barong signaled us to head down to the grocery for our turn to buy our necessities for the next month or two.

I don’t know whether we’ll last that long; boredom may be a more sinister foe.

But in times like this, the available options one is given are to die (or cause other more vulnerable members of the population to die) and stay at home and hope that the next days, weeks, or months don’t become what the naysayers have been forecasting to be.

I am definitely choosing the latter in the meantime.

This feeling of helplessness, because it’s shared, has not reached a critical level, yet. But I sensed that gloom and fear in the people who aimlessly pushed their shopping carts filled with rolls of tissue paper, bags of rice, boxes of eggs, and canned meat enough to cause their kidneys to collapse if they don’t supplement their diets with vegetables and fresh fruits in the weeks to come.

I’ve never experienced anything close to this—it worries me to no end. Will I be able to pay the amortizations for the two mortgages I’m paying every month? Will I still have work to go back to when this is all over? Will I still regain all the muscles that have atrophied after not having gone to the gym for weeks now?

Man never seems to abandon his frivolity despite crises he goes through.

Sure, I am afraid. These days, everyone seems to be.

Identity

In moments like this do we only begin to realize how we’re truly connected as member of this community of humans.

Death and sickness in one part of the world—whether this person recovers or dies—impacts most decisions one makes.

Our identity is supposed to be that unique set of traits that distinguishes us from the next person, but situations like this make it obvious that in fact we have much more in common with the people from antipodes than we previously thought in the comforts of artificial security we cocooned ourselves around.

On writing about the present

More than a thing that describes the present, writing about the current moment is a longing for what the present could be if only our writing had its way.

It’s a yearning for an alternate possibility that the present may be a complete opposite of or an aborted, unfinished version of our desires.

We write about our present as if it’s truth in its realized form.

The present written down is, for all intents and purposes, in future tense. Or that painful nostalgia we feel for the past that has long deserted us.

8th

One wakes up at 5:30 in the morning, looks outside the window, and begins to contemplate the life he thinks he chooses for himself. His cat is by his side. Then he looks at his right thigh and asks whether the beauty of his newest tattoo is worth all the pain he had to go through and is going through to have it. The question is moot.

I’ll remember 2019 as one of the most trying, dramatic, worst years of my life. I spent most of the year merely getting by, hurting people, getting singed in return, finding out that I made other people’s lives hell, breaking up, getting back together, finally ending it. To have survived 2019 but still remain intact was, to me, a miracle.

I’d go to work like a zombie, not knowing what day it was and crashing. So to celebrate the year that’s about to end, I decided to get a set of three tattoos that will, hopefully, remind me to still feel grateful. The first of the set is this skull tattoo of a Native American chieftain.

The feather headdress is majestic. The skull is there as a constant reminder that death is lurking in the corner, and what better way to welcome it than to make sure I get the most out of life so when the day of death arrives I can proudly show it my enormous middle finger.