The Scream by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch
I rode my bike to a friend’s house in one of the districts in Hanoi. I fixed the room I’ll be staying in for the next eight months. I had to transfer the refrigerator from the ground floor to the floor upstairs as well as to unscrew my bed on the second floor and bring it down to my room on the ground floor, and I had to do the same process, this time in reverse: re-screwing it. I also had to bring several paintings to her mother’s atelier in the third floor. Vietnamese houses have this peculiar architectural idiosyncrasy. They are very narrow and very tall. Houses with more than four floors are the norm, not only that, one has to use the equally narrow stairs just to reach any of the top floors.
After that, I had to ride my bicycle back to my present apartment.
I just arrived in my room, and for a long time, I never felt this tired. I decided to open my emails and write something about my day. Then it occurred to me that I am sad. Solitude, or too much of it, without me expounding on this thesis, can be so devastating. I’ve been so used to being alone that I thought I’ve gone so numb and would never feel loneliness anymore. But right now, after a very long time, I’m so down.
I still receive SMSs from the Philippines, but they are getting more scarce each day. Maybe I just fear being forgotten, being taken for granted, being thought of as non-existent.
I tried to turn on my Windows media player and listen to the songs I ripped from the CDs my friends gave me, but they made me even sadder. The humming of the air conditioning unit even added to this emptiness. I’m scared of waking up one day realizing that nobody really cares for me because I sought for insignificant things in life instead of valuing the things that really matter–my family, the person I am currently involved with and whom I love so much, my friends.
How easily was I lured by worldly things. Is success more important that the moments I share with my family in South Cotabato? For Christ’s sake, I know the answer! But why am I still choosing this over the most important people in my life.
Is sadness just one of the sacrifices I have to offer, notwithstanding my family for the name of success? I think it is laughable.
Oh God, I’m sad.