The irony of goodbyes


It feels more surreal than real. I’m finally leaving Manila. And as often the case, I feel like a five-year-old unable to sort out the different emotions I feel. It’s as if this feeling is new to me; it’s as if this is unfamiliar; it’s as if I am not used to it. To my left is the sight of my duffel bag filled to capacity. My books and all other notes I’ve collected have been sent through freight two days ago. They’ll be waiting for me at the university. And as always the case, all I have with me are the barest essentials — several pieces of shirt, jeans, two pairs of shoes and a book I recently purchased.

How we need so little to survive.

All of a sudden, the noise of EDSA outside my window on the eleventh floor which I used to detest when I first came to live here becomes unusually pleasing to my ear; the wind as if by whim sheds all suspended particulates and becomes revitalizing which makes me feel like extending my head towards the direction of EDSA and inhale the pristine, cold gush of this infamous avenue.

All of a sudden, all the anonymous faces downstairs waiting for the bus going to either Baclaran or Ayala whom I used to dodge on my way to work are suddenly transformed into interesting personae all worthy of the protagonist’s role in an epic story I have in my mind.

All of a sudden, trains that are snaking their way to either ends of the line become visions to behold. The once alienating sights of gray, tired, blank stares become visions of a hardworking populace that moves the machinery for the future of this country. How come we only begin to see something on a different light the moment we say farewell? How come we refuse to acknowledge its other identity and end up regretting this stubborn refusal?

I am about to start anew, as I often do, but I guess I’ll never get used to this. As every beginning begins with a new experience of sadness, of leaving, of going, and of the possibility of not being able to come back ever again, I remain a novice in this front. Or probably, I’m just a hopelessly quixotic young man fighting the evil windmill, ending up exhausted but as wide-eyed as ever.


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