I boiled four eggs until I was certain they were hard enough that green copper compounds started to appear on the crust of the yolk in one of the eggs that burst; then I dunked them in cold water, peeled them, crushed them one by one using a fork, added in several spoonfuls of mayonnaise, and sprinkled a pinch of rock salt. I cut and folded the ingredients until the consistency of the coarse paste approached that of shit.
These special egg sandwiches were for my younger sister. Just after I cut the last loaf bread wedge, placed a liberal amount on it the shit-like egg sandwich spread I made, she texted me that she was on her way to attend her friend’s party. I said I’d wait, wanting to share to her the sandwiches I lovingly prepared for us; I just could not bring myself to say they’re made especially for her. I waited but eventually got tired of waiting, and alone, silently ate the sandwiches I made.
That evening, it was so quiet inside our room as if all the noise created by the world outside was barred by the concrete walls from reaching me. It was almost unbearably tranquil, punctuated only by the sound of spasmodic tubercular coughing I made. I waited for an hour until I could not anymore contain my hunger and my unvented angst then I began eating the bland-tasting sandwiches one by one, drowning the aftertaste with a liter of iced tea. Out of nowhere leitmotifs of my empty life flashed before me like how those Christian manuals distributed when I was in high school described it would be when the time comes for a Christian to meet God on the final judgment.
I felt like crying, nearly, but I held it back just in time to keep the entire scene from slipping into an unforgivable melodrama. I hate scenes that consider action more salient than characterization, but I gathered I have been placing too much emphasis on the characterization of an obviously uninteresting actor. Although the scene warranted melodrama, I was conscientious enough to retain a semblance of elegance and necessary good taste.
I guess I shall never be able to completely free myself from this biting emptiness. Sadness it was not, this I am quite certain of, only a seething hollowness that pays me unannounced visits whenever I wallow in my carefully-guarded solitude.
I am not particularly religious, neither am I spiritual as those people who see themselves as byproducts of modernity are more wont to choose to describe themselves. Being ‘spiritual’ is definitely more fashionable than being ‘religious’. The subtle differences in meaning between the two words blurred by overuse and compounded by my lack of interest in their nuances led me to irresponsibly mistake one for the other. But I am certain I am neither.
I get scared sometimes that while the entire world is going on its way like a hyperactive insomniac, endlessly turning like the rusty blades of the old fan in my room, I am being left stranded in my room making beautiful egg sandwiches for my sister who’s not coming.
I’ve been asking myself whether the decision to teach at the university in a small town in the province is going to be good for my soul. Now I am less sure of my answer. At 24, when I am supposed to be exploring the limits of the world and my soul, I catch myself standing, immobile on the same road. I attempted to console myself that at least I am happy doing something I am good at, but there are times when a consolation won’t suffice.
The object of being in this precarious stage of a person’s life, his 20-something phase, is not settling for comfortable and numbing happiness. It is going through that perilous journey, that although will leave me battle scarred, will someday lend me that easy, confident smile signifying a journey well-taken and difficult roads traversed.
This time, everything seems to be on a halt. Probably this explains the gnawing feeling of void.
I’ve been meaning to write a lengthy letter addressed to myself. But I keep on finding excuses to put it off, postponing it in as many times as the thought of writing surfaces because I have nothing much of substance to tell my tired self. If I were to write it, however, it would have to be a complaint letter written with all the bitterest sarcasm I can rally to use against myself.
And so, while I was eating those tasteless sandwiches and drinking that insipid iced tea, I arrived at a decision to give myself until the end of this year to finally conclude this overdue hiatus.