throwback thursday: sa hindi maipaliwanag

I don’t know when I wrote this. But it’s one of them notebooks. This is in Filipino, though I am not sure how well this would translate.

Nandun ako. Hindi nga. Nandun ako. Alam ko kasi nandun ako. Nakita ko kasi nandun ako. Narinig ko kasi nandun ako. Naramdaman ko kasi nandun ako. Hindi ako nagbibiro. Sa maniwala ka man o hindi, totoo ang lahat ng sinasabi ko. Nandun ako.

Hindi rin ako makapaniwala sa simula. Hindi ko inaasahang makakarating ako doon sa ganoong oras. Sabi ko nun sa sarili ko, parang may mali, parang hindi ako. Hindi ako yung pupunta doon para sa wala lang. Hindi ako yung maliligaw sa ganoong lugar, dahil hindi ako marunong maligaw. Hindi ako naligaw. Hindi rin ako dumarating ng wala sa oras. Pero iba noon. Hindi ako maaga. Kailan ba naman ako naging maaga? Pero hindi rin ako nahuli. Ang pinagtatakhan ko ay dumating ako sa oras. Sa eksaktong saglit na nangyari ang lahat. Nandun ako ng eksaktong sandali. Nandun ako sa eksaktong lugar. Alam ko. Nandun ako. Pero parang hindi ako ang akong nandun.

Nandun ako. Nandun ako nang nagyari ang lahat ng nangyari. Nandun din sila. Parang pinagtagpo ng tadhana ang lahat at nagkakawing-kawing ang aming mga landas. Kakampi namin ang oras at ang panahon, marahil, dahil sa pagkakasalabit ng aming mga landas ay nandun kami para saksihan ang pagsiwalat ng mga pangyayari para sa bawat isa sa amin. Lahat kami ay naging saksi sa lahat ng pagkakaton. Sa sandaling iyon, lahat kami ay napag-isa sa pitik ng segundo sa gulong ng oras. Ang mga katawan nami’y nanuldok sa gitna ng teon ng kalawakan at kawalan. Marami kami sa tuldok na iyon, marami kami sa pagpatak ng sandali. Kasama ako dun. Sa tuldok. Sa sandali. Naging malinaw ang lahat sa pagkurap ng aming mga mata at paglundag ng aming mga puso. nandun kami. Nandun sila. Nandun ako. Nasaan ka?

Ang galing. Ni hindi ko yata naisip kung bakit o paano ako napunta doon . Sa isang iglap, alam ko na ang lahat, sa susunod, muli ko na itong naitatanong sa iyo. Kakaiba talaga. Ni mga sandali o mga pangyayaribago o matapo ang lahat, kaunti na lang ang naaalala ko. Baka hindi ko na rin nais pang alalahanin, o hindi ko na kaya pa. Sinsasabi na ng utak ng tao ay may kakayahang makaalala nang higit pa sa napapangarap ng tao. Na maliit lang na bahagi nito ang ginagamit natin. Alam ko. Pero nung mga sandaling iyon, para ring sandaling pinatay ang aking isip. Sandali kong hindi kinailangang magisip, o maghukay ng mga sagot sa baul ng aking ala-ala. Nangyari ang lahat ng wala akong kontorl; parang awtomatik ang lahat. Nang balikan ko ang aking isipan, naglaho ang mga tanong. Narito na ang lahat, sabi ko noon. Nandun na ako. Ano pa ang kulang? Wala. Alam mo ba yun? Naiintindihan mo ba? Di ba? O baka naman hindi mo maisip kasi wala ka doon. Ako, nandun.

Aalis ka na ba? Buti na lang. Samahan mo na lang ako. Kailangan ko ang talagang sabihin ito sa iyo para namana mainitindihan mo ako. Alam ko parang magulo sa simula pero maya-maya lang ay makikita mo rin. Sasabihin ko sa iyo ang lahat. Buti naman.

Nasaan na ba ako? A, oo.

Nandun ako. Sila rin. Ngunit may ilan pa ring nandun. Ang ilan ay nagtangka na ring umalis dahil hindi nila makita ang kabuuan ng mga nangyayari. Hindi na kinaya ng kanilang isip ang lahat, ikintaka na nila ang malaking bahagi ng kanilang paniniwala. Pakiramdam siguro nila ay isang malaking biro ang lahat. Pero hindi. Totoo. Walang aksidente sa pagkakatayo nila doon dahil kabilang sila sa lahat. Nangyari ang lahat ng nangyari dahil nagtaka sila sa mga bagay na hindi nila nakikita, kaya lumayo na lang sila at ibinaling ang paningin sa iba. Nabulagan sila ng tabing nang tuluyan at hindi nila nalaman ang mga sagot na bigla na lamang nandun. Sayang, hindi nila naramdaman na maging ang kanilang dilim ay kabilang sa tumuldok sa kalawakan, sa pumitik na sandali. Sabi ko sa iyo, sa ilang napagpapakitaan ng liwanang, marami pa rin ang pilit na pipikit at dadaing sa silaw.

Ang ingay naman. Noon, sabi ko. Ang ingay nung nandun ako. Marami kang naririnig, maririnig. Ngunit ang hirap humanap ng pakikinggan. Hindi ko maintindihan kung ingay lang iyon dahil sa nangyari, o kung lahat sila ay nagsasalita. Tama. Lahat nga sila nagsasalita. Sabi ng iba nalalaman na nila ang lahat. Naiintindihan nila ang nangyayari. Daw. Yun ang sinsasabi nila. Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit kailangan pa nila sabihin kung ano ang nagaganap e nandun na nga sila? Parang ikinukuwento lang nila ulit kung ano na yung naririnig ng pinagkukuwentuhan nila. Yung iba naman tanong nang tanong. Makulit naman sila. Hindi ba nila naririnig ang nangyayari? Parang nandun nga sila pero wala sila dun. Nakakarinidi ang ingay. Doon, sabi ko. Dagdag pa rin ang ilan na nagsasabi ng mga nangyayari pero sa totoo, sinsasabi lang nila ang gusto nilang mangyari. Ang masama pa nito, sumisigaw sila. Parang sumiigaw sila ng kanilang mga utos sa kanilang lipon ng mga bingi. Parang wala dun ang kausap. Parang wala silang mga sumisigaw dun pero nandun sila. Narinig ko ang lahat. Nandun ako. Ang hirap palang pilitin na walang pakinggan kung hindi mo maiwasan ang makarinig o makapakinig. Nakikinig ka pa ba?

Ang sabi ko, kung nakikinig ka pa ba sa mga sinasabi ko? Buti kung ganoon. Akala ko nabibingi ka na rin.

Naramdaman mo ba yun? Parang may malamig na hanging dumaan. Nagyun-ngayon lang. Sabi nila, ibig sabihin daw nun e may kasama tayo. Huwag kang matakot. Kakampi natin sila. Sana.

Nagulat din ako. Oo. Medyo. Konti. Kung sa bagay, parang kinutuban na rin ako. Hindi masamang kutob o mabuting kutob na parang swerte. Hindi ganoon. Wala. Kutob lang. Na may mangyayari. Hindi naman talaga natin masasabi kung mabuti o masama ang nangyari, di ba?

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Who are the people who lift you up?

I don’t know if I need lifting. Most of the time I just lift myself up when I’m down. Of course I have my close friends, less than a handful of them really to depend on when times get tough, but only when they get really really tough.

Other people would probably say their family, apart from their friends. But I fear I don’t feel the same way. I don’t think anyone in my family feels the same way. And I know it’s kind of sad and odd at the same time. But, yeah.

Are you willing to release him/her from your anger and forgive him/her?

How long can anyone really be or stay mad at someone? How long can you actually physically and mentally (psychologically) sutain anger? Against anyone or anything in particular?

Ok, that doesn’t really answer the question. I may eat my words in the near, or hopefully far future or maybe not, but I won’t and can’t forgive him. He is ill, I know, but I wouldn’t even give him the satisfaction of my pity or forgiveness. Half of his illness is his fault, though there is no known cause of Parkinson’s disease bu the way he managed it was absolutely irresponsible even for someone who was ill.

I still know that at the back of my mind I hope to forgive him but I don’t see any good reason for that right now.

How do you feel about a vacation?

That sounds quite nice about now. Right now. This very second.

But truth is I am saving up my vacation days for my mandatory leave in two months. By then, I wish two weeks off work and out of the house would get me back into whatever groove I wish I could say I had before, or maybe get me out of this deep, deep puddle of a rut my stressful life is in. A good case of ice-cold beer is required of course.

Do you worry about being taken for granted?

In all essence, no. Is that really a bad thing? I’ve been really independent for most my life, and I don’t really like unwarranted attention that much from anyone so I guess that makes me like a plant.

How do you feel about when you judge yourself inadequate, guilty, or unlovable?

When did I ever? When did I ever not? And how does that feel? Pretty normal. Everyone has their own insecurities in their lives, I guess I’m not so different, I hope.

How do you feel about when your criticized or made fun of in public?

“Fuck it, let’s do this.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been put in that kind of situation before, to have myself publicly criticized or made fun of. Or maybe not, I have been performing with the company’s choir for the past three years already so I am not a stranger to putting on a show in public. And I have been made to sing in a couple of public venues as well as play host to one of my friend’s weddings, so yeah I have had my share of the limelight so to speak.

But I’ve never thought of those instances as a chance to publicly ridicule myself or expose any of my weaknesses. I think of it as a challenge of how much courage or guts I have, or maybe a test of how much of my own ego I can stand. In Filipino, papangatawanan ko na lang.

How do you feel about parades?

Parades are fun, unless you’re in it, except when it’s thrown in your honor, I guess.

I remember watching the Rose Bowl Parade on TV when I was a kid. I wondered how much fun it would be to work on those gigantic floats and how thrilling it would be to see them coming down the street in person.

In highschool, I worked with my fellow scouts as representatives for our school in the annual city parade, that was hell and half. It was nice at the start, but when midday comes and the heat and hunger is getting to you, you can barely muster a smile anymore and just would wish death or the parade to be over. Ahh, the scouting days.

In college, we used to anticipate watching the annual lantern parade in the university right around Christmas break. I worked with the council then too, so we had more time to spend on helping out with organizing the college “float” during my final year on college. It was better since the parade was done at night, and you could enjoy the lights on the parade partcicpants just sitting on the sidelines, or get a tour of the whole university all lit up for the Holiday season by walking with the parade.

Who controls the mood in your house? The conversation? The bed?

The bed… and the idiot box.

What is your favorite fruit?

Tomatoes.

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Name all the vehicles you have owned in your adult life.

I know this might come as a surprise to most, but I don’t drive. I’m a grown-ass man who needs to be chauffeured around. The closest I got to actually driving was a week of dirivng school and an expired student permit, which I got waaay after I was no longer a student, of school or of driving.

I did some driving for my ex-girlfriend before, which was funny, for her, but was gut-wrenching for me, as she stayed past one of the busiest and deadliest highways in the city, just a few minutes from the university. I can’t say I didn’t like driving, but I was not too much into it. Imoney didn’t have my own car, and the places I worked in, parking was always either a hassle, or as rare as a Pikachu in a mall. Add gass prices, maintenance, and traffic, God have mercy, the traffic, it’s pretty discouraging for me.

But hey, I don’t know. Maybe in the future, when someone finally figures out how to ease the traffic in the metro, or companies invest in more parking spaces or company car loans, or if one day everybody suddenly wakes up with that intense sense of discipline on the streets, then maybe I’d drive.

Where were you when you had your first kiss?

I don’t remember. I guess on one hand, I didn’t really start dating until around middle of college, and breezed through a lot of one-night stands, random encounters, and weird relationships, that everything seemed like a blur until the recent ones, around a few years back. Anything before that, it’s all a haze.

Would you ever loan a significant amount of money to a friend/relative ? Why or why not?

I do and I have. I am not rich, but I say I count myself as lucky as I never had to depend on other people for my finances, ever since I started working, which is quite early, given that I didn’t finish school. So take giving out loans to close friends and close family as okay, fotrunately, I never really had anyone fail to pay me back yet.

How would I describe you to a blind person?

Normal.

Describe your hero.

He would be the embodiment of myself, minus all the traits I hate about my self, plus all the characteristics I would want to have. My hero is an illusion of myself, yes, but still as aspirational, no?

How do you feel about being a step-parent?

It would be really hard. For me at least. I am not good with kids, and neither are kids good with me. I couldn’t even be good with other people who are not kids anymore, what more if those kids were not mine? It will be challenging for me, definitely.

I think I treat kids the same way I wished I was treated as a kid: like an adult.

What do you like best about your family?

What is there to like? I did not grow up in a dysfunctional family, at least I don’t think we were dysfunctional when I was growing up, but then again I didn’t know that that was even a thing yet. But in hindsight, yeah, no.

But neither was my family, ideal, like a really tight knit, jokingly sweet, huggy kind of family. I don’t think we were even normal. We were more civil than loving, which kinda sucks. I used to and still envy my friends and colleagues who have more ideal family types which they have sustained until today. Ours? Not so much. I think we’ve grown to be that dysfunctional family we never thought we could be. This is depressing just trying to think of talking about it.

How do you feel about the politically correct rules of not calling Christmas occasions Christmas occasions, but holiday parties, etc?

Those rules are a bit stupid.

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Have you ever been rejected by a crush?

Yes, though I don’t think it was just a crush, it was more of a severe or deep (very) deep infatuation. I was already thinking waay too far ahead into things that I was not able to see that I was just not who he was looking for. Whatever kind of person that was, I’d never know now.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I don’t really remember, maybe it was way back in college. Or maybe after that. I have a slight memory of writing to my ex-girlfriend back then. But we also had phones and I was working in a paperless office then too, so I guess those must have been emails or something, or text messages.

I used to keep a pen pal in college, some guy I met online, a Filipino based in the US. We had a good run I suppose, a couple of years. He was fond of writing me letters and poems and essays and stories in Filipino, and I could say I was fond of him enough not to criticize his Amboy accent on paper. I remember he’s a nurse now, but I am not sure if he still remembers me though. I think I can still dig up a few of his letters to me, if I try hard.

Wear a bath robe?

Yes, if I had my way, I’d wear one everyday when at home. Comfy and always ready for fun. Haha.

Who was your high school crush?

These questions never fail to surprise me. Sheila Marie Juan. Now Juan-Catillo. Almost everybody I know knows that.

Do you like the type of music your parents listen to?

I remember a few Sunday mornings waking up to the radio on, with my mom doing the laundry across the hall. I think I must have heard her sing a few times. Old songs maybe 50’s or 60’s I’m not really sure. Good days.

Do your parents like the type of music you listen to?

I don’t know if they know what kind of music I listen to. They haven’t even heard me sing, as far as I can remember.

What’s the best route to your heart?

Food. Cake. Sweet things. Sex. ALL of the above.

Make a 5 song playlist that sums you up as a person.

This is hard. Maybe currently, as of course, the music I listen to does change depending on my mood.

  1. All My Friends by Snakehips
  2. Wait for It by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from the musical Hamilton
  3. One Dance by Drake
  4. Standing in the Way of Control by The Gossip
  5. Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo

What was your first job?

Would an internship count? I did an internship with a very small port-side publication, where I did a few marketing materials and branding and identity. After that, I worked as an intern at a PR firm, and helped create the campaign for the first Filipino team to climb Mount Everest, apart form local election campaign for a provincial governor. Those were my first twp paying jobs. I eventually worked for customer service for a dog food company before moving into the BPO industry.

Have you kissed someone whose name starts with a ‘J’?

Yes. My current partner, Jerome.

what defines me

Hello, you again. I’m actually on my way to our team outing right now. Spending time making conversation about random things while on the road. The guys on the driver seat and riding shotgun got to talking about music while the both of us at back are silent. I didn’t think that I’d be silent too but I guess I don’t really have anything much to say.

This got me to thinking, what defines me now?

I don’t have anything that defines me. I don’t have any specific quote unquote interests anymore so to speak. I think I am just floating around randomly.

I used to be interested in music. I was in an office band with my work colleagues and we got into a few gigs. But now the only music I have is basically off my automatically curated Spotify playlist. So I barely know anything current anymore really.

I used to be interested in books. But then who has the time anymore. I could barely keep up with my Kindle reading list of Pocket articles. And we’re not even talking about full books or novels now, just random web articles about anything and everything. The last set of novels I read would have been Game of Thrones. And I haven’t even actually read Harry Potter, save for the first book.

I used to keep a blog. Not much traffic on it, but I was sort of able to keep some form of consistency in the frequency of the posts at least. I miss that, being able to do that, writing consistently. Now I am barely doing any writing at all save for moments like this when I cold even barely keep a coherent thought in my mind much less put it down in writing.

Hmmm. What else? I used to be interested in technology. But then I found it to be a pretty expensive interest. A few gadgets and phones later, I found myself on a BlackBerry, with an OS slowly but surely dying, with the Android runtime which, yes, allows it to run Android apps, but only barely, never the updated ones. I don’t even play Pokémon Go, just because it’s stupid to do so on a tablet. And I don’t even use Snapchat.

Forgive me Panic at the Disco! can really be distracting even if you know the lyrics but could barely keep up with the song.

Back to the topic at hand, I don’t have anything going for me really, in terms of anything interesting. If I was to write a resume for myself about my non-professional life, that would probably fail a lot more miserably than the fact that I did not graduate on my professional resume. I’m so blah, uninteresting and unbrilliant.

I’m just pretending that I am.