31 August 2010

Is there a doctor in the house?

I kept dreaming and then waking up, dreaming and waking up last night, but the dream that I remember most clearly was this one:

It was like a heist movie, and the Rugrats babies had stumbled upon a checkbook (it looked like an ordinary brown diary, but that's what it was called in the dream, and I saw on two separate pages a big question mark and the numbers 10:01 or 1.01)  that had proof of some company's bad deeds. I was helping a group to save the babies and retrieve the book. The enemies (headed by Kathleen Turner or someone who looked like her) got there first, though. I was able to shoot some of the henchmen lurking in the hall outside the room where the babies were kept, but when I opened the door, Kathleen shot me first, in the gut.

The rest of the group subdued her and retrieved the babies and the book while I lay in someone's lap. I was in kind of a daze, rolling the bullet around under my skin (I could feel the ridge just under the squashed head) while feeling a little peeved at the rest of the group for not taking me to the emergency room right away; they were arguing about something else. Only when I lifted my shirt up to see the blood pouring out of the bullethole under my ribcage did I start to wheeze and cry in terror, and still no one could make up their minds.

27 August 2010


It's been a hectic week at work, and I can't even talk about it because I might get into trouble or, at the very least, insult someone (however much they may deserve it. Grumble, grumble). I'm just happy that the weekend is here.

Tomorrow: running errands, maybe catching up with Edwin, and then watching "Walang Sugat" at the Ateneo with my Eliazo roommates. Sunday: much-needed bum time (I feel like collapsing in relief just thinking about it), and maybe another play, "Banaag at Sikat" with Martin at the CCP. Monday: more bum time. Long weekends for the win!

20 August 2010

Who is the hero?

I dreamt that we could be in movies. We'd buy tickets and popcorn, enter the theater, and then be in the movie.

I was in a movie with four other friends (Martin was there), and the movie started out as a parody of epic movies but quickly became the real thing. We were a band of warriors helping a prince complete his quest, and I got to be the tough girl.

There were five monsters we had to kill. The first was in a prison, where the soldiers of the prince's own kingdom wouldn't let us go. They battled us and brought out a balrog-type monster to help them once the good red nuns and red knights were out of sight.

The second monster was waiting underneath an overhang, near the opening of a chamber where I think there was treasure. As we entered, we passed a screeching bird with the head of a woman on its shoulders. It looked harmless, but I had the feeling it was the monster. Sure enough, it attacked once we had all entered that dark and narrow chamber.

The harpy became another woman in armor, and she was beautiful (her head actually resembled the Sphinx in Subnormality) but still out to kill us. She did battle mainly with the prince, but it was i who found her weak spot, under her arm, and there I plunged my sword to the hilt.*

She looked at me a moment as though impressed, like I'd passed some sort of test, and then she stumbled back out of the chamber and (I think) she died.

We didn't take any treasure and almost immediately followed the harpy. In the bird's place on the natural stone table was an old woman. We had to walk past her in single file to return to the road. I led the way because I knew she was the harpy, and sure enough, she pulled out a shiny new butcher's knife.

I blocked her attack with my sword, and the others slipped past us to retrun to the road. The old woman didn't try to kill me, only pushed with her cleaver so she could lean close. She hissed at me something about fighting and love. She made me repeat it to her and, satisfied, she got off the stone table and joined us on the road.

(I'm kicking myself right now because I can't remember what she said. But I suppose my subconscious does, so I'll be okay.)

The harpy walked with us only a short way. Then she quietly took the other path when we reached a fork in the road.

Then we left the movie theater, happy with our achievement and eager to return for the other three monsters, but shaking inside form how actually life-threatening it was. Martin, tired, went to the concession stand for a large soda. Lemon-lime.

After that, I'm not sure if we went home and started a new movie there or went back inside the cinema.

It was supposed to be a children's movie with a similar theme. We were helping five toys prepare for an epic quest. As we were about to leave, the youngest toy, a little yellow potato-like ball named Weegle, disappeared into the house to get his favorite hats. I took the pirate hat to give to a tough little Lego girl, only the hat turned into a dead Lego pirate mummy that she sort of had to carry piggyback.

We set off on our quest--it wasn't the toys anymore, but us, and we rode in our choice of cool superhero vehicle. I had kind of a hog bike.

We ran into a bunch of black bikers in the desert, and they challenged us to a race (a deadly one, of course). They brought out their big cars and bikes, and something was wrong with the vehicles of the guys on our side. They wouldn't start, or they wouldn't go fast enough. I decided to try anyway and took off on my hog.

There was a slim chance I'd win, but I was having fun. Just as I started to speed up, though, I suddenly had no bike. I was walking down the white track, and there was a tall, black-as-night man walking with me. His bearing was noble, even if he was completely naked. Maybe because he was naked. We walked at a normal pace.

When we got to the cluster of bikers, they parted for us, and I knew that the black man was a prince and a god, maybe a lesser god, but still a god, and I was safe.

But not for long. The biker men couldn't do anything, but an older woman came out of a hut by the track and began performing a ritual that would capture me and the god. There were purple chalk circles on the track, and I knew if we both stepped in them, we were lost. The god walked on as though nothing was happening, even though I knew he knew perfectly well what was happening. It was me protecting him now. He got weaker with every spell, it seemed.

i did things to break the circles, I really had no idea, just did what came to mind. Picked up the cloth edges of the track to shake it and scatter the chalk. Stepped on or kicked purple flowers. At one point, I thought to mix dust into the chalk, and the elder woman wailed.

She got more desperate now. She cried out that she could give me shelter from the rain. For some reason, this made me cry. Scared, I ran to the god, and I curled up at his feet, and he covered me with his body and said the only thing he ever sad that whole walk, "Take shelter in the rain."

When the woman's magic passed over us, we continued on our walk along the track. I was weak now, but the god was weaker still and leaning on me for support. The elder woman, still following, must have been really desperate. "You must be hungry!" she cried. 'I have siopao. Do you want siomai rice?" Because this was really ridiculous, I gave her my snottiest "No!"

She followed us to the end, right up to the edge of our homebase. Up to this point, the men of either side had done nothing and had simply watched our progress along the track, because this was the way. Once the god and I stepped over the boundary line (really, a low cement line sticking out of the dirt) and onto our own damp soil, our warriors closed ranks around us and kept the woman out.

She continued to make her pleas, but I ignored her and lifted the god up against a crumbling rock the size and shape of a pyramid brick, or a tomb. A young man came to help and began wrapping the god up in fresh linen bandages. By then he was rotting and struggling to breathe; he would be dead before the young man finished. But it was okay, because we were with our own people.

The men were chanting something, three alien words, which were still booming in my head when I woke up.

In that fading phase where you can still feel the dream even though you're awake, I returned to the tomb rock at night. The god-prince was standing there in his bandages and a tricorner hat. I somehow felt that he was one of the monsters, but also that this part of the quest was past. He embraced me and then kissed me, and then the next moment it was morning and I had to take his body to the sea.

Later in the morning, while getting ready for work, I realized that it was actually the second time I've walked with this figure in my dreams and escaped those purple circles, but it wasn't such an elaborate, ritualistic even the first time, and I didn't see all this bandaging stuff.

Interpretations, anyone?

*This is only the second time I've ever dreamt that a strike had the force and effect I'd intended. The first was when I kicked that gangster in the balls. But that's another dream.

18 August 2010

Sea Glass

As of last Sunday, Martin and I have been together for a year and a half.

I want to say that it's been non-stop wonderfulness with exploding glitter hearts and violins and whistles--and to be sure, there have been bright moments when it feels just like that. But I couldn't help realizing the other day that for nearly half of those 18 months, Martin's leg has made things hard. And it's not just the big things like delayed surgery -> delayed life plans -> increasing angst. It's also little things, like how since all this started, I haven't been able to hold his hand while we walk. I can't stand close to him on an escalator. We can't even walk side-by-side through a crowd.

I can think of good things. Big things. How much his zeal for his work and his students inspires me to do better at everything. How he encourages all my creative attempts and lets them clutter up his room. How he's pulled me through awful emotional phases and helped me beat quarterlife and homesickness and stuff. (Also, how his mom is willing to feed me whenever I come over.)

But when I think of all that, I kind of feel bad that the most I seem to do is carry his stuff, proofread his documents, pay for the occasional cab or breakfast at the Gonzaga caf, and maybe make him laugh every now and then.

So, little things. He let me install my Sims games on his PC. He texts just when I'm feeling angry or insecure, and before I've told him. He plays with the dog he gave me for Christmas. He stops in the middle of work or a game to wave at me from his chair. Little things like that, they're little signs that life is happening, we're still moving, he really loves me, and the world will be okay.

I keep my eyes peeled, and I'm happy.

09 August 2010


Chinese restaurants are family places. It is a mistake to go there for an early lunch on Sunday morning if it is near a mall or a church--especially if masses are celebrated inside the malls--if you are not attending the post-christening party of Baby Atari Gabriel, a Filipino family looking for old favorites, or a Chinoy family just happy to let someone else do the cooking for today. If you are instead, say, a girl who sees her own family maybe two or three times a year, or, say, a boy whose family has not been up to going out as a unit for a while now, then you had better suffer your craving for good dimsum and go elsewhere.

Or, you can order your potstickers, chicken-and-salted-fish fried rice, and salt-and-pepper spare ribs and try to pretend you don't see the teenager handing his cell phone to his lola with a laugh, or the preschooler trying to be prim with her noodles, or the middle-aged dad wanting to get away from the in-laws already, or the cordoned-off tables with their balloon centerpieces waiting to be grabbed by stubby, sticky hands, surrounded by ninongs, ninangs, yayas, cousins, titas, titos, and all the rest, while you eat quietly, because the air belongs to the chattering of the sisters at the table next to yours.

Even if you are full to bursting and need to sit awhile to settle your stomach, you had better call for the bill and make room for the party of five--"high chair, please"--waiting by the door.

Somehow you grew up believing that this is the problem of other people--people who live in shantytowns and tenements; people who sob on the early morning TV and AM radio shows to knock on our hearts for help; people who drive cabs, wait tables, and work five-month contracts under the harsh lights of the department stores. Somehow, you just believed that this kind of thing didn't happen to people you know. People you love.

Worst of all, you grew up believing that you, with all the opportunity your background and education provided, would be able to do something about it.

06 August 2010

Not Kidding

In the middle of a long e-mail thread, the conversation turned to kids and how none of us wanted to have them. B went into kind of a panic when E brought them up, and E said something like, "Paano na lang ang mga pangarap mo sa buhay, di ba?"*

I then said, "E, may mga tao na ang pangarap nila sa buhay ay magkaanak."** The atmosphere of the conversation (electronic though it was) didn't feel particularly inviting toward the idea, though, so I made some lame segue to the season finale of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," in which Kourtney gives birth.

B then jumped in saying, yeah, we all want kids, but not right now. And it went back and forth like that for a while before the conversation turned back toward someone B's been seeing.

I didn't say anything more after my one comment. But really, I wanted to say, "Screw you all, I want four kids and a dog and fish and a turtle or two and a house to clean and homework to check and diapers to change and teenagers to yell at, braces to pay for and PTA to quarrel and preschool play costumes to make and to have to pick up the middle child's best friend from across town at the last minute, sleepovers to say no to and stray kittens to say yes to and unsavory shit hidden under my oldest son's mattress, and goddammit, I can't wait to get started!"

I guess I don't get my friends.

* What's gonna happen to your dreams in life, right?
** There are some people whose dream in life is to have kids.

04 August 2010


I'm growing out my hair. I wanted an important, personal reason to do it--not just, "I want to see how long it can get before I get tired ofit," or "I don't really trust salons anymore"--but while trying to figure out why, it grew anyway.

"I want a different look."

"It's never been gotten longer than this before. I want to see what's
so great about long hair."

"I don't know what else to do with it."

"I'm waiting for the right time to make a big announcement."

"People at work say it'll suit me."

"I'm waiting for Martin's crutches to go back into storage."

"I've gotten used to hiding behind it."

"I'm belatedly fulfilling the wishes of the guys I hung out with in college."

"I need something that reflects the passage of time, because nothing
else in my life is so constant."

"It makes me feel pretty."

"It makes me feel rooted."

"It makes me feel like a mermaid, all magic and mystery and seawater."

"I like it."

"I felt like it."

"Wala lang."

01 August 2010

Counting Down to Halloween

It's only August, but I've got Halloween on the brain already. My parents just sent me plane tickets to go home for that weekend plus the two days of the dead that follow--despite my telling them I'd go home for Christmas. It's nice to have folks that miss you. :)

Halloween has always been a fun time at Kalsangi because of the annual trick-or-treat. It's a big neighborhood thing, to outdo one another with decorations and scary sound effects. I've gone from going from street-to-street for candy to sitting in the garage and giving it out, but the feeling of fun and mischief is the same.

I may have missed a Halloween or two; if so, I don't remember those. Since I left for college, Halloween has become synonymous with homecoming. It helps that, while my mom is always pretty active in getting our street to come up with a really original theme, we always use the same old decorations at our own house each year.

I have a good excuse to walk around my crazy neighborhood at night (though really, I don't need an excuse). I get to see which little kids I used to fawn over are now strangers in puberty. I still like to dress up, even though there's no one in particular I'm looking to impress anymore. There's still the food and drinks in the Clubhouse at the end of everything with my family and friends.

Hay, it's only August, but I can't wait.