Christmas Eve, Manila

Tonight is Christmas eve in Manila, or perhaps it’s Christmas already, as they are 16 hours ahead. Dearest Mum informed self that the family was delivering Ying’s ashes —

“To Bangkok?” self interrupted.

“No,” said Dearest Mum, sounding extremely exasperated. “We did that already in September, remember.”

“To the niche in Santuario?” self continues.

“No! We are taking her ashes and scattering them off Tali Beach. All of us are going to be together on your brother’s boat.”

“Oh,” self says. She tries to imagine it: this fabled boat, which she has been hearing about for over a year. The dark water. The wind. The family all gathered together. The ashes.

“We’re going to be with Tito Tony. And, since I didn’t want Ying to be lonely, I decided to bring along some of your Dad’s ashes, and your sister’s, too.”

So, a real family gathering there. Not only of live bodies, but also dead ones.

“And we are going to scatter them, all together, out in the ocean.”

Self feeling mighty relieved that she chose to go to Manila after the holidays. For she doesn’t think she can bear one more reminder that Ying is gone. And the ceremonial scattering of the ashes — how many scatterings can there be? Already, Ying’s ashes are in two places: a temple in Bangkok, and the niche in Santuario de Manila. So, here’s a third place. Maybe there’s even a fourth, for Dearest Mum probably kept some.

Now, Dearest Mum tells self how she found a nice ceramic pot in which to store everyone’s commingled ashes. Ying’s sister had sent one over from Bangkok, but Dearest Mum misplaced it. And anyway, this pot that Dearest Mum found is nicer than the one Ying’s sister sent, everyone agrees it is nicer . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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