According to self’s calculations, self had approximately four hours and 25 minutes of sleep. Dear Friend L, who slept over last night, says she sent her final text message at 1:22 a.m., and self was still in the living room, reading. It must have been shortly after that when self went to bed, and then she doesn’t remember anything except the charming “tweet tweet tweet” of L’s cell phone, at 6:30 this morning.
When self opened her eyes, one tsinela was next to her head, on the pillow. The other was nowhere to be found. Also, she started with her head against the headboard, and now it’s her feet against the headboard.
Self, what is happening to you? Is it the thought of your imminent departure from these chaotic isles that is once more roiling your brain? Or is it the fab play you saw last night at Philippine Repertory in Greenbelt One (Nick Joaquin’s classic “Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino”) that induced in you such restlessness? Is it the fact that you opened all your U.S. e-mail and found that (much to your joy and trepidation) you were not assigned a spring teaching class because, Dean of xxxx community college says, of budget cuts? Is it the fact that you actually got to book yourself and four others on a tour of the National Museum with its Director, John Silva — on the morning of the day you leave? Is it the fact that the very last thing you and L talked about before you started reading and she started text-ing were some books L had published years ago, one of which was excitingly titled “Awit ng Himagsikan” (Songs of the Revolution)? And that you wondered aloud whether L could be made to bring some of her projects (one of which is touring Filipino musicians around the country) to the San Francisco Bay Area? And that you found in “Incoming Mail” a rejection (self’s third) from One Story?
Self looks out the window and sees a Manila choking in smog. Way way up, above the rooftops, is a smidgen of sun. The sound of traffic — a steady, persistent roar — is muffled. It’s Saturday, self’s last weekend in Manila. Stay tuned.