Self is almost to the end of The Reader.  It is so inexpressibly sad!  As was the other book self finished reading here:  Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. As soon as self gets back to California, she will try loading up on humorous books (Hello, self!  Have you forgotten that the book that awaits you on your bedside table is Entering Hades:  The Double Life of a Serial Killer?  And after that, Paul Theroux’s The Elephanta Suite?)

What is it about this island?  This morning, self had just gotten up when there was a strange agitation beneath her feet.  She was sitting at her laptop, and it suddenly seemed that the room was not still.

Self waited, motionless.  She waited for the walls to start cracking, the ceiling to start shedding plaster.  She waited for footsteps in the hallway, or screams, or other sounds of human alarm.  But there was nothing:  only self sitting frozen at her desk.

Afterwards, when self was quite sure the rolling was over, she quickly went to her closet and donned jeans and a T-shirt.  Then she resumed writing at her laptop.  Then there was a second wave of motion, but much less powerful than the first.  And it only lasted a short while, not even a minute.

Later, self knew she hadn’t been dreaming because the news announced that there had been a 6.0 earthquake that morning in Dumaguete.

Self’s driver this time around is called Archie.  He is as different from Joel as it is possible to be:  he is only a few years younger than self, and is rotund whereas Joel was thin.  Archie has quite a colorful past, and self is just amazed that he actually knew the real story of how the activist Moises Padilla was killed.  It seemed that the then-governor of Negros, a Lacson, had not given the order that Padilla be killed, but two of Padilla’s guards belonged to a family that had long nursed a grudge against Padilla, and so these men took it upon themselves to torture and eventually kill him.

Sometime during the afternoon, self expressed a desire to sip fresh coconut juice.  Archie suddenly pulled up by a beach and spoke to some people at a nearby restaurant.  Next thing you know, a young man with tattooed arms came out and attacked a coconut with a machete.  Then he handed the sliced-open coconut to self.  The coconut was huge!  Self whiled away the afternoon in the back of the car, now and then taking a sip of coconut juice.  When she finally arrived back at the hotel, she had drunk only about half of the coconut’s contents.  Truly, it was the Mother of All Coconuts.

The other night, having dinner with her cousins, a strange thing happened:  a bottle of wine from a collection lined up against a wall suddenly flew off the shelf, completely unaided, and shattered on the floor, just a few feet from self’s table.  It was positively eerie:  self was the only one at the table who had actually seen the bottle shoot into the air.  Afterwards, she was quite distraught:  Why did that happen?  How could that have happened?  she kept asking her cousins, over and over.  It seemed like some kind of omen.

It’s a variation in the air pressure, her cousins soothed her.  It is nothing.

But self has been at many restaurants that feature bottles of wine stacked against a wall.  Never has she seen a bottle eject itself and shoot into the air, the way that bottle did.

Bacolod is full of poltergeists.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


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