Woke up at four-thirty today, after hitting the sack at 10 PM. Yesterday was spent reorganizing my closet, cleaning out my desk, trying to make sense of my book mountain, and, well, doing a little soul-searching with a liter of Minute Maid and a half-empty bag of corn chips. I thought of calling some friends, but then I realized that most of my friends would either be studying or drinking booze. And for me, it wasn’t really a night for either — one has jsut become irrelevant, the other is just plain impossible, even if I sodomize Mr. Piggy Bank over there. I just wanted to chill, I wanted to walk around feeling a little lost, but allowed to walk around feeling a little lost. Yeah, tried to do some writing, but instead of writing writing, I ended up going on escapism-overdrive and used the remaining ink of my 0.7 pen to map out and detail (what) my life (fucking better be) ten years from now (it involves several Manolos and Moleskines).
The whole thing reminded me of that exercise in high school, when the principal (who liked to step out of her glass cubicle and harass us young’uns) made us write what our futures should ideally be. I, of course, went to college in UP, graduated with honors, vaguely did some things that awarded me the Pulitzer Prize at 40, plus I gots myself a husband who happens to like gardening and making bookshelves. Yep. Dream big, pre-pubescent Sasha, dream big.
This updated version of my future life (scribbled in the last few pages of my Mollie) involves, well, Manolos and Moleskines, plus Frank the Scottish Terrier and Commodore Hump the Stunted-Growth Piggie. And some random rich dude with a Harley who leaves books and fountain pens and sunflowers on the kitchen table. Yeah. And no Pulitzer at 29, just a book here and there, perhaps a few medals from Recto and who knew from where. And a house with yellow walls. Things like that, simple things (*cough*sex*cough*).
I have no idea why I’m telling you all this.
I got a hunch, though. See, this morning I scanned a several years’ worth of journals, and inevitably focused on those I kept from January 2007 to the present. I read them all, sticking Post-it notes for some from-the-future heckling. My eyes misted over a couple of times (ah, youth, ah, idealogical idiocy), and most times, I’d just grit my teeth and rave at the utter stupidity of it all. Goddamned hindsight sucks when it’s all so concrete — you find yourself staring cross-eyed at a five-line entry scribbled before the bus back from Subic left the terminal, at the conversation tidbit hastily scribbled in a cafe at a faraway place, and (because the owner of the diary tends to be sentimental) a clutch of bougainvilleas long dried and pressed between the pages. I was a hysterical ninny at seventeen, and I don’t see much difference now. Haha. Ha. Still hysterical, still ninny. But somehow a little less Screaming Yellow. You know what I mean.
It upset me, reading those pages. Upset me, and, in an (I guess) acceptable way, amazed me. Because the past two years completely tore me off the Ideal Me of the Future path. I fucked things up, but I did a lot of other things I can proudly tell my grandchildren about — like gutting a fish without squealing, touching a live squirming fish without squealing, naming a fish other than Fish (named it Flaubert) without squealing. I also ate talong (the eggplant, not the, er, other thing) for the first time and liked it. I forgot to wear pants for my thesis defense. I kissed a girl and I liked it (sorry, song’s stuck in my head). I spent fifteen minutes speaking in French, talking about having to go to the bathroom real bad, and could we meet for dinner at 7? I rode a boat for the first time. Stood no more than two feet from a man who played the violin. Saw Imelda Marcos. Read Roland Barthes and Camus, Carver and Munro, Toot & Puddle and Poncho. Walked around in a daze. Singing sad songs in a singsong voice. So far prevented myself from ambushing Sir Gimi with a tight hug. Wrote relatively non-vomitocious poetry. Wrote a lot of things that made me giddy knowing that those thoughts came from my inane little head. Took another step in acquiring a loyalty award to the Plinkies. Cut off my mermaid hair. Got propositioned in Taft. Went to Baguio and froze my skinny ass off. Bought a Happy Meal for the first time in ten years. Ate ox brain. Scored 480 at a Scrabble game. Got a tattoo. Thought of getting another tattoo. Spent four hours lying on a vinyl-covered daybed with two well-meaning women tearing the hair from my body in the worst way ever. Wore Santa earrings at Christmas. Stopped wearing polka dots at New Year’s. Drank a cocktail that was burning. Used words like incandescent and hunky-dory in conversations. Bought an Eeyore. Found a black dress at an ukay. Belted out Celine Dion and Bon Jovi at a karaoke. Stayed up until the wee hours of the morning just lying on the damn grass and sighing once in a while. Happy thoughts, ya know.
But, yeah, I fucked things up. Cried too much, complained too much, kept quiet when I should’ve cried and complained. Whatever.
Now. Now, I have to go. Trek a couple of miles to give someone a letter that’s the most honest and angry and weepy I’ve ever written before. That’s my life, lately. Burning the midnight oil, shaking my head at the musings of a slightly younger Sasha, writing to the last page of journals, writing and groaning at the futility — the exhilarating rage — of it all,walking around, walking around.
So. I’m not graduating. At least, not this March. And it’s that proverbial big load jumping off my too-bony shoulders.
I feel much better.
I’m not even dwelling on the fact that my father may pound at his chest in grief, or that I may ask my brother to scoot over and make room for me in the Out of School couch. There is hope.
And that amazes me. As much as my mother’s never-ending mantra to “Face up to it” (or the cocktail-induced variation, “Shit’s hitting the fan. You can duck, but you gotta stay and clean it all up”) actually rings true, if you just muster up enough courage to roll out of bed, to stop trying to convince other people that it’s okay, to stop lying to everyone–yeah, you never lied to yourself, because what would be the point?
There I was already imagining a future that involved me standing in my red suede boots along Quezon Ave. (But, really, after reading Confessions of a London Call-Girl, I realized that it’s high-class escortage for me. So, people and your rich widower daddies, line up.)
Why hide? Why didn’t I ever ‘fess up one drunken night and blurted, “I am such a faiiiluuure!”? I almost did, though, many times, and usually in the company of one charming grouch. But, you know how this is. Here comes Sasha, the Golden Girl, the fate of humanity.
(I remember in fifth grade, how I stayed in the classroom while my classmates cheered on the section’s contestant for the Chess tournament being held in the quad (yes, Chess under the basketball hoop). Eric, the town barber’s son, forever called to what was elementary school’s equivalent of the Dean of Academic Affairs, a 60 grade average, played a wicked chess game. I recognized that at 9 years old. And I thought then, If I’m so smart, why can’t I play chess? And I think now, It’s the detention boys playing chess in the quad you have to watch out for; the girl cocooned in the classroom with her paperback will prove anticlimactic.)
Here I am, about to blurt out that I am a bad investment. It’s been a rough year, a rougher couple of months. And I’m sure I only made my life harder because I didn’t want to go running to people, admitting that I’m not the horse to put your chips on, or however that saying goes. It’s the big D-word all over again, and there were times I wanted to throw my hands up and just end it all one way or another, but well, that’s a too-familiar story for my friends, for the people I love the most. Strangely, I ended up feeling like a copycat, never mind that I’m in as much a psychological mess as anyone out there who spends most days melting on the bed, unable to find a reason to get up. Oh, woe is me. I’m never the vindictive, slash-my-wrists-while-cackling bitch when the happy hormones submit their resignation letters; I’m the real sad dude, the one you talk about in hushed voices because her lack of obvious drama demands that you pass it off as an effect of the emo generation, the long, sad epics she likes to read. Coagulating in bed and creating constellations out of the cracks in the ceiling doesn’t make for good entertainment, or good gossip fodder.
But, well, life goes on, like all the Hallmark cards say. I’m still alive, partly because at the back of my head, I’d eventually want to get out of Sasha’s Bed and out into La-La Land, mostly there are too many people I love, and you don’t go drinking White Flower in shot glasses when you’ve got people to love, when there’re people who love you. Or at least people who’ll dig through six feet of earth just to wring your neck.
That said, I need to go. There are naked women to try drawing, and (if the writerly spurt this morning is any indication) fictions to weave.
‘Til next time.