Life Plans and Pressed Flowers

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.

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About Sasha Martinez

Her sins were scarlet, but her books were read.

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