2. The Sea of Flesh and Common Bedsores


“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 
― Maya AngelouWouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

 

 

 

Thursday night, I crawled to bed pregnant.

 

Friday early morning, I threw up all I’ve eaten the whole day and spent a virtuous one hour inside the bathroom deciding to die for being sick, accepting the fact that my body gave for not giving up and saying NO to any late-nights and work-days that came my way in the last couple of months.

 

Friday evening, I was 38 degrees and stayed in bed and swam in caricatures of sexual trysts that I can only fantasize because given a sea of flesh (anyhow) wouldn’t disclaim the unsuspectingly heartless idea that sex for me is such a gift in this day and age.  By musical association, I would ‘already’ assume Sting and his bowl of Zen-toothed lips has eaten away the last fibre of my covetousness. I may not have chosen to be where my ancient body was that Friday night but I know that sex thoughts will simply be a region I would freely survey without necessarily being pornographic. Besides, I used to be a whore so there’s no way but sainthood at this point.

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Saturday afternoon, I fantasized I was not below par (I don’t do sick I don’t do sick !!!) and drove to the mountains of San Mateo, Rizal with filmmaker friends Real Florido and RJ Agustin, HASHTAG WORKING SATURDAY, something that I am so familiar with and have come to standardize instead of having quiet weekends.  At Timberland, as we researched for our next location, I found myself frisking and walking barefoot on peanut vines, my winged-past reminding me (yet again) that I can, in one way or another, fly.  And so with wide-eyes blinking, I skipped, hopped and even flirted with Real’s camera.  Being the Sparkling Diamond, I hugged a tree, smiled, posed and laughed like a girl. I was so unworried in my barefoot, harlot moment that I ended up being bitten by red dragon ants.

 

Sunday morning I was suffering from bedsores.  I decided to stay in bed the whole day.  My world engulfed me alive.  It was green, the floor was well-waxed and wooded and creaking.  Books atop cabinets were like skyscrapers falling firmaments down my snotty and broken face.  The hum of the air-conditioning became my solace to the rhythms in my head. The skin in my back fell off to the mattress, to the pillows . . . and the sour smell of onions and cheese became the smell of my skin. My snake skin scattered in trenches of saxophone-sounding noises billowing from the heat outside to my nearly-quiet head.

 

What were the thoughts of me?

 

Did I see my father alive when Monday came?  Did Monday come yet?  As of yet?

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My cleaning lady mumbled a stolen, ‘YOU are 38 degrees, kuya,’ on Monday, showing me the thermometer like she was intentionally lying to tell me I am about to die in between slumber and wakefulness.  By this time, I was already drifting in and out of sleep, have chewed a hundred Biogesics to my name and was really convinced that I saw my father, my dead father, smiling at me. Or was it my sister Dess telling me 2 days back that she saw my father in a dream?  A bad, recycling dream, she said, a dream to be reckoned with.  Something with a message. Was it actually me dreaming in between all of this?

 

But time I dreamed about the sea. It’s not about love – or the sea of love – or any of that kind of stupid ache I have been missing in my uneventful wakeful life – it is just about the sea.  That bluish green, almost mauve sea color – the kind of sea tinged between the time when the sun is about to dip towards dusk – just the sea.  The kind of sea that raised me when I was a young boy in Zambales.  The kind of sea that made me fall in love in Boracay years later.  Or maybe I did dream about Boracay because I was there exactly one month ago?  Was it calling me back?  No I guess not.

 

It was a fleshy sea.  An almost solidified sea where there is no love. Somehow it was also tasteless. And I was almost drowning in it.  There were whispers of witches from my mother’s land of Leyte and the mountain monsters of my father’s land – such karmic voices – repeatedly reminding me as I go down that everything – all the things that have happened to me, living in the Arabian desert for years, the men who fooled me into loving and worshipping them, the sisters who bore children out of wedlock, the hate surrounding me, the anger and the guilt – was fated.  That I was, in every bit of it all, paying for my descendants’ mistakes.

 

I looked at my own skin and saw myself drowning in it.

 

The next day I went to the doctor and she told me I am hypertensive brought about by stress, lack of sleep and bad eating habits.  The karmic voices again.  The family curse . . .

 

I decided to take a two-week off from work.

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