The steps to the moral and intellectual high ground aren’t the dead

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Or they might just be. In writing this, I’m adding up to the number of posts musing on the Davao explosion in the Philippines on the Internet. It’s the morning after the explosion at Roxas Avenue left 70 wounded and 14 dead. Fingers are being pointed, from the government to even a TV show, and there are those who used the incident as a means to justify their political stance. Both are already expected to beget ridicule, so here we are, in an exasperating state of affairs in the face of tragedy: provoked, we retaliate, engaging in heated debates; all solidarity forgotten; playing tug-of-war with the bodies.

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Astray

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I was going home. After track after track of rhythm and blues, I found myself unconsciously agreeing with the driver’s choice of music. Usually the jeepney drivers would be playing old love songs that had wailing choruses of devotion or party music that didn’t seem to agree with the city traffic’s own music consisting of curses and impatient beeps, along with the afternoon heat. This one was almost soothing, going well with the vehicle’s dim interior, covering the rumbles of the engine and the noise outside. If I closed my eyes I wouldn’t have known where I was – I would only know that I was moving, mercifully moving, and it would be enough. There need not be any destination, nor fear that I was going into the unknown.

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In Memoriam

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Today, I took the road we once walked together alone. It’s definitely not the first time, but it was a first for me to notice that something had changed. Back then, each second passed by overflowing with so much nostalgia I was in disbelief of its vividness. Now, I don’t even remember why they did.

To constantly remind yourself of all the memories you claim to hold sacred – and inevitably forget – is like storing all of your prized possessions behind a glass window you can never open. You no longer experience what it is like to be able to be in close contact with them – you can only gaze in affection, and in pain. The more you remember, the more you gaze, the more you hurt yourself with the knowledge of what you lost. With the human instinct to survive and not wallow in misery for years on end; with piles and piles of responsibilities we all get; we go from gazing in affection to minute glances. Until the time comes we don’t even remember to look.

When we do, it’s no longer in pain but in wonder that they exist; that they actually happened. I heard the most accurate metaphor for the fact that though we will forget, these memories are still beloved – the same way that stuffed purple bear was your favorite toy ever since you were five, but you no longer carry it around when you’re nineteen. Perhaps you’ve even lost it. And yet the fact it was beloved still stands true.

Our hands misplace and our minds forget, but our hearts never do.