August 27, 2010

Nine PM on a rainy Thursday

My shaking hands held a dingy, pale blue umbrella.

Philcoa! Mga Philcoa, babaan na!
Staggered off the jeepney, mumbling an apology to the lady whose shiny red vinyl shoes I stepped on.

Looked at my watch. It was already 9PM, yet the street was alive and bustling with activity. Vendors trying to sell more fruits and faulty umbrellas before they pack up for the night. Students and employees elbowing each other, running to board a jeepney, in a rush to get home and rest their heads on their comfortably warm beds.
Me, I was standing still as a statue. Staring straight ahead, into the numbness and nothingness that has seemingly consumed me. All around were the lights of fast food signs, and headlights, and brakelights, and every other kind of light, yet I was in a much darker place where superficial illumination could not reach.

The only thing I felt at that moment was the cold. The stinging breeze on my face—the stray raindrops on my feet—the metal of my umbrella—nothing was so real to me at that moment as the union of metal and plastic of the umbrella, keeping me safe, somehow, from the elements.

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