It is Sunday over here and it is three o'clock as I write this piece, that three o'clock that, according to folklore, is the very moment Christ expired, lost all of his senses and resigned to his fate of becoming the Messiah that some people now are questioning.
Or subjecting to interrogation.
Or, if you so wish, well, negotiation.
I have not dreamed of any religious 'anything' in a long while.
One of the rare times that I ever dreamed about religion, or something close to it, was when I was doing my first novel, Dangadang.
I did not know how to translate one scene that was more revolutionary than what I wanted.
I agonized over that scene, and my writing stopped for sometime.
I remember that I had to tack a note on our bedroom so the children, two hyperactive kids in their elementary days, would not barge in.
When they were young, the kids, they thought that they owned the parents, that parents do not have the right to have their own time.
They would get into our room anytime they want, not even knocking but announcing their coming in the middle of anything, in the middle of my writing included.
I wished, of course, that I had my own office to write like what they have in the U.S. for writers who are damn trying to make it in the bestseller list so they did not have to be knocking on doors any longer and begging for the mercy and indulgence of literary agents, publishers, and their doubles.
So I had to display that note each time, the note saying that "Papa is writing."
We had a father-children agreement: if they saw that note tacked they would know that I was writing.
I explained to them that my writing would someday help us tide over, would help them go to school, pay for our bills, maybe buy a second-hand car we could use to drive around the city without taking that rickety-rickety other car we had.
I tacked that note but I could not think of anything.
I went back to get all my 5X8 index cards that had all my novel notes for some parts of the scenes I was imagining for one chapter.
Nothing came out, not an idea.
I got the dirty notebook, that journal that I kept so I could scribble anything that came to mind anytime, anywhere. I remember that I would write even while on a jeepney ride, on a taxi, on a bus, on a theatre, in cafes and restos, anywhere that something cropped up, something that interested me.
I lied down on our bed nearby to staighten my back, the old computer on, a second-hand machine I bought from a friend whose wife worked in Japan but needed the money so he can go on with his life in his own terms. It was those computers with the VGA monitor, the screen green, running on a disc-operating system, and working on a Wordstar 4.
I fell asleep. It was also three in the afternoon, one afternoon that had all those trimmings of another noisy session with the kids who just came home from school.
I dreamt, and I dreamt of a scene: the hero of the novel Dangadang, Bannuar, came out of place.
He seemed to be running away from some soldiers, some Uzi-bearing warriors, or paramilitary men of the infamous regime.
He was on the road. And running fast.
While he was running, one icon of a virgin came out on wayside, as if witnessing his running.
He had those long buneng, the bolo, dangling on his left side. Yes, the hero was a leftie, heavily leftie, the leftie of the world.
He decapitated the virgin.
Then another virgin came out on the other side.
He chopped the head.
And then it happened: the rapid multiplication of virgins on both side. The hero had to keep on chopping while he ran away from the promise of terror.
That was a feat. That dream helped me construct that chapter.
I had to grab my notebook of a journal to write down that dream so no important details would escape me.
But this afternoon, in that siesta that I have not taken for a long long while while listening to the Readers Digest Collection of 70's and 80's songs that come in only with the flute, piano, sax, trombone, I slept the sleep of the just.
And then I dreamed.
There was to be a contest of making a pool of water by using a basin.
I was one of the contestants.
The other guy, I could not figure out who he was but he looked like a stocker of a salesman from some Marukai store with his apron and all the paraphernalia of a stocker, had done his pool.
A kind of a moveable wooden wall divided the contest area.
I was on the left side.
Spectators had gathered around, amused at what was going on. Some were heckling.
I have not started my basin of a pool, or my pool of a basin. But I have poured the water.
The other guy had decorated his pool while my pool was just water, and only water.
I wanted to make it a minimalist pool, something closer to Zen than anything else. But I thought the spectators would not get the drift.
I began looking for something I could float on the pool.
There were beads in my corner, standing in watch of what was happening, hanging loosely on steel racks painted white and all on my left, easy and close for grabbing.
Then a rosary came to view, the one decade rosary, wooden, and varnished in mahogany. I wanted to grab that and had it on the pool to float. But I did not want to snap it, destroy it, detach the wooden bead.
So I looked for a necklace with plastic beads, one that could easily float on my pool.
Then I heard the music on my laptop, the one coming from the collection: Raindrops keep falling on my head, keep falling, the lyrics mute, only the coalition of instruments, and the blessing they give.
I got up from bed and looked at the afternoon sun in all its summer glory, radiant, light, brilliant, hued in celestial blue.
I uttered a prayer, silent and mute.
A. S. Agcaoili
May 28, 2006