For exiles like me, the only way out to face a Tuesday like this, with its gloom on a summer season, the weather a crazed game of temperatures and sun and wind and clouds, is to get up, face the foggy morning, open the window, heat up the groggy body with some stretchings of the hips and the back, say a little prayer.
Awake, you go the little altar in the corner, light the vigil candle, and offer a bowl of fresh water to the spirit.
It is this constant feeding of the spirit of life, this sustaining, this nurturing, this offering, this conscious act that establishes and restablishes one's connection to the forces stronger than your own dreams and ambitions and abilities--it is this that makes you see through the promise of new day on a Tuesday like.
Never mind the fog. The wind will blow it away, dump it in the hills or in the sea before the sun sets.
Tuesdays bog you down, sure, not Mondays. It is the beginning of your workweek, for a work you do not like but nevertheless you have to learn to like and find in it some satisfaction, an iota of good tidings.
Your temporary job, this one that surely will help put food on your migrant's table, calls you to rest on the day the Lord did not, the two days that the act of creation began as per the account of the First Book in the Holy Book of many books.
Sundays you are off.
Mondays you are off as well.
Your dayoffs are a tremendous grace as you have two full days plotting to blog to your heart's content, blog till you drop as if blogging is all that matters in your migrant life.
You have two full days plotting to pick up again your novel writing, the two novels you have begun to write from exile on the presumption that you can, with your limited time and limited resouces, make a go of letting the characters you have invented to speak on your behalf about the sorrows of living and the salvation that comes after after having named your pains as an exile of homeland and life.
Of course, you try to be careful now with your blogging. You become mindful of your themes, your word construction, your diction.
You want the missus to keep on reading your thoughts--and she has said with finality that she will never read the posts that contained any of the sadnesses she had known that you have--that you are afflicted with, as if sadness is a disease, a malady of the soul.
She knows you, you and your sorrows, and you are happy about that. She married a struggling writer who thinks that each day is a life of exile.
But because you are a sad man, you cannot hide the pains, however much you try to creatively come up with subtleties and subterfuges.
You hide the joys, but the hinting stops at hinting because at the end of the line, you have pain all over the page, created and recreated as if purgatoy is in your blood.
So each day you tell yourself, I have to do something about my seeing sorrow when sorrow is there.
Like the lying Hermes, you have to be inventive, remake the ruses of the centuries and tell of the pains of exile in a joyous light, allowing each exile to sing his song of longing for home and homeland as if he has not left home and homeland at all.
You promised yourself that you try.
And today, this Tuesday the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year--the only 6-6-6--of this century, you decide to try.
No more worries, man.
Hakuna matata, man.
Positive thinking, man.
Amen, amen, man.
You repeat the exercise and you get tired right on the spot.
There is noise in the act of repetition and you realize you have a low threshold for noise.
You look out your window as you write this piece. There is gloom all over Los Angeles.
Today the grey clouds take over, you tell yourself. Yesterday there was much sun you do not know where to hide your fears and tears.
But what the heck, each day is a day of grace and to be alive is more than enough--is enough reason to sustain the spirit of life, enough reason to feed and nurture and sustain the forces that feed and nurture and sustain you, man.
You go to the whistling kettle, get yourself a black mug, the one that you have bought from a garage sale way way back when you just arrived in the United States of your literary imagination courtesy of Carlos Bulosan, get that can of dried tea leaves from Taiwan, pour hot water on the mug, and smell jasmine and roses and all the scents of flowers from the wild.
You sit down to watch ABC 7 announce about the weather and you tell yourself, So what if today is sad?
You remind yourself, Even in exile, I have this small joy in my heart, this joy of putting in the lost years and time for the ones I love, the ones back home, the ones thinking thoughts about my sense of sacrifice.
I heave a sigh. There is relief here, quick, and restful.
I pray to the spirit of life on this grey Tuesday of my migrant life.
I take my black mug, the one that gives off all the aroma of the decent life that I will have in the morrow, the mug announcing on its ide, 'Opportunities and Winners.'
I take my cup of tea and I greet my God in this early morning hour.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 6, 2006