It is dusk now, and the early darkness of the evening gathers in the hills.
I am here in a sister's living room, the ABC show, "Family," going on with its dissertation on relationships, love, family, and other quirky human ways, not exactly a monopoly of Americans but is the same complex relationships we find elsewhere, the same drama on love unrequited, the same turbulent family dynamics.
The living room is all mine at this time, no competitors, with all immigrant housemates on the loose looking for some means towards economic improvement somewhere while the local kids are busy with their last days of summer enjoying small talks and quiet games in the other part of the house.
There is a soft wind in the grass in the hills; I see the hills and their solemn and sacred way of playing with the leaves of rainbow showers that line the streets to the hills. Even in this dusk, I see the hills and their summer trees and the leaves of trees, dense and green, dance cheerfully to the subtle caresses of the sea breeze coming from the sea in Kapolei, from the placid waters of Pearl Harbor, and from the last farms standing in the West, towards North Shore, in those fields that make you romance earth and sun and memory of villages in Ilocos where there, people do backbreaking work without complaining.
Here I am, about to witness the renewal of the face of the earth with the promise of this new job, and a promise of more opportunities to write.
It is not easy, I know, this starting all over again in midlife. I sense the weight of the university job even at this time, with so many entanglements to let loose and attend to, demanding in me some solver-like talent in keeping with my maternal last name.
I have almost quit too, this writing bug, knowing that we have to be realistic with many things, like children's needs and other social obligations, this last one making your budget sometimes barely afloat, most of the time on the deficit side. Manila life, as you can see, is a blighted life, with the government running a campaign about taking in more green leafy vegetables to have a better life but the veggies cost more than what is allowed in the daily budget. So you better buy all those red meat, with all the commercial feeds in them and the chemicals and all forms of animal husbandry work that make the swine swell and the cows bloat and the chickens cackle as if they are drunk with all the antibiotics and growth enhancing hormones injected in them or mized with their feed. Everything is chicken feed with this cholesterol business and the meat makes you save some amounts for the rainy days ahead. Forget the pinakbet and the dinengdeng: they are too good to be true now.
The whole makes you see and see clearly: that too much of a blight makes you dull, really. It constricts your choices and your world that you want out the first time you get a chance.
I sit here, the windows all open and welcoming the later afternoon rain and moist. I open the lacy drapes and I watch the clouds move, the dark clouds promising some light drizzle in Ewa Beach or Mililani perhaps.
I look out the window, imagining the desire for new thoughts, for fresh beginnings, for loves fulfilled like this writing thing that has been my lot for so long, no, a kind of an artistic curse.
I am an alien here, in this alien land, and my silences have been of nothingness rooted in being an alien trying hard to be not an alien any longer, in being a stranger trying to get past estrangement, with my sensibility sometimes assaulted by the Americanized ways of kababayans.
Ha, I tell myself: "Good luck to you, imitators, parrots, and copycats."
I look at the dusk for the last time. This dusk is for real, unto each own, in its own class, no parrot, no imitator, no copycat.
This silence of nothingness is a fullness.
August 2, 2006