It had come to this, in this new world you find yourself, as an afterthought.
This sort of resonance is many things including this long road you are in, like an extension of your present world, its stretches expansive that the eyes get tired looking on ahead. You would rather close you eyes and imagine the meaning of quiet reflection, peaceful silence, and that wonderful, restful sleep. You want to go home fast, to your temporary home near the west hills, towards the Kunia area where the last pineapples are being tended and then, in two years, the uneven terrain of beauty and grandeur and morning dew and wideness galore will be no more. You will see the ugly houses of realty barons and their thieving ways.
You stay in your car, hands on the steering while all the time. You try to be alert even if the tiredness is beginning to reside and indwell in your eyelids.
You look at your wristwatch, and oftener now you do that. The road does not offer any salvation.
You hear your stomach growling.
You try to find the connections in this seeming bizarre bazaar of fortune and its lack. You left your university at 3:30 PM to run to your health care training class. You get out of that class and head right into Dillingham hoping that you can have some minutes of high speed I-90/Artesia freeway run till you reach Nimitz but the traffic jam stops you on your tracks and holds you back and makes you curse in the language of your mother, the curse crisp and pithic and real, for once. Not affected but with blood in the spit that comes with the cursing with all the passion that you can muster. You realize you curse like a Tondo man now, the Tondo where you lived for some time, many years back in your younger life when Marcos was still the monarch and his lady was still queen of the heavens and the stars.
This sense of deja vu that you feel now is an I-5 in California where you came from, that freeway that does not seem to know no end. You are not moving in this long wait and you count the hours: from 9:30 PM and it is 2:00 AM the following day and you are still here, about five or so miles away from where you began. It is the same long hours you are putting in to help put together this Nakem Conference.
There is beginning, for certain, in this ordeal and you overheard your friends telling you about a pedestrain overpass knocked down by a crane.
In the Mainland you imagine yourself now: Each early morning drive to your teaching job you start off with the kick of the morning coffee to wash off the sleep in your body and flush it with a visit to the gas station to fuel your car and discharge your system's liquid so you will be comfortable looking at the endless road ahead as soon as you snake through the entrance from your small town side street in Torrance and get into the motion of speeding up, like the rest of them the motorists who, like you, are all running away from the humdrum of a Monday through Friday job that promises some dent in the montly mortgage that, you count your fingers now, you will be able to pay past retirement age.
This is America, you remind yourself, and this is the United States. You can assure yourself that you are now living the American Dream of bills and more bills--and they do come regularly even before you ever get hold of your take home pay about half of which goes to inanities like taxes that do not go away. You remember the questionabe wars in many countries and you remember your taxes and their connection to wars and violence.
But that is not the point of your story tonight. Tonight, as in the other nights, you force yourself to have more of the adrenaline rush as you think of meanings hidden in the sentences you are reading, the sentences in the abstracts and presentations that will form a volume of your conference proceedings. You try hard to guess, dreaming of magical capabilities, imagining the power to make some kind of an abracadabra to account sense or its absence in some convoluted passages.
It is the same convoluted passages that you have seen in Honolulu in the past three months that you have been here after you have decided to come to stay here and find something concrete, something with meaning, something closer to the promise of memory. For it is memory that has redeemed you in the last three years that you have come here to wonder and wander, to see what this land can offer, and to roam its landscapes without any of those fears that have something to do with border checks and immigration police raids.
You have seen some of these--and their ability to shake the knees. In New Mexico, at the Columbus International Border, you have seen how two Hispanics have been caught pants down when they could not show some kind of a picture ID establishing their eligibility to stay in this place and work their way to staying here forever.
Your story does not cohere. You are tired, with all the editing that you are doing these last two weeks or so. You look at the flickering light on Kuykendal and you imagine the notorious sound of the newly stalled two giant aircondtioners right across the entrance to the other staircase that leads to your fourth floor office where there the green mountains with their thick garments of foliage greet you with the healing energies that you need.
It is work you have come here, for sure. But it is also a commitment--and a vision. You look it that way. You say a little prayer and close shop for the night in this late hours that you own the whole of Spalding and the other building next to it.
You pray for grace, for endurance, for perseverance, for humility--for all the things that you will need to make you understand things, to make you see the bigger scheme of things. You pray for light. You pray for wisdom.
You pray for that willingness to serve, to help form minds, to instruct even as you instruct youself of the hard lessons you learn the hard way today as in the past and, perhaps, just perhaps, in the future.
A solver Agcaoili
Oct 14, 2006
Hon, HI/UH Manoa