These Days

Early breakfast on the road and a cool brush by the breeze through my uncombed morning hair were the firsts on the list. As I help myself, rolling down the tinted passenger seat window, catching the first glimpse of what could be an opening of a perfect season after the long monsoon rains. With the windshield wipers no longer in use, the rain is now dripping down the glass pane. As I was urging myself on going somewhere distant, I am not sure if it is somewhere uphill but the road I am on was definitely taking me somewhere new.  Something has gotten into me, a sense of urgency to take advantage while the world is still half asleep, a reckless abandon of some sort, looking for that great escape.

I then looked up and see a lingering, thick contrail from the jet exhaust streaming across the stretch of the sky, a long vertical line that sketched the sky fluffy white. I checked my backpack for anything to munch on and found a half done sandwich that I had after a few beers. Everything is going neatly so far that the entire experience showers me with high hopes of leaving behind the remains of last night, covering the stench with a couple of hours of sleep later, hoping not to remember.

And the day is already breaking.

The world truly does not owe us anything. I was thinking that my only rescue now is to catch the first waves of the sun tides.  I was moving my head from side to side looking for a clearing from the open road by the cliff as we make a right turn after passing through the tunnel. We had to take a longer route since the fault was at its dangerous that time. My hands are shaking because of the cold, yet still very eager to create something beautiful with whatever the blotted ink from my pen can lend me. Yearning for a far cry inspiration, I picked out a past dated reading material from the dashboard compartment, popping the lid open with a hammering motion of my right fist. An old newspaper or was it a travel magazine? I can’t remember exactly, but It was dated sometime 2001. “Not bad” I murmured to myself, for it was like time traveling all the same and I can use that for reference I figured, giving an undeserving applause to myself. And somehow I realized that the course we were threading on was much better. It was from those after meal thoughts and the open-free spaces in between towns and the quiet celebration from a flick of my cigarette that validated this glide the right thing to do at the time. For it was by far the warmest after the cold. And the ease of the lift of my facial muscles seemed sustainable and could seem to last a lifetime. It really surprised me on how easy it was all of a sudden.

A very good friend had once told me over a glass of rum, that our realizations and the wisdom that comes along with it, are all emanating from the affirmation that sometime soon after we are long gone, we will be just a part of a punch line in the short stories being told. It would probably start with a short visual reference from one of your favorite self-portrait photographs carefully placed in the family album or perhaps if lucky, you’ll be remembered when the index cards of the recipe box you once filled and treasured, was opened and used during some yearly household occasion.  You’ll be in a way, like a transistor radio or a technicolor television set with giant capacitors and wooden shutters that was boxed and locked up in a room somewhere.

I turned the knob of the car radio a notch higher while lip-synching to a plastic record, and for a moment there we were shaking our heads senseless and doing these random unrehearsed movements from our seats. We were, in our own weird ways, happy.

Past the varying heights of the trees, while the sun is playing hide and seek behind each, and the varying shades of greens of the hills color the feeling, I can’t help but compare. That it was definitely a different view from what laid days before. The haunting and casting shadows on the moonlight floor were no longer there, and all of the episodes were nothing but of a distant memory now, in my chest to be safely kept and yet to be seen again but not now, not at this very moment.

Through the fast open sky, and past the telephone wires that fenced the mountains and the slopping landscapes of the north and the infinite blue skies ceiling above us, I watched the wheels that spun so fast through the side mirrors, our speed made the white-highway-broken- lines appear to be this long and endless straight marker directing us towards the end and the beginning of a circle. Our tomorrows may or may not be there, but I will relish the flip of the coin, playing through over each finger as I tap my feet to the waltz of this familiar song.

And somehow it felt like we were slowly getting off the ground, we were almost flying.  A shift in perception or just an ordinary optical illusion, I could not really tell and it did not matter. For what I had there was not of this world and yet it felt it was.

Twenty-two degrees on an 80 kph freeway for as long as I have my polarized lenses on, my past dated magazines and plastic records – I am there, crashing through the walls of the uncertainty of history, trying to live in a story worth telling.

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Morning Sable Brushes: Travel Log

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At this point the summery warm love embraces of the morning sun are starting to bring in life to everything on its path, showering everyone with its unprejudiced, unbiased attention, attempting to overthrow the glittering and sophisticated beauty of the nights that came before. As its skillful sable brushes dabble freely into the skies using it as its color palette where all the pigments are mixed on, I looked up towards its direction, with my right hand placed over my eyes, looking through the fingers as I bask in the morning’s gentle sun shower.

In my thoughts, I made a recording of this grand majestic order that I believe still lingers. As I take a stride toward these unspoken summer feelings, my consciousness decides not to limit myself to what this world may soon only have. And before the darkness blots out the sky with smoke and gunpowder, I will dispense my thoughts, through my skipping pen, writing about this beautiful world, before it ceases to exist.  So let me go for a little while, don’t wait up, for I will be taking my time harnessing all the goodness that still prevails before genocide becomes the most common word spoken, and body parts are used for confetti to proclaim glory. Let me go back to the very beginning of my daydreaming.

I remember the time when we were treading on the cliff side of the mountain to a place we heard holds a glimpse of how afterlife should be. It had rained a few hours before, making the way very slippery.  The rocks were unsteady in their place, the bushes along the narrow pathway make it harder to maneuver, but luckily our timely arrival led our exhausted feet to a gathering of the dried up leaves that had fallen on the ground, I mean they were so giving, that even in their dying moments they were still able to provide traction in this muddy and dangerous traverse.

And in those tailored fit moments, time stood still, and the warmth we felt from within was starting to build up. I guess real miracles happen in the most unexpected times, in the most ordinary of forms.  From the unfolding of life from a small seed that will soon reach great heights, from the meeting of the endpoints of the stalagmites and stalactites, as they inch their way for millions of years just for that single, longing touch.  The perfect lighting from the summer sun for that perfect moment for the lovers at the bridge arching over a river, the inspired poets and the dreamers who sit by its banks, with their thoughts and prose floating like driftwood in the water. During those days life was good, we were wanderers but never quite lost, always looking up, bidding clear skies so we may also find our way back in the longing arms of our loved ones, like the setting sun in the ocean.

I am dreaming in this daydream, and somehow the clouds took her into my arms and as I was dancing her off into the crowd, I realized that she was as graceful as a butterfly in the park on an idle Sunday morning.  Her eyes glazed like honey, and she was as cool as ice cream.  And over my shoulder, she rests her soft chin and reached up to the sky to hold the moon between her fingertips. She then painted the starry night with her waterfalls of imagination, tasting the clouds like cotton candies as her finale.

And we knew that this familiar feeling will soon be back. We were hitchhikers in the east, treading home, now undressing our backpacks from their rain-covers, filling them up with farewells and good memories.  As we rest all of our expectations in the sky’s eternal influence, stretching on farther and farther over the town’s little hut-houses, to the tens and hundreds of hectares of rice fields we pass by, we found ourselves embraced and now drenched with sunbeams.

And it felt so exclusive.

So the next time I receive a phone call from you or a friend through a can on a string, I will try to be more ready.  Putting my worn down shoes on, stringing them well, traveling with nothing in my pocket but a few change for a phone call home, a few clothes and a flask in my pack, just relishing the time getting lost in these words I read to you, for another round of life’s awesome adventure.

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Last Day – Northern Star

We strolled up the empty sidewalks of what could have thought to be an abandoned zombie land in its much later days when the once flesh munching dead are now hunted in extinction, leaving the vastness of the highways and the city to ourselves.  It was around half past the hour of 1, and our consciousness now forgetting about abstinence and sobriety as everything around us swirled over and swaying sideways, we couldn’t tell what was what and from a calm steady pace we picked up speed, in her heels and in my trusty walkers. We were runaways in the night.

We glanced from time to time over our shoulders, always on the lookout for what else was out there. From a stick that snaps, or from a sudden movement of the shadows, to a howling watchdog, for us, each was a potential threat. Luckily the pavement we were running on was a good friend to us, leaving no tracks but our lungs, on the other hand, were not able to deliver. We ran, only as fast as we could. And we panted hard, we thought we were about to die yet we smile as we catch every breath grateful, scared and feeling free.  The police in their size forty twos are too lazy to go this far of the stretch this time of the night we thought.  But we knew it was a different story altogether in the morning.

We were outside of a convenience store, sat down on the gutter, and administered caffeine, nicotine and what was a beautiful blunder between us. I took out a flask and dashed a little into each cup.  The space in the middle of our casting stares was just an imaginary line, our equator.  There were no stars on sight, a proxy, however, was gracious enough to share its blessings, coming from the lights of the commercial spaces, glowing out of the towering boastful skyscrapers and from the budget conscious government installed highway lamp posts which accidentally imposing a mood-setting feel for the tranquil and the peaceful.  And from this, we borrowed a warm and sublime feeling and placed it through our rib-cages inside our chests, our lives on a silver platter.

She began to open her lips, as she also started to utter the words that are now passing through the upper and lower openings of her mouth.  I couldn’t remember what exactly they were about, but I knew it was something relatable to a timeless anthem or an unwilted flower in the summer. After throwing a few, she tires and fell very silent but amazingly the conversation never stopped.  The peaceful night and the surreal drowsing wind that brushes our hair and what else there did the talking for us.  And we listened and translated each unspoken moment in silence to ourselves, and by and by we break a smile and inhaled. Her camera was confiscated earlier and it was smashed into a million pieces against a concrete wall. We tried to salvage the film but it was no good as well, and so we took mental pictures instead of what was there to take. And there were no thoughts to be withdrawn we figured. Just forward gestures of positivity, testimonials and wishful thinking.  We heard of this place somewhere north, where all great poets and the dreamers go; we talked about it for a while, escaping for good and living there and all.  But she only wanted to take pictures for now, and write.  She’s not done yet, she says.

We fill the ashtray nearly full at this point.

A condensed thought and asked for another. It was almost morning lying on a field of grass under the trees. I was trying to understand what she meant as I try to get a chance to recover and to steal a final glance to help me remember. Turning to her side, elevating myself on an elbow hoping for the night to linger on, to hold still. This was ours, the night we stole from the world but one can only throw a prayer. So in the final seconds we decided to put on our sunglasses as the deafening sound from the blades of the helicopters and the wailing sirens are now coming to a close, we thought of St. Peter and the rest of the saints waiting at the pearly gates. We smoked the remainders of our cigarettes while eating apples, tucking away our northern star, our way of surrender in the early morning sun.