You are not the start nor are you the end. I don’t know why I insist on writing you like a novel when that is not what you are. What you are is some bullshit form of therapy Hao insists on having, to make me change my mind. But you and I both know I will not. I’m knocked up, not continuously stupid. Sure, I have my moments of haphazardness, not surprising why I got into this kind of trouble in the first place. But what I want is the dream, the chance to make it before 31, the age when Sylvia Plath killed herself. I want the nervous breakdown. I want the depression. I want the burning. Not this.
They were two strugglers sharing beer on the sidewalk, looking at the debris people left behind. His tattoos were beautiful and he picked from the pile of trash at his side, making spontaneous verse for each one. A Coke can. A torn shoe. Election paraphernalia. She smiled because she knew all these were supposed to impress her. It worked.
Today, after consuming half a fried chicken and then some, I laid down on the same bed where you are in now and stared endlessly at the fluorescent bulb that keeps on flickering like a woman’s thoughts. Soon after, I went around the room, killing mosquitoes with a copy of Marquez’s Melancholy Whores, quite apt, and loving the sound of their bodies being squashed and smudged all over my white walls. Empowering. How easy it was.
She talked about her love for Kidlat Tahimik and how she cried every time there were Il Postino reruns on the Hallmark Channel. He talked about his contempt for existentialism, absolutism, egotism and all the other isms she thought could never be attached to a word. He confessed other’s porn were his erotica. She found this romantic. When they made love, they made sure to do it in small spaces, small rooms to make sure all other thoughts were left behind the door. Finished, she’d think about how she would write about this later. He thought about how waking up with her seemed to make him forget about the Arroyo administration. He wrote on her palm, Fuck me, then marry me. She only answered the first one.
Sigrid asked while we were sipping our coffees outside the office, How would you know how it would feel if you haven’t really done or even thought of doing it? What she meant was raising this thing. Well, Sigrid, you don’t have to be hit by a bus to know how it feels.
The day she stopped by twice for fast food, he bought her a home pregnancy kit. There it was. Two lines staring up at them while they huddled on the floor. They laughed about how the pharmacist asked Hao if there was any particular brand he preferred. Then she locked herself in the bathroom.
I tried to write something I’d remember from this experience. This is, after all, supposedly a turning point in my life although I still have no idea where it is I’m supposed to turn. So far, all I have are these three lines: Tongues act. Unending Seizures. Tasting Vulgarity. Hao insists that if I could just hear the heartbeat, I’d immediately change my mind. I probably would, and maybe that’s why it’s important for me not to hear. Why is pro-choice so hard to understand? Why can’t tomorrow come sooner?
Friends insist they could do a Juno. She looks the part, they pointed out. They talked about the theories of art versus domesticity. Greatness versus subtleness. All sorts of dead philosophers coming to life at the mouths of drunk companions while she sips her iced tea and Hao keeps watch. She wonders if through the night, they could resurrect all of them, Greek, Roman, forgotten TV episodes, to conjure the fate of the living.
Hao will be here soon, and after this, you and these stupid thoughts will be forgotten only to be taken out of the junk trunk when it serves me convenient. The boss gave me the whole week off to take care of matters. I told him someone in my immediate family just died. Who knows how this will affect me. Maybe I’ll regret it one of these days, and I will cry myself to a stupor. Maybe I’ll want this someday, and it’ll be too late. Maybe. But I just can’t give up my life now.
Once again, it was a small space. It struck her funny how she always seemed to end up in small spaces. She didn’t know where she was. Only that a kind old lady was stroking her hand, leading her to a makeshift bed. This was her operating room. The setting of her before and after. Smoking outside, he was thinking about what he can no longer experience: mounting hospital bills, a photograph of his arm tattoos carrying a small body, waking up next to her. She was thinking about how she would write about this later.