Sketches

One

I want to live my life in saturated technicolor, until I die puking rainbows, broken emeralds and shards of sapphire. I want my reds to burn in anger; I want to drown in deep blue. I once grabbed a kid’s box of crayons and broke each one of the sixty-four sticks (and I was as cruel as I could be to the white crayon). I gave the child a set of metallic spray paints in psychedelic violets, telling him to never, ever put crayon on paper again. The colors are simply never happy enough.

Two

Before I post anything on Facebook, I think hard about it first. Actually, even before typing into the textbox, I would’ve mentally rehearsed and revised my paragraph about something totally interesting I saw on the streets in the day. I hear voices telling me, “That’s not worth it. You will get no Likes.” To which another voice, weaker but purer, would respond, “No, do it, trust in yourself. Dispel your social insecurities. Only few people ever get multitudes of Likes in every post they submit, and even then, they probably started out with a couple of unpopular status updates.” (This latter voice sounds like Obi-Wan with a hint of Yoda.) There is an all-powerful, ever-encompassing set of unwritten rules guiding what should and should not be posted in social media, that we all follow even if the rules differ from one person to another or between social circles. In this respect at least, there is a lot less differentiation between the real and the virtual—but this subject is worthy of a lengthy discussion on its own.

Three

You’re holding your beliefs wrong. Freethinker whatever. As if you have no biases yourself; as if anyone is free from it. It’s not like you were born in some aseptic environment and you developed critical thinking by yourself without anyone’s help. You have no monopoly of reason; religions are built on the venerable wisdom of ages among other things; faith is not a rigid, medieval thing. The first concept we all have to practice is respect. You are so adept at pointing out fallacies in illogical arguments—but in doing so, have you ever heard how unreasonable your own insults are?

Four

How do we describe the Arts and Sciences lobby? It is not a particularly spacious area. Sure, there is probably enough space there for hundreds of iskolars, but it would feel cramped, or outright claustrophobic, should anyone compare it to the atriums of our hallowed shopping malls. The best route anyone can take going into this space is of course through the grand staircase fronting the College (which, at certain times in history, has been without brass nosings, because even the University is not free from desperate scavengers). Ascend the stairs and savor each step: the first time could feel like a tremendous, deliberate crescendo masterfully executed by an orchestra, that act of physically interacting with a renowned piece of national architecture.

Five

Althea Espiritu discovered her allergy to ghosts on her sixth-grade field trip to Corregidor Island. After seeing a sober platoon of Filipinos carrying World War 2-era rifles, who had been hanging around in the island for about 70 years now, Althea developed rashes all over her back. It was the rashes that distressed her greatly. She sought a remedy from her class adviser when she got back to their bus, but after recounting the cause of the allergic reaction, she was rewarded a half-puzzled and half-irritated look, and was told not to go astray again and explore off-limit areas on her own. It was probably the vines and other overgrowth that gave her the allergies, they said, to which she expressed confident denial, because as a kid she played in an old mansion’s garden (her Lola Fe’s peaceful garden), smelled every flower and never got anything as much as a sneeze. Back in Manila, after going through an extended battery of tests, the doctors gave her two options for treatment: psychiatric therapy, or she could seek an albularyo in the mountains, but this latter alternative was only offered as a bad joke. She was certainly going into a mental institution. And there, she was afraid, she might get a lot more rashes.

Six

I’ve fed the dogs before, but one night it was a little special. As a kid I never got the chance to have a pet dog or cat, because I had asthma and fur can aggravate my condition (I still have asthma, but it is something that can be attenuated, as I understand it). Now, in college, there is an abundance of pet dogs in the house where I board, but I’m not really interested in playing with them. It’s probably because I don’t know how to handle them well in the first place. Once, in a friend’s house, one of their exceptionally friendly dogs climbed onto my lap, and I only managed to keep smiling at the thing. Of course you shouldn’t bare your teeth at dogs. It was no mystery why the dog kept on barking and growling at me. I am capable, however, of sensing when dogs are hungry (they stand and get hold of my white shirt with their soiled paws). For a time, whenever I would arrive at the house when the caretakers are already asleep, I would sneak out a cup of pet food and feed the dogs. It was fun watching them sniff out every last scattered pellet, and I could feel them loving me for it. Recently, the dog that I first saw when it was only a months-old puppy, the first dog that I actually watched growing up, had given birth to a bunch of adorable litter. Seeing the puppies crowd around the mother, seeking milk, I thought of feeding it again. I took out the last few pieces of bread in my own store, and handed it to the mother. The dog’s agility at catching the pieces amazed me, showing just how unfamiliar I am with animals. Someday, if ever it will be healthy for me to keep one, maybe I’ll get a pet dog of my own.

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Author: DJ

Scribbles about films and other fabrications.

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