Catfish; bottlemen

If there’s anything more amusing in my life right now than the 2016 elections it’s that Duterte’s campaign jingle is stuck in my head and I’m singing along with Pederalismo, pederalismo.

There was a Porsche outside our house earlier, said a man from the Duterte convoy. Pretty hot, he said. I would have agreed, if I had seen it, but what were the chances of a real-life 911 Turbo parking right beside our gates? I think it would hurt me too much to not have seen an actual Porsche; better that I completely missed it.

But I really, really wish it was that lame Chevvy model instead.

I never want to talk about postmodernism for the next few weeks; it is awful having to dig through two years of worthless brain jungle and pull out all the shit I learned from random conversations with friends who actually took the formal course.

They’re in a bar somewhere, she’s reviewing literary theories and he’s reviewing Law; they’re drinking beer and bothering me, nagging for me to hurry my poor ass up and get to Manila where they are, join them, come see the sights, feel the heat, die with an awful sunburn and patience as long as EDSA. She’s probably red in the face, words a little slurred from the half-litre bottle downed by necessity (postmodernism does that); she’s waiting for her date, some guy she barely knows, and she really likes him but she’d like to see where they’re headed to first, probably won’t get serious, but he’s nice and he’s pretty sweet, he drove to see me when I said I missed him–

He’s probably furrowed his eyebrows again, reading through notes and semi-consciously picking out choice curses to throw at his professors when he’s called for recitation, or after he gets his quiz results back (fucking joke, those quizzes). The beer is in front of him, condensate travelling down the bottle’s neck unnoticed, pooling on the tabletop, telling time; they’ve been there for about an hour. (Who knew you could study in a bar.) He posts a photo of the two of them, tags a third person corollary to the amusement of the action; waits for things to happen and then goes back to Law.

I do not miss them. At all.

There is a monster outside the house; every night I can hear it knocking on the gate that leads to the upper levels of this commercial-cum-residential building, sometimes rattling the metal railings of the stairs; they do not hear it because my mother snores like a dragon and the others are too far to hear it, but it is there, and it knocks, and whatever it is I’m just raring to go out and tell it to fuck off. I don’t because I’m frightened, naturally, that once I go check I’d find no-one there.

I only truly love less than a handful of people in my life; this I learned when one night (last night, actually, but let’s pretend it was a momentous event for me) I dithered on the ‘Send’ button, and actually deliberated the necessity of sending I love you through chat. That I needed to think about it proved that I meant it, that it was pointless sending it because surely by now they would have felt it, would have known it even without a lame message like that popping up on their screen.

There is a bridge, on my way to San Fernando, that offers me the oddest view: that of a tree stump in the middle of the river, one with branches that look like arms. During high tides one arm disappears beneath the waters, and the stump looks like it’s about to dive (it does not, woefully). During low tides it stands tall, both arms in the air as if in prayer. I like to think it grateful, that it is sending praises to the heavens, this wooden man. Perhaps for the day, perhaps for the good bounty.

But against a sky bathed in the colours of bruises and fire, the stump is eerie; the stump is vengeful; the stump raises its leafless arms to condemn the world. It is sad but awe-inspiring, watching it remain motionless in the middle of the rising river waters, defiant even as the evening’s tide drowns its arm again.


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