I wake up. The pain stamped between my right neck and shoulder says good morning. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. The 1PM alarm failed to serve its purpose. I shrug. Indistinct talking is coming out of my mom’s room. Ah, it’s Wednesday and it’s Sandra on the phone. I go into the bathroom. I sit on the toilet. I light a cigarette. I watch the end of the stick turn bright orange as I inhale. I watch the smoke spread and coil into little baby fern shapes. It’s like a drop of paint falling into clear water. I make sound effects to go with it. I open the faucet and splash water onto my face. Sleepiness turns into liquid and falls down the drain. I hear Sandra calling my name. I let out a soft but able-to-pass-through-the-bathroom-door “mmm.” She’s trying to make conversation but I’m already brushing my teeth. I’m mumbling my yeses and ok’s accompanied by the buzzing of my battery-powered toothbrush. I can stop what I’m doing to give way to a clearer conversation but I won’t. I don’t want to be bothered. I hear her leave.
I open the envelopes I got from my mailbox before going to bed. I read the figures and I open my wallet. I fold the papers with the money and put them in the Meralco envelope because it’s bigger. I feed Disco. I wait for him to finish because he won’t eat when I’m not around. I tap him on the head, reach for his front leg and raise him up. We both walk on two’s as I lead him back to the balcony where he’ll be left. I tell him to wait and that I won’t be long and I love him before fully closing the door.
There’s a spot before entering Waltermart territory where I can see my balcony. I don’t see Disco but I hear him barking mad.
I pay the bills and I feel accomplished.
I go into a barbershop to have both sides of my head cleaned. I sit between two old men. I remove my baseball cap. I tell the barber what I want. He gets a shaver and starts working it. He forgets to put a cutting gown so I have hair all over me. He apologizes and gets a gown. I smile. I wonder why I didn’t even remind him. The smell of barbershops is the same. That smell of pangkulot always reminds me of my grandmother. She used to take me to this parlor where we were suki. It always happened on a Sunday right after mass. A parlor day was always some sort of a big day for me when I was little. The street where I grew up is in my mind right now but in a movie flashback scene kind of way. I heard it’s very unrecognizable now. It’s sad in many ways.
My reflection is staring at me. I try not to stare back but I can’t help it. I don’t like what I see. I make facial expressions so I can satisfy myself. I find myself biting my lips or stretching my mouth to distort my unattractiveness. I look for something to focus my attention to but there’s nothing interesting. I don’t want to look at myself. I look at the old man to my right. I catch his eyes on me and then he looks away. The old man to my left looks bored. And I’m thinking it’s because of his hair and he just can’t do anything about it. We finish. I pay P120.
I keep hearing the song “You changed my life.” It’s bound to win LSS of the year award.
I buy two 250ML chocolate Lactasoy cartons and one serving of pancit. I go home. I eat lunch. I watch TV and wait for an hour before working out.
10 minutes on the Twist-and-shape
Biceps: 3 sets, 20 reps (10lbs)
Triceps: 2 sets, 20 reps (10lbs) and 2 sets, 25 reps (16lbs)
Delts: 4 sets, 20 reps (10lbs)
Pecs: 2 sets, 30 reps (10lbs) and 2 sets, 30 reps (16lbs)
Abs: 50 reps after every set of above exercises
10 minutes on the exercise bike
I take a bath.
I want to see Aegis live at Cowboy Grill but Michelle tells me not to go alone because the crowd there is rowdy. I accept that I’m missing yet another chance to hear them sing live. I’m dressed up and nowhere to go. I check movie schedules online. I decide to watch “The Reader.”
I walk. I make it to Glorietta 4. I’m sweating hell. It’s the first day of that Sarah-John Lloyd movie and the cinema floor is packed. I buy a ticket. There’s still 30 minutes before the movie starts. There are long lines even at food stations but I’m not hungry. I find myself lining up for Burger King. There are two guys behind me talking. I eavesdrop. One guy is telling his 38-year old friend that he’ll someday find his girl. The other guy tells him that he’d found the girl of his dreams but left. He reiterates that he actually had found two. They talk about how dorky they are, how the other guy doesn’t have his friends that gave him the ticket to cool zone anymore. The same guy talks about one girl in his life that liked Jet Li. The other one said that he doesn’t know martial arts. I’m starting to picture how they look like based on how they talk. I look down. I see the toes of the guy and they’re gross. I don’t wear slippers out because mine are. When I do, I clean them. The Sarah Geronimo movie lines are still overwhelming me. I order one BK chicken sandwich with cheese and large onion rings. So much for “I’m not hungry.”
The movie starts. There's an empty chair beside me. I miss you.