Outside my window sleep avoids the city and I am a compatriot in this plague. Looking down, the opposite lanes of EDSA stream with headlights; their velocities determined by degrees of drowsiness, urgencies and whether the limbs tapping the pedals have had an extra cup of coffee that afternoon. Pedestrians huddle in elevated walkways, their movements erratic, like a ballet orphaned by a sinister choreographer. Near the lower end of the stair planks the blind guitarist strums paeans to heartbreaks, accompanying the desperation drifting from sweet unschooled voice of the equally-blind female vocalist seating beneath him, their tragic duet a catalyst of sudden philanthropy and quiet shudder of relief among passersby who are confronted of their plight but unwilling to imagine having a chance to share in their misfortune. A pair of lovers, having just punched out their attendance sheet in the nearby grocery walk by, their feet a bundle of aching nerves for having stood all day yet their spirits are light, consoled by the thought of sharing a bowl of goto in the neighborhood stall—a moment where they are absolutely assured to be in control of their destinies before they part ways with a quick kiss into the hard boards of their respective bed spaces to dream of better lives before tomorrow’s drudgery start to creep in and rob them of such fantasies. A Sluggish cabby combs the streets for that random call center agent rushing to midnight shift so he can meet the boundary rates; a slight mix of remorse and guilt creep into his thoughts for having acted like a jerk, tormenting commuters during rush hours. Along the fading refrains of sappy pop songs and the hoarse voices of late callers seeking breakup advice from a DJ who feigns sympathy, he touches the dangling Rosary twined around the connecting node of a rearview mirror, bargaining with God for a generous passenger. Street urchins accost strangers with practiced expressions of pain only to be ignored. Policemen patrol the well-maintained lanes this side of the metropolis like bored hawks, avoiding an occasion of impulsive penile erection from staring at the pinup leering in the center spread of a tabloid. The convenience store across the corner becomes a beehive of chains smokers, drifters, a couple darting off their car who forgot a quart of milk earlier, insomniacs, hustlers busily tapping their mobile phones with their impatience growing while their patrons suffer the slowness of elevators and BPO employees having animated conversations in their newly-acquired accents. I pull the canvass curtain shutters, forfeiting myself from tableaus of wakefulness staging autonomous concerts twenty nine floors below, wondering what shades will float into my dream, if it ever comes, and whether it will have a face or a name that will haunt me long after I wake up.
4 hours ago