Hul 18, 2012

Dear P—

After Monday's work, after Monday's news, I wished I didn't have to lift a finger on Tuesday, which was yesterday, but my youngest alone would not permit such laziness.

Our eldest shall begin formal studies later today. In what I've come to accept as classic Soriano-Aguinaldo fashion, we inquired in the morning, got her assessed at noon, and sent word before evening: gud pm, she's Kinder tomorrow.

How you must have felt on your son's first day.

My wife told me a story the other day involving a friend and iced tuna. Immediately, I began forming it as a story. Or, as is the fashion of romantics, we can phrase this somehow passively: It began to form as a story.

Sometimes, when you open yourself up to a story, what you actually do is you give it a free pass to your mind, perhaps your soul, like you own a yellow lake but you yourself know nothing about diving so you ask the first boy you see if he could take a look below for something, anything, and he doesn't bat an eyelash, doesn't care why you're so desperate, turns away from your money, and dives as if a word from you was all he had been waiting for his whole life.

He takes a while, doesn't surface, but you feel something clench, perhaps in your lung or stomach. He's got something.

Well, I know what he's holding. He has the memory of you and me walking that overpass of your old Baguio, the one that led to the strawberry baskets, you looking over the activists on the street, you saying something unkind, then saying sorry, which was also unkind.

I wish I will never have to write this story, that I had a gun in my hand for that dark little diver, if and when he decides to take a breath. But all I hold are some poems and lessons, projects that need doing, forms to fill out (not fill up! reminds my wife), and I suppose I could just leave this one down below. To die, perhaps.

But it's not the first time I saw this boy, and I don't believe I've seen the last of him. He'll come, maybe years from now, with that piece in his hand, and something else, the one I need. Then will he demand payment.

Just now: Why did I assume I have years?

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