Walk. All I ever seem to do now is walk. Sometimes I find myself feeling sorry for my shoes. I don’t think they were designed to endure this much walking. But I have to think of my head. Walking clears my head, somehow. Back at home, I drove a gleaming black car. It was one of those head-turner cars, not exactly because it’s brand new—it’s getting old fast—but because its mags are the super shiny chrome ones. And they’re bigger than the usual ones, so Blackie, as we’ve named the car, is a few inches taller than its peers. On days when Blackie wasn’t neglected, wasn’t dusty or muddy, I would drive around town with my shades on, windows down and music almost blaring. But not here. No. Here, I walk.
Mute. Most of the time, my lips are sealed. And if it weren’t for the abundance of friends which I could phone every now and then, I would be mute more than half of the day, trapped in my own repetitive thoughts. I could talk to the trees. I could talk to the big buildings. Or I could talk to my soon-to-be-worn-out shoes. But I don’t. I constantly remind myself how fortunate I am to be studying in the country’s top university; to be far away from home. After all, this is exactly what I wanted, what I have been working on for quite some time. This was my goal, and now, I am here. Flesh and all.
Things to do. Study! Top priority. Other than that, I could take a picture with Oblation any weekday of my choice, exhaust every possible angle. I could run around the famous oval everyday if that would pacify my insatiable need to get high. I could even drown myself in literature inside the College of Arts and Letters library, which is now my favourite personal space in all of Quezon City. I have found joy, yes, don’t get me wrong. And I am more than grateful for this opportunity. I just want to feel that this joy is complete. I don’t know why it feels like it isn’t. Or maybe I do.
Stranger. I find myself searching for familiar faces in crowds, these days. All the time. And all the time I fail, so I just gaze at my phone. The time, no notifications, no text messages, and no missed calls. I fidget with the trackpad so I would be convincing. But it gets tiring and I put my phone back inside my pocket. I try to smile, convince myself that I’m happy. I succeed. But then the crowds thin, and inevitably, I am by myself again. From a distance, I could make out that dark figure with his hands outstretched—the ultimate symbol of this university. Freedom! He seems to scream. Could this be it? Well then, freedom, anyone?
Oblation photo credit here.