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Water and light

January 12, 2009

When I left Davao the moon was full enough to light the way off the island, to reflect in the open sewers and draw the foam of the waves ever closer to their death on the shore. The tides, so tragic and final, are unaware of their sadness. When resurrection is immediate and clear there is no need for grief.

My last night looking into the bay I could not bring myself to tears. I floated in the cool water, my belly button facing the stars from underneath my cotton pajamas. My body rejoiced in the homogeneity of complete fluidity.

Now delivered to my origins and to the fruits of over anticipation, I am surprised to see that even the moon, to whom I was so faithful, has continued on. Her phases are not like mine- they’re solid and real, they last and give meaning to earthlings below. The moon waxes and wanes at the heaven’s command while I fade like laundry in the sun. In Davao I’d believed we were something special. But here, the whiteness of the moon fades in the wattage from the skyline. And here, I’m no longer a daisy in a pineapple field, but a piece of paper in an air-conditioned warehouse. Loneliness is when I could slip through a crack in the floor and the world would just switch to a different box of toner.

What is it that draws us back to the known? The world is moving on and we’re keeping ourselves sane by imprisoning our memories in sound bytes and photographs. Water does not keep its pictures. Each ripple clears the palette. The waves do not record their breaking. The timelessness of being keeps everything safe in the sea. Back on land, time is dangerous. And the moon is the same now as it ever was but here instead of lighting the way, it just blocks out the view of the stars.

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