Sunday, September 27, 2009

shipwreck / unsent

“Everybody needs a shipwreck once in a while.”
Temptation Island (1981)

Walking around Makati after the storm that shook us all to the core, I couldn’t help but feel so powerless. I ran into people who had lost everything in the flood, cashing in on the mercy of their wounded brethren, wielding bags of clothes previously rotting in the backs of closets. I saw snails clinging to the northern part of seven foot walls. I wondered what kept them hanging on and if they intended to come back to the earth any time soon.

I wondered how you were. I wondered if you were safe. I whipped out my phone and started drafting a message.

I hope you’re dry. I pray the flood didn’t cause your family any damage. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. I’m no longer there to do that. Don’t worry about me. I coped, as I always do. Just take care of yourself and don’t waste the chances that you’re given. No one wants to live a life full of regrets.

I looked around. A woman was sweeping leaves and a dead rat off her front porch. A man in skimpy, borrowed shorts walked by. Just like that, I knew I couldn’t send this message to you. What we had was so furious*, so self-consuming that when it ended, there was nothing left to rebuild.

There’s nothing like mass devastation to remind us that we are all so powerless despite our greatest efforts. Try as we might, we still abide by three basic truths: Life is precious but fleeting. Love, by default, hurts and at the end of a great storm, there is a peace that numbs us all into submission.

I join the nation in mourning for all our brothers lost in the flood. What a terrible, terrible waste of human life.

Alanis Morissette
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie