I tried to rationalize why this particular piece resonated with me. In my head I imagined the artist trying to explain to herself what the feeling of loss was.
It made sense to me. It made so much sense. Reification--that's the word that came to mind. To make something so abstract real. To make this ungraspable sense of loss into something one can hold, into something one can both nurture and destroy. To reify a consuming pain and make it as present as a wound that you could heal or let fester.
Like what Harry Potter (yep I went there) taught us: "Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself." Once you begin to put words into things, they start to become less daunting than what they seem to be.
This time is, in essence, a metaphorical rebirth.
I passed by Araneta and saw a huge poster announcing that the coliseum was hosting the “biggest cockfighting competition of the century” next month. It was then when I suddenly remembered eating sundae at McDonald’s Kamias with Martin.
More of the sundae than Martin perhaps—the hot chocolate, drizzled above the sugary and pasty frozen concoction they pass off as ice cream, sloppily smeared all over my mouth, me enjoying that cheap treat like a pimply teenage boy who was watching porn for the first time.
Read more at The Library Underground.
This short story first appeared in The Library Underground.
His forefinger hovered on the backspace button for a few seconds before he pressed it – and the three hundred words which took Martin Miguel Reyes Tajonera five hours to write instantly disappeared.
Because: how does one exactly start a letter to a father you haven’t seen for twelve years? If only there was a template on “How to Write a Letter to my Dad Who was Kind of a Dick for Leaving Us”. Not that there was a lack of people in the world who’d been abandoned as well – a quick Google search, and all the stories would pop up – stuff which Martin found funny or amusing or sad, but nothing which precisely expressed what he felt.
He scratched his head, grasping for the right words to say. Everything came out cheesy and too contrived. He felt like he was writing a Hallmark card. A really long Hallmark card with lots of sappiness and fits of suppressed teenage angst enough to make a Simple Plan album.
The cursor blinked on top of the page like fingers hammering on a table, waiting for him to type again. He minimized the document and then watched funny Youtube videos. He got up from the chair and paced around the room. He went downstairs to have a glass of water. And another glass. He opened the refrigerator door and had two Krispy Kremes. And a bite of Snickers. He brushed his teeth. Finally, he scooped the 12.50 pesos in loose change on top of the refrigerator, hoping that lola’s sari-sari store wasn’t closed yet.
“Martin?” The sharp voice came from the room upstairs, across his.
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.