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The First Morning I Did Not Think About You

This piece was originally featured here. The Manila Survival Guide is re-publishing the article with minor edits.

It was a typical morning. I woke up, late as usual, the sun already near its zenith, its rays streaming through half-open blinds, the day as hot and as humid as it can be. I forgot to turn off the TV. A Discovery channel host was talking about whales, his voice a deep, monotonous drone.

I stood up, my head slightly aching from oversleeping, my thoughts still a blur, my knees, wobbly and unsure.  I staggered to the door of my bedroom, and headed downstairs for a bite. I was hungry. My stomach was growling in angry, desperate need. What my brain still failed to register, my limbs automatically addressed:  I needed sustenance.

coffee and quarters

I stumbled onto the kitchen and saw my younger brother in his pajamas, eating cereal, his hair unkempt and looking like it was badly in need of a bath. Much like I looked I suppose. I stared at his bowl, and hungry as I was, realized I still hated the thought of having cereal so late in the day. I asked Manang Cely what was for lunch. She didn’t reply, but I heard bustling outside, and the familiar clangs of pots and pans. I settled myself at the table, and held my head in my hands. My brother ate in silence.

“What time did you get home?” I asked him.

“Just this morning.”

“Mom and Dad already awake?”

“Nope. They were still asleep.” My parents never really imposed a curfew on us, especially on weekends, but they did like it when we got home before they woke up.

“Where did you go?”

“Nowhere. Just out with friends.”

“Malate?”

“Yea.”

“How was the crowd?”

“It was okay. Typical. Not a huge crowd, but enough to be fun. Why didn’t you go?”

“I was bored. I figured I’d just watch television, play PS2 and sleep.” 

My brother nodded, then finished his cereal. He left soon after to catch up on his sleep. I riffled through several newspaper sections, and settled on Lifestyle, reading an article Tim Yap wrote. He was still writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer then.

Manang Cely walked in with a bowl of hot tinola. I immediately tucked in.

manhattan

Then I remembered you. Right at that moment when the spoon, filled with steaming clear broth, hit my lips.  Rather, or more accurately, I realized I forgot about you first, and then only remembered you.

What a shock. After weeks upon weeks of moping, of listening to sad, lonely, love songs, of waking up to the deep, precious pain a young man getting over his first love can manage to inflict on himself, I woke up to a morning where you weren’t the first thing on my mind. And outside of the overpowering relief, I realized how funny it was that moving on would come at a moment so utterly, absolutely mundane. While at a table, eating tinola for breakfast and/or lunch, my hair a mess, smelling like something the dog just brought in. How unimaginative. How banal. How anticlimactic.

And still, I felt happy, and finished my meal in unanticipated felicity. Though lacking in theatrics (perhaps a lightning bolt or two in the background would have been nice), I exulted in the unadulterated joy of knowing that I have finally, completely moved on.

Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard. -(David Mustaine)


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