Missing Manila

All the small moments that I lived in and will never have again — when I was thinking of life, and the end, in completely different directions. Today, it's raining in New Haven during October break and I am a little bit more somber than usual. I am dreaming of it raining in my own bedroom: the mattress on the unkempt, tiled wooden floor, bedsheets half-pulled in every direction, the drum of the A/C and the rattling in it that has been going on for years. Smelling like sachets and dove.

All the little things I am trying to remember.

  • My high school music building after the sunset: the football team playing under the lights, the spiral stairs, sitting on excess church pews in unmatched white socks and black dress shoes waiting for seven o' clock to come.

  • Fishballs after church. Oil on my chin rubbed off by someone else, burning the roof of my mouth.

  • Washing my clothes downstairs until my palms would be so red I believed that they'd bleed out. Feeling the grit and hard of it, like sod and wrinkle — how the bar would crumble in my hands. One day, I put my face down into the soapy water, barely breathing, let go and continued grinding my palms into the drawstring of a pair of pants again.

  • Getting robbed on some overpass in Manila, twice.

  • Pictures of Gerard Way in Black Parade gear, Mikey Way in 2005, and Patrick Stump post-hiatus that hung up on my wall for over four years. The residue of the tape after taking them down this summer, and their place somewhere left in my drawer.

  • Sipping coke from plastic bags, spilling it all over my cousin when I tried to give her what I had left. Crushed meringue that broke my heart when walking home from the market.

  • Wowowee in the afternoons.

  • The tree in my grandparent's house that we would always race up to climb on in the summer, crooked and leaning over the garage — perfectly bent for three of us to sit on. The small hills, there, the weeds and uncut bushes and the mosquito bites.


  • My yayas putting on Hotel California over and over on our CD player from this pirated American rock classic collection. Memorizing every word to that song and claiming it as my favorite until a few years into middle school.

  • Philippine Star crossword puzzles.

  • One afternoon I read Flowers for Algernon for the first time and spent the next four hours crying.

  • A fairly large black picture frame I bought at National Bookstore for Php600 framed with a tweet by Ryan Ross tucked next to my broken keyboards in the corner of my bedroom.

  • Php20 CD sale somewhere sketchy as fuck along a highway in Quezon City and the girl buying twelve copies of Paramore CDs.

  • Karaoke, San Mig Light, the rotation of videos depicting white people walking down the sunset. The scent of piss and the other room screaming along to Eraserheads; sweating and walking out into the streets and basking in convenience stores and motorcycle lights.

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