Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Familiar Spray of Rain

Where to begin?

The past two days has been a whirlwind of familiar faces, familiar streets and sights and sounds and smells. A part of me is simply surprised at how easy it is to slip into the concept of home, as if I had just easily picked up a trumpet that I had forgotten how to play and stepped in an orchestra, and just easily, seamlessly joined in the chorus. It was lovely and tiring and beautiful.

It's also been raining endlessly in Manila. The air is tinged with green, chilly and comfortable, the kind of weather you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket and curl up with a warm cup of chocolate and a book. Or even to just cuddle up against someone and doze off. (Now, if only I had that someone...) But this is the rain that I missed: the rain that surrounds you, gets into your bones, burrows underneath your skin and competes with the warmth. This push and pull inside is something specific to Manila rain, and this is the rain I'm familiar with.

So far, I've attended Writers' Night and the launch for the 2nd Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology. Both gatherings welcomed me with open arms and renewed a latent desire to write something new and amazing and mind-boggling. This is nothing like Singapore: everything is alive and vibrant and pulses inside your head, engages all your senses, reminds you what it feels like to be alive. It's lovely to find yourself at two in the morning in a small Italian restaurant just off Tomas Morato, talking about writing and a love for literature and how sex and words have a potent combination. It's sweet to receive so much hugs after four months of almost no human contact, of jumping up and down in a crowded coffee shop with friends, holding hands. I love how I can understand what everyone around me is saying, of being able to recognize the way the mouth forms words, how these words sputter and shoot themselves up into my head, and I realize that it doesn't flow over me anymore; I am part of this magnificent, confusing din of my city, my home.

Tonight was also my first dinner with the maternal side of the extended family. I missed eating like this: all hands and fingers, digging into the mess of crabs and shrimps and the dark, sticky-salty tang of squid cooked in its own sauce, of rice that just came hot off the pot, still slightly damp and fluffy, like miniature clouds. It was amazing to shout over the din of conversation from one table to another, of pitching crab shells and shrimp heads in the middle of the table, where a bowl was soon overfolowing with the pink and red carcasses of the seafood, and of just feeling comfortably full for the first time in such a long time.

I love looking at my life with an experienced eye now, of being able to appreciate what I have now without being too nostalgic, of knowing how I am loved and how I love, and what is amazing about this is that now I am fully aware of all possibilities, of the ways in which my life can move and fluctuate in all directions, and I'm excited. I can't wait to see what can come up next. :)

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