Sometimes, no, many times, I like to escape into my own mind, into the magic of my imagination. Here I dream of stories, some of people around me, some of me, some of characters completely made up. Many things trigger it, nothing in particular, but many things can take me from the traffic of Manila to Pencey Prep. I try to write them sometimes. Most of the time they file themselves in my hippocampus. I think that’s where it is.
Here’s one inspired by all the trains I’ve been taking.
I thought she was his daughter. She was just short. Really short. But when he leaned over to kiss her, she on her tiptoes, there was no mistaking they were lovers. I looked around me, and it seemed my eyes only saw the goodbyes. Fathers waving away, flying kisses from a wife, handshakes with partners, tight embraces, and the audible I love yous and thank yous, we’re all saying goodbye in our own way. Maybe because, in our own way, we’re all leaving. Leaving yesterday, leaving our youth, leaving people, leaving anything – leaving everything. We’re leaving pieces of ourselves behind, little pieces, until ultimately, we leave it all.Soon, just like me, after all the goodbyes, they will board trains to who knows where. They will sit in chairs, first class, second class, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not so much the seat that matters. It’s the train that counts. For those who’ve left someone behind, they will stare out the window, at the fields and trees, at the sky, and on night trains, the stars. In everything they will see the faces, the faces of those already missed. I look out the window, and see fields, trees, and sky.
The man sitting across the aisle is looking out on his side. The side of his forehead is leaning on the glass and his chin rests on his fingers. I wonder what he sees. I wonder who she is. I look out my window again. I see graffiti. It’s mostly either one of the following: someone’s angry, someone’s insecure, someone’s irresponsible, someone needs to shout something he can’t tell people, and also very common, another someone’s ill-fated attempt at romance. One of them keeps spraying “PUBIS”. I doubt he or she knows what it means. If I were him, I’d pick another name. Something not so nether regionish.
Through the cracks of the seats in front of me is an old couple. They’re sitting on chairs facing the other way. I know they’re old because they look old. White hair, wrinkles in the right places, and an aura of contentment only people with pure hearts have. Logically I’d say their best years have passed them. Seems someone forgot to tell them. They’re both pointing at things outside the window, pointing to things they want the other to see. Very sweet. I try to look behind me, to where they seem to be pointing. I don’t see anything, nothing other than fields, trees, and sky. Maybe they’re imagining things. Maybe their senile. Maybe I missed it. Maybe I’m blind.
I close my eyes, to begin what was my childhood’s favourite pastime. I close my eyes to dream. In my dream I’m in a train, first class, headed towards the sun. In my dream I look out the window, and I see it. In the light of the sun I see it. With my nose and finger tips greasing the glass, I stare. I do not even blink.