Victoria Peak, December 2017.
When I turned 25 a year ago, it was a different world then. I was coming home to Iloilo after two weeks in Dumaguete as a fellow to the 56th Silliman University National Writers Workshop. For lack of a less cliché sentiment, those were two of the best weeks of the year. I'd submitted my application on a whim, after thinking I wouldn't even make the deadline, already somehow resigned that I'd never be part of the workshop's history.
I spent a good part of that birthday transiting in the marketplace that was Mactan Airport. There were no direct flights from Dumaguete to Iloilo, and I was determined to be home before evening, so I'd booked the early morning flight to Cebu and boarded the plane hungover from the previous night's farewell festivities. I didn't mind the blur of it all; the mental haze somehow made the day all the more deviant and, thus, exciting. In a week, I'd be in Bicol with two of my best friends from high school; in two more, I'd be in Japan, for the first time, with my mother and brother.
When I turned 26 yesterday, I'd had three hospitalizations within a span of five months--first, for H. pylori gastritis three days before Christmas last year; then for an appendectomy last month, and a readmission after that operation for partial gut obstruction.
I'd spent a good seven months back in Iloilo, eased into a routine so far off from the toxic, patient-filled life of residency training I'd envisioned.
I'd seen 52 movies since New Year's, aside from a number of TV series, plus a pirated copy of the filmed version of London's National Theater's "Angels in America." I'd read more non-medical books than I could recall reading within a similar length of time (among those books, David Mitchell's "Black Swan Green," Wilfredo Pascual's "Kilometer Zero," Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta's "Burning Houses").
I'd seen what will probably be the most atrocious production of Jonathan Larson's "Rent" I will ever see in this lifetime, and also a so-so touring production of "The Lion King," the source movie being one of the defining movies of my youth.
I'd gone on a supposedly secret, 24-hour trip to Hong Kong very few people knew about.
And my father had been gone for just a little over seven months. It's this last bit, I suppose, that's fueling this emotional logorrhea. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but you can do nothing else but believe it, y'know.