We just flew in Bacolod this morning, and a wave of nostalgia hit me so hard, I was overcome with emotions the entire stretch of road we drove in between sugar lands.
I remember running around, printer on one hand, and a ream of paper in another, trying to chase cars and principals. I remember I didn’t sleep the first night we were here, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the word “sugar land.” I remember complaining, “It’s already 10 p.m. Why are we still jumping one room to another!” And I remember this was only part of a four-province leapfrog shit I had gotten myself into.
The second time, I spent half the time trying to forget the running around and the waiting, and the reams of paper I dropped on the floor, and getting in the wrong van because we were too exhausted to even notice. I tried not to laugh at the memory of someone in the car, pointing at a row of coconut trees in the distance, and thinking out loud if she could buy a part of that land. I laughed nonetheless, because of how absurd and in character it was of her to say that.
More recently: I remember it was raining hard this time, and our van had to wade through ankle-deep waters. Our first stop was a hotel near the city center, and when we had to inspect the room, we were sure someone had just gotten kinky in it. We moved to a hotel that felt like it aged with the city; it had a garden in the middle, bad cell reception inside our rooms, and a not-so ventilated smoking lounge where we spent almost five hours talking about our hives. Going home, we drank an entire bottle of wine in the parking lot of the airport, with a box of Napoleones to wash down the bitter taste.
And now, here we are again, filling ourselves with inasal and chicken oil. I am still fascinated with the word sugar land. I can still feel the rough road and heat, sitting at the back of the wrong van, afraid of getting caught. I can still see the rows of coconut trees and mountain ranges in the horizon.
Perhaps these are my ruins; monuments I’ve kept in my head, in memory of moments I really felt like I was living my best life. (The way I used ruins as a metaphor would make you think I’ve seen the ruins of Bacolod. Nope. Maybe some other time, haha.) (Also: monuments, memory, moments — this would have been a joy to write in longhand.)
It’s already 1:11 a.m. and am writing this now in some place called 11th Street — which is actually the address of our office. A gentle, solid reminder of how, hey, you can never escape the thralls of your workspace.
Time to get back to work.