Improbable steps

4:30pm. Walking home. I often wonder why my short term memory has gone kaput these days but my long term memories keep popping up vividly. I can almost remember moments up to when I was still a five-year old living in the slums of Manila. Why I can recall how my English teacher smelled like back in second grade. How the smell of melting Avon products wafted in the air while she bent forward to assist me on my seatwork but I cannot even recall where was the shortest way to me and my girl’s favorite ramen place last night.

My brother and I would often kid about days gone by when we were kids. These were done mostly on IM these days. After that everything seemed like a blur after Mom died. How exhilarating it was to be on the passenger side while he drove 80 on a narrow street on the way back home from the cemetery after the burial. I remember it quite well. The smell of exhaust and burning clutch fluid. He barely does. It killed the sadness of the few days that passed. Then I knew everything was going to be alright.

Passed by my favorite street food stand. Once while I was eating there, a girl approached me. A complete stranger with large sunglassess and a beaming smile. She caught me unaware, I was trying to gobble up the last of my “kwek-kweks” (deep-fried, breaded quail eggs to the naive foreigner). “What’s that?” She was pointing at those worm-like things stuck on bamboo sticks on the stand. “You know what? I really dunno.” I smiled. “Oh, I guess they’re edible then.” she replied. She bought two from the lady frying up those nasty, delicious stuff and bade goodbye. Not another word. I was dumbstruck. I realized I was still clutching that empty stick while I watched her walk away. I marveled how she could walk up to a stranger like it was nothing.

I walked home thinking about her. Who is she? Where does she work? Where was she heading after that encounter? “Probably home doofus, it’s already 5pm.” the voice snickered. I read in an article that a few dozen people that we walk past to everyday might not be people at all. Aliens, even dead people were all the crazies said. Me, I just think we’re all zombies in a never ending cycle to fit in. Another day, another dollar.

I have always wondered what it’s like to be at the top. Where one can say I have made it. When doing something just for the heck of it was more like breathing. But then I was not born with a silver spoon. So many of us are.

Brilliant minds have a way of hard-wiring themselves into the path to success. It’s so borderline pathological it’s ridiculous. But then this thin line between genius and madness is what separates them. Do I consider myself a genius? No. Although the madness of everyday life is what grinds my gears the most.

This voice in my head tell me stories of unconquered days. Of moments wherein I am glad to be alive. I’m weirded out by the fact that it speaks to me not in my native tongue. Sometimes I think I can go on for miles without stopping. Lost in my thoughts. Conversing with a disembodied voice that I can only hear.

I stop at a pedestrian crossing. Sweating in this humid afternoon. I glanced upon a group of construction workers sitting by the curb. I could hear them joking about how hot this day was and how payday was still a few days away. I wondered how they thought of me, in my nice clothes wearing a fancy watch. I thought of how they might have wished they had my job and had a bigger payday they could have at least bought a new pair of pants. “Things have a way of working itself out.” it whispered.

I found myself fiddling with my keys inside the elevator up to my room. It was time to shut down. I have to keep on writing. I have to release everything in my head before I went completely bananas. I closed the door behind me and slowly locked myself away. I was done for the day.