Still here at work, waiting for one of my editors to finish. Will be accompanying her to see my apartment. She will be speaking to the caretaker to inquire about any future unit that might be vacated. She might move in the building.
One of our new writers, a twenty-year old fresh graduate, has recently been asking us here too about apartments. He said he wants independence, which is good. His parents work in the Middle East, and he, with his siblings, live at the house of an uncle. He is the eldest of the brood. Their youngest is 16, and still a student. The parents cannot regularly send money home.
I have initially discouraged him from leaving the uncle. I am thinking, as long as he and his siblings are in no way maltreated by their relatives, it may be more practical to stay, at least until he is already making enough to support his siblings, or until the youngest graduates.
The freedom in living on one’s own is priceless. But it is not a perfect pricelessness. My editor who is looking for a new place to stay, having been exposed to some hazards and dangers of living alone, could attest to that. I attest to it, too.
I sometimes sleep with the light turned on. When I am sick, even at my weakest, I have to go marching off to the streets to buy my own medicine and food. On some trying days, there’s no shoulder to cry on.
But I guess the freedom simply outweighs the blue hours. The freedom in reading poetry aloud in the middle of the night while pacing the room barefoot, in my bathrobe and Santa hat. The freedom in singing as much as I could remember of Radiohead’s discography in the bathroom, in extended baths, without worry that I have to hurry because someone has to go use the toilet.
The freedom in breathing the air from the hunky industrial fan I bought from out of my own sweat, air unstained by nicotine smoke from chain-smoking men in the family, air clear of muffled cries of oppression, the air of hard-earned and justly-deserved freedom.
I want to tell my twenty-year old fellow writer to consider things carefully. His desire for freedom, for his own space, will involve the welfare of his younger siblings. I want to tell him that if the only thing that bothers him is cigarette smoke, he may want to give the whole moving out thing a second thought. Maybe his uncle just needs a little compassion and understanding from him, too, for all we know. But then again, does he really have to wait for the cloud to choke him? In the end, only he can tell what’s best for him, and if breaking away is the only way, nothing can keep him from taking the road.
There was no chance to tell him that today. Whatever little chat time we had was taken up by the subject of John & Marsha.
And while I and some of the writers older than him were talking about the show, he asked us, “Uy, naabutan nyo pa pala yung John & Marsha?”
I laughed out loud along with the other writers and told him, “Yes! And don’t worry, I take no offense!”
I guess that’s one of the reasons, too, why I had to set foot on my own. It simply was time, for the girl who grew up on John & Marsha.
I wonder if my editor is done.
My home awaits me.