I have a lake in my mind. It’s been in there for as long as I could remember.
I go in there whenever I do mundane tasks like washing the dishes, cooking meals, riding a jeepney around the city, taking a shower, or often when I’m dropping a deuce. (Sorry. Have to put it here because it’s true) I just wade along the shore line. There, I would see these words and sentences turn into paragraphs and stories. Lines and stanzas mingle with melodies and rhythms and turn into songs. I see my own fictional characters talk and argue and cry and laugh.
I write down the stories, scripts, and songs immediately after these ‘visits’ lest I forget them if I take too long. I’ve already finished a couple of scripts and a few dozen songs and stories but they have yet to be performed in a much wider audience.
Sometimes I go knee-deep into the lake. There, I would see the future. Or at least, the future I hope to have someday. I see road trips with my friends, the hot romantic kiss I’ve been to have atop the Eiffel Tower, my own apartment, a six-figure monthly salary, and a couple of cats to keep me company when I’m alone.
I seldom let the water reach my chest. Its depth makes my breathing a bit labored. There, I see a little girl crying her heart out.
She sees her Kuya beat the life out of her Sangko (third elder brother) with his own fists. Her Sangko cowers on the floor and blocks the punches with his scrawny arms. Her Sangko turns into her DIko (second elder brother) and draws a knife out of the kitchen sink. Her Ate talks him out of what he is about to do. He drops the knife. Her Ate picks it up. She turns into her Mama and now she is leaning the blade against her Papa’s neck. Her Mama says, “Walang hiya ka! Nakuha mo pang magloko at buhayin ang ibang pamilya samantalang sariling pamilya mo naghihirap?!” Her Papa just cries silently. She turns into an adolescent who falls in love with a slightly older boy. They promise each other forever. It lasts for four years, six months, and ten days. She mourns the death of her dear friend right on her 21st birthday.
I’ve been somewhere much deeper for just a blip of a second. I see nothing. My eyes, ears, hands, taste buds, and skin fail me. I am insubstantial. I become fully aware that my body is just an empty vessel. I am empty.
But somewhere in the recesses of my mind a voice calls out and says, “You are going in too deep. Come back.” I reach inside my pocket and see this small box. I open it and see the persons I love; my family and friends. Holidays with my family, trivia nights with the gang, milk tea sessions with friends, meeting deadlines with colleagues are all in the box.
The box makes me come back to reality.