Don’t Carry the World Upon Your Shoulders

7 September 2013
1:59 AM
Manila

M.–

1.
In a scene in Breaking Bad called “Salud,” (Season 4, Episode 10), the protagonist, Walter White, talks to his son about his memory of his father. Walt recalls how his dad had Huntington’s Disease and died when he was a child. That all his life people sought to paint a picture of his father for him, as everyone presumed he doesn’t have any memories of that time. Walt says that growing up, he made himself believe that that was how he saw him, too, that that was what he remembered: that his father was a good man.

However, it was all a lie. He does have one real memory of his father, and perhaps it is the only thing that will remain vivid in his mind: Walt remembers a very sick man on a hospital bed. He remembers a man who scared him, whose breath rattled in his chest, “like there was nothing in him,” and that is all. He then turns to Walter Jr. and says that he doesn’t want his own son to remember him as a weak person, as someone who is broken.

His son tells him, “That wouldn’t be so bad…because you were real.”

2.
My father and I do not have the best of relationships, but I am quite amazed to be able to say that I have reached the point in my life when I can consider him as a friend.

Yes. Yes, I think we are friends. On good days I can even entertain the thought of maybe not leaving, even for a little while, because–well, that wouldn’t be so bad, would it? I mean, if we’re living under the same roof and all. We pretty much get along, and he’s easy to talk to, and we have similar interests. There are days when I tell myself, yeah, I wouldn’t mind. I enjoy his company, and we’re friends.

3.
Things that happened:

  • Talked to my friend in Australia who got married today. Sent her a long meandering message (I always seem to wear my heart on my sleeve lately), and she replied back with: “I hope that we also, as friends, can grow old together.”
  • Renewed my debit card at the bank at no charge, which is a small mercy.
  • Had coffee with my father and sister and debated about what’s going to happen in the season finale of Breaking Bad. We also talked about traditional media versus the internet, ridiculous business ideas, what makes a good bread toast, and what punishment befits a plagiarist (they noticed something weird was going on with me, so I mentioned something vague about someone stealing something I’ve written).
  • Had lunch at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants where they make these magnificent hand-pulled noodles (the front section of the kitchen is encased in glass and you can watch the chefs prepare them fresh). Continued our conversation which consisted of our professed love for tofu (especially black tofu, and specifically this dish), whole bean coffee, mustasa (mustard leaves), why toothpicks are coloured on one end (they are coated with mint), and what makes for a good pair of chopsticks.
  • Spent the afternoon at a home depot looking at lights and lamps and faucets. My sister and I drooled over bathtubs with headrests and lots and lots of sinks. Discussed the current furniture industry; architecture and how difficult it is to use the AutoCAD software; how come professionals like doctors and lawyers have licenses, even architects and interior designers–and yet writers and graphic designers don’t; how that perpetuates the idea that what we do is not as “serious” as other professions; why people misconstrue creative endeavors as just a ‘hobby’; the merits of a touch-screen desktop computer; and why our parents should just listen to us when it comes to technology because they don’t even know how to use e-mail sometimes.
  • Had spicy buffalo wings for merienda, with a side of blue cheese dip (the best way to eat wings, in my opinion!). Wished I had a beer though. Talked about the loveliness of an onion’s flavours when cooked just right (my sister and I were sharing a burger), and what is the best nachos we’ve ever had. Experienced what we call our Ratatouille moment (a foodgasm) over the New York cheesecake ice cream.
  • Went to the bookstore afterwards because it’s currently the biggest book sale of the year here (which they do annually), and my haul was seven books for less than $5! Will post a photo tomorrow. (Last year was even better because there was a warehouse sale around November, and I was there for two consecutive days, I think.) Next week is going to be the 34th Manila International Book Fair, and I hope I’ll be able to go.
  • Finally decided to go home. Felt really weirded out at the parking lot because they are already playing Christmas songs (Christmas season starts early here, usually at the beginning of the “-ber” months).
  • Collapsed in bed and didn’t get up for dinner. Was woken up around nine in the evening to have coffee and red velvet cupcakes.
  • Watched the finale for season 4 of Breaking Bad, and we were all of us blown away.

And now I’m here, writing to you.

4.
One of my favourite memories of my father is whenever we would sing together in the car, during a drive. Today was one of those days. It was perfect: we were with my sister, and it was raining outside, and there wasn’t much traffic, and my mother kept to herself.

I put on “Hey Jude,” one of our go-to sing-along tracks, and it was like slipping into a routine: we sang, and life is good, and I have no problems. I was just a simple girl in the passenger seat, singing along with her father, drumming her fingers on the dashboard. And the road goes on and on and on.

It was a good day. I enjoyed myself.

Goodnight,
T.

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