Perhaps A Bit Worse for the Wear

20 December 2013
2:16 AM
Manila

M.–

I am no longer aware which day it is. I only know that we are getting closer to Christmas.

I am in another bedroom. Half of my body is on the mattress, the other half is lying on the floor. I am wrapped in three blankets and I am still freezing. My chest feels tight, my throat is sore. There’s a heaviness in my limbs.

Here’s a bit of trivia: I always seem to get sick right around this time. Every year, without fail. On Christmas Eve, I have a fever. It’s puzzling. I mean, I don’t wish it so–who wants to be sick? And I seem to be better the next day, too. It’s weird. Is it just all in my head? Or is it the cold?

My migraine finally went away this morning, and I went shopping for gifts with my sisters. It’s not as fun as it used to be. I don’t know what changed–I mean, I still am eager to buy something for people I love. But when it comes to what I want, it seems as if I can’t come up with anything.

Of course there are things I want–but it’s not exactly want, you know? I’m fine if I don’t get any gifts at all actually.

I’ve been wondering about it all day. Is this what it means to be content? But I still have a lot of desires–I am nowhere near content, I think. But why do I not want things–actual things–in the same way?

I am thinking if it’s because I have already received a lot–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually–these past few months that material things pale in comparison.

I’ve been rereading your letters.

Here are books that I’ve read this year that’s meant a lot to me:

  1. The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, edited by Carl van Vechten
  2. Poems New and Collected by Wisława Szymborska
  3. The Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock
  4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (not yet finished with this though)
  5. Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver
  6. Matter of Fact: Poems by Eamon Grennan
  7. Theories and Apparitions by Mark Doty
  8. Helen in Egypt by H.D. (just read excerpts, don’t own this book yet, and I must!)

I’ve limited my list to new books. There are others which I’ve reread that has always meant a lot (Stephen Dunn), are exciting (George R.R. Martin), a joy to dive back into (Bishop and Lowell’s letters), and more. But the above, especially, have been on my mind constantly.

I had thought there would be more. There must be something I am missing, but my eyes feel hot, and I should really end this letter soon and get some sleep.

I think I have been living with songs, too, and films, and poems. Perhaps I should make other lists.

The reason why I am in another bedroom is because the renovations are still ongoing. I’ve been instructed to start packing my things in my area and have been temporarily dislocated. I am here in my sisters’ bedroom. Last night we tried to cram the four of us in bed. I ended up sleeping perpendicular at their feet.

While packing my things I realised that most of it are already in boxes. Only my books and notebooks are left scattered around my office. I haven’t got many clothes, they could fit in one trash bag.

I told myself not to read too much into it, but as usual my thoughts are way ahead of me: am I in the perpetual state of wanting to leave (and getting ready for it)? Do I not feel that I belong here hence the need to keep things in boxes? Is this just paranoia in case there’s a fire (i.e. my notebooks and journals and some books are always in one place so I can just grab and go when it’s time)? How much of myself do I share with the people around the house, and how much of myself are in those boxes? How much of myself do I keep here, with me, and how much of myself do I send together with all of my letters?

Goodnight,
T.

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