You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...


-Walt Whitman


29.3.10

midnight time machine


HE STOOD ON THE SUBWAY PLATFORM, with both hands in his pocket. Just a couple of inches behind the yellow line, he waited for the train to arrive. His eyes closed intent, thoughts lost in the music that plugged his ears. He was alone. Everything was eerily still except for the sound of a dying bulb blinking yellow light over his head. It was a perfect analogy to the conflicts that brought him to the train station that night. He was flickering—an image of a man, appearing alternately in light and in dark. That’s the way it’s always going to be. Everything will continue to exist in opposites and yet there he was, standing at the middle between a choice and its complete reverse. Then suddenly, the bulb over his head exploded into sparks. Was it a sign? He found himself standing on a patch of shadow. He looked like a man suspended over a hole on the grimy tiled floor, defying gravity and praying not to fall.

A gust of wind struck him and it reminded the man of how someone whispers warm promises to his face or how a kiss melts on his mouth. Strangely, the very thought gave him chills, pulling him away from his reverie. His eyes opened exactly as the train doors did. Nearby, a clock struck midnight. It was new day to face old ghosts, he thought. He walked over the threshold and waited for the doors to close. He was the only one on board—exactly how he wanted it to be. The train started to move, slow at first, making up pace, then speeds its way like bullet piercing the calm midnight air ahead.

The man sat, eyes wide shut to the reality he decided to depart from at least for a while. He laid his back against the cold glass window behind him. He would feel the train moving on its tracks. The speed that carried him made it easier to pretend that he could actually feel the world turn in the way how scientists say it does in space—blindingly fast from west to east. He could feel people and places whipping past by the window; the faces of those he once loved and lost, those he had left to lose, and strangers he would soon meet. They were all there—the places he had been to, the far away countries he wanted to explore, the dreams that came and went, the memories he once held in his hands eventually disintegrating into dust. It made him feel like he’s riding time; that as long as he’s in there, in pace with how the world spins and how time stretches through the blank unknown, he wouldn’t miss anything. He was everywhere. He didn’t want to open his eyes because he knew there’s nothing too see outside except a world drenched in absolute shade, adorned with nothing but horizontal streaks of blurry multicolored lights.

The railway transit continued to move in its tracks for what measure of time, the man wasn’t sure. He felt the train slowing down till it finally came to a halt. The doors opened, but no one came in. He waited for the doors to close but they didn’t. Puzzled, he hesitantly stood and walked by the door. He walked over the threshold into the platform. He looked around to see nobody. It was like people had disappeared from the face of the earth. Then, suddenly the doors hissed shut behind him. The train started to move disappearing into the darkness of the tunnel. It wasn’t long before he noticed he was standing on the same shadowy patch of tiled floor, of the platform. Instinct told him to look up. A busted bulb gawked at him from above: out of light, out of order. It was not a sign, the man concluded, but a reminder of what he’d been reduced to. He’s back to where the ride started, back to reality. The absence of speed to carry his weight caused straps of burden bite harder on his shoulders. He felt heavier. The lack of movement seemed to have stopped the world from turning. Time deceivingly appeared frozen. It was a perfect illusion, of course. He knew for a fact that while he stood there motionless, the world is spinning madly on while time takes the liberty to engage on a race against itself. He sat down on the floor, hugged his knees and rocked. This time, he looked like a boy trying to stay afloat in a sea of black water he wish he could tread but could not.




7 comments:

RJ said...

(Wordless...)

...wondering what music the man was listening to.

Where have you been taking the photographs accompanying your posts, Ron? Magaganda.

jonathan said...

Everybody experiences moments like these. The images were so vivid that for a moment I was that man escaping reality. That train could be a dream, a warm hug, a shoulder to cry on. Keep it up!

pusang kalye said...

lucas---meet kaya tayo next time. tagal narin plano diba? ay plano ba. plano ko lang ata. hehe

Chyng said...

@rj,
he's really good no?
pagpasok palang sa blog nya, maiiba tlaga yung mood mo..

@anton,
sama ko? Ü

Pamela said...

hey, i always visit your site, and i am always mesmerized with your entries. you always put your readers interested with what they are reading. not to mention, you as well keep them seek for more. :)

a really good writer indeed.

jayvie said...

wapak!
san nanggagaling yang galing mo sa pagsulat? hehe.

this post felt like i was dreaming, with thoughts so haunting, it felt nightmarish in a way (but not in a bad way). it was, hands up, a very well written prose =)

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