"I'm too old and weary to be out in the streets at night," I tweeted an hour before my work ends at 10'o clock.
At the back of my head, I was worried that I'd be mugged when I step foot in Cubao or get robbed inside a Malaguena jeep. A co-worker's grandmum passed away and knowing that only few at work would ever find time to attend the wake, I decided to go solo after my shift.
The trip was uneventful. Instead of passing through Cubao, I took the much longer Pasig route with a colleague who is about to give birth next month. After parting ways with her in Rosario, I hailed a jeep going to Marikina. Another short ride from the city square and I arrived at the gates of Loyola at half past Eleven.
What I knew was that the chapel is located outside the memorial. It turned the other way around, the chapel was at the bosom of the cemetery. To get there, one must cross the eerie expanse while suppressing his instincts to flee. Sure it was dark and brooding, but of all the things I wouldn't like to happen is that my mind plays tricks on me.
After all, no one in his right mind would go on a stroll inside a campo santo at night.
I could have left in an instant. But I have journeyed this far and a retreat is not an option. Mustering all my strength, I plugged my ear buds and played trance music on my Ipod. I didn't let my eyes wander as I tread the main road and instead, locked my gaze at the floodlights waiting at the end.
"But I'm scared of the dark?" A voice inside me mumbled.
"Who isn't. But this is who we are. We stick to our guns even when there's a choice to flee." Another voice replied.
"But you're a chicken shit. Who cares if you don't attend the wake. As if the colleague would get offended by your no-show. He didn't even know you'll come."
"We're already here, we chose to be here - at this hour because - the mind said so."
"And if our colleague is not there."
"Then we will wait. Our presence, even if unseen, justifies all this walking."
"Wait, let me get my camera. If something shows up in the picture, then let's keep it as a remembrance."
"So we would always remember where our balls are."
|Loyola Memorial Park|
And I was able to walk the entire length of the cemetery without flinching or screaming in a falsetto voice and in doing so, learned that I am still a happy camper even when alone.