Dust coats the surface of bookshelves, and the grime-stained drapes have yet to be taken down from the windows. They have been blocking the sunlight since last Christmas. Mites and dust bunnies may have taken residence at the peripheries of the carpet, and keepsakes found in my closet have not been rearranged.
It is the middle of the year, and I have not begun with the room overhaul yet. That obligatory, and almost ritual cleansing to keep my corner dirt-free. The general cleaning stands for many things: a blank page for turning a new leaf; a night's vigil recollecting lives; a zen for the cluttered mind. It is a purging that happens only twice, and this year seems to be taking longer to start than in the past.
It's because something is not well lately, and this has been stalling my plans to eliminate the litter. Somewhere above our heads is a hole that lets water in. The ceiling over my dresser is in a state of disrepair. When cloudbursts inundated the city early this month, water drained into my repository and soaked the stuff I stored within.
Damaged were the send-off notes I keep in a Dragon Ball folder. Thoughtful words and vows of kinship from high school friends I no longer speak. Also found in the puddle were mini-journals from the days I was the caretaker of my dad's publishing business. There's also a coffee table book about the joys of having siblings, a newsletter edited and published by my college buddy, and drafts of poems I scribbled during class lectures. These were all hung up to dry in the veranda where the AC blows hot air. But even when the papers have turned crisp and brown, the ink had dissolved the words and some of the pages laid fused, refusing any reader to keep them apart.
I told these woes to my mother who promised to dispatch a carpenter the soonest her contacts found one. But days passed, torrential rains had sunk depressed streets once more, and water seeped back into my closet creating piss-colored puddles. I had to refrain from returning the photo albums and other trinkets of childhood, lest they suffer the same misfortune like those heartfelt letters bound inside the illustrated folder.
Once more, I would have called the attention of the matriarch so she could act on it. She has ties to the people with leads and I was too busy to be bothered with home affairs. But a new consciousness had surfaced replacing dependence with self-reliance. At the back of my head, why should I ask my mother to find one, when I have feet to look around and ask if anyone knows someone who can fix my roof?
This pivot on how repairs at home will be addressed promises to ease the burden on the matriarch. This self-delegation is a step forward in learning to run the house responsibly. And though it would take weeks for the works to finish, this new-found appreciation to a life less dependent will make the wait worthwhile.
Meanwhile, I would still have to wake up with clutter greeting in the midst. The dust would have to layer the surface a little longer, and the memories of youth lay piled up and scattered leaving my self-contained habitat in disarray.