|Mendiola Bridge, 3 AM|
"What was I thinking?" I shook my head, as I hurried past the J. P. Laurel gate going to Malacanan.
It was past 2 in the morning, and I was at the middle of my shift. For some reasons, the 2 packs of Nissin Yakisoba I gorged that evening still felt heavy on my tummy. My boxers seem to have grown too small for my thighs, and hours before daylight, the need to burn that excess calories assaulted my self esteem. I would need to get out, not to head to the gym, but to walk and clear my head.
The earliest of the Mendiola joggers have yet to get up and prepare, but I was already there on their grounds, trying to find my way to the other side of the palace complex in San Miguel. The street outside the Presidential office was eerily empty, the huge trees, which awed me during the day, have become menacingly terrifying during the Witching Hour. The cold November air didn't help calm the senses. Only Trance music, that supplied upbeat sounds kept my pace. I was halfway through my stroll when peripheral visions of fire hydrants being mistaken for Duendes nearly got me racing towards the nearest lamp post.
I would have to find another route returning home. The heart could no longer take the distortions.
So I turned back at Casal street where the trucks and occasional bikes from Ayala zipped inches away from the sidewalk. There, I risked getting mugged, and hit, or come across some vagrant in need to vent his frustrations on everything. Save for Ndoto my smartphone, I didn't bring money during the tryst. The ATM could provide much needed relief, but then, how can I be so certain they were not planted with devices that would draw off my cash?
I dashed past Mendiola and then Bustillos. The heart was still racing, but the mind was eager to get home. The streets were no longer empty, but the post-midnight strangers were enough reason to raise my guard. As to why go through all this trouble for clarity, the answer remains elusive. What is certain was the resolve to take a cold shower upon my arrival, and carry on the job tasks needed to be done before I could cocoon in my bed and embrace sleep.