Just before 2015 wakes up…

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It’s been hours and I still haven’t the foggiest on what to write. Go figure — the first day of 2015 and already I have Writer’s Block.

I was supposed to write about mountain-climbing, but that got stalled and it didn’t seem appropriate for the New Year. Everyone’s writing about the “Year That Was”, even my favorite humor columnist did so. But as I mentioned in my recent post, “the year that was” is “a year I’d rather forget”.

So, after burning a hole through my monitor from prolonged staring, it was obvious that inspiration wouldn’t come pouring out of my fingertips anytime soon. I decided to go out for a walk.

This was after midnight. The firecrackers have long been spent, the people are sleeping off their food coma, or have passed out in a drunken stupor (good luck nursing a hang-over tomorrow, with the racket from left-over firecrackers). The city itself was slumbering, wrapped in a thin blanket of smoke.

Outside our apartment building, a group of friends have set up by the gate and were having a grand time, breaking the silence of the night with their boisterous conversation. The street was void of any living soul, save mine and a passing cat. I laughed when I remembered what my sister said earlier, about cats secretly lighting fireworks to scare dogs. The cat didn’t even bother avoiding me; it was in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s then that I wondered if animals also celebrated the New Year, holding feasts of their own with their families (Ithe sulfur must be affecting my brain at that point)

The nearby 7-11 was still open so I went in and bought a cold can of Nescafe Latte. It was heartbreaking to see a lone woman by the cashier, someone who’s forced to work on New Year’s Eve. I paid for my drink, flashed her an apologetic smile, and hurried out so she could close shop. Thankfully, a male employee entered as I left. That’s one less lonely soul tonight.

This was near Buendia, a traffic-ridden street any other day of the week,  Around this time, skaters would claim the sidewalk as their own, doing tricks perilously as buses zoomed past them (they’re always one Ollie away from a Final Destination-esque death) But on New Year’s eve, they were nowhere in sight. Buendia was deathly still — a perfect setting to pause for a bit, finish my drink by the neon sign of a gas station, and contemplate on the passing year.

I guess 2014 wasn’t all bad. Among the highlights:

  • Started a new job at a corporation, where the most fulfilling aspect is learning new corporate terms and using them in everyday conversation with friends, all snooty-like (“About our reunion, we should first cascade that plan to all parties concerned. For the meantime, I’m going to put a placeholder on the venue, so we could align our calendars at the soonest”) You can bet that my friends hated me after;
  • Regularly contributed stories to a sports magazine, where the editor even lauded my write-up. And it only took me 2 months after the deadline to pass the article. #progress;
  • Took up mountaineering as a hobby. Although “took up” might be the wrong word. You “take up” painting, knitting, or competitive beer pong, things that are less strenuous. A more apt wording: “decided to be a masochist and punish oneself by climbing a piece of rock for no discernible reason. Then repeating this several times”;
  • Went on my first Simbang Gabi. Or Christmas Novena, as it is known in other countries. I haven’t been to mass in a while (the last one was five years ago), so I didn’t know most of the lyrics to the hymns. These were actual lyrics with substance and meaning, which can’t be said about most of our pop-songs today (looking at you, Anaconda);
  • Got out of a toxic relationship. Self-explanatory.

I went back to the apartment upon finishing my drink, confident that I now have a topic for my blog. Inside, my father was snoring softly on the living room couch, while classical music played in the background. My sister and mother were in the other rooms, fast asleep. The only other sound was the gently clacking of keys as I started typing this entry.

Occasionally, I would glace around the room, breathing in the tranquility of the night. I smiled upon seeing my my dad’s tablet, which was playing a visualizer app to the sound of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. This was a 58-year-old man — an intimidating lawyer by day — and yet he still needed a lullaby to help him fall asleep.

And damned if it wasn’t the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

I guess this is what happiness looks like at 4:00 in the morning. To be the only one awake while your loved ones slumber peacefully next to you. A rare kind of bliss that comes with age.

It may not be much to some, especially to those who claimed they had a spectacular year (just go to FB and you’ll see a lot of these). But, this is how I choose to remember 2014. And I’m perfectly fine with that.