I’ve always valued the time I get to spend in silence. In tents and sets there is always someone talking. So thinking is next to impossible. Unless you start training your mind to somehow tune people out, something I feel very guilty about. I’ve been in tents and sets non stop for a few years now. I had to create a new normal.
The day before the lockdown, I was at two work meetings. One, with a producer that was screaming uncharacteristically, because she wanted things done her way. And I saw her point and gave in, even if I was sure I would leave, having my way followed for the first time. I tried, kids. And second, with friends discussing a new film we were going to do, supposedly in a few weeks if not for this quarantine…Ideas, words and thoughts just flying in the air. Laughter hasn’t rung deep inside in a while because there were too many jokes passed around that laughing was more a polite answer than an actual reaction at that point. Those were my last bits of social interaction. Work related. On the morning of the lockdown, I was scheduled to shoot my film. I woke up at 5am, as usual, got to the set at 6am, my hair still wet, the guard of the building we were supposed to shoot in sent us all home before we could go in. Everything closed down that day. My driver took me home, it took us 3 hours instead of one, because all the offices sent everyone home. All stuck in the forever, unmoving EDSA. I grumbled as I woke up at around 10 in my lobby. I told my driver to go home already since my day was unusually cleared off. That was the last time I saw my driver, him living outside metro Manila has restricted him from going to work. And really what’s the point if he can’t drive me anywhere?
I question myself a lot. Why did I make those choices? We already heard rumors that the government would implement a quarantine. Why didn’t I watch a movie with my mom that night? Why didn’t I visit Dani and my goddaughter Millie? Because, like everyone else… I probably didn’t think it would get this serious. Now after 41 days and millions of positive cases worldwide, there are many things I think of. To myself. Loud between my ears. Alone in my house, where the walls echo the sounds of the netflix shows I’ve finished. Luckily my assistant, Winnie, is stuck here with me. She’s on the other side of the house but we occasionally pass by each other asking each other what lunch would be. If not for her conspiracy theories or questions about McDonald Trump (yes, that’s what she really thinks his name is) I might have gone insane on the first week.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this. I love the isolation but I hate it so much too. I hate our inaction. I hate the uncertainty. I love waking up late. I hate getting nothing done. I love the naps. But I hate feeling useless. I love spending time with my cat Sputnik, specially now that he’s older. I hate feeling so alone. I love realizing how insignificant I am in this vast world. I hate being so alone. I love eating at home again after more than 10 years, I hate knowing that I.AM.ALONE.
And I know what is triggering this. I get older again in a few weeks. And despite not celebrating, I want to be celebrated this year. Because I am alive. Because maybe for once, I deserve it? I probably don’t, but let me be delusional this once. I want cake. For the first time, I want cake. But I know that eating it will make me feel bad for those who don’t even have rice. I don’t deserve cake. See? The disillusions don’t last too long with me. I love the music I get to hear now, freely. I hate that the music is felt too much. I love the new sad songs I’ve discovered. I hate that the sad songs ring true, when alone.
Now my life has stopped. But I can’t even think these thoughts because, I am still physically here. the borrowed time I have is still running but I’m not doing too much to show I’m grateful for it. I love that even if many say this is politically incorrect, the world is recovering from the all the abuse we put it through. Have you ever seen the sky more blue?
I should be slowly sorting out my life by now, but my feet are up on my headboard as I type this on my phone that is dying from overuse. I love that the world seems kinder. People slowly returning to what I knew them to be when I was young. But I hate that we had to go through this to become kind and that there is a possibility we all just go back to who we are usually.
I love that I woke up today. But I hate that now more than ever, I realize that might not be true tomorrow. I hate that I have no one to hold as I grow older this year, admittedly scared of what is happening, pretending to be unaffected but scared. I hate that I am so alone. I only hope that staying inside will be worth it. That seeing my sanity ebb away, will pay off. I pray that we, the ones left behind, make it worthwhile.
The thrill of the next grocery run is keeping me on my toes. Ready to fly in the new, unclogged EDSA, every chance I get.
I now value and am very aware of the time I get to spend in silence. In this house, no one is talking. So thinking has become so loud, Unless you start training your mind to somehow tune your thoughts out, something I feel very guilty about. I’ve been living within these walls for 41 days now. I am creating my new normal.