It’s not that I forget birthdays. Not that I remember everyone’s. But there are few that I know by heart. My family’s and my high school friends’.
Two days ago, facebook reminded me of one of my friend’s birthday. Not that I did not remember, I just lost count of the days.
I believe that no two days are ever the same. The routine might be the similar but there will be slight differences. A positive mantra I keep telling myself everyday to not get bored of the monotony.
The speculation that I am immune to the affliction however, was proven false as nothing was able to save me from acquiring the island fever – the illness that one gets for staying on the island for a very long time.
Except Fridays, every other day on the calendar did not seem distinctive. Waking up at 7:40am with that sliver of sunlight passing through the curtain makes me imagine a life in Sepia or black and white, like a scene from a 1940s film. A life in silence and almost solitude, repetitive as that of the hands of the wall clock ticking consistently. Its pendulum hanging, waiting for that certain time of the day when it is bound to make that ear-splitting noise.
I have a small circle of friends. There are just eight of us bonded by four years of promissory notes, fifteen-peso-allowance, navy blue necktie, skirts and pants, white scrunchy socks, cheering squads and guitar sessions, manila papers and Cattleya notebooks and a vision of better future.
College life made us walk separate paths but we still found ways to meet up. Usually on a September or October weekend to celebrate the birthdays of four of us in the group. That’s how it was until I left the country.
When social media happened, I started celebrating with them online and that went on until a certain point. And then a halt. Slowly. Unnoticed. I don’t know if it started with me, forgetting to send them greetings or them, not replying to my greetings.
And it’s not only the greetings that stopped. It’s the connection in general. I realized how I found contentment in seeing them on social media. I sometimes feel like a ghost, watching them from afar as they live their own lives that I was once a part. I’m like a quiet spectator of the film on roll, sitting on the farthest, topmost row of the cinema.
Being distant from people you were once close with makes you look like a relic, like a faraway memory that they keep in the remotest part of their hearts. Easily forgotten. Almost non-existent. Kept in the box placed in the attic, covered with years of dust and cobwebs. Items on the top-list of extermination in case of spring cleaning or house move. It’s sad to be the forgotten one. But I guess, that’s life. We forget. And be forgotten.
Two days ago, I found a hand-made bookmark dated March 2016 inserted in the book I am currently reading. The quote was an attempt to sound rather funny than poetic. The artwork, child-like. It was actually forgotten until the day the page where it lied silently for years was turned. It must have been lonely. And such a coincidence to find it inside Garcia’s book, Hundred Years of Solitude.
On some nights I drift off into sleep floating into a limbo land of dreams and fictional characters of the subconscious. On some mornings I wake up in a haze of long, muddled dreams immediately forgotten with the opening of my eyes into a sepia colored room. On some days I see things happening as if a déjà vu or a faraway memory that I confuse with a dream.
Days and nights continuously happen in a similar manner altered by the pages of the book I read, the occasional cloud and rain, the blossoming of the flowers of the mango tree beside our office and its promise to show bright yellow fruits in a month’s time or two.
And as the hands of time keep ticking, consistently beating, slowly like one’s heart on siesta, my sepia-colored life will go on, like a film rolling, over and over again.