I sat next to a homeless man, with his disc player on one hand, and a cigarette on the other.
There were no other benches around, and the park was full of people. Mostly tourists from out of town, getting ripped off by walk-around tours with hyper-active hosts with voices so loud you can hear them snort a mile away.
In one of my vain days, his accumulating stench would pervade my nose, all the way down to my stomach. But not today. Something else was permeating my soul.
I just decidedly went to this small corner of Pioneer Square Park. Just to sit. Just to watch. Just to lie still. And maybe, just maybe, relax.
My heart was beating so rapidly since I got out of the hospital. It was sending rapid fire of pulses down my blood stream. A bit of a way too much that causes my lungs to contract beyond its breathing capacity. Which in turn makes my airways close in and collapse in and out of itself. This makes my body shake in a convulsion-like fashion and expend a hell-fire of a cough every few seconds.
It’s embarrassing. Having to cough like your life depends on it. People around you would think you have a contagion on your hands. They didn’t know that it was a weird asthma-induced force de majeure.
But what do they know.
I am just one of the few lost souls wandering around Pioneer Square. I could be one of the homeless. I could be one of the hungry artists, or one of the eclectic few, or part of a local bohemian population looking for free love, or a socialist propagating an end to free enterprise.
I don’t know why I picked this place. Maybe because Chief Seattle, the famous Native American who’s city was named after, was immortalized here.
A few years back when I was in my native land, every time I wanted to calm my nerves, or just wanted to fill a certain void, I would go hop to a bus for no reason, would always end up in Tagaytay City, find a secluded bench, and watch how the magnificent Taal Volcano watch the very same people who watches it pass the time.
Somehow it resonates within me that I was a dormant volcano myself. I take in whatever the elements gave me. Even if it hurts me. Until such a time when I can no longer contain them, I would burst into a hot flaming lava and hurl it outwards. All the way to where I can no longer see them, nor feel them.
I was just tired of all the sickness that somehow never fails to confine me. Of all the stress that never fail to embrace me. Of all the efforts that went unreciprocated. Of all the expectations that were unmet. Of superficial issues getting in the way of the bigger things. Of bruised egos taking a regular beating. Of being an average and prototypical door frame.
I got tired of waiting for the tides to turn and the sun to shine. And of expecting things to change the way they once were. I got tired of it all that I think I’m getting numb. Which somehow concretizes my earliest fears: that when and If I get numbed, it might be all that I can be.
They weren’t such big things as much as they were petty. But them being so tiny makes its edges sharp enough to cut and slice through me.
One small cut here and there, but all pretty much at the same time. Just like my asthma-induced cough, it would never give me a chance to breathe. I would be about to recuperate from the last cut, and there it was, another cut. And another. And another. And another.
I never got some slack.
After a while I wondered, why this homeless man was looking at me like I was so much more homeless than him. I realized tears are easily finding its way down my cheek, all the way to the wooden bench we were both sitting on.
And then, I figured why I was here. The fun and the sense of adventure were long gone and the hunger for such now nowhere to be found. I had become one with the homeless. No sense of direction, hopeless, sick, broken.
I was mourning the loss of passion, and the death of reason.