Monday, November 14, 2011

conflict

Bird’s losing his feathers, I casually said to my sister over breakfast. Over warm pan de sal and small talk, she and I came up with theories. I said he might be shedding like snakes do. She said he might be sad or lonely. For the entire year since he crashed into our living room*, he’s always been alone. Everybody needs somebody, she reasoned. Perhaps music would help.

Since then, I’d grown accustomed to hearing her sing to him in the early morning. Jazz standards, hymns from the church we grew up in, top forty mainstays – my sister’s repertoire knew no bounds. The bird responded frequently. Though off key, he did his best to keep up with her vocal runs. I wish we’d listened to him at night when we all went to bed. If we did, we’d understand the real reason why he was losing all his feathers.

This morning, when I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, I saw Bird with one of his feathers between his beak. There were a few others on his cage’s floor. If I’d come earlier, I would’ve heard the incessant gnawing of his self-mutilation or the sound his beak made as he slammed it repetitively on one of the bars. He wasn’t shedding nor was he particularly lonely. He was stripping.

---

I don’t understand this, my father said one morning. He was tending to his latest project: an herb garden and though he stuck to the internet how-to he’d printed out, he could not get the sprouts to live past a few days. My mother, ever supportive, suggested that maybe it was the weather. Perhaps November’s too chilly to be growing arugula.

Rubbish, he dismissed. The man at the seedling bank said it was the perfect season for arugula. I wondered how he could care so much for something so frail. I could not find any compassion for those green little things but they kept my father busy so I couldn’t complain.

I’m thinking about all of this as I sit outside our house at three in the morning. I have a cigarette in one hand and a cup of ash and water in the other. I puff, flick twice into the cup and think about my father’s rosemary, his Thai basil and a few more that I couldn’t name. I think about the care he takes, nipping the bad ones, treasuring the good. My big toe traces the outline of the chalk fence he drew to keep the pests away. And when I finished my cigarette and thoughts of his babies, I carefully poured the contents of my cup into each pot.

---

Are you leaving because you’re in love with me? he asked. My mind knew this game too well. It was time to override the control of my heart. I was starting to lose it. I was acting funny, saying things I wasn’t sure I meant, spiraling into an abyss of empty promises and failed expectations. I pleaded my case and lost. I convinced myself I gave it a fair shake and it was time to move on. It was time to say goodbye.

No, I said, my voice thin and frail. I’m leaving because you’re breaking my heart.

From out of nowhere, a voice whispers in my ear. Honey, you’re breaking your own heart.

---

97% of scientific experts agree that the climate changes, the crazy weather, the spontaneous tsunamis and consequent droughts are all very likely caused by man-made activity. We like to destroy our own, don’t we? After all, what is life without conflict?

♫: Jet | Look What You've Done (2003)

40 comments:

  1. you're right? what is life without conflict. Making it more challenging.

    as to your dad, there are things that we just do "just because".

    and to a relationship in whatever form, if it is no longer healthy and it is breaking someone's heart, and if there is no way to heal it while in the relationship, better to leave. maybe that way, we can save something. or at least we can avoid to make the damage bigger.

    have a great week ahead! TC!

    JJRod'z

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  2. @JJRod'z: Hey! First comment ulit ha. hehe

    Well, I didn't really kill my dad's herbs. I thought about it but then I realized it was pointless to be jealous.

    As for the relationship.. wala din. Recurring theme na ng buhay ko ang "ipaglalaban mo ba?" and I'm just playing it by ear. bahala na. lol

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  3. famine is a distribution problem with political causes -- the rich don't like the share.

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  4. @LOF: I love how you just get me. haha You know, I've been thinking about that word and whether I should change it to something else. You just helped me make a decision. haha

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  5. that ought to have read: "the rich don't like to share." lol

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  6. @LOF: Yet another source of conflict. I guess being rich is like being famous. If everyone's famous then no one is.

    charchar

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  7. it's nice to be back here. :)

    I miss writing like you do. :)

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  8. What's wrong is that sometimes, people get into conflict just because. Life already throws you enough shit. What you do is try to avoid it as much as possible. Some people like that kind of stuff, tho. So... idek. Haha.

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  9. @Layla: And I'm sure we've all missed you too in equal measure. :)

    @Luigi: I guess for some people, life gets pretty boring. Hence the whole looking for trouble part. I don't know anyone who's particularly destructive though but I'm sure if we looked hard enough, we'll find someone.

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  10. You asked me a pointed question with your comment! They're alone, perhaps, because they find it's an easy way to be NOT alone. Liz's lyrics attest to that. The chair lady's apparent vulnerability makes her attractive.

    I wrote a diddy titled "attractive" back in 2009:

    "creating public solitude
    is my effort to make neediness
    attractive to someone in search
    of a rescue."

    Is that all of us at one time or another? Is it Liz? Or the chair lady?

    Could that be you? Hum....that voice whispering in your ear?? :)

    Yes, we are truly a defective species!! There are no answers, and there are answers in every voice inside our heads!! LOL!

    rick

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  11. Let me share you something, my friend.

    Peace begins with understanding. But I believe love may begin with conflicts. ~ Paulo Coelho

    So true!

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  12. Unfortunately, I know a couple of people who really bring themselves down. It's so depressing to be near them, much less be with them. Everything is a problem and let's just fuck life because we're all gonna die anyway blah blah blah. Huhuhu just go out in the sun and have ice cream or something :(

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  13. @nyl: you have this certain "something" that makes me lost.. there are times when i don't wanna analyze, i don't wanna dig deeper.. i just read, be transported to the setting of the story, and get lost in your words..

    and after reading, either i'd feel light or i'd feel bad..

    i felt bad with this one..

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  14. The remaining 3 percent, I guess, thinks climate change is part of the earth's climate cycle. What if they were right?

    I hesitate to think you're breaking your own heart. Hearts break. That's what they do.

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  15. @Rick: Sorry about that! I didn't mean for the comment to sound so pointed.

    Everybody needs a rescue but no one wants to do the rescuing. Strange. lol

    @Orange: ooh, coelho. thanks, orange!

    @Luigi: I think I am (at times lang naman) one of those people. but then on most days, i'll be the first to sit on the burning pavement with a melting twin popsies in my hands.

    Nate: I'm sorry. This was an experiment on disconnecting. I wanted it to seem super distant and cold. I guess efic pail siya. lol

    @Bien: Welcome to my blog! Thanks for dropping by. :)

    You seem very, very familiar. hmm....

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  16. Life is dull without conflict. That's what our unconscious mind has to say. But our conscious says that we don't want conflict but when the emotion rises, we all bury ourselves into never ceasing, severe conflicts.

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  17. @Vher: Never ceasing severe conflicts talaga? I don't advocate wreaking havoc naman for the heck of it. It's just that sometimes - unconciously, if i may add - we make our own problems. And in the end, they make our lives more interesting (?) haha

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  18. Oh, look what you've done
    You've made a fool of everyone.
    Oh well, it feels like such fun
    Until you lose what you had won.


    I love this song, my high school days. Oh. I can't believe I could say it like that. I feel old haha. On the conflict thingy, it is most of the time self-inflicted and that makes us humans very complicated. You find a rush in complications, don't you?

    I remember the Bird and I thought this was about Angry Birds. Ha!

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  19. @Green Breaker: you feel old? I was in college when that came out! lol

    yes, they definitely thrill the foshizzle out of me. at the same time, I often find myself whining about how complicated things can be. witness na itong blog na to of that duality. haha

    and as for bird, he's someone I wrote about a couple of times na sa blog na to. maybe I should give him his own tag. lol

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  20. You read my private moments. Only this was written before I ahd the moment--today. Had this conversation today. Heart breaking. Fiction is imitating life here again, as you do so well.

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  21. "I convinced myself I gave it a fair shake and it was time to move on. It was time to say goodbye."

    Well, it is really time to move on. It is definitely have to say goodbye.

    Very related to me. thanks @citybuoy!

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  22. Life without conflict is definitely boring. Conflict makes existence colorful and I hate monotony.

    The first part is so sad. I cannot understand why the bird would do such a thing.

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  23. @Amy: Perhaps it's all out there in the universe. Question is, out of all the things we can both pick up, why did we both end up with creating our own conflict?

    @Ronophax: Hello! Welcome to my blog. Thanks din for dropping by. Glad you could relate. (well, not really since this wasn't a very happy post but you now what I mean. lol)

    @Rei: Precisely! But recognizing that's one thing, creating it for yourself is another. lol

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  24. Maybe we destroy ourselves, to bits, so we have more reasons to start from scratch again.

    And that's my go-to lonely song right there!

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  25. @Rei: O sumuko agad? lol

    @James: I love that song too! It's not like the other songs in my iPod (it's a little too butch lol) but it's one I play a lot.

    Yes, we're masochistic that way, I suppose. lol

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  26. Haha. Eh kasi you're right naman eh

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  27. first time i heard that song eh sa a lot like love movie. 97% i love conflict. lol

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  28. @Ahmer: It's a nice song no? And do you really like conflict? haha long time no hear, papa. We miss you! :)

    @Michaeldmira: Hello! Part na siya talaga ng life. Nga pala, welcome to my blog! :)

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  29. Yes we break our own hearts, same way that we build them, when after a heartbreak we pick up the pieces and put them back together while waiting for a chance to smash it all again to bits. Lucky our hearts are resilient. Or is that a curse in itself?

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  30. @Glentot: Perhaps it isn't a curse but just a general malfunction? Or I'm over-analyzing again. Damn it. haha

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  31. and this just answered my questions about the last post... :))

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  32. @YJ: No naughty comments about the shedding bird? lol

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  33. Exhibitionist pala si Bird. I like. lol

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  34. Visual Velocity: Mana sa may-ari! lol

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  35. I somehow appreciate the correlation of the three stories. This one's superb. :)

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  36. Leomer: Awesome! Baka naka-relate ka? Have you ever done something completely out of conflict? :/

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