* * * * * * *It was two years ago. Just quit from a job. I was in no mood to apply for a new one. I figured that my last salary would be enough to last me for a month without work. It would mean living frugally, which would also mean days without food. But my rented room was a wonderful haven. It had several piles of good books I'd accumulated for months, a coffeemaker with enough supply of 2-peso Nescafe classic, a good stock of wine that include some bottles of gin, brandy, rum, whiskey and, occasionally, beer, a DVD player, and a 21-inch TV. The TV was lent to me by a now ex-girlfriend, who took the TV with her, of course, after we broke up. A piece of bread was enough to quell the hunger so I didn’t need much more than that. Sometimes I bought food from a street vendor and ate in a sidewalk, and occasionally in a cheap restaurant. I was economical and would only spend what money I have to buy for pirated DVD copies of good movies, second-hand books, a good supply of bread and wine. The days passed by fast and heavenly though I was often hungry. But, cripes, those wonderful mornings were bliss when the rays of the sun would fill my room at 8, and the coffeemaker would soon be brewing. The smell of coffee would heighten my famishing stomach, and I would eat a leftover of bread bought the other day with a relish, washing it with a slug of brandy, and followed by a cup of coffee.
It was during this time also that I had read Saul Bellow’s Herzog and The Adventures of Augie March, E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, James Joyce’s A Portrait of A Man As An Artist, a rare copy of Ernest Hemingway’s Islands in The Stream, George Orwell’s 1984, Philip Roth’s Ghost Writer, Bernard Malamud’s The Tenant, and biographies of Theodore Dreiser, Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac, Gore Vidal, and V. S. Pritchett.
That time, I still not owned a laptop. So I wrote in longhand and filled some pages of my notebook, or write in bond papers. I read most hours of the day, and watched a movie in the evening usually starred by Johnnny Depp or Anthony Hopkins, or I watched and listened to a record of The Carpenters, or a documentary of Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
Why I post this here is anybody’s guess. Maybe it’s the flask bottle of Matador brandy, which I downed in one go to see if I can do it. Which I apparently could. But may again forget later. Or maybe it is because of that sweet voice that has touched a chord in me, making me want to express or write up something, anything, while I still think of that voice reverberating in the solitude of my heart.