My eyes were closed but I knew I was awake. My sense of hearing was the first to stir this morning. I was brought to consciousness by the knocking of polyurethane against metal. A plastic trash box being emptied unto the barrel that served as the main midden pit to be collected later by the “environmental technicians.” Manong Frodo, one of the hotel’s own environmental technicians – probably up and about before first light – already swept the parking area clear of fallen leaves and last night’s inevitable debris.
I heard the cries of the jeepney barkers calling out their destinations, perhaps wishing that passengers would be more convinced to choose their rattling time machines over all the other rattling time machines parked in front of the church. Then the honks of car horns, squeals of brakes, rattle of motorcycle engines, thunder of eighteen-wheeler trucks, and wails of an ambulance drowned out the barkers’ cries.
Inside my room, I heard the rustle of sheets of paper being agitated by the rotating ceiling fan. I had quit using the AC several nights ago, and could note the return of my joints’ flexibility with each slumber that I was not under the mercies of the blasted air conditioning (but perhaps that’s just me tasting the edges of my twilight years). The fan had an uneven whir; it gave a thump midway to every completed rotation.
Then my sense of smell kicked in. Because I was using the ceiling fan, I kept the bedroom windows open for better air circulation. Now, the day’s aroma became more pronounced. The metallic tang of barbecue wafted in, courtesy of the chicken barbecue station across the street. Then, the clear, sharp scent of mango blossoms tickled my nose. There was a mango tree right outside my bedroom window, and the blossoms were perhaps opening up to catch the Sun’s early rays.
After the enticing fragrances came the aggressive and poisonous odors of fumes spewed by cars, trucks, motorcycles, jeepneys, and cigarette smokers. The stench reminded me that I live in a dying world.
I opened my eyes then.
On the wall in front of me was a woven rug depicting Mecca. This morning, with the Sun’s light pouring in from the window, the tapestry was bathed a golden glow. Above the the rug were two of my sketches done in eyeliner. Their frames glinted with touches of silver turned gold. From the piece of the Universe that I could see out my window, the sky was cerulean, with somber fat cotton clouds.
You bet this is going to be a good morning.