PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

 

New neighbor with a message

I have new neighbors! The young couple just moved into the house in front to my left, after the house was vacated by the lesbian couple with an adopted daughter. One day, there was a loud fight between the two women and the former occupants who must be a relative of some kind. Next thing you know, the old occupants, who must have been living there for more than a decade now, were out, the more feminine of the couple packing up their things with the help of another sympathetic neighbor. In the course of their very public exchange, the new woman could be heard vehemently mentioning the old couple's failure to pay the property tax, which now amounted to hundreds of pesos.

Since I notice a lot of things I shouldn't, like my friends say, I noticed that the new lady of the house was the one who went to work everyday, while the guy was, dare I assume, the househusband. Perhaps he's jobless for a moment. I noticed how he accompanied her out in the morning and fetched for her at night.

Among other things, I also noticed their enthusiasm for their new life that I got somewhat infected -- and thereafter convicted.

I say enthusiasm because the guy would always strip down his shirt everyday to work on, other than the laundry waiting to be washed and sundried out front, painting over the old peeling drab gray with shocking pink, of all colors. I had heard somewhere that pink paint is used in certain prisons to give the occupants a brighter outlook in their existence. (You can just imagine what the former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando mus have been thinking: Manila as a giant prison cell.)

Since we've never formally met, we routinely avoided each other's eyes each time our paths crossed down the block. But espying him finishing his work for the day, I just have to sit up and ask myself why, for the longest time, I had to stall buying the cans of paint I need to fix the peeling splotches of old paint in my place, as a favor to myself -- that is, so I could also feel better.

Why haven't I varnished that kitchen cabinet that was stained white here and there by vinegar spills and runoff water from the sink and countertop? What am I waiting for, when I have already bought a bottle of mahogany varnish several months ago? Why haven't I called for help in fixing that part of the ceiling that leaks each time it rains, when I have met the right carpenters? Why haven't I asked for my brother electrician's help to fix some 'dead' electrical connections upstairs? Is it all about the budget or lack thereof?

I know this is not my place and never will be mine, but like others say with televangelist pomposity, "This is it!" -- this is my life, the life given me -- at least for the moment -- despite it not being entirely my choice. I might as well live it, this life and this moment, to the full.

Why can't I fix the busted drain in my bathroom? At least I can learn some DIY thing around here. The least I can do is get up and get rid of those cobwebs which have already blackened by being there hanging for far too long. I didn't use to be like this. I used to be very particular about how my dwelling looked and felt.

Should I thank my mew neighbors? Without them knowing, they have reminded me of how long I've been depressed and got stuck at it.

Tomorrow, I'll probably start all that varnishing. Since the painting requires a longish trip outside, that will have to wait for a few. I know that whichever pit I have found myself in, I have not fully recovered yet, or else I would have moved heaven and earth to fix myself a place I think I deserve: a space filled with beauty and order and peace and assurance that I am okay.

I am so yearning for an Extreme Home Makeover right now, as one TV show puts it.

No one has roused me up before from my self-imposed hibernation until my new neighbors came.

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