The dogs scampered back to their stations as the silence hanged for quite some time.
The sky caught it in expressing the gloom that followed the silence, painting the horizon in a crimson dye and its vast expanse with navy blue, as if it was the ocean above, an endless basin of ink, the ink needed by a writer who was forced to see himself bare.
The thoughts smoothly fell, however they dissolved before the dejection caused by the loneliness.
The lamps of the front yards of the whole neighborhood lit up, the loneliness materialized into the shadows being casted, numerous but less appreciated. I walked slowly as I knew that there was no escape in this situation.
I had to get accustomed to the unshakable tranquility that descended over the neighborhood. I understood that I have to endure experiencing this crippling loneliness over and over for nearly 30 days, even if it was clear that in these recurring episodes, I would regret being in this situation over and over again, because I did not want this lonely and awful present.
I opened the gate and greeted the dog who was anticipating my return. For that dog, my absence for about an hour felt like forever. I wondered how that dog became used to that loneliness. I wondered more on how that dog was quick to forgive those who made it lonely in the first place.
I forgot to turn on the light in the front yard. I used my phone’s flashlight to illuminate the surrounding and the plate on which I put the meal that I promised to that dog who was jittery and excited over the sight of the food which would satiate the hunger growing within him.
I, on the other hand, sighed in wondering on how I would quell the loneliness growing within me.
I slid open the front door. I looked into the upper corner of the hallway to check upon the fruit bat which became my housemate. The soil-nourishing guano dripped over the corner that it was perched to. The pungent stench was emanating over the house’s hallway.
Thankfully, the stench did not reach the living room, which was situated at the end of the hallway. I slept the previous night at the living room’s sofa. This night, I arranged those cushioned sofas in a straight line while fixing them at the ledges protruding from the walls to prevent the sofas from the splitting apart.
I took a bath in bathroom which was situated at an outhouse. Just like the previous night, I distracted myself with the silence by playing a Last Week Tonight’s latest episode that I just downloaded from YouTube when I was at the cellsite.
The episode was the continuation of the discussion on Coronavirus, which was at full blast not only in the United States but also across the whole world. The glowing white background behind John Oliver in that episode spelled sterility as they employed the necessary precautions to reduce exposure and hopefully isolate that virus to that sterility.
Apart from foolishly being outdoors on that fateful Monday, I did pretty well my part in combating the virus, I guessed. I then brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth using the prescribed Orahex, not only to observe proper hygiene but also to rehabilitate my swollen gums in preparation for the installation my dental braces.
I remembered that last Saturday (March 14), I attempted to set an earlier appointment for the installation of my braces. There was a mix-up in the instructions made by the dentist. It was told to return after 3 weeks yet the appointment date was set a month later. Such mix-ups may end in mayhem. That was why it was bit troublesome when the enhanced community quarantine was implemented. However, mine was a bit for personal convenience since I was planning to flee from Metro Manila later that afternoon, hence I let that slide, much to the wonder of some people who told me that they would be throwing fits if they were to be in the situation as I was.
I still wondered if they were to throw fits if they were to be in the current situation that I was in.
I guessed my nihilism gave me this disposition of resignation.
Resigned to a month-long fate, I rested my back against the row of sofas. That relieved the weight on my swollen thighs which turned that way since I pushed myself too hard in my bicycle misadventure. My right wrist was also injured because of that misadventure. I brought out the pain-relieving ointment that I bought earlier. I rubbed some ointment against the parts of my body still in pain. However, I was unable to rub some to my heart, which was hurting because of the loneliness.
I then wrapped my right wrist with a magazine to restrain movement so that it could recover faster. Also, I did that for the purpose of preventing the pain from my right wrist from giving me a hard time in sleeping.
I woke up the following morning much relieved and refreshed as I finally had my first continuous sleep in a long time. My right wrist was still in pain, but to a lesser extent. In contrast, my thighs were swollen as ever. I was already itching to rub another set of pain-relieving ointment on them, so I took a bath prior into rubbing another ointment.
After letting the ointment soothe my injured areas, boredom compelled me to scan uncharted areas within the house.
The house had two-stories, with the first storey having the hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen, and one locked bedroom, and the second storey having a ballroom, and two bedrooms.
The house had a rainfall-catchment system at the second floor. There were three drums of rainwater in store, which ran down to the supply the bathroom. Gravity pumped the water to the hose below. With a gravity head of 3 meters, the water running out of the hose was powerful enough to serve as the bidet.
The bathroom, in general, on the other hand, was still littered with bird droppings. Having already settled in this house after staying for two days, I already treated it as my own domain and therefore, I was itching to clean the house a little bit.
The urge to clean up the bathroom boosted up into an urge to clean up the whole house.
The dog was even terrified of this uncharacteristic streak of mine, or rather with the sounds of the stick broom that I was holding on sweeping the dried leaves into some respective piles, reminiscent of autumn even though it was the onset of summer.
I then searched for indoor broom in order to clean the interior. The search led me to the second floor, where I got a chance to survey the two bedrooms, the balcony, and the ballroom.
The balcony gave an enticing view of the relatively untouched protected area of the Sierra Madre mountain range which served as the catch basin for the Marikina River.
The roof system was mainly supported by a series of angle bar rafters hooked to the 12 mm rebars from the walls and the columns. The roof sheets along with the roof insulation were fastened into C-purlins.
One bedroom was spacious enough, almost as spacious as my room in UP.
I was enticed to occupy one of the rooms in the second floor, only if there was electricity in it. Kagawad Ryan determined that the circuit breaker for the 2nd floor was broken in the first night.
I brought my USB adapter and my phone to verify if the electricity was non-existent in the whole of second floor. I plugged it in to every socket that I found in 2nd floor, to no avail. My attention turned to the root cause of the electricity problem.
I first turned off one-by-one the branches of the circuit breaker. Then, I turned off the main switch. After some time, I turned on the main switch and the subsequent branches. And to my delight, there was power in the second floor.
I began cleaning the two rooms in the second floor. I moved some of the things from the other bedroom to the bedroom that I would be occupying. Some of those things include a cabinet, a bed frame, a bench press, an electric fan, a study table, and unexpectedly, a huge bean bag.
The move took two hours to accomplish.
And maybe, I overexerted myself. I began to feel unwell.
Deep inside, I was also beginning to feel unwell due to the anxiety brought by the paranoia of the people here.
To them, I was just a foreign visitor. They were yet to trust me. I did not want this growing malaise to put my efforts into temporarily settling to this community into waste.
Thankfully, it revealed to be just mere exhaustion as I woke up well the following day.