It's not at all that weird to be spending the New Year inside my bedroom, a book in hand, and all curtains drawn. I’ve always been comfortable with silence. Until that day, though.
While everyone was busy making silly noises outside, lighting firecrackers, screaming and pointing at the distant fireworks display, wondering how the ones who were lighting them could afford such a luxury, I was staying indoors, reading the Murakami I received last Christmas, and pondering over the laws of attraction.
In between paragraphs, I looked up from my book, stared at the four walls of my grandma’s bedroom and thought about how nice my world would be if it was inside this room, devoid of all the senseless clatter, peaceful, quiet, full of mystery. I thought about the sounds of firecrackers, the torotot’s blown, kids screaming, stereos turned up to full volume. Everything out there is real. And no matter how hard I try, I know I couldn’t keep away from those noises that easily. No matter how much I shield my little world from those things, I know that in one way or another all defenses would come undone.
I closed the book and stared, without seeing a thing. I’ve always loved the sound of silence, but on that day—the start of a new year—I felt something altogether different. I was surprised—amazed even—because never in my whole life had I felt this uncomfortable with silence. I was afraid—afraid of what 2011 would bring. I was terrified of all the uncertainties that come with the new year. I thought about the plans I’ve laid for myself: my first term in graduate school, the business venture I’m about to take, the career changes I’m about to make, the relationship I’m about to rebuild… All these and the roadblocks that are certain to come with it: financial problems, compromises, physical and emotional stress. I realized that I could never look at New Year celebrations the same way again given this new perspective. So this is how it’s like, looking at the world from inside the bedroom, a book in hand, and all the curtains drawn.
So before I got consumed by fear, I put on some warmers and rushed outside, picked up a torotot and blew to my heart’s content. I watched my dad and my brother as they lit the firecrackers. I hate the stench but what the heck, this is a family tradition. I took pictures of my mom, my sister, my grandparents. I watched the dog. He seemed to like the trompillo very much and he’s barking mad. I patted him and thought, oh well, this is life after all. Go ahead and live it. He raced towards the trompillo and gave out a thrilled woof.