On Thursday night I, my mother, and Dave went to Manila, Utah, returning this mid-morning.
Manila is still so uncommon a destination for me that the memories connected with it remain powerful, if not perfectly vivid.
I remembered Eunhee… When was that? Was that after Thanksgiving, 2004? Did we get a tree? I do remember that she and my mother went to church that Sunday morning, but I was still imprisoned in a poorly scheduled slumber. To this day, I still haven’t had the fortune of going to church there.
I’m sorry; she deserved better than that. But in the end, she deserves nothing more of me, who chopped down my vine when its fruit was imminent.
Last I remember writing of Manila in reference to her, I said that I had found a strand of her long hair; it was on the couch.
I noticed no strand this weekend.
So, I remembered Tugsuu. She went twice maybe, thrice, or twice… maybe between ’05 and ’06 falls. I think it was on the last trip that we brought Altan-ai too. We went fishing.
I saw Alta on… Thursday, I think, across the road as I was leaving school. We have stopped talking, but we exchanged waves. Before this, I think I was with old Mable and Monde… or, no, Bernice and Monde… when I passed a train platform and saw Altan-ai and Dina — I think I waved that time too. Must’ve been a few months ago.
So Tugsuu’s friend has excelled her, in my eyes… outlasted her… and my eyes themselves moistly confirmed the sentiment as we drove home this morning, and I thought back to her…
Tugsuu… she also deserved better, so much better… but she is an Esau who doesn’t know what she deserves until it’s much too late.
Then I remembered Bomie, the one who should have come, the one I’d planned so many times to bring.
Perverse to me from the beginning, she, I will say, did not deserve anything except what she got. I would have given my life to her; thank goodness I was prevented. She was a step-sister who almost, almost fit her disfigured foot into my glass slipper.
…Still, this weekend I remembered that she had been meant to come with us to Manila… a joy conceived, but now aborted. May her face be foreign to me if I ever see it again. …Like to a rabid pet, my love in the end meant nothing to her. The more I forget her cruel, arrogant rejection, the happier I am. This time, it was me who deserved better.
And at last I remembered Alexandra, this………… flower out of season, my second Canadian friend.
Ah, what silly imaginations I’ve entertained with her. But, why? Only because she has clutched me so single-mindedly, like a hawk. As it was, I would never have given her such consideration… but her… can I say loyalty? her loyalty has demanded it…
…But despite this flower’s insistancy, her scent is not mine to inhale… and my adoration is not hers to enjoy.
She deserves… well… she will deserve what she chooses. A child of this age, this era, she seems open-ended to youth while amidst youth, but the signs seem to show that her decade will carry her away like a current — and with me standing here immobile against the stream, first she will come, then she will linger in a swirl, and then she will go…
…But so far, that swirl has not dispersed. In my world, in my possibility, I still look for the time when she might accompany us to Manila. It wouldn’t be her usual lush scenery of British Columbia, but maybe here she would see for the first time an alien permanence, the same timelessness that animates my dreams. And maybe everything would change.
But that’s a "maybe" I don’t think I’ll remember.
It’s back to school tomorrow. We fished on the lake on Saturday.
Ah, I’m restless. Some characters online have knocked on my door these days, one in particular. Passing visitors, I’m sure… I wait expectantly for the next knock, and the next… the next visitor… Surely some body or thing is on its way, a recurring agent of change, a familiar stranger. I hope to heaven my heart will be pure enough to see it for what it is.
Or maybe… do these paths lead to my own threshold?
Maybe that next visitor…