Prelude to Goodbye

Saturday, May 1, 2021


The time Jhemerlyn was shuffling her carefully-curated playlist off her phone bought for half the price during the Great Reduction Spree, probably the last one before the mad dash of holiday kicks in, Linda Ronstadt, beautiful Linda in Simple Dreams, remembered with pathos the one she left behind in 'Blue Bayou'. Jhemerlyn was traipsing and humming along to her dulcet tones and recalling things. She, too, had left him in the blue ocean of despair and desolation, with nothing but coarse sand on his feet to keep him company. And the occasional seabirds. 

When the chorus part coalesces with the shape of him in her mind, that's when she shouts, shut up Linda, no one is going back! You can't go back to the times that you wasted. He left her for another woman. He chose someone with a strong sense of melancholia who'll cry just by the thought of leaving. Oh Linda, you always made me remember the home that languished in my unguarded wakefulness. Home is him and him is gone. 

*Shuffle Mode: Press Next*

Not again Petula Clark. There is nothing and no one here in 'Downtown' except for walls that reek of bad-taste graffiti, of ten thousand pisses and greases coagulating on asphalt. You do not tell me to listen to the music of the traffic of the city because in these parts, traffic is a vexation and the only music people listen to are congealed traces of expletives that stick to you wherever you go. 

The noises of the hagglers, harsh and discordant, is in varying degrees of decibels. The ladies who sell RTWs offered Buy Two, Get One clothes for free. Petula hunty, downtown is no finer place. It is not a place to forget all your troubles, nor your cares. It is carmageddon that wears survival-of-the-fittest mentality on its carburetors! Jhemerlyn caught a whiff of someone's burning his lungs and nearly gasped in exasperation when he threw his cigarette stick on the dispatches of non-biodegradable wastes. Faint sketches of ashen smoke vaporized into the air. Frightened that it will catch fire, she poured half of her mineral water. It hissed. The man gone even before she could school him. 

*Shuffle Mode: Press Next*

"Hurry, Hurry lover, come to me" sings Paula Abdul. Hey! Why the rush? She thinks of her friends who rushed and were forced to marrying too soon that they all ended up in an insane asylum of their own doing. Loca de amor. Remedios, the last of her friends who she thought will not fold up, was last seen seen running in the witching hours in Vera Wang. The next day, the wedding gown was probably spun by the maelstrom as it was flapping in the highest boughs of their neighborhood's biggest tree, diaphanous veil billowing, a kind of vision in white. The train, if stretched to its fullest length, will put the Light Rail Transit-1 to shame. Remedios came home after a week, linking arms with a man they thought they saw in the Most Wanted List. All because she rushed, rushed. 

*Shuffle Mode: Press Next*

The time she was shuffling her concoction of guitar riffs, synthesizers, drums, and orchestral bits that was morphed into the music that she listens to these days, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman both know that it is time to say goodbye. In the compartmentalized archives of her mind, she only remembers goodbye when the very familiar Linda Ronstadt came stroking with the robust voice of hers. 

So what is this goodbye? 

When did she download this? 

Operatic coloratura is not her thing because she feels that one false, ill-timed note can cause guttural rupture. Not that she can sing as stratospheric as Brightman. This song will have to create meaning for it to stay on her discounted phone. Oh well, such a powerful song. It's a shame that she could not identify this yet to a memory. She was trying to remember some guy in indeterminate past that can highly be associated with this song but remembered no one. When she was about to open her photos,  Jhemerlyn caught a sight of her phone with growing, gnawing curiosity. There is something troubling about discounted phones, like how they could be so lightweight as if souls were sucked out of them by digital dementors. Cheap does not mean substandard right? 

News about thieves penetrating a cellphone shop in Baclaran was blaring in the rows of television sets. Her ears caught the CCTVs were not working the night it happened. These days you can never be really vigilant enough. When the last sustained notes died down, while Andrea and Sarah were probably collapsing from running out of breath, an oh-so-dainty swooping jolted Jhemerlyn, then after a few minutes  the feeling rolled into tiny ripples of debilitating shock: 

Oh my god. My phone!


Image from Pinterest (No.5 Metal Print by Loui Jover)

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