Snippets from My ‘Better Life’ Montage

29 01 2010

I.

Late Saturday morning. M and D are in a cab puttering down Katipunan. M’s cel rings.

M: (picking up) Hi Carl.

C: Hi. Where are you?

M: On the way to Divisoria.

C: Divisoria? Why? What’s in Divisoria?

M: We’re buying cloth. For our couch.

C: You’re re-upholstering your couch?

M: Yeah, we’re re-upholstering our couch.

C: Okay, fine.  Never mind. Bye!

M: Bye!

M hangs up. A strange, squinty look — a look of utter disbelief — congeals on her face. She licks her lips, as if able to taste the dregs of ‘Divisoria’ and ‘re-upholstering’ and ‘couch’ in her mouth, as if she had never expected to string such words together so casually, matter-of-factly, so un-ironically, and yet is not entirely bothered by this sentiment.

II.

Thursday evening. M enters her apartment, tossing her bag onto the couch. She opens the kitchen cabinet, takes out a small bag of fusilli, and goes over its cooking instructions intently, visibly virginal in the ins and outs of pasta boiling. She looks over to the stove and notices the frying pan greasy with old oil. She takes the pan, walks to the sink, and is about to reach for the faucet when she notices a very small mouse — a baby mouse — curled up in a corner of the sink, keeping perfectly still. The look on M’s face is not so much of horror as it is of mildly disgusted curiosity. She leans a little closer to inspect the baby mouse. It remains still. M takes her cel out and types out a text message. The cel’s screen reads: D, there’s a baby Rabbi Herschel in our sink. I’m not sure if it’s dead or sleeping. M then puts the cel down and turns the TV on.  She watches a 24 Oras segment on an old, rickety Air Force plane crashing into a house.

III.

Thursday night. M and D are in front of the kitchen sink, which a dying baby mouse is trying to crawl out of in vain. The two are playing bato-bato-pick. M reaches five points first and screams in triumph. She dances a victory dance. Dejectedly, D fishes out a plastic bag from under the sink, takes an old barbecue stick from the kitchen table, and stares at the baby mouse with great uncertainty.

IV.

Any given morning. M is in bed, swallowed by the comforter, sleepy-eyed, comfortable. D is asleep beside her. The apartment is quiet.

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