Overcome by the need to move around, I have decided to visit a graveyard tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I will remember to write about it, as I had intended to write about a show I saw some time last summer. It was curated by a friend, I told her I love it and meant it. The show was installed in a large exhibition space and people came by the busloads. These days buses and subways run empty. Back home, I’ve seen photos of empty streets. The only signs of life are the cacophony of voices on the internet.
I’ve always been a walker. The past March I put my legs to the test and tried ice skating for fun. I fell so many times on my back it triggered a traumatic memory. An old friend who had accompanied me to the ice asked me why. Why? I couldn’t explain because I didn’t want to. It was the pain. An unseen, internal pain that found its manifestation in physical pain many years after. The morning after that experience, I told myself as I made myself pretty: “How long has it been when you felt such fear you felt as if you were trapped in a block of ice?” Denial was when I, as a kid, would place my hands in the refrigerator freezer thick with ice, hold it for as long as I could, and told myself it was all for fun.
So it might make sense to think I would walk into places where I never felt cold or lonely. I found this praying mantis among my mother’s bougainvillea shrubs a few days before I was to depart. It seems to be a juvenile Philippine mantis or Hierodula parviceps. A quick Google search of the spiritual meaning of praying mantises told me that they symbolize good fortune, clarity, stillness, and focus. I told my mom and she was pleased; you can never get enough of those good things. Her home had a particular vibe, a way of making me feel the space that I’ve never found elsewhere. Each place has its energy, its vibe, that can’t be replicated. It’s her space. She keeps many plants, her room faces a patch of greenery in an otherwise bustling and dusty city, small animals visit her from time to time. Her latest visitor was a young cicada.
M. says that every great story shares a similar core—somebody wants to go home. A great part of my life has been spent finding ways to get away from home. Thinking that I’m just taking after my father, who was a seafarer, is a nice little piece of kibble I throw my ego once in a while. Home is the capacity to hold and let go of things at the right time.