Gathering dust.

We went to the old house yesterday, in BF. Thirty
years of clutter had to find a new place to stay, and Bit and I were there to
help with the triage (or so we thought). We arrived to find mom had packed away
everything, everything, and was refusing to let go of: makeup past expiry date,
half-drunk bottles of wine left over from the 70s, my collection of skin-disease
patterned stockings from the 80s, old planners, a busted cordless phone, a
300-watt hairdryer someone gave me when I was in high school… The things, and
the dust, endless enumeration, possessed by the demons of geometric

My uncle, in his
singlet and salvaged cap and holey sneakers, sat for a moment in the middle of
the living room, surrounded by plastic bags and boxes, and commented,
“One-fourth pa lang ‘yan…”

When I
wasn’t sneezing from the dust, I helped sort through the stuff. My sister was
more capable than I, hauling away bags and bags of “What’s this? You don’t want
it? Okay.” Of course I was stuck in front of the bookshelves, peering at the
titles, rediscovering stories I had loved. I found comic books still in their
plastic covers, unread; old issues of Heavy Metal; more

And I thought about things, and how
we are so good at getting them, and putting them away just in case. How growing
up with hardly anything much can sometimes make you value things more than space
and clean air. And how when circumstances conspire, with Las Vegas megawatt neon
directional signs, to help you let go of objects, you musn’t bury your head in
said objects’ storage boxes.