I stayed up until 1AM last night scrubbing my apartment floor, mopping off the murky debris reminiscent of Ondoy's wrath. I could have used that time searching for a journal to present on Friday's Journal Club, but I just couldn't stand the stench of stagnant water anymore - a mixture of human excreta, rat urine, garbage juice and what-nots, benignly appearing as brownish water undisturbed by sunlight in several corners of my squalid apartment.
Mop and pail in hand, I took off my slippers, and scrubbed and squeezed and scrubbed until my hands ached and my feet were wrinkled. This is the price I had to pay for independence. I should have continued renting that room in Paco. Ate Justine and Ate Angie would have cleaned off the flooded floors as fast as Ondoy itself. After hours of attempting to remove the water using an old piece of shirt that served as a sponge, my living room looked dry enough to be lived in. I counted at least 8 dead roaches, 3 cigarette stubs, a dead lizard, and a small mouse, remnants of the Taft Avenue ecosystem that must have been washed off to Manila Bay by now.
By 1AM, I turned my lights off, lighted several scented candles, and sat down on my cheap sofa. I was suddenly overwhelmed by exhaustion and a certain brand of peace. Ahhh, this is the life. I couldn't help but utter a short prayer of gratitude - for being spared from the flood, for my shabbily furnished den that has served as my sanctuary from the hospital for two years now, for my mop and my pail and my Lysol, for everything I've been given even if I don't deserve them.
I capped my evening with a glass of wine. In front of an imagined company, I gave a toast to life and all the mess it surprises us with, and to myself - for being able to clean up most of this mess at least most of the time. And I silently drank a toast to my best buddy: To Solitude - now and indefinitely. Cheers!