From the long days of being tucked at home, spending hours observing the needs of the child who was then inside of me; the weight of traffic to my new work is a culture shock. A reacquainted culture shock.
Every day, my husband sets for a two and a half hour drive to Ortigas station where I can immediately take the train to Taft. But on moments he is away, I take a tricycle to Gen. Luna Ave. where I can ride an early jeepney to Marikina. After alighting in Marikina, I take a short jeepney ride to Meralco. There, I hand my P45 to the fare collector and join the crowd going to Ortigas, all lined up in a shape of a gut. At Ortigas, I walk from St. Francis to Shaw Boulevard and take the cramped train to Taft. Then at the last station, I ride a jeepney to the office and do some 4-minute walk to my area.
The train is always overcrowded with passengers, young to old. Their faces look sweaty and tired and I am well aware that I bear the same features. I doze off on triumphant occasions that I am able to snag a seat. But I am usually left standing up to the last station so instead, I grab on to something for balance, turn on my rechargeable fan, and observe strangers who are all just like me.
Travel eats about seven hours of my day when it’s rough. But on blessed days when schools are off, it only takes about six hours.
Yes, this is what I chose to do. This is tiring but strangely, I feel free. In every weekday morning that I try to be genuinely awake, when my eyes yell for me to leave them alone and shut them tight like a cupboard with secrets, I tell myself this is part of the bargain I chose.
Note to self: Everything you are doing now is just a step to make things easier for your future self.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”