By Virginia J. Pasalo
“BYE BYE my favorite, warm, cozy, happy kitchen, Nana’s Kitchen, where memories are made, good cooking and grand people are served well!” I got that on Nana Buxani’s timeline with a photo of her in her kitchen wearing an apron with a caption, “Most wanted artist”. Having had coffee and good food in Nana’s house, I can really say this is so true. Even Batik, her dog and lifetime companion, agrees and is currently sulking.
What is special in Nana’s house is the warmth, inside the house, and in her small garden, where she sits with her dog, contemplating, or whatever else she does in that cozy place. It is a compound where another artist friend, Boni Juan, lives, and some other artists, activists and advocates. There is a magnet that draws one to the gate, an old feeling of belonging, almost like, a part of you lives there.
I can understand this feeling, having decided to move out of my office space in Kalayaan, a space where, although I spent most of the time outside of it, feels like sanctuary. The moving out process is a sad feeling, going through the boxes, which files to discard, which ones to bring along. I will not be able to bring the big wooden divider which served as a filing cabinet and a plant box, it is too long for the new space, but maybe I will cut it up into two?
“Putedemon ta nu di mo puteden, saan kan nga makaalis!” (Cut it up now, because if you don’t cut it now, you will never leave!).
The ever practical Julia Senga, she is right. Cut and cut clean, whatever you are cutting. Leave, and whatever you leave behind, leave it with love. I have not cut the wooden divider, it seems sacrilegious to cut such a sturdy, useful piece of furniture whose life traces itself from a bank that closed in Morato Avenue. My first act was to bind two of the six red chairs, whose origins may have been in an office in Makati, purchased by someone who likes red, and have a penchant for changing furniture. I say this because the chairs looked new, and in very good condition when I found them at HMR on Pioneer Street.
If it is any consolation, whatever memories I have of this place will be with me, wherever I go. Like the lovebirds that belongs to my former staff, Bong Pineda, where the female refused to be in the box and set herself free, quietly settling on the window sill watching the cars go by, with her partner still in the box. Maybe they had a lover’s quarrel, or maybe they are no longer lovers.
In a weird way, I look back with fascination, at the experience of looking at the shadow of a clean-cut man, superimposed by the street lights on the dark wall of the office at 2:00 a.m., reaching out with his hands, pouches on top of the file boxes, and missing the black small pouch where I kept my money, and getting for himself three attractive pouches with things that only women wear.
In this office, I birthed many poems, and many words, having a life of their own, have copulated in my mind, in the quiet of dawn.
I bless this space, a space that allowed me to converse with myself and my spirit guides, a space that encouraged self-knowing.
But like all things, we move on, in response to new situations, new directions, some known, mostly unknown. The unknown excites and the uncertain can be scary, but nothing terrifies me these days, except being shot in the back, with the police saying, “Oopps, wrong target!” That would really be the ultimate moving out, without a fighting chance.
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