June 8, 2006
nettles on the bed
...the Rapture of Canaan I bought (and still haven't finished reading) from a bookshop at Tacloban during the 3rd All Visayas Creative Writing Workshop while having a night-out (and a pasalubong-hunt) with Yen and Anna. For the record, I bought about 8 to 10 books, owing really much to that practice of ukay books around most places in the country.
That Zen gardening book I particularly gave to Mama because I liked it a lot and, as what usually happens nowadays, knew that she would like it, too; adding to the fact that it actually uses comparisons between reading and gardening. For the rest of them, I gave what I thought they would appreciate (including "Why is my hair curly/or straight/or something like that" for little Blanche)... I felt I did great in the choosing part, but Vincent said he didn't like Orvis and that the Sci-fi plot wasn't at all that exciting. Oh, but he liked it, I'm sure. The giving part, I mean; the whole act of me giving him something. Of course he knows I love him. A smile there, please.
I sit here, no, slump, in front of the computer, annoyed by the noise from outside the terrace because of an ongoing renovation on the 7th floor directly outside the office... I wish there's a bed here somewhere, probably in replacement of that pantry (which offers that limitless supply of water, both hot and cold, and coffee, and creamer, and water again, and sugar, and some left-over food in the ref)...
Speaking of sleeping (and going back to The Rapture of Canaan), I suddenly felt a twist there in the imagination and saw Ninah in her long and unkempt hair come out and tell me, "...I couldn't find little dots of blood on my gown and sheets."
In her world at the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, young Ninah dozed off during dinner on one of those days when everyone is gathered on one, long table. And she was punished. Punished not for dozing off while having dinner, but because she forgot her prayers.
It is the time of the year when the younger ones in the congregation work in the tobacco plantation, popping off the flowers on top of the plants. Apparently, she was exhausted by the end of the day. Her mama deeply cared for her, but that caring and concern has a branch of its own attached to the congregation's certain rules; and so it was her mama who decided that appropriate punishment be given.
Ninah would sleep in a bed of nettles. Ninah knew she was supposed to remember the crown of thorns on Jesus' head.
For forgetting your bedtime prayers while accidentally sleeping while having dinner (and that's dinner, God please help me understand the logic of the bedtime prayer) because you're tired, you get to sleep on a bed scattered with nettles.
If I were there with them, they would have given me the nails and barbed wire. And Jesus in His thorn-crown wouldn't come in my head. I would instead think of those little dots of blood that Ninah thought she'd see.