Sunday, December 23


There it is: my death on print, immortalized. The arrangement of the letters is so familiar that I recognize it instantly, even if I had been surveying the various robberies and homicides with a cursory glance and the typeface couldn't have been more than a quarter inch. Nevertheless, I see it, all nine letters, and I swallow a nameless dread alongside half-chewed pan de sal. I fold the broadsheet in half and flatten it on the table, so I can read the rightmost column on Page 6.

Police are blaming the dense fog on the intersection of Ayala and Senator Gil Puyat Avenues early Sunday morning for the death of a 29-year-old bank teller who was hit by a bus as he was crossing the street.

Philip Lee, a resident of #7 Albany Street, Cubao, Quezon City, sustained head injuries and was rushed to nearby Ospital ng Makati where he was declared dead on arrival.

According to witness accounts, Lee was last seen walking from the post office to the direction of EDSA before bystanders heard a loud screech from a Newman Goldliner bus (TXJ-710) bound for Leveriza.

Sure, accidents happen, but a namesake’s death sticks in your throat on a chilly Monday morning, with its bag of hot pan de sal and illusion of newness. When I was 12, I opened the phonebook to "L" and there were, I found, 17 Philip Lee’s in Metro Manila alone. Even then, on an intuitive level, I knew that I shared something with these people, something more than writing the same letters on documents and answering to the same name. Some form of solidarity. An affinity. Thinking about this gives me a nice feeling, and God knows I need all the happy thoughts in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment