Data–Sierra Madre Ext.–Sierra Madre–Onyx–Ruby–Velasco–Lantican–Pancho–Juliano–F Park–Cuzner–Lopez–Santos

6:11 pm

Dear J,

Weird—but walking, to me, has become interchangeable with stopping. It’s like coming home from a day outdoors. Tired, I choose to play a game on my phone rather than, say, nap. It’s rest via motion—which invites me to ponder: How does this epoch we are unfortunate to be part of understands quiescence? Are we still even somnolent? Do intervals still exist? Do we still even take time to dream?

Tell me, do you do the same when you write? Do you write to rest? It doesn’t seem like it. Often, especially when I’m being careless, writing becomes a chore. But that’s the quandary: identities are so blurred these days you are in crisis almost every moment. Boundaries are so unclear and so we allow ourselves to be hurt more often than we can tolerate.

The fish vendor closes shop late to accommodate late buyers but wakes up early to accommodate early buyers. She can’t separate herself from the very fish she is selling.

When I asked Vincenz what he plans to do with walking, he responded with no hesitance: “I just want to try the food at Quiapo.” I was surprised to hear such a lucid answer and insisted in getting a more esoteric one. I couldn’t accept that after being inspired by all the feedback I got from the workshop—already planning all the walks to come in my head—here was someone, who has walked more streets than I ever had, saying that he walks to eat Chinese food that he may have eaten many times already!

And so I asked again. He repeated his answer but with a half smile—his teeth glued to each other, his voice hissing out of tiny crevices—and a look that was miffed in a funny way.

Finally sensing my desire to be taught, he indulged. He went on to tell me that in his walks, the person who walks is just a persona he created. He said that he doesn’t have to be it. In other words, Vincenz knows his boundaries. In other words, Vincenz knew I was being a fish.