My neighbor Ka Agustin is now in his 90’s. He is still physically strong for his age his eyesight is still good and he can still drink hard liquor. But the amazing thing is, he broke many of my belief about aging. One is about hygiene. My mother made it her career to instill in my daughter the value of daily baths. I would hear her homiletics every morning—my siblings and I grew up under her system, and I knew that my daughter would greatly benefit from her unorthodox method of motivations—on the benefits of daily baths. My wife works and I study, so my mother was my daughter’s unpaid sitter. But what does it had to do with Ka Agustin? Well, the old man never takes a bath. He had been our neighbor for almost twenty years now, and come rainy days or summer days I have never actually seen the man wet. He wore the same clothes over and over again and this made me think that he was immutable. All his contemporaries are all dead now, and maybe this is one of the reasons why he drinks a lot today. I don’t know, but I think when a person has lived so long and saw all his contemporaries dying one by one, he realizes that longevity can be lonely. He’s still alive, reclusive, and spends his days just sitting under the talisay tree with that distant look in his eyes, clapping his hands now and then. He seldom speaks. Sometimes he smiles and claps his hands to who knows what rhythm; maybe, with his age, time just stood still somewhere in his memory and he just kept on reliving them. Who knows? The human mind is a universe in itself.
(I wrote this doodle a year ago. Mang Gustin suffered a stroke and is now bedridden.)