translated by Adadol Ingawanij
He follows the figure half-concealed in the shadow, probably the same figure that up to now has been standing frozen in the middle of the town square. All of a sudden, in the dream, the figure steps down from the plinth on which it has been elevated, a concrete plinth decorated with concrete flowers, before disappearing into the darkness.
Of course, the figure leads them into darkness, and abandons them somewhere in this mysterious geography – in this eternally cursed land
Did they come from another world? Or were they lost children? These answers we can’t know for sure. All we know is that they made it here, to this strange world whose citizens are content to let the dark shadows envelop them while they gaze at the movements up there, look, there, from the warm cocoon of their seats. They probably made their way to this place by following the figure that stepped off the plinth. It doesn’t really matter how they got here. What matters is that they came to sit here, among us, among the people who came before, and those who followed them here, among those who have already left, and those who have yet to arrive.
We made friends without having met each other. The world of darkness we exist in gives us this freedom. Up there, where the images flicker, our faces reflect each other’s. We communicate without having to look at each other, by looking at the same thing. Ours is another world, another form of bonding. All we ask is for the room to be dark and the light to keep flickering. We’ll meet there. We’ll breathe the same air, touch each other, there.
They left traces of themselves here, in the land illuminated by light. We do not know each other in this land, separated as we are by borders, distance, class, language, history, genes – all things to keep us apart from one another. All we can do is follow those traces they left behind, and keep dreaming that we’ll see each other again, in our warm, dark world, in the world lit only by the light that falls dancing on the flat plane.
Truly we are fragile, we humans. Our bones are made of glass and our flesh and blood as thin as the stretched surface of a balloon. An instant trigger leads to eternal parting. Brings us to a dark place, another kind of dark, bottomless, place. This place can only come to us by rupturing the world illuminated by light.
A kind of darkness that doesn’t exist in our warm, dark world.
Their traces are slowly fading, fading bit by bit like ice melting in a glass, like the gradual cooling of the body once we begin to let go of that which we had been clinging to.
In truth this world where light reaches is so much sadder, so much more insane, than our warm, dark world.
Even so, we can be sure of one thing: When the light illuminating the world begins to dim, and the faint flicker from our dark world begins to glow brighter, bit by bit, we will meet again.
We’ll meet again.
For Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc
Inspired by a sequence from Evolution of a Filipino Family (Lav Diaz)