Mall of Asia, one of the biggest malls in this part of the world. I think malls and shopping areas give a glimpse of the culture. You see the kind of stores and the specific ones where people flock to and that tells you what is important for people living in that area.
Here, there is a floor full of salons, selling quick fixes; everything from Chinese medicine to laser treatments – flawless skin, slimmer arms, instant whitening, miracle cures. And the place, like any other mall in the Philippines on a weekend, is overflowing with people.
It seems like I have come to the right place, because all I want today is to be invisible. Where else can I better achieve that than being lost in a crowd of people, most of them seemingly obsessed with looking good.
I have been a wreck ever since I heard about the sweet 14 year old girl, my son’s best friend, whose hospital visit for a stomach ache had turned into a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. My heart has been in splinters.
Life throws curve balls at us all the time, it seems.
We go on, oblivious to that, drinking our morning coffees, complaining about the weather and posting pictures of dinner on Facebook.
So, today take a step back, step inside and it is scary. I ask myself what am I doing.
The sunset over the bay looks more purposeful than me.
As I walk away after a grand failure at capturing the sunset in my phone camera, I wonder, “Will I remember this sunset? Can I hold this in my heart – this sunset that looks so appropriate, that it feels like every single thing that happened in the day was leading right up to it?”
My cab driver wants to know if he can take me to Tagaytay on Wednesday. I smile and explain to him that I have work on Wednesday and my mind snaps back to the layer of reality attached to coffees and meetings and other important things.
That will have to be it for today – the question and the sunset. Maybe a little prayer.
But I have taken the first step and that will have to account for something…