Friday, April 2, 2010


Six months back, in February, as the landscape of my life had begun undergoing radical change, there was also literal change in landscapes I had touched. For the first time in years there would be no Duvalier in Port-au-Prince and no Marcos in Manila, places that had figured big in my sometimes effacing and sometimes grandiose image of myself – only six moths back, as if it were all right here right now in this year that held the promise that everything could forever be different.

It was only three years before this when we were underground in Manila, and Aquino was killed, and I was in the last faint surge of my failing marriage Рwhich compounded a increasingly surrealistic picture, for I was married a girl named Anne Ang I had met in Manila at a time I had gone back to Southeast Asia and knew I was merely repeating myself. Still married to Anne three year ago even though the reasons now seemed so far fetched Рshe looked and sounded so right for the life of romance I had wanted. So unlikely that this could be a repetition of anything. But by the time I was dealing with Aquino and the revolution I was beginning to face the fact that I had become a clich̩ stock figure, for no matter how hard I tried for something different it was becoming clear that I was just another guy who had married his mother.

No, Anne was not a right-wing Republican and she seemed free of racial bigotry and did not brag about upper class genes, and she rarely drank to excess. Yet we could not stop shouting at each other. It had been a relief when Max and I decided it was obligatory, for the sake of the book, that I go spend time on the West Coast and then take thrilling risks in the Philippines. A relief to get away from my own Philippine household in New York by going to the Philippines. My bride who told me I should never criticize family, that I should tell my mother I loved her and, moreover, I should stop staying bad things about Princeton since everyone knew it was a very good school.

These were things I was thinking of too as I drove around Vermont. As I started on my way back to something I sensed I had once known or approached.

This trip back that necessitated committing murder, figurative at least. I though of how at one of those meeting in the city everyone had shouted and applauded when a girl stood up holding the front page of that day's Daily News, which was about a cheerleader on Long Inland who had just murdered her father, who had been molesting her since she was very small. All of us applauding patricide.

Cleansing murder. Death did not seem far away in this summer of new life. Not my own death. That death seemed farther way then ever. But there were these others….

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