The Sunbaked King

0990 United Nations Avenue (I)

It was raining that day. I stepped out of the train and onto the platform with no umbrella in tow. I had little time to digest that I was actually here, in UN Avenue, in this little corner of Metro Manila called Manila. The other passengers rushed past me, confident in their step. It was their turf after all. I, on the other hand, watched these people pass by with a little bit of envy and panic. I had no way of crossing, not without an umbrella, and the place… the place looked new. I have never been here before. A stranger in an even stranger land, I stood at one corner of the station steps and waited.

A few tense minutes later, one of my colleagues tapped me by the shoulder. My relief was unmistakable. She had an umbrella.

That was the beginning of almost four years of travelling to and fro that magical avenue. The routes and vehicles have changed over the years. From jeep-MRT-LRT, I decided to go jeep-jeep when I was running out of cash. When I had a bump in position and a consequent bump in salary, I went for FX-LRT, and finally, I contented myself with taxi rides. But whatever the route, it was the same destination: a big, imposing building on UN Avenue, right beside NBI, and right in front of the casino. That has remained quite untouched for over 60 years now. Even before I thought of being there, the building had held millions of memories.

And since Friday, the 27th of February, 0990 United Nations Avenue held one more.

Despite the stressful commuting during the morning, the lack of travel options that would take me from Guadalupe to United Nations in a single ride, the sights and smells of Manila streets, and any other little thing that I could nitpick in order to convince myself that I did the right thing by leaving, I found a home and a cozy little corner in that imposing building on 0990 United Nations Avenue.

I will miss the way Manila Pavilion’s bright colored lights filled up its facade during the evenings; I will miss the trips down to Manila Doctors’ Hospital’s convenience store; I will miss the take-outs at McDonald’s, the lunches at Delifrance, the dinners at the now-defunct Chiggy’s. I will even miss Mokenzo, that mini-mart beside Max’s that one day in 2005 displayed a sign that it would be closed for inventory for 2 weeks but until now, never opened again. I will miss the chicken balls vendor. I will miss the coffee vending machine that I never really used. I will miss the sprawling lawn. I will miss the banks. I will miss the spacious lobby. I will miss the world’s slowest elevators. I will miss the theater and its wonderful acoustics. I will miss that place. I will miss that home.

Leaving home is never the easiest thing to do.


Filed under: Rat Race, Utter Sadness

6 Responses

  1. whiteph says:

    I have a good idea where you were at or where you are working. πŸ™‚

    But these words struck me most: Leaving home is never the easiest thing to do. Right. It can never be easy as it is depressing.

  2. kerwinray says:

    It’s pretty easy to figure out now. Try sending something through that address and it will reach me.

    Not anymore, though. Wah!

  3. Jay says:

    Goodluck on your new journey.

  4. kerwinray says:

    Thanks, Jay. Tomorrow is a brand new day. πŸ™‚

  5. ngangi :p says:

    wing, where ka na now? i miss you! πŸ™‚

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