I’m sitting in bed in my hotel room in Boracay; just two feet away, the sun is pummeling the flagstones of the wraparound porch. As always, I can feel the tug of the water—the liquid making up 75 per cent of my body longing for its primordial home. If I stayed too long in that generative matrix, however, I would quickly die.
This is what it means to be human in these postmodern times: we can never come home. We can only remember, reminisce, hope and move on.
This past week, I’ve been surrounded by friends who’ve gone abroad, married and settled in the countries of their husbands’ births. There’s the friend from Paris, the friend from Zurich, the friend from Berlin and the friend from London. Of course, over the course of catching up, we talked about the friend in Los Angeles, the friend in Boston, the friend in Sydney, the friend in Singapore, the friend in Shanghai . . . and so on and so forth. And of course, over the course of catching up, I asked them if they ever saw themselves coming “home” in the future.
It’s an imprecise question on many levels. Where is home? (For my friend in Paris, do I mean Manila or do I mean Naga? For my friends in Zurich, Berlin and London, do I mean Singapore, Manila or Davao?) And why do I even ask, as if where they are isn’t home at all?
In a few minutes, I’m leaving my hotel and going off to find the water. I probably won’t go in (I love the sea, but I rarely feel compelled to swim in it). I just want to look at the waves and listen to the roar. Because there are moments when, after I sit and look and listen long enough, I do feel the slightest tinge of home.