Benny and I were hanging out at the UP Theatre office when it happened. We were joking around, talking about geek stuff like horror movies and superheroes. We were bored. But hell, what do you expect from two late-twenties guys doing mind-numbing things like write insanely-late book copies for gay directors?
Anyway, there I was standing by the building window looking out. We were on the third floor so I couldn’t see the road with all the trees near us but above the branches I could see the administration building. The university was sleepy quiet in the late afternoon summer and I could hear one or two jeepneys passing by University Avenue.
At first, the sight of the young guy, saddle bag at his side, and walking aimlessly through the grass brought me my own melancholic moment. I remembered when I used to do that. With only a few bucks in my pocket, I would kill time during classes by wandering around the university and listening to the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees. You thought you were alone– until you heard the laughter of a girl in the air and wondered about possibilities.
I saw a maintenance man leave from the nearby Carillion Tower and head in the student’s direction. His back towards me, he was dragging his rake and leaving furrows of ripped grass behind him. I turned around to make a snarky comment to Benny and when I looked back, the student was down on the ground. The maintenance man was standing over him, his mouth open, the rake flying over his head. There was wet red on the rake’s tines.
The maintenance man kept doing this until the student stopped moving. Then he headed towards the street. From where I stood, from the glass that separated me from the world, I had heard no sound of what had happened below me. It was like watching television without the sound turned on.
I kept watching until I couldn’t see him anymore.
(First posted Friday, July 11, 2008 at 3:23 A.M.)