Days with the red carpet: Ode to the unemployed

She’s not entirely jobless. She’s got some left on her hands somehow—remnant tasks she couldn’t afford to leave behind. So she’d rather go for its twin—unemployed. She’s unemployed. It has been two months since that classic exit she shared with what she considered as her “professional family” for over a year. Her first job. Yes. Her first job. Ended. Two months ago. And now, she’s lying on the red carpet she shared with two other friends, somewhere in the middle of the big city,eyeing the ceiling with such intensity, imagining the words she would use to immortalize this part of her uncanny life.

June 27, 2012 onwards. Every day was like a drawing book. I have the book. It’s full of blank pages. Every sunrise, I have to get up, grab a pen, open the book, and stare at each empty canvass. During the first few days of my big city expedition, the sketches I trace, the colours I took, the angles I furnished, everything seemed like the decision was made for me. Everything was a given. Me and my housemates-slash-high-school-buddies-slash-friends-for-life. We’d eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’d meet up with old and new friends. We’d go house shopping. We’d go food tripping. We’d go malling. We’d go drinking. We’d go clubbing. And everything in between.

The first week. I was thinking, applying for various jobs might be very exciting. Jobstreet was the place to be. A day has passed. Then two. It became three. And then I got calls. Received emails. Accepted interviews. Took exams. The problem? They were from different companies. A number of them. But not one seemed to appeal to me. I got to have some rethinking. And I did it at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, one unforgettable Tuesday afternoon. Alone. With the flashy water fountains. With the people releasing their stress by smoking. Over a slice of cake and loads of iced teas at Banapple.

Almost a month after. Everything was a blur. The Magnum stick left above the table. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf cup standing quiescently at the corner of the fridge. The 7-eleven spoon and fork, and a tissue lying somewhere on the floor. The missing ticket from that Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa night at the UP Film Institute Cine Adarna. The crumpled Moonleaf container reaching for the bin’s exit. The baptised three-inch heels, fresh from the Republiq dancing and drinking spree. The Toblerone wrappers rolled in the deepest part of the trash can. The Montaño sardines vessel desperately looking for its bottle cover. The crying laptop screen, begging not to continue that epic online job anymore. Everything. Yes. Was a blur.

July 27, 2012. I’m still jobless. Or rather, unemployed. On the verge of being worthless. And hopeless. The paintings and sketches in my drawing book gradually fade into sticks and stones and twigs and pebbles. The decision was not ready-made anymore. I see the pencil in my hands. I almost forgot I was the one holding it. I almost forgot I ruled my own world. I almost forgot the me I used to be.

A minute has passed. She got up from her reverie. Standing at the red carpet. Feeling the rough texture beneath her feet. Admiring the intricate patterns of red flowers and green leaves. Today is July 27, 2012. She looks at their lemon clock. And it reminded her when life gives her lemons, she should make lemonades. So she ambled her way to the kitchen and made herself one fresh lemon drink.


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