Good evening, not good night*

by joanabagano

image by Tikoo Roka

Crisp leaves fresh from the boughs fall lightly on the Sunken Garden. I look down and up again to see a few more of these rust-colored foliage fall and get swayed by the cold breeze of March. Under the trees, students spend time with friends, alone or with a lover. They make the most out of the afternoon here, before the sun sets and before UP retires to bed.

My eyes readjust their focus to an ice cream vendor pushing his cart on the bike lane. It is the side of the road he shares with joggers, walk-a-thoners and others who don’t choose the sidewalk. At this time of day, people who want to keep fit start doing their regular routines.

I continue walking on the leaves until I find myself a rather grassy spot to sit on. The Sunken Garden is not very green at this time of year, maybe due to the cold, dry weather. It looks unkempt for a moment but when I look again, I see that it is trimmed well, though some parts look barer than the others. I impulsively decide not to sit so I continue walking.

The smell of sour sweat from a man who walks by is accompanied by his own strong perfume. I hold my breath for a while and shift my attention to the players on the garden. It is a good time to exercise the body – which reminds me I need to walk a few more meters to the dorm. The sun is now near its brightest shade of orange.

Along the sidewalk, I find myself pretty amazed at the newly-constructed brick path in time for the commencement exercises. I enjoy reading the names carved on the sides, wondering about their own UP experience and where they are now. Their graduation year ranges from 1950-2008. A lifetime. Some of my friends say that being an Iskolar ng Bayan is a lifetime. I think of the years again and nod my head.

As I continue walking, the orange sun begins to take effect on the color of the world. It grows brighter while the sky becomes darker. Soon, the moon will take its place. At this time of year, days are longer than nights and as I have observed, sunsets are brighter and also longer in duration. I meet a friend who just bought isaw (chicken innards) in front of the International Center. He offers me some. I say, “Sure!” but don’t take one since I am in a hurry to go home.

Once again, brown leaves rustle and then fall from almost-barren trees. It’s fall in front of Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall.

I’ve been staying in this university for a year already, that’s about 200 sunsets, and I try to count how many I’ve witnessed consciously. I walk on smiling that I don’t get to appreciate often and resolving that tomorrow, I will watch the sun go down.

Before I enter my dorm sweet dorm, I look at the sky and see the first star twinkle.

*I wrote this when I was still a freshman in UP. I have just been tagged as graduating and I’ve still only watched a few sunsets, proof that there are just some resolutions we feel passionate about one minute and then abandon the next. I am not going to promise any more watching sunsets this time.

**I can only smile at how I wrote back then.