On my way home tonight

I usually enjoy my midnight, half-hour trips home. This is one of the things I love most about working in Alabang. In fact, this is precisely why I chose to work near the suburbs of Manila, when most other exciting things are happening nearer to the heart of the city.

I like that I can take my time, linger half an hour more or so in front of my computer, walk to the jeepney stop at my leisure, and still feel rested when I arrive home. I like that I don't feel sticky from the city smog, and that my hair still smells like the shampoo I used in the morning.

I like that there's no traffic, and that sometimes, I'm all alone in the jeep all the way to the 7'11 that marks the entrance to my village.

It can be midnight, one or even three in the morning, and still I feel safe. I've lived here all my life.

This is probably why I didn't know how to react when I saw a man masturbating behind a post along the same walkway I pass through every night. He was hiding, but not exactly hiding, watching everyone passing by as he did his thing.

I could see his body, his hands, and, if I had stopped to look closer, god-knows-what-else. He was standing in the light, a few of the bright spots in front of a building that is still being constructed. I have the impression of an all-brown get-up, no shoes. His hair was big, matted. I don't remember anything else, except the blur of his furiously moving hands.

My first instinct was to pretend I didn't see what he was doing; my not acknowledging it a safety measure, an offer, that all could still be well.

I walked as far away from him as I could on the walkway. Considered looking for one of the security guards to report the man. Reconsidered it. Considered the likelihood that the man was missing a few bolts in his head.

And now I'm home safe, telling my best friend about it on YM, blogging about it, wondering if there was anything more precise that I should have felt, aside from the urge to just blot it out and pretend it hadn't happened.