Thursday, September 17, 2020

Growing at the ends of the earth

Early morning treat: At the Ends of the Earth by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Kurt Beals.
There is nothing better for a child than to grow up at the ends of the earth. There’s not much traffic there, so the asphalt is free for roller-skating, and parents don’t have to worry about any bad guys roaming around. What business would a bad guy have on a dead-end street?

I often look out the street where I used to play games with the kids. It used to be a dirt road. Ours was an unassuming, working class neighborhood, in a quiet and almost unheard-of part of the country. So much has changed since I left to study in Manila. But kids, I'm happy to say, often roam around, usually in the afternoons, perhaps after their online classes. As I was reading a book in the porch, hidden by the overgrowth of white bougainvillea that has remained untrimmed since the pandemic, I overheard a conversation between friends, "Siguro marami kang jowa, 'no?" 


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