Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prologue: Cutting Maps

First draft of the prologue of the novelette I'm writing. :) Wish me luck on this endeavor!
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When he looked at the big picture, he realized it was all tantamount to ‘cutting maps’, a little personal project he had when he was in high school.

The class was studying Alfred Wegener's theories then. He wasn’t much of a studious kid, but the continental drift intrigued him so much to a point he decided to do a hands-on experiment on it. He took a world map, cut the continents and countries, and attempted to fit the arches and gaps so that they would form a single whole. There were little chips and gaps here and there, but the little pieces fit, like interlaced fingers of destined lovers, like the curves of a woman and canyons of a man…

Sometimes he would cut a Philippine map, but would easily give up when the little paper isles would be blown away by even his softest breath. Needless to say he preferred scissoring bigger islands. He made it a habit to buy world maps in different colors and to kill time by cutting and then pasting them together. He used to tape them up to his bedroom wall, the paper continents as Pangaea; he used to look up at them at night, subtly illuminated by the glow-in-the-dark stickers of constellations near the ceiling. He remembered musing about how even the biggest land formations could have their own partners, albeit ones—in the present—they couldn’t truly hold again the way they used to. At least according to Wegener.

He took down the map fragments when he had his heart broken for the first time. He cursed Wegener, cursed the supercontinent, cursed himself for comparing the land forms to soulmates. He thought about those times and couldn’t help but smile a little, thinking how silly he had acted.

Now, he wondered if it would be a good idea to buy a new map and cut it again. In such a short span of time he could confidently say he’d grown as a person, as a real man. He could try to put the continents together again, this time appreciating the gaps in between because perhaps those are the spaces they needed so they could grow more…perhaps those are not variants of hellholes at all, like he used to believe years ago.

He stopped when he realized he was comparing the continents to soulmates again.

But does it really matter? For all he knew his life has been and always will be this one big Panthalassa and all the people that have come to his life is but a shard of his broken Pangaea. No matter how close he thinks he is to a person, there would always be a hairsbreadth of distance between them. They need to breathe. They need to fill out more by themselves.

Yes. Tonight, he’d buy a couple of world maps and cut them. He wouldn’t pin the pieces on the wall; he would keep them between the pages of a favorite dog-eared book the same way a woman would keep a rose in her diary until it all dry up, petals and memories…

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