This week, I came face to face with my inner claustrophobic. En route to my sister's place, with four of us squeezed in the backseat, I felt a shortness of breath followed by something close to panic. It was like being sucked into a black hole, like the time I came this close to drowning. It took me a couple of minutes to get past the panicky stage.
Come to think of it, I am the type who needs to have space--physically and otherwise. I gave up big-city living because I needed breathing space. Because I realized that Sorsogon Street was merely a stand in for the real thing. I wanted to be where there are still big, sheltering trees, where the beach isn't just an ad on a travel magazine but a 15-minute drive.
Four days in Manila is more than I can manage. Time enough, I guess, for a party, or a trip to the bookstore. For gelato and affogato and catching up with the family. Time enough for things urban, including stewing in traffic and not feeling guilty for a cup of coffee that costs more than the average worker's daily wage.
I could have stayed for a few more days, but restlessness was setting in, and I couldn't risk another anxiety attack. The concrete jungle is no match to highways framed by rice fields.
I am officially a probinsyana.