The sun has just set and I am drowning in a pool of voices, of familiar sounds, of unfamiliar sounds. I can hear sixty people talking at a rate unsurpassed by even that of light. Not one word uttered is clear, except those of the couple on the next bench. They seem to be quarreling about a certain text message that the girl read from the guy’s mobile phone. I can hear clearly the gleeful heartbeat of the guy in the thought that his girlfriend gets jealous over some woman. The twitches of his nerves sound as if he has become manlier than he was minutes ago. To be a bone of contention, to him, is a manifestation of attractive qualities, massive libido, and whelming sex-appeal. Some twenty meters away I can hear a group of people laughing, and then another, then another.

Happiness becomes epidemic; it instantly spreads despite distance regardless of reason or affinity. Laughter reverberates until it finally reaches the ears, now vague of meaning and loose wavelengths. It makes you hear how hollow their joy is, how empty each giggle. The deep hollow voices that scream with joy, happiness and love. Endless bellows to the people, to the birds, to the universe, and to the void. An endless pit that captures sounds from light-years and centuries away. No matter how old or soft. It is the void which keeps the roars of dinosaurs and the first volcano. It is the void that shelters the breathe that God inhaled through Adam’s nose, Adam’s first wheeze as he walked alone in the Garden of Eden, and Adam’s first moan as he made love with the first woman. The void is the sanctuary of God’s first word as he created and punished man and woman. It keeps the first cries in the battle of Olympus under the greatness of Zeus. It remembers the agony of Christians who were burned by Nero, their pain and their begging. It has heard Christ, in his own voice, ask God to spare him from the sufferings he was about to have. It hears all just as it has heard everything and keeps them just as a mother would keep her child from wolves and beasts. Even the sound of every key is kept. Sound forever escapes oblivion.

Now I can hear someone talking on the bench just behind me. The intensity is strong and the pitch is high. Again, I vaguely identify words but the passion that accompanies each word is clear. Love and hatred are heard, infinite altruism. Woman’s voice betrays her words as she tells man she no longer wants to be with him. Woman is afraid and confused but her tone exudes the conscious effort to make him believe that she no longer loves him while man‘s voice suppresses desperation. Desperation to kiss her, to tell her everything he feels, to make love to her again. Sounds betray us. They falter just when you need to sound convincing, they give hunches of insincerity, they keep you from screwing lies. Before I left for school this morning I told my grandmother I will be attending a seminar and that I have to pay 300.00 for its registration. This is a lie but I’m sure she did not notice; old people have impaired hearing.

As I am typing this essay at home, I am hearing a rather extraordinary voice while the dogs are barking. It sounds so ethereal and creepy and I am alone. It’s a sound that seems to come from a clairvoyant creature that has risen from the fires of hell to harass benevolent souls. It’s like the sound you hear from a Kris Aquino movie and I just can’t seem to get it off my head (Si nanay,si nanay, may inuwi si nanay).Something like that. It pesters the spirit. It’s repeating the same words in a fixed and disturbing tune until suddenly it tells me that the end is near and so he faces his final curtain. I had to close my window before he tells me he’ll do it his way.

But sometimes men really do hear voices, for the void has cracks that were made from centuries to millennia of struggle. Each voice has its life, each voice wants to be heard and remembered again; a phantom that would want history to repeat itself. There is a narrow slit that allows the voice of God to escape in space, to travel from atom to atom until it settles between stained glasses of amazing facades. It is God’s voice that whispers to us in churches, that tells us what to do, that makes us believe again, that gives us strength to forgive the unforgivable. It then becomes a cycle, turns of unending melodies, God’s words in songs, sung in thin air towards eternity and beyond. Except that these sounds add up to the collective. Posing a serious threat to the void for it becomes vulnerable to explosion. The slits will become bigger and then the whole void will tear and then an explosion. Blows that will deafen even the gods and goddesses, kings and queens, empires and nations. But God does not exist and the whispers we hear are the voices we create in our head, a desperate consolation to ourselves, a delusion.


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