Why is it so comfortable in my cocoon? Looking at pictures of my friends in Facebook, pictures of them traveling the world, getting married, having fun at parties, getting drunk at concerts, only reminds me of how much I love being home everyday, watching TV, eating junk food, writing on my blog, listening to semi-obscure bands on YouTube, reading fiction novels… I don’t even go out into our garden and play with our dog. And sometimes, I’m bothered when the people at home talk to me, even if it’s just to ask me if I’m eating lunch.

A while back, I read a short story by a local author Luis Katigbak. The title is Subterrania, and it’s about a girl named Kaye, who for no clear reason (at least, it wasn’t really explained in the story), just lost the inclination to go out one day, and just stayed in her room all the time, watching anime, reading books, listening to J-Pop. Even her best friend couldn’t get her to go to a concert, which she apparently used to like to do. I guess I liked the story so much because I could relate to her, even then. Even when I was still new at my job, meeting new people, going out to dinner with friends… I could relate so much to wanting to shut out the entire world and just living in my own universe, without anybody. But I don’t think you’re supposed to relate to her. Wasn’t the point of the story to show how strange it is to be locked in your own world?

I don’t feel it’s strange at all. On the contrary, what I find strange is how other people like to go out, how they like to socialize and party. I mean, isn’t it tiring having to go around the city? Aren’t they bothered about all the second-hand smoke and other kinds of pollution? Don’t they get bored with all the small talk that they need to have with people they don’t know very well to be polite?

I was looking at my friend’s pictures of when she attended her friend’s wedding, and all I could think was how I’m so happy not to have been invited to any wedding for the past several years, because then I’d have to spend money on a dress appropriate to wear to a wedding, and shoes to match. And then I’d have to smile all the time. I don’t like it. But at the back of my mind, I always wonder if it’s a bad thing that I’m happy not to attend any weddings. I mean, doesn’t that mean that I don’t have many friends? And isn’t not having many friends a bad thing? Doesn’t that mean that I’m not a good person?

People have been pretty nice to me, after all. I mean, in general. The friends I’ve managed to make are really excellent people. But there are times, particularly these days, that I feel so far away from them. They talk about the things they do, the things they think about, and it’s so different from anything I’m interested in that I can’t understand them at all. And so even when there’s a birthday, sometimes, I can’t even bring myself to post a greeting on their Facebook page, or send them a text message. I feel like I’m disturbing their world somehow, their world that I’m not a part of.

I just feel like it’s so much better for me to just be in my room all the time. Alone. Not subject to the rules of society. Not disturbing anyone.

“I love these things… these stories, these songs—because even the worst of them, in their own way, are perfect. Better than a life of uncertainty. They have beginnings and endings. I get the world distilled, you know, in its purer form. Even news stories on CNN have lifespans. They don’t cover certain events forever. Everything begins and everything ends, and that’s wonderful. You know what’s going on when you read a book, when you listen to a song or look at a painting. Or even if you don’t know what’s going on, you know that there are underlying reasons for everything. All these things are perfect flawed worlds. This room is my perfect flawed world…”

– Kaye, Subterrania


If you’d like to read the entire Subterrania short story, click here.


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