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I'm vulnerable. I'm vulnerable (but) I am not a robot.

Friday, January 23, 2015

on remembering the firsts

I find myself thinking about the early days frequently. Mostly, the scenes come back to me in flashes – that tiny macchiato I ordered for you by mistake, the swollen bits of lamb swimming in garlic and soy sauce, the beads of sweat that glistened on your forehead as I beat you in pool hockey, that first stolen kiss in the crisp, November air – they string together like tiny beads of light. And I remember thinking about them on the bus back to Manila. My fingers run through these memories the way a kid brushes over an old scar. You were sleeping right next to me, your shoulders hunched up in the cold. I adjusted the AC, put my jacket over you, and went to sleep.

NEVER thought something so sweet could become so sour but we sure knew how to hurt each other. Those moments flash back too – that night I told you I was giving up, that time you took our picture off the wall, the hurtful bullshit we said and did to each other – they scratch my skin as they zoom past. And I’m sorry I gave up. I’m sorry I tried to run away from you. When you’re in a shithole, all you can think about is climbing out and pushing through. You never stop to think that maybe you’re not alone in all of it. I wish I had seen you right there with me, grasping through the darkness because neither of us knew it could get so bad. But you never thought about leaving me. I’m sorry I did. I’m sorry I thought that I could stop loving you. That I will stop loving you. Or that maybe, I had found a way. Maybe I

STOPPED. I didn’t. That was a lie. Through the awkward silences, the passive aggressive shit we’d do to each other, through the stolen embraces while you slept and the nasty things I said but didn’t mean, a part of me held on to you. When you stopped talking to me, it felt like I lost more than a lover. I felt like I lost myself. You’ve become such a big part of who I am that at times, I wonder where you end and I begin. I knew I would never be the same. I was hollow most of the day. I walked around with empty eyes and a heavy heart. The only time I felt whole again was when I saw you. And though you looked back at me like you were about to scream bloody murder, I knew I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I knew I’d rather be in an empty house with you than anywhere in the world by myself.

LOVING you again was easy. It was like putting an old sweater on. Maybe we needed a trip to remind us why we fell in love in the first place. Or maybe we would’ve found our way back eventually anyway. Either way, once the debris had settled and we’d both run out of horrible things to say, I felt your warm, familiar fabric as it embraced my longing skin. That first night you held me even though I knew you were livid with me, I heard your breaths draw deep and sharp. It was like you you were trying really hard to push me away. But you gave up. You couldn’t. Just like me, you understood that on some cosmic level, we would always end up with each other. Thank you for truly seeing me. I still remember those first tentative kisses, the way your fingers felt like tiny little firecrackers, that night you held me again and I cried so hard I had to hang the pillows dry the next day. It felt like I was at the end of a long journey and in your arms, I had somehow found myself back home.

YOU were, you are, you will always be my life’s greatest adventure. As we made our way back to the city, the sleepy bus lights forging through the darkness, I think about the many firsts we’ve had – first date, first cup of coffee, first kiss, first time we made love. Then I add a couple of new ones – our first big fight, our first breakup, the first time we got back together, the first time that didn’t work out, the first time it actually did, the first time it felt like we’d finally figured things out – these all go into the box of memories we’ll open when we’re old and gray. I know I don’t say it much and I sure as hell don’t know how to show it half the time but it’s all there in the firsts. I didn’t need to fall back in love with you because

♫: Taylor Swift | Out of the Woods (2014)

HELLO 2015! So I was late for my own challenge. Sorry about that. Obviously, life got in the way. I spent the New Year's figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and rebuilding bridges I haphazardly burned down in my last crisis. I promise to take better care of this space this year (and lose weight, quit smoking, be a better person, yadda yadda yadda) I hope you all had a great New Year's!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

on how you should remember me

My father once taught me a secret. He said if you pressed an ear against a shell's hollow side, you could hear wave upon wave brushing upon the shore. And I always felt there was such beauty in that simple fact – the hollow never forgets where it's been. The ocean is forever alive if you listen closely. This is how I remember you.

You can tell me about the science of it all, about how they're just sound waves bouncing off walls, mimicking the sound of the tide. But if you really think about the beauty of the common conch, you'd understand that all beautiful things must die. Maybe it was alive once. Maybe it even moved. One summer, a lonely crab came upon it. She dusted him off and made him brand new. They were inseparable. They were happy. But then she moved on.

A fortune teller once told me that in my past life, I was happy. They called me California because you couldn't see anything but the sunlight when I was in the room. It's such a far cry from the man I am today. Some days, I question if I can ever be truly happy. Maybe the soul can only hold so much laughter and I've used all mine up.

What if I told you I was hollow? That you could love me all you want but all you'll get at most is your own voice echoing. Would you leave?

If you pick me up and press an ear to my heart, you will not hear the ocean singing. At first it will seem like nothing, just random beats of blood pulsing through my veins. But if you close your eyes and you picture who I was in your mind's eye, you will hear California's laughter.

The seashell echoes where it once was. This is how I want you to remember me.

♫: Sheryl Crow | Wildflower (2005)
Photo: The last trip

This Month's Roster

Monday, December 1, 2014

on conversations at 2am

"O eto, maganda. Anong mas gugustuhin mo? Yung mahal ka niya or yung mahal mo siya?"

"Siyempre yung mahal ako. Vain ako, bakit ba?"

"Ako, mas bet ko yung ako yung nagmamahal. Okay na yun. Di naman to pamasahe na dapat sinusuklian."

"Naku becks! Mahirap yan. Mahal na ang pasustento ngayon no. Rubber shoes, autoload, pati college scholarship, kasama na dapat! Tapos malalaman mo, di naman pala siya seryoso. Parang siopao love yan. Akala mo special, ayun pala bola-bola lang."

"Ha ha! Tapos ikaw naman tong asa-dong asado."

"Kurek! Eh eto. Ano ang mas masakit: yung maghiwalay kayo na in love na in love pa kayo or yung marerealize niyong unti-unti na palang nawala?"

"Naku, mahirap din yan."

"Wala ka namang ibang alam kundi mahirap yan! Ambag ambag din naman tayo, teh."

"Eh sa mahirap nga talaga. Ikaw kaya mauna."

"K fine. Ako siguro, yung in love pa kayo. Kasi malamang sa malalang may dahilan naman kaya kayo maghihiwalay diba?"

"Eh… minsan kasi yung mga gumaganyan, parang trip lang nila gumawa ng gulo eh. Kulang lang ng conflict sa life ba kaya ayun."

"Huy hindi a! Malay mo di lang talaga tama yung panahon."

"May bagyo?"

"…or yung love niyo naman talaga ang isa't isa pero parang may mali lang talaga."

"Ay trut. Alam ko yan. Sige na nga. Ikaw na tama."

"Suko agad? Agad agad?"


"Magaling magaling. Eh ikaw ba? Ano ang mas masakit para sayo?"

"Siguro yung… ma-cesarean sa likod. Ikaw kaya, padaanin ko yung sanggol dun. Tignan natin kung di ka magsisisigaw."

"Ha ha! Baliw! Yung totoo."

"Teka… siguro yung pangalawa. Yung unti-unti kayong nag-fall out of love. Parang kanser kasi yan eh. Dahan-dahan kang itetegi. Masakit yun."

"Nagka-kanser ka na noon?"


"Eh ano?"

"Basta. Alam mo na yun…"


Ano ang mas masakit: yung maghiwalay kayo na in love na in love pa kayo or yung marerealize niyong unti-unti na palang nawala? Wala namang nagsabi sa 'kin na may mas masakit pa pala dun sa dalawang yun. Pinaka-masakit yung kapit ka ng kapit, mag-isa ka nalang palang lumalaban. Tang ina. Ang sakit magising one day na marerealize mong mag-isa ka nalang palang nagmamahal. Paalam na, mahal ko. Pasensiya na't hanggang dito nalang ako.

♫: Aiza Seguerra | Ako Lang Ang Nagmahal (2013)
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