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I don't look a thing like Jesus but I talk like a gentleman.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

spit

“Why is it that you seem so miserable when you’re in love?” a friend asked in a blunt, monotonous tone. Her straightforwardness caught me off guard. I almost spit out the coffee I had in my mouth.

“What makes you think that?” I asked, ignoring the fact that it’s rude to answer a question with another question.

“It’s just… I don’t know how to say it. It seems like…”

“Just say it. There’s no point in beating around the bush.” I interrupted.

“Okay. Before this mess, you were so sane. And then this person comes and all of a sudden you’re forgetful and quiet and always distracted. I don’t know what to make of it. You say you’re serious this time; that you aren’t playing anymore. It seems to me like you’re playing a lot of games and neither of you really know the rules.”

“I don’t know. I’m not in love,” I said. “I, uh, I don’t believe in love anymore.” She raised an eyebrow as I struggled to explain.

I wanted to sound as witty as possible but I’m pretty sure it didn’t seem that way to her. I took another sip of my Americano and thought of a way to change the topic.

“As a generation, we have lost the capacity to love. We are all just mounds of flesh filled to the brim with lust, need and friskiness.”

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Deny something’s existence because you failed at it. Of course, love exists. We’ve talked about that so many times before.”

“I’m sure decades ago, it still existed but nowadays, no one takes the time to fall in love anymore. We’ve become so honest and so comfortable with each other that it kills any chance for romance to bloom.”

“You’re twenty-three. How would you know how things were back then?”

“It’s clearly depicted in movies. Back then, scriptwriters and directors took the time to show how love begins and blossoms. These days, a man meets a woman, they do it and boom! They’re in love.”

“Okay but that doesn’t really tell me anything about love and honesty. How can you say that being honest and comfortable kills romance? Isn’t it good that people in this decade are more open to sex and intimacy?”

“There is no intimacy. Like I said, there is only lust…”

“Need and friskiness. Yes, I got that the first time.”

“We’re too honest. No one takes the time to pretend they’re okay anymore. All we ever do is whine and complain. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that a boyfriend is someone who will listen when you’re having a bad day at work or whenever things don’t go your way. How can we ever fall in love when we spend most of the time complaining?”

“So are you saying that to fall in love, we need to pretend? I thought the whole point of falling in love was to share your life with someone, not censor it. How do you truly love when you’re not really being yourself?

Suddenly, a man walked by our table and let out a huge glob of spit. The afternoon sun reflected on the bubbles that formed on the surface.

“Think of it this way: no one spits on the street. It’s gross, it’s tactless and very rude. Think of love as a street and we are people with spit in our mouths. The polite thing to do would be to quietly suffer with spit in our mouths or swallow. Instead, because we have been too comfortable with each other, we spit on the street. He spits on the street. She spits on the street. You and I spit on the street. Sooner or later, that spit collects and now we’re drowning in a massive sea of saliva and phlegm and no one wants to take the blame.”

“That’s gross and doesn’t really stand to reason. Plus I don’t think you know too much about love to form a valid opinion,” she retorted.

“I don’t know everything about love but I think I know enough.”

“So where does that leave you? Are you going to pretend everything’s peachy for the rest of your life? Is that why you pull away the minute you feel like it’s starting to get serious? Does that mean you’re just going to spend the rest of your life playing with other people? Swallowing your spit while they drown you with theirs? That’s not very nice.”

“No, it isn’t.” We were quiet after that. Too many things said and unsaid, I guess.

“Can’t we talk about something else?” I asked, breaking the silence. “I swear, that man’s spit looks like it’s got a life of its own.”

“I know, right? So gross.” We carried on the rest of the afternoon talking about other things. A true friend knows when to stop prying.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I was still thinking about her question. Was I really miserable? After spending close to an hour twisting and turning in bed, I gave up and decided to spend the remaining hours of my night doing something else.

I sat in bed practically motionless. Questions. So many questions. What did my friend see in me that I couldn’t? Why do I pull away the moment things get serious? Did I mean the things I said or was I just feeding her bull to numb the ache of failure?

There, in the comfort of my solitude, I let down my walls and tried to be honest. If I can’t be honest with myself, who can I be honest with?

I went to the bathroom. The fluorescent light was harsh and it took my eyes some time to adjust. I inspected my face. The days have not been kind. I need a haircut. My face seemed rough and coffins of pimples laid to rest glared at me like some haunted audience. I turned on the tap and let it run for a few moments. I cupped the water in my hands and splashed it on my face.

In the mirror, I looked the enemy straight in the eye. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest. I know I said I don’t believe in love anymore. Truth is, I just stopped believing it could happen to me.


The Killers
Smile Like You Mean It
Hot Fuss


Friday, October 16, 2009

molar support

Sometimes, I wonder if I said goodbye to you too easily. Maybe there was a way for us to be together. Maybe I gave up on you too quickly. But I shouldn’t be thinking about that now. I should focus on healing, on making sure that after all is said and done I can be the person I was before I knew you existed.

It’s funny. When you’re hurting, you feel like your pain is so unique- as if you’re the only person in the whole world who could feel that way. I learned that it isn’t so. A lot of my friends have gone through the same thing. They met their own versions of you. Some of them suffered through the storm. Others (like me) bailed at the first sign of pain.

There was one friend in particular who told me she tried her best to live with the pain. She said it took years before she finally wised up and got rid of the problem. After the heartache and the healing, she wondered why she didn't get rid of it earlier. She said I was lucky that we parted ways before you had a chance to cause serious damage. I wondered if I was truly lucky. If it was for my own good, why does it hurt so much? Maybe I needed the years of pain. Maybe I needed to be hurt by you to know that I couldn’t be with you.

Maybe I should've thought twice before I made any rash decisions. Maybe I hit the brakes too soon.

Ice cream. You know how much I hate ice cream. Sometimes, you felt the pain I would feel whenever I eat this sweet, cold torture device disguised as dessert. Call it masochism. Call it obedience. Call it stupidity but after all this, this whatever-this-is, it’s the only thing that's kept me sane. I’ve eaten nothing but ice cream since you left. Chocolate, mango, ube, vanilla- it didn't matter. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet, icy pleasure it brought. Perhaps I’ve gone mad. Perhaps I was numbing the pain of being without you. All I know is it made the pain go away and for that I am forever grateful for this saccharine gift of God.

After you left, the pain was almost immediate. I couldn’t walk. I felt like I was going to die. Even breathing felt like such a chore. My daily routine felt like a death sentence. I just wanted to stay in bed all day, hiding from the sunlight and other things I imagined would hurt. I didn’t think I would find the strength to move on and live but I did.



Saying goodbye is never easy. As I wrap you in a small plastic bag and throw you in a box marked PERSONAL, I know that I'll be okay again soon. One day, we’ll meet again and hopefully when that time comes, it won’t hurt as much. Take care, dear impakto impacted molar. I’ll never forget you.

Michelle Branch
Goodbye To You
The Spirit Room

BUDDUMP-BUMP TSSHHHH. So the Philippine Blog Awards in Luzon was held last week and in all the excitement, I completely forgot that my blog turned five years old! Even though I so wanted to go, I couldn’t because I had work and stuff. Good thing my friend YJ was there and he sent me these super cool pictures.



The collage idea was super cool. I must admit, seeing my screenshot on the wall made me tear up a little. I was a little sad at first when he called me to say that I lost but when I found out who won, I knew the judges totally knew what they were doing.

Congratulations to Writing on Air! Jim Paredes is an excellent writer. The inner paparazzo in me has been stalking his page ever since. To all the other finalists, congratulations too! It was a great honor to be in your company. Blog on!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

interlude



so for those of you falling in love
keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right
throw yourself in the midst of danger
but keep one eye open at night


Rachael Yamagata
Elephants (A cappella)
Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart


Thursday, October 8, 2009

city

BLEEP BLEEP BLOP. It seems that blog-wise, I have become constipated. It’s not that I can’t write. It’s just I can never seem to finish a thought. I have paragraphs to begin, a couple of middles and a few ones to end. Problem is they’re all about different things. So for this week’s post, I decided to call in a guest writer. I sent her everything and told her to go crazy. I really like how she was able to put my thoughts and her experiences together while maintaining the general way that my posts are written. Without further ado, here’s this weeks post.

Can we start over? It's a simple question but the inferred meaning opens up a world of opportunities. It's a barometer of hope- hope that within the ash and debris, an ember still exists.

Six weeks after I last saw L, he decided it was finally time for us to talk. Our friends, perhaps with the purest of intentions, figured we both needed this time to talk. I was acting so brave the whole time. I didn’t even look at him from across the table.

“I was hoping we could be friends,” he offered.

I took my time to respond. I needed to choose my words carefully. Up until that moment, I had acted so coolly. (I even surprised myself!) This despite the fact that emotionally, this evening had sent me back at least a month of recovery.

“I can’t give you that.” I began. “I’m not the same person I was. That person would’ve accepted. I can’t.” You don’t jump the same cliff twice. With pain comes experience and I was not really in the mood for masochism.

For weeks, I hoped for closure and when I realized he was not going to give that to me, I learned to move on alone. I sought answers to questions I couldn’t ask him. I learned how to walk without turning around every few seconds to see if he finally came back. I was breathing again. Living again. Why was he doing this now? Whatever happened to letting sleeping dogs lie?

“I’m not rushing you. I know it’s going to take some time. I just think that it’s time for us to be friends again.”

“You’re so unfair!” I snapped. So much for acting cool.You decided when we started seeing each other. You decided that we were exclusively dating. You decided that we shouldn’t see each other again. And now, now you’re telling me you finally decided it’s ‘time for us to be friends again’? Sorry but I have no use for your friendship.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. It would’ve made a world of difference six weeks ago but now that the fire’s out, this cup of water seemed more like a cruel joke. We managed to end the night without too much drama. We settled the bill and carpool plans were made. I thought we both understood that we didn’t have anything left to rebuild a friendship. I was wrong.

“Can I hold you?” L asked. We were standing right at the corner of Makati Avenue and Pasay Road waiting for a cab.

“No.” I answered.

“Please? I missed you. Can I hug you?”

“Why are you doing this? Haven’t you hurt me enough?” I looked him straight in the eye just so he could see how angry I was.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he said over and over again. He threw his arms around me and started to cry. I tensed up. I could feel his warm tears on my shoulder. Suddenly, everything- from the time we met, the time we fell in love, to the time we fell apart came rushing in. It felt like a massive wind suddenly entered and left my body in such a rush that if I did not hold on to something, I would fly away. I hugged him back and he sobbed louder.

“I’m sorry, okay? I missed you. You say you’re not the same person because of what happened to us. I’m not the same person either. I’m sorry I hurt you but you hurt me too.” It was then that I realized this was not the same L I met nor was this the L I was arguing with mere minutes before. This was an honest L, a wounded L and I couldn’t help but feel guilty that I had somehow caused this change.

I once heard of a strange animal (whose name escapes me now) who poisons himself right after he is captured. Funny how I should conjure this memory right at that exact moment. Like poison running its course through my body, I killed myself with four simple words.

“Can we start over?”

I pulled away from our embrace and saw the indecision in his eyes. Despite all my best efforts, he still managed to do the one thing I swore I would never let him do again- deny me. I looked away, hailed a cab and swore I would never look back.

Can we start over? It's a stupid question. It disguises itself as a simple solution- the universal do-over. But once you peel away all the layers of things we keep and things we show, it exposes its ugly head.

Photo Credit: The Hungry Cyclist


Sara Bareilles
City
Little Voice