Monday, December 6, 2010

com-promise

No Doubt  
Cellophane Boy  
Everything In Time  

com·pro·mise (ˈkɒmprəˌmaɪz), n.
  1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
  2. an endangering; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one's integrity.

He opens the door, a crack just enough to see who it is. I stand there, hair still stringy from the rain and say I don’t love you anymore. Because loving him is a disease I needed to be cured of. Because people like us have no right to love. He lets me in. My boots make squishy noises on the doormat. The music starts to play.

When we were younger and when music was new, he asked if I knew how to dance. I shook my head. I’ll show you, he promised. He took my hand and made it hover over his shoulder. Keep it there. We mustn’t touch. His arm moved near my waist. Our palms faced each other like magnets of the same pole, an inch of space in between. When I advance, you must retreat, he began. If you advance, I retreat. We must never touch. This is how it must be if we want to keep dancing. This is how it must be for the music to play.

And so I learned to move the way he taught me. As my left leg steps forward, his right foot steps backward. Our knees moved carefully so they would not touch. We would dance for hours, my left hand longing for his right. The inches felt like miles. Each sigh seemed like an eternity. Our bodies were so close. If I tried really hard, I swore I could even hear his heartbeat. And if I breathed a certain way, I knew I could make my heart beat in sync with his.

I wanted to close the distance. Was I wrong to want more?

I became greedy. I desperately needed to touch him. I stepped towards him. He stepped back. When it was his turn to come to me, I advanced. At that moment, our bodies smacked into each other, the force strong enough to make us both fall. The music ended abruptly, the last note sounding like the pianist slammed a bunch of keys at once. With our bodies pressed together, I slithered my fingers into his right hand. My other hand squeezed his shoulder. His hand suddenly gripped my waist. I could smell the fear in his breath.

I closed my eyes and waited for him to kiss me. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. The song, his words, like an echo ringing in my ears. This is how it must be if we want to keep dancing.

The song ended. The room fell quiet. Now that it’s over, why am I the only one crying?

Sorry, I begged. I was wrong to want more. I don’t love you anymore, I said, my clothes dripping with rain water. Because I was wrong to touch you. Because it’s wrong to love you. Because I am addicted to the way we danced.

The music started playing as he let me in. The apartment smelled like dead flowers and heartbreak. Can we continue? Is it too late? My questions seemed alien. My voice didn’t sound like my own. He put his left hand near my waist. I made my right hand hover over his shoulder. Our free hands came together, the mandatory inch apart automatic. I advanced, he retreated. He pulled close, I stepped back. Those were the steps. I knew them very well. As long as I didn’t change them, he would never leave.

I knew you’d be back, he whispered into my ear. It was only a matter of time. His eyes seemed to pierce right through me. His pinky shuddered as it reached to touch mine. I fought it at first but he imposed himself. When our fingers touched, it felt like a mild current just coursed through my body. I looked at him, not understanding why he was breaking his own rules.

What’s this? I asked, my eyes fixed on our pinkies touching.

Compromise, he answered, a sly smile on his face.

We danced for hours, our bodies never tiring. If only my heart could be as willing.

Photo Credit: 141209

76 comments:

  1. i hate it when the rules must keep on changing just to suffice both waging parties. for sure, one will have to look like a fool for a while.

    winning isn't everything. it's the only thing.



    * BTWsa'n nga pala kayo this recent weekend?

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  2. "winning isn't everything. it's the only thing."

    i love this. parang sapul na sapul!

    yeah, we look like idiots every now and then but it's all good. in the name of luuhrv. when this happened to me, matagal tagal din ako bago natauhan. haha

    and we videoke-d lang plus coffee after. saya naman. next time ha!

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  3. the fight to displace the power of the neocortical brain --- feelings.

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  4. *googling* makes sense. even if the heart is just a bunch of muscles, most people agree it's what they use to fall in love. :)

    So it's not all chemical. At least that's what I think. Miss Faith Hill wouldn't be pleased.

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  5. when in doubt, i ask myself what would rat-pups do?

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  6. Are those baby rats? That's kinda gross. But then again, perhaps it takes a little instinct to love wholly.

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  7. yes, rat-pups have no neocortex, just the reptilian brain structure and the limbic one -- they can't reason abstractly, just instincts (reptilian brain) and the ability to relate/love (limbic brain). =)

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  8. Emo question: would a rat-pup love me back if i held it long enough. lol

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  9. if you held it and anticipated its needs, of course! that's what differentiates mammals from the lower animals.

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  10. But who would want to hold a rat pup? They look disgusting. (Yes, I googled. lol)

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  11. I don't think there's wrong in wanting more, in life or in f*cking love.
    .
    .
    We all deserve the best!

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  12. *nosebleed*
    hay naku, kung kayo lang nasa room, magdikit na kayo! haha joke lang ^_^

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  13. @LOF: No, I'm anti-rodent. haha

    @Desole Boy: talagang may f*cking love? lol yes, we deserve it but how many people do you know who get what they deserve?

    @John Chen: I'm sorry. :c

    @cArLo: Di pwede eh. haha May magagalit.

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  14. we always want something more but ended up having less and sometimes none.

    to lessen the guilt, the other needs to compromise.

    this is a great post nyl. :D

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  15. Thanks Ced. I guess I just fell in love with the duality of the word. How it can mean something good and something bad at the same time. :)

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  16. okay. i will think of some other mammal in future limbic related metaphors

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  17. Actually, rat pups are fine. I've been googling them for a few minutes now, thinking of what you said earlier. lol In all fairness, right before they turn all gnarly and rabid, they're kinda cute.

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  18. @nyl: ya i know! haha i was just kidding :)
    i miss you na!

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  19. omg i miss u na din! ikaw kasi. busy busyhan ka na eh. lol

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  20. they only turn rabid because either their needs are not being met or they contracted a case of rabies. hahha

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  21. Discovered your writing through Arian's "Patient Spider"... "Compromise" and "Kissing" told a connective story that I have lived word for word for the past five years. Just amazing how you articulated that turmoil for me!

    It's over now. I'm much better. ( I think) And my writing can now travel in different directions.

    But your two recent posts are amazing in depth, emotion and longing. Especially the longing....

    Cheers
    Rick

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  22. Thanks....the photo you've seen is from the blog Magpie Tales. A talented writer, "Willow" (Her name is actually Tess) provides a weekly photo prompt to which anyone can write a short story or poem. Arian participates occasionally as do many other bloggers. She also has an interesting blog "Life At Willow Manner". Both are in my blog list.

    Looking forward to reading more or your work!

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  23. @Nowitzki: Makiki-sigh. :/

    @LOF: They're kinda like the best of the kontrabidas. They always have a back story.

    @Rick: Wow, that's so nice of you. Thank you for your kind words. I'm a Leo so validation's always good. Welcome to my blog!

    If you identified with this post, I hope you're okay. It's good that it's done now and what I learned is heartaches like that will keep you writing for years. That's a silver lining if I ever saw one. :)

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  24. Strange...my reply posted BEFORE your last reply! I've never seen that happen before....

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  25. Artful creative romance. It works.

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  26. nakakahaggard naman ito.. naiyak ako..
    sa kahahanap ng words sa dictionary.. hehe.. nah kidding aside, i like it. the flow of events seem to move parallel to the wave of emotions..

    hay... i wanna fall in love.. now na!

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  27. I couldn't help but think "El Bimbo". lol

    This is why I usually want it all or nothing at all. And there's another song.

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  28. Is that you in the photo? :)

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  29. @Rick: Hey Rick! I was editing my last reply when you left your second comment. That's why that happened. lol

    @Peter: Thanks! :)

    @LOF: :p

    @Nielz: Dictionary talaga? lol Go fall in love! Masaya siya!

    @James:Oh I love that song! Pwede rin siguro. It's about dance din, diba?

    @Victor: Are u kweyzee? haha girl yan. I posted the source sa baba.

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  30. "We danced for hours, our bodies never tiring. If only my heart could be as willing."

    Is that resentment interspersed with wistful happiness ? As in amp-dati-akong-atat-na-atat-tapos-ngayon-mag-aasta-kang-ganyan resentment?

    Napaisip na naman ako sa post na to. :3

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  31. I think it's getting overwhelmed by something that you know is not enough. Or will never be enough.

    Salamat sa pagdaan! :)

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  32. Hey That Girl! Thank you! :) And thanks for dropping by and stuff.

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  33. I have a very fitting soundtrack for this scene: the title is "My Pussy Belongs to Daddy"

    Search mo sa Youtube!

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  34. OT: Congratulations sa nomination mo sa Phil Blog Awards!
    Do we get to vote? and how??

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  35. Oh.. it's beautiful
    I can relate to the longing..
    nice work

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  36. Yes, magkahawak ang kamay and all. :)

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  37. @Glentot: WTF? Seryoso ba yan? haha I'll check it out later pag wala na sina mama. haha

    @Soltero: Thanks Soltero! Wala namang voting. I think it's just the judges who get to decide who's still in the running towards becoming America's Next.. *ay*

    @Ms. S.: I guess we've all been there. Thanks for dropping by!

    @James: At walang kamalay-malay? :)

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  38. you epitomize writing perfection. you are my idol. i wish i could give you three thumbs up but i only have two hands, nonetheless, here they are. [cue two-thumbs-up-gesticulation]

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  39. Awww Rei, you're too sweet. Thank you for your three thumbs up! I once met someone who had two thumbs on his left hand. Maybe he could help you out. :)

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  40. sometimes, i think that compromise is synonymous with defeat, a voluntary surrender of things you once stood up to.

    something that is sometimes worth taking...

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  41. Yes, that's true. For if we can't afford to lose it all, why should we be given the keys to everything?

    But that's just for the first definition. I tend to lean a little more on the second one. I think when he compromised, he put them all in danger kasi di naman niya kaya pangatawanan yun eh. I dunno. That's just me.

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  42. @citybuoy: i'm just being honest. i adore your write-ups. i should thank fickle cattle for featuring you.

    anyhow, i think i'd like to meet that three-thumbed person. it'd be awesome to collaborate with him [or her] in giving you the thumbs you deserve:p hehe

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  43. He flunked out of class eh so I don't know where he is na. But when I see him, I'll tell him you're looking for him.

    And thank you for your kind words. :*

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  44. i don't know which version is better... this or the one you told in person....

    where's the Wong Kar Wai shot?

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  45. shame, i didn't get to hear you actually sing Zooey. :)

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  46. @citybuoy: that'd be great. ^^ and i'll be looking forward for your next post.

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  47. i hate and i love this post. nakaka-depress naman friend.

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  48. @YJ: I think it's gonna be the one I said in person. May matching facial expressions and gestures pa kasi yun.

    And I axed the Happy Together screencap. Baka kasi macompare kay Manech. Nakakahiya. haha And also because I didn't want the main character to be gay. I didn't want the character to be straight either. Gusto ko wala siyang personality. Ibubuhos ko lahat dun sa guy.

    @Alter: I didn't. haha Paos din ako so I didn't really sing much. But I had a Lenka song somewhere. WHat's your videoke song?

    @Rei: Sureness. :)

    @Mike: Naka-relate ka ba? hmm...

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  49. i really adore your writings. too solemn yet heart-pounding for me. x____x

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  50. Hey Kyle Cee! Thanks! That's so sweet of you. :]

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  51. Before anything else, I have a bone to pick on this line:

    Because people like us have no right to love.

    Fuck that shit, Neil. There. That being said, I am most certainly delighted with this post, because it made sense on all the right places. The paragraphs on dancing were their own choreography; I was dancing in my head. The metaphor behind the dance itself was distinct and needed no further explanation. Unless of course you have stupid people in your readership, which I doubt. And then the compromise itself, that pleasantly surprising twist, was love and it was darling and it was songs and sunshine and all that fucking creamy goodness.

    It was a nice story.

    Cheers you. Mabuhay ka Neil, and Muahness from Pasig Citehh!

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  52. Hola Ms. Pasig! Fine, that line was a little too emo. It's from the part of this post that was written in '07. Nahuli talaga? haha

    And I love how colorful your comments are. Whenever I see your name in my emails, i get so excited. haha As always, your kind words are appreciated. Thank you, Momel! So when're we meeting?

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  53. ang ganda naman nung magkikita lang sila para sumayaw, hindi pa dapat magtotouch. parang may pinaghuhugutan ang longing sa storya mo, citybuoy, hehe.

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  54. Hey Aleph! Welcome to my blog. Yeah, there is a backstory to it. It's kinda long and exhausting but it's one I like writing about every now and then. Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  55. seriously, you are one of the best writers i have ever had the privilege of reading stuff from. i am always put in awh, and inspired by your posts. keep it up. keep making me want to read more. better yet, just write a book already so that i can read it :) haha you are just great.

    and this post was...so familiar. it seemed like there were parts of it that came right from my head. brilliantly written.

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  56. Wahaha, Ms. Pasig - Looban kamo! Oo, mag meet tayo minsan, SHAT NA TO! Feeling ko eh (feeling ko lang ha) bet sumama ni Red, Siratalaga, Manech, Pat (siguro). Basta I'm willing to host, Pasig Citehh lang, then we can either do Dec 17pm or Dec 25pm kasi may mga eksenang birthday/party nun. Maganda yung Dec25pm kasi party ng mga bakla, eh comedy yung mga frens ko na yun. Pero shempre, we can always re-schedule kung saan kayo mas comfortable.

    Mabuhay ka Neil! Muahness from Pasig Citehhh!

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  57. @Corey: Oh wow. That's really nice of you. A book? I don't think I can. It's a pretty cutthroat industry.

    I think we've all danced without touching. I hope that part of your life's done.

    @Momel: Pasig? Not a problem. Basta alak. haha Let me know, k?

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  58. May bago na palang generic comment:

    "i hate and i love this post."

    Hahahahahahaha

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  59. Hayop ka Glentot. May bago ka nanamang pauso. haha magamit nga yan.

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  60. i love your writing..very poignant & metaphorical.

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  61. Hello Daydreamer! Welcome to my blog! Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  62. CONGRATULATIONS NYL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BEST LITERARY blog in the 2o10 Phil. Blog Awards. ikaw na talaga!!!!!

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  63. Never compromise. Settle only for the best. Naks, I feel like Oprah. Haha

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  64. congratulations cb on your big and well-deserved win!

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  65. congratulations on your much deserved recognition. =)

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  66. @Andy: Straight up!

    @Rizal Bloggers Society, Hidden Mark: Thanks!

    @LOF: I wrote about you!

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  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  68. congrats nyl! im your forever fan :)

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  69. congrats nyl! im your forever fan :)

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