Something in the morning just didn’t feel right. I should’ve known when I realized I wasn’t in my bed but then again, it’s not like that hasn’t happened before. I guess my body felt different, my arms felt alien to me, my legs a complete stranger. Drunk with sleep, I looked around the room.
This seems familiar, I said out loud to no one in particular. I wasn’t sure of a lot of things but if I had to put all my money on one thought, I’d say this was gonna be a pretty strange day.
Over breakfast, my mother was busting my balls again about how important getting an education is and how embarrassed she gets when she thinks about her smart son wasting away as a glorified answering machine. It wasn’t anything new. She does this every day. Today was simply Track 3 on Disc 2: the remix about how when she was a child, she fought so hard to get a college education. On any other day, I’d just let all this roll away but like I said, there was something different in the air, in the way the sound waves traveled from her mouth to the air to my ears.
I snapped. It’s my life. Fuck off if you think I’m living it wrong, I finally said, breaking two decades worth of silence. Suddenly, everything was in slow motion. The eggs, the soy sauce and the poor, innocent sinangag were sent flying in my direction at a speed where seconds seemed to take ages. If I were to be honest, I was a little amused at such a show of emotion. My mother is known for a lot of things but brutal honesty was not one of them. Once everything settled- the eggs, the rice and her breath, she politely and forcefully told me to “pack my shit and go.”
She didn’t need to tell me twice. For months, I had been in complete agony just thinking about leaving, about living the way I want to and stop worrying about things that would hold me down. I mean, it may not be obvious but I’ve got a lot of ambitions. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just wasting my life. Like these are somehow my so-called prime years and all I’ve done is bitch and whine about how I couldn’t get my way. Why couldn’t I get my own way anyway? What was I so afraid of?
Grow a pair, someone once said. He had just asked me to move in with him after which I gave him a lengthy explanation of how I couldn’t leave my mother and all that. Truth is, I was just scared. Scared that leaving would be hard, scared that he didn’t really love me and that he’d leave me once he realizes it too. For whatever it’s worth, I really did love him.
Did? Sometimes, I feel like I never really stopped. Was it too late? I wondered as I packed the last of my underwear. I made a mental note to call him up the second I leave.
Apparently, it wasn’t too late. Thirty minutes later, I was in a part of Makati I didn’t know existed until moments before. To call his apartment-slash-room small would be an understatement. Still, it was better than being homeless. Hours and hours and calories (burned, mostly*) later, he rolled over to his side of the bed, lit a cigarette and broke my heart.
I’m glad you’re here, he said. I guess I always knew that our story hasn’t ended. At least not yet. I didn’t really know what to say. There was something so endearing about how he said it. Perhaps it was how he tried to mask it with braveness or how he thought I couldn’t tell he was crying. I suppose it was in the way the sweat on his shoulder quivered when he spoke or how his toes were curled in such tension. He wasn’t alright. Sana dito ka nalang forever, he said as he stubbed out his cigarette.
Oo nga, I replied and for both our sakes, I wished I could mean it.
Liner Notes: When you spend too much time with your friends, you start to wonder what it would be like to take control of their lives. Fresh off the screening of Here Comes The Bride*, YJ (who took the picture above), Victor and I decided to swap lives.