Sunday, August 28, 2011

two of three: fragments

  
  
Question: How do you ruin your entire life with one decision? Is that even possible?

To say that I never loved her is a lie. Because I did, maybe I still do. I had once pictured a life together, silver in our hair, hands still clasped.

But now, there are only fragments in my head, floating like entities in space. I want to make sense of them but whenever I try to grasp those little shards of images and sound, they just float away, farther away from me. The most I can do is observe them carefully, quietly and with the eye of a jeweler stringing beads of olive, copper and cerulean together.

“It’s not easy for me either,” she said to me. We were in the kitchen fighting. There was a piece of burnt toast on the table, the butter slowly melting onto the wooden placemat. The purple plate it once rested on lay in pieces on the floor. “You think it’s easy to be 25 and feel like your life is over?”

“I was young too.” I barked. “I used to be funny. I used to know how to laugh. I used to write you letters. Now what am I? I’m old. I might as well be dead.”

“Who are we,” she asked. “and what have we done? Where are the people we used to be?” There was a sadness in her voice, something only years of regret can give.

“How many times can I lose you before I finally do?” I asked. She turns around, tears in her eyes as she comes at me with fists in the air.
It’s a slow death, I realized. When love dies, perhaps a part of you dies with it. When we met in high school, I thought she was the gentlest person I had ever met. I didn’t know anything about life or love but I felt like I didn’t need to know any more. Just being around her, I had all the lessons I would ever need.

I’d tell her I missed her when what I wanted to say was how I loved her. I’d write poetry about the delicateness of her fingertips or the curves on her body. But now, that all feels like a lifetime away. Now, there is only hollow and anger and lots and lots of regrets.
Question: How do you ruin your entire life with one decision? Answer: You don’t. Truth is, it’s an orgy of a million wrong decisions. You hardly notice them but they pile up. Before you know it, you’ve got your clothes stuffed in the car trunk speeding into the city in the dead of night.

He’s been good to me. He listens to me and he laughs at my stories and I know he means it. We were complete strangers when this all began. He found me one night nursing a beer. With a lit cigarette in one hand, he asked if I had a light. It was bullshit but he had a kind face and I needed a friend so I let him sit with me.

Night after night, I’d see him at the bar. We’d talk and get drunk and everybody just blurred away. It felt good. I felt alive again. He'd listen to me gripe about my marriage, my work, the things I never got to do and I never felt judged. Not one bit. In return, I listened to his problems with men and offered a different perspective.

“Why are you straight and married?” he asked one night. “Sometimes I feel like maybe you were the last good one out there.”

“Where were you when I was 17?” I asked.

Two men sitting at a bar. Both of them filled to the brim with regrets.
I just wanted to feel like a man again. I wanted to feel like for once, I could do something right. One night, I dreamed I was back in school waiting in line at the drinking fountain. One by one, the kids stepped on the lever and drank. They walked away with smiles on their faces, feeling blessed with their good fortune. When my turn came, I stepped on the lever and the dirtiest water I had ever seen came out. The spigot reeked of decay and I walked away with thirst unquenched.

All the fights, all the arguments, I was slowly dying. It seemed she had something new every day. She rambled about how the kids were fucked up and how they needed a father with a backbone. She complained about how little I made and how much work she had to do. She accused me of being a sloppy fuck and how I didn’t hold her like I used to after we came. I sat there listening to her wondering how many deaths I had to suffer through before I could put all this behind me.

I just wanted to feel like a man again. So it’s ironic how someone queer made me feel that way. We were drinking. They had one last call for alcohol. When we finished that, he offered to continue at his apartment. “It’s just a block away,” he said. I didn’t argue.

Waking up the next day, both of us naked, I could smell his sex on my skin. At that moment, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.
I knew what my marriage was doing to me and I could take all of it just as long as he was by my side. I was being selfish but for once, I was happy. One night, I woke up to an empty bed. He was perched on a chair smoking, the window open just a crack.

“Is anything wrong?” I asked, sleep in my voice.

“I’m fine,” he answered although I could tell he was crying.

“I can leave.” I said.

“No, don’t. You don’t have to. You can stay the night.”

“I meant her. I can leave her. If you want me to.” His face lit up from across the room.

Question: How do you ruin your entire life with one decision? Answer: You just do. But sometimes, it’s not really important how we do things. It’s why we do them that makes the difference.

Part 1 | 2 | 3
♫: Leona Lewis | Happy (2009)
Photo: American Gothic / Masterpiece Me!

41 comments:

  1. Bakit ba apektado ako kahit wala naman akong asawa? Siguro masyado akong nadala. Totoong pangyayari ba ito?

    Nasisira ba ang buhay dahil lang sa isang desisyon? Marahil, tama ang unang sagot mo, na hindi sa isa, bagkus sa maraming desisyon. Pero naniniwala ako sa Integral Calculus bilang isang mag-aaral ng inhinyeriya. Lahat ng bagay na nag-uumpisa sa maliit ay makabubuo ng malalaking bagay. Gayon din sa desisyon, lahat naman nag-uumpisa sa isang mali, tapos, sunod-sunod na yun.
    Kapag hindi mo naagapan, maaaring huli na ang lahat..

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  2. the impact of the line I CAN LEAVE HER was soooo...strong. i bet the ex-straight guy had a very strong case of identity crisis when he was young and never resolved it on his own.

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  3. @Green Breaker: Hindi po. hehe at least not entirely. some elements here and there are from stories ng mga friends. yung iba naman from mga journal entries.

    Wow, an engineer's perspective. I was never good at math so I'll have to take your word for it.

    The third (and last) part will make it a little clearer, I guess? Or I hope. I have to start writing that na. lol

    @Gervin: Was it strong? I was trying to make the last part of each fragment a little sharp so you know when parts end. Not sure if naging successful. lol

    And as for a strong case of identity crisis, well that sounds very familiar. lol

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  4. Siguro dapat nga.. Para maintindihan nmin ng lubos..

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  5. bat ako affected? :( eh wala rin akong asawa..

    sige, 3rd installation please.. asap! lels. :p

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  6. @Green Breaker: Mga next week siguro. hehe

    @Nate: Hala, bakit pareho kayo ni Green Breaker? Di kaya malapit na kayo mag-asawa? lol

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  7. In fairness dalang-dala ako sa istorya. Imy relationship is on the rocks o baka wasak na nga. But I still love the person. Mas mahirpa kapag ang relasyon nasira ng maliliit ma baggy na nabuo at lumaki then napatungan ng hinala na napatunayan mong totoo.

    I love how you did this... Will be waiting sa kasunod...

    JJrod'z

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  8. i think how and why we doing things are the same thing (our epistemology structures and channels our ontology).

    on the the point: it is in the realm of love, and love alone where one can ruin one's life. it is the loss of soul, where the waters of life recede and do not return or increase. however, i have been told the best way to track a lost soul, is to start with the feelings before the loss.

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  9. “Why are you straight and married?” he asked one night. “Sometimes I feel like maybe you were the last good one out there.”

    “Where were you when I was 17?” I asked.

    Most painful lines i've read in a very long time.



    "I only become the man that I am when I am with another man." --- sabi ng echoserang frog!

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  10. JJrod'z: I'm sorry to hear about your relationship. Sana maayos niyo pa.

    Sana by mga next week, tapos ko na. haha This installment was delayed by mga 3 weeks eh. haha I really don't have the patience to serialize stories.

    @LOF: Are they the same? Just off the top of my head, you can discipline a child and the how there targets what punishment you do to him whereas why shows you care about him and want to redirect certain behaviors. In that example, the two are exact opposites. One can argue that discipline and love is one and the same but to a child, they are completely different.

    And I like how we can only ruin our lives in the realm of love. It sounds like a song. lol

    @YJ: Bastos! lolz Sino ba yang achoserang frog na yan? ;p

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  11. you may have never experienced discipline without love as a child, but i can report, there is a big difference. punishment as opposed to boundary setting, or as opposed to meaningful consistency in the establishment of rules, etc., are very much different. it depends on what the basis of the action is which is where the how and why get entangled. if they aren't entangled, in your child example, we encounter the origins of adulthood neurosis. lol

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  12. nyl, very provoking =)

    i hope the ending will be happy..

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  13. @LOF: That's a fairly sweeping generalization but I completely agree. Perhaps only people who were hit as children truly understand. And on most days, I'd like to think it made me the balanced individual I am. lolz

    @Dabo: Well, not really sure about it yet but it's gonna be told in the perspective nung bading. Nahihirapan pa akong icapture siya eh. hehe

    IMY Dave! :)

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  14. One wrong move and it will really snowball into a whole pile of steaming horseshit that is thrown on you.
    .
    .
    Haha. Relate na relate lang.
    .
    .
    Anyway, I hope the next pictures will be better for you ;D

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  15. i can see where this discussion is going and i'll save that walk for our next coffee. lol

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  16. @DB: Next pictures? Sorry, I'm a little slow today. What do you mean?

    Relate talaga? Haha whose shoes are you in?

    @LOF: Wow, what happened to the feisty LOF? lol You used to school me on these nosebleed concepts a lot. haha

    But yes, this discussion would flow better with caffeine involved. hehe

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  17. it would be totally pretentious if i were to talk about this issue and not bring my own childhood into it. i just haven't met all your followers yet so i'm shy. lol

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  18. i fear decisions. i don't want to make the wrong ones. but i know that the wrong ones will make me stronger, better. but you can never bring back the time lost.

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  19. @LOF: you? shy? I'm not used to that. lol

    @Rei: I'm not the best example for that. haha I make all the wrong decisions and I keep mum on the important ones. lol but you have to make mistakes to validate what's right, right?

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  20. I don't think I need to ruin my life. It's already ruined, lol. I'm good at that: making myself miserable. :D

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  21. When I was about to have my wisdom teeth pulled, I was hum-hawing around about having one done, then the other later. A woman at work said to "...just get them done at once and be done with it. It's like a band-aid: Just yank it off all at once, and it's over with. Only hurts for a second!"

    Yeah, but my arms are hairy, and band-aids hurt. The dilemma posed in your story is a common one. (the PARTICULAR dilemma is more common than most people think! LOL)

    But it makes us think about these band-aid moments: Yank it, or pull it gently under warm, running water?

    Rick

    LOL.....I just re-read that last sentence. Sounds a bit Fellini to me.....

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  22. @Andy: Aren't we all good at that? haha

    @Rick: Good question. When it comes to band aids, I'm all for the quick yank but then again, my arms are not that hairy so the reference actually applies to me. lolz

    But when it comes to love and other shit, I have a feeling I'm more of the slow-the-tragic-ending kind of guy. I wallow and if we were to go back to the wound metaphor, I'd probably pick at the scabs continuously until I bleed.

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  23. hmmm.. nasa iyo talaga yan i you want to ruin someone's happy ending for your happy ending...

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  24. @Kiko: Haha eh what if yung happy ending nung somebody was dependent on your misery? Wala lang. Matanong lang. haha

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  25. awww i love it!
    "why are you straight and married? ...sometimes I feel like maybe you were the last good one out there.”
    "
    haha parang yung line ko lang na "why are all the good guys either straight or already taken?" wahahaha :)
    and i miss you!!!! :)

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  26. @Carlo: Awww.. I so miss you too! Kelan ba tayo lalabas?

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  27. So! For once in your life, naging isa kang... tiboli bwahahaha.


    LULULULULULULULULULULULULULULULU!

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  28. @Glentot: Chaka mo! haha May tinatawag tayong fiction tag, ano? lolz

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  29. this is beautiful! the emotions are just intense. :)

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  30. @Drama King: thank you! :) pasado sa drama king standards? lol

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  31. maybe it's when we don't make those life-changing decisions that actually ruin us. i love this nyl. looking forward to the third.

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  32. true. mistakes are the best ways to learn lessons :)

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  33. Ah, beautiful.

    “How many times can I lose you before I finally do?”

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  34. @Sean: That's true. I've made a lot of crazy decisions and I seem fine naman. lol

    @Rei: That or an Ivy League education. lol

    @James: Why, thank you! :)

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  35. @Iya: Relate din ba? Diba wala ka pang asawa? lol

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  36. Hi, I was browsing my old blog and I see you were following. I like being stalked. Hhahahhaha... I no longer update that site but I'd be honored to be followed at my website: http://www.greggthebully.com

    See you there!

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  37. Like this post. And you know why :)

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  38. @Yas: Thanks for dropping by! :)

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