There are so many things I’d like to tell you. Sometimes, I wonder if I can. Like maybe you’d understand, like maybe you wouldn’t think I’m evil or that I somehow wanted this. Maybe you’d be alright with it.
I imagine you and Papa. It’s a nondescript day. He is engrossed in a ₱50 book. You are in the kitchen reheating leftovers. I can hear Pet Society music in the background.
We start eating. Out of the blue, I tell you my secret. I talk about all the lies I’ve told you since all this began. I talk about my lover and how thoughts of him keep me warm at night. I talk about the urges, how they never stop, how I once thought they would. Papa stops eating. He gets up to smoke outside. You hold my hand and say you’ve always known. Papa comes back and just when I think he’s about to hit me, he holds me tight in his arms and tells me he loves me still. We all hug because that’s what happens in those bullshit Hallmark movies.
Maybe I’ll tell you in the van. We are on our way home, at least where it used to be. Through the years, this van has witnessed many meltdowns. It is no stranger to tears. In the smallest voice I could muster, I tell you everything. You look me in the eye. I can tell you are fighting back tears. You slap me hard, so hard I almost fall off my seat. Papa slams the breaks. His door flies open and like the bass line in a heavy metal song, he marches to my side of the vehicle. He slides the door open and drags me out. You are not my son, he’d say and you leave me in the middle of Pasay with nothing but my regrets and tears.
But in reality, it wouldn’t be anything like that. It would be quiet. The only sound would be of your heart breaking, of your collective dreams suddenly shattering. Mama, I’m sorry.
I don’t ever want to break your heart. If I could, I would explain that this isn’t my fault, nor is it yours or anyone’s for that matter. It’s just how things are. It took me such a long time to accept it for myself. On most nights, I was on my knees praying, bargaining, saying I’d give all the shit I own to be “normal”, whatever that meant. There were many moments when I just wanted to be like everyone else. But I couldn’t do that. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. Didn’t you teach me that?
And so although I want you to see the man I have become, my true self away from the lies I tell and the masks I wear to protect you, I know now is not the time. Someday, I pray you’d understand. I pray you wouldn’t think I’m evil or that I somehow wanted this. I pray that one day, you’d be alright with it.
I do not want to break your heart and so instead, I break my own.
♫: Plumb | Damaged (1999)