Tuesday, December 4, 2012

never yours


Most days, it just feels like I’m passing time. I sit motionless in my house, surrounded by clutter and procrastination. I make a mental list of things that need to be done: wash the dishes, take out the trash, sort the laundry, feed the cat… My mind runs through these things as though I were a stranger peeking into my kitchen window. This is not my life. It can’t be this mundane.

As I soak the dishes in soapy water, I hear my phone vibrating from somewhere on the couch. I run towards it, wiping my hands furiously on my t-shirt. Busy? asks the man I’d been waiting to hear from. And just like that, the dirty pots and pans, the bags filled to the brim with garbage, the shirts and socks from too long ago, even the cat – that poor innocent cat – they all disappear.

No, not really, I tell him. Hey, even heroes need to be rescued now and then. He texts me the address to a restaurant on N. Domingo. It’s a little far but with the traffic, I think I can be there in half an hour. He says he found himself all alone in the middle of a beautiful restaurant and it was such a shame to see so much food go to waste. His voice sounded hushed but you could still tell he was smiling. I hang up, my lips equally spread into a grin.

I rush to the bathroom and I am a whirlwind of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I was stupid to doubt him, blasphemous to even think he’d forgotten that night we shared a drunken kiss. I scrub my armpits a little harder than usual and trim my pubes just to be on the safe side. Within minutes, I am throwing clothes on my bed.

My head feels messy while I decide what to wear. I think of the green shirt I wore when we first met. I’m sure he’d forgotten all about that day but I remember it pretty well. I think of the purple dress shirt I wore that night we made out. I just got promoted. He was just fired. He said either way, we both needed a drink. I think of the maroon golf shirt he lent me that day I got soaked in the rain. He asked for it back a couple of times but I would always forget to bring it. How could I return it when it’s the closest thing I have to holding him? Or rather, it was the closest thing I had to holding him. The same grin finds its way back to my lips and just for a second, I relish it. I put on a fresh pair of chinos, the maroon shirt, and some speed as I fly out the door.

The cabbie sings along to the radio and though it usually bothers me, tonight I just let him. It is drizzling. The windshield wiper keeps rhythm to a misplaced song. My left leg shakes like the bass to a random club hit. My fingers tap an irregular beat on the pleather. What could he be doing right at this minute? Are his thoughts as fevered as mine? Do his legs fidget as mine do?

Ser, the cabbie calls out to me and I am awakened from my little daydream. It takes me a second to realize we are parked in front of the restaurant. My palms feel clammy as I reach into my back pocket for my wallet. I whip out a crisp bill and tell him to keep the change. In the dark city light, I see his face light up. Meri krismas ser, he says before he drives away. I place both sweaty palms on my head to cover me from the quiet December drizzle.

He was right. The restaurant is beautiful. Couples filled every corner and I am glad I chose a shirt with a collar. Everyone looks like they are posing for some Italian fashion magazine. I scout through rows of neatly dressed people looking for him, my anticipation feeling more like an asthma attack than a natural reaction. I find his table in a quiet corner by the window. I walk towards him, the dinner crowd blurring like bokeh. I think of the hello I practiced in the mirror, the one that sounded cool and casual when suddenly, a dripping woman in a hurry rushes through me and almost knocks me to the ground.

Sorry! I’m sorry. In a panic, she apologizes. I’m just super late. I’m sorry. I smile at her to tell her it’s okay, although I could think of quite a number of things I’d rather be saying to her. I pick myself up, the maître d’ shoving a napkin and some club soda in my face. I look up and my date is rising from his seat. Oh God, he saw everything. He was squinting and I dove right back into where I lay. I see the hurried woman pacing towards him and the next few seconds made me wish the dusty restaurant carpet would swallow me whole.

He offers her a handshake but she gives him a kiss on the cheek instead. They sit on opposite sides of a small, round table. The flower arrangement in the middle made the scene a little too contrived. He offers to take her jacket, the fringes dripping from the rain. She hesitates at first but there was something about his smile that uneased her and so she sheepishly hands him the wet ball of fabric in surrender.

I’m sorry, she says. It was raining cats and dogs in Alabang and I just… I came as soon as I could.

My phone vibrates in my front pocket and I am reminded that I was still there, that I had not vanished into thin air when she stepped into the room. Three missed calls and five new messages. My fingers scroll to the last one he sent.

I really hope you’ve been getting my messages. No need for the rescue. Date’s on her way.

I get up, dust myself off, and walk towards the restaurant exit. It is an effort to walk straight as my knees feel like they’d been sawed off while I wasn’t looking. I had no reason to be there. I had no claims on him, nothing to keep me in his life. And by that virtue alone, I know it shouldn’t really hurt as much as it does right now. It doesn’t really hurt as much as it does right now.

♫: Tracy Chapman | Never Yours (2005)
Photo: Regnier






8:
Tracy Chapman’s Never Yours

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

forever clouds



The little things don’t scare me. You could tell me about a client presentation fifteen minutes in advance and I wouldn’t even flinch. I can watch scary movies like the best of them and I’d have my eyes wide open, hands firmly on the popcorn bucket, waiting for the next big scream. I don’t get scared that easily. But when you ask me about forever, well… that’s a different story.

You see, it’s not easy. I’ve seen it from end to end. You’d think I would know everything there is to know about forever. I’ve seen an imagined life flashing before my eyes. I’ve banked on promises of memories that never materialized. I’ve sworn to spend the rest of my life with somebody and I watched as I took it all back. I’ve held on. I’ve let go. And despite everything, I feel like I still know nothing about forever.

And I think about all this as I stare at the man I love. He is flat on the floor, reading a book. I am on the loft, watching him devour his paperback. I think about how good it feels, how easy it is to just sit here, passing the time, neither of us wanting to go anywhere. I think about how easy it is for him and I to just be.

And if I could fill the rest of my life with quiet moments just like this- the two of us killing time, I knew I’d be okay. I set my iPod on its dock and thumbed over to a familiar song. A gentle drumbeat ushers in this story’s score as I walk over to him and offer an open hand.

“Yes?” he asks, barely looking up from the dusty pages of his book.

“Come dance with me,” I say. He smiles and it’s the crooked one he uses for when I’ve gone insane again. “Please? I love this song.”

He stands and puts his book away. He walks slowly to me, hands raised in mock surrender. I meet him in the middle of our imagined dance floor and wrap my arms around his waist. He throws his arms around my neck, our faces close to touching. We sway softly, his hot breath alive on my skin. The verse kicks in and for the next five minutes and forty-eight seconds, I am one with my lover. We are one with the music.

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

And I feel so close to him, so close I could almost read his thoughts. I wonder if he could read mine.

Does he know how happy I am that he is here? Does he know that I am only truly living when he is around? Does he know about the storms that were coming? Is he just as afraid as I am? I wonder if he, too, could feel the pain of broken promises, of countless lovers I swore to under countless moons. I feel these questions burning in the middle of my chest. I rest my head on his shoulder and let him lead.

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

And yet I always go back to the feeling of having him with me, swaying, loving. Maybe instead of holding on to forever, I should just hold on to love.

♫: Rachael Yamagata | Both Sides Now (2009)
Post: d-i-y

Thursday, November 1, 2012

heroes


The city frames many stories. The streets are paved with characters and plotlines and those who wish to hear one need only to find a quiet corner and press their ears to the ground.

ISA. A small group of women were gossiping loudly about the office slut. Their words snapped, crackled, and popped with disdain. Pokpok. Kerengkeng. Bitch. Slut. They threw these words around like confetti, peppering their insults with deep breaths and profanities. The pregnant woman in the middle who I assumed was their leader threw the most insults. ‘Di na siya nahiya. Kababae niyang tao, siya pa naghahabol sa lalaki.* I attempted to overtake them but their girdled strides kept me at a steady pace two steps behind them.

Just then, an intoxicated foreigner got off a dusty cab. He walked briskly towards the women and me. It soon became clear that collision was not only apparent, it was imminent. Most of the women adjusted accordingly – all but the hotheaded pregnant woman in the middle. He passes her, angling his shoulder to hit her smack in the face. There was a blunt sound of loud, body contact. She covered her belly as the force almost knocked her to the ground. Cheeks flushed, mouth agape in horror, she turned around to face him.

Putang in- she said, interrupted.

What? What’re you gonna do about it? he shouted at her. He punctuated his sentence with a middle finger to her face. The woman’s gaze shifted towards me. And to think I’d almost forgotten I was part of the whole exchange. She looked straight at me, maybe even through me, her eyes speaking as clearly as the midnight moon.

Well, they said. What are you gonna do about it?

DALAWA. Does everyone know? she asked me. It feels like the whole world knew before I did. Her cigarette had burned to the tip three and a half minutes ago and yet there it stood, shaky in between her fingers. I’m so embarrassed. Pakiramdam ko, ang bobo bobo ko. Bobo ba ako?

Hindi, I said. Hindi ‘yun ganun. Nag-mahal ka lang. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Bullshit, Erik, she said to me as she lit another cigarette. I flipped my phone over to check the time. It was well past my lunch hour. You don’t do that to people who love you. You don’t do that to the people you love. You can’t kiss me and expect me to understand why you need to fuck some little temp with tits for brains. I gave him everything, you know? Everything. And what do I have to show for it? She took small, deep drags off her cigarette, her eyes surprisingly dry. Wala na akong mukhang ihaharap.

I knew to shut up. Sometimes, a woman just needs to vent.

Ikaw ba, kelan mo nalaman? she asked, sounding a little too casual for her own good.

Mga last week, I lied. Truth is, it had been almost a month since Susie from Accounting told me. I wanted to tell you. I really did. I just didn’t know how to. She smiled politely as she exhaled the last puff of her cigarette, her eyes vacant and transfixed on a line of ants on the floor.

Though we said nothing after that, her silence spoke volumes to me. You knew. Why didn’t you tell me? You could’ve told me.

I wanted to tell you. I really did. I just didn’t know how to. Now that was bullshit.

TATLO. Sabi nung prof ko nung college, tatlo lang naman daw yan: kaya, gusto, pwede. Pwede mo ba siyang mahalin?

Oo naman, she answered.

Gusto mo ba?

Ano ba, Erik? Iiyakan ba kita dito kung hindi ko siya gusto?

Eh kaya mo pa ba siyang mahalin? Kaya mo pa bang masaktan? She ran her fingers through her hair. If you were looking close enough, you’d have seen the purple bruise on her left eye briefly becoming visible.

She was quiet after that. We both just took small sips of our coffee to stretch what little time we had left.

Why can’t he be more like you? she asked me. I had no answers. In fifteen minutes, my brother showed up. He parked across the street and signaled her to come over. He knew why she was with me. He knew we were talking about him. He was cold and expressionless as he sat on the hood of our mother’s car. She pulled her bangs down, got her things, and did as she was told.

As she walked away, she turned around to take one last look at me. She spoke no words but her eyes told me everything: help me.

APAT. And I wondered when chivalry became so old-fashioned. How could we treat the women in our lives so casually? I always thought I’d somehow managed to set myself apart from other men, that maybe I was a tree among bushes. But three out of three times and with three different women, I stood there doing nothing.

The city frames many stories. Sometimes, the city is the story. The streets are paved with characters and plotlines and those who wish to hear one need only to find a quiet corner and press their ears to the ground. Tonight, it’s an old song set to a new tune. My heart knew all the words but my mouth refused to sing.

Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night, I toss and turn and dream of what I need.
I need a hero.

I’m no hero. I’m just a flimsy patch on a quilt of apathetic men. Most days, I could use a little saving myself.

♫: Ella Mae Bowen | Holding Out for a Hero (2011)
Alternate: 2 (No Taglish)
Photo: fallen warrior




Monday, October 8, 2012

paralisado


4:20. Your absence holds me when you’re gone. And I always thought I’d somehow learned to be on my own. I look around my apartment, all 20 square meters of it and remember how your presence, the light of your smile, and the sound your laughter filled every corner of it. It is dark. I am immobile. My cigarette burns to the tip as your absence holds me into paralysis. I cannot move. I cannot breathe.

4:47. I decide to focus on menial tasks to snap me out of this comatose. I sweep the floor, use scotch tape to lift the small strands of hair that collect in the corners, and mop twice for good measure. I feed the fish (yes, I know they’ve eaten but they seemed hungry) and do the dishes. There aren’t a lot. Just a fork, a butter knife, a ceramic plate, and two glasses – two. I stop dead in my tracks.

4:57. One of these glasses was yours. I hold it up against the light and see where your lips touched the edge of the glass. I press my lips against the mark you left. The soap suds collect on my shaky goatee. I close my eyes, count to five and imagine you were here.

5:03. The hamper is overflowing with dirty clothes. I empty it out on the cold tiles and sort the whites from the coloreds, my cotton tees from the delicates. I assign a special pile for your clothes- the black A&F golf shirt, a checkered pair of shorts, the tattered yellow tee you love so much, your trademark khakhi pants. I sort the clothes for too long and notice that I had failed to segregate them right. There were only two piles: your clothes and mine. I crawl towards your pile and hold them close to my chest. Though a meager bunch, they still smelled of you. If I imagine things right, you know, like if I really put my mind to it, maybe these clothes would turn into you. Time blurs away and I am stuck here on the floor still holding you in my arms.

9:06. I awake in a pile of dirty clothes. I realize what a mess I’ve made of my house and of myself. I wipe dust and salt off my face and stuff all the laundry in garbage bags. I seal the top nicely and phone the laundry mistress to pick them up. I grab my keys and hope the city’s droning sounds would block you away.

9:17. I am alone in a restaurant. I chose the one that reminded me least of you. I needed a break. This wasn’t like me. I wasn’t the type to entertain clingy thoughts that prod and gnaw at your brain like a little freak. I make a mental note to chew slowly, to spend as much time here as I can. The food arrives and I devour it like a monster.

9:23. Belch. Cigarette. Check.

9:30. I decide to take a walk. I map a route in my head of all the usual places: quite streets, dark corners, a park bench to clear my mind. With these reminders of who I was before I met you, I find a little bit of solace. A man asks me for a light and strikes up a conversation. I answer politely and talking is as interesting as watching paint dry. I turn around to face him and he is gone. I light another cigarette and check the time. A tanod comes up to me and says I can’t smoke here. I stub my cigarette on an old molave and walk home.

9:56. I am back in my prison cell and it reminds me less of you. I plant my iPod on its dock and let Shuffle do its thing. I mix a fresh batch of iced tea and obsessively scrub empty corners of the fridge. I whip out the Domex and mop the floor again. The water splishing and sploshing calms my nerves and I feel unjudged in the confines of my own home. Afterwards, I shower and feel the city slipping into the drain. I walk to the sink to brush but once again, I am stopped dead in my tracks. Our toothbrushes are making out.

10:07. I needed to know you were here. That I wasn’t just imagining your presence, the light of your smile, or the sound of your laughter. I grab your things and walk back to the living area. I rip the garbage bag open and take your clothes out. I sit on the floor and surround myself with your things. I place your perfume in front of me, your special soap and loofah on my right, your toothbrush in a glass behind me, your contact lens case on my right. I make a path of your shirts. I make a spiral of your things, maybe a treasure map with me in the center. Perhaps you will find me here when you follow the trail of your belongings.

10:15. I am on the floor together with all the things you left behind. My iPod shuffles in a new song and though the verses don’t make sense to me, by the time the singer gets to the chorus I am convinced she is at my window singing the story of my life. It’s the perfect soundtrack for when I’m paralyzed and I have nothing but your absence to hold me because you’re gone.

And then I wonder who I am
Without the warm touch of your hand.
As I sit and watch the snow falling down,
I don’t miss you at all.

♫: Norah Jones | Don’t Miss You At All (2004)


POSTSCRIPT
11:59. My phone lights up, stirring me from my slumber. Three messages and two missed calls. He’s been wondering where I was. I’m fine. I’m sorry. I fell asleep.

12:03. What have you been up to? he asks. Nothing, I lie as I pick his things up from off the floor. Maybe tomorrow won’t be as twisted as today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

denial

i fear not for what we have become.
this heart beats not for you.
i fear not for we are nothing.

i do not see myself
growing more and more
in your art, in your life.
you find me not in your hands.

i do not see you in me,
not in the words that i speak
or the music in my ears.

you are not in every thought.
so i fear not.

♫: Portishead | Glory Box (1994)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

phantom


“Why?” the boy asked, his voice betraying the tears he was stifling “Isn’t this good?”

“It is. Or it was,” I answered. “But I know how these things go. You’ll get attached. I’ll get stressed out.”

“Why would you get stressed out?”

“Because I know I’ll never be able to fully reciprocate.” I looked at the boy in front of me. I considered his jet black hair, his dark brown eyes, the way they often said more than his mouth. I wondered how far he’d go for me, or if he had still come if he’d known I was just going to break up with him.

“It’s not reciprocation I’m after,” he says, his frustration bittersweet to the taste. “Can’t you just let me love you? I know deep down in that frigid heart, you understand you need to be loved. Let me do that for you.” He placed his hand firmly on mine. “Please.”

“You say that now but wait till a few months, maybe even a few weeks. These things… they get messy and I just can’t afford to mess around at this point in my life.” I dragged deep into my cigarette and slowly sighed out pregnant clouds of smoke.

“You’ll understand when you’re older,” I continued, pulling my hand from beneath his. He looked up from where he sat, his eyes welling up, seeking mine. I looked at him with a cold expression, the one you use when you stare into traffic in the middle of rush hour. The cars blur away as another boy is ushered out of my life.

“You don’t know that. You don’t know this.” He takes my hand again and brings it closer to his chest. “Don’t you feel this? Doesn’t your heart beat the same way?”

“Maybe it used to,” I said as I swigged the last of my beer. “But it sure doesn’t beat that way anymore.”

---

We went back to his place. One last fuck, he proposed. For old time’s sake? I indulged him. You see a house burning down and you figure you might as well light your cigarette. As we lay in bed, sweat and smoke imposing in the room, I thought of the boy that I held in my arms. Our legs were tangled like vines. His head was resting calmly on my arm. His hands played through my forest, his fingers intertwining with the strands of my hair. If I closed my eyes, I could say it felt like I was home.

And I started to miss him even though he was still there. He was a good kid, big heart, and a decent fuck at that. I knew he could find someone better than me at the snap of a finger. And yet there he was in bed with me wishing he could stay in my life. Why couldn’t I let him in? Why was I pushing him away? Maybe you can only get hurt so many times before you start believing none of it’s worth it. Maybe you can only get your heart broken so many times before it stops beating like it should.

“Why does it hurt so bad?” he asked, warm tears flowing onto my naked chest. I held him closer until I felt his bones crushing under my weight. Until it felt like I could breathe in all that he was.

“If I had a heart, it would be hurting too.” I felt a sort of bluntness in the middle of my chest. Maybe this is what they call a phantom limb.

---

I woke up in the middle of the night and got dressed. I watched the boy as he lay in bed sleeping. He looked so peaceful, so pure and devoid of darkness. I don’t remember if I was ever just like that. He asked if my heart could still beat the same way. Maybe it used to, I answered. Maybe once when I could still feel. As I walked through the city, the buildings cloaked by night, I closed my eyes so I could hear the cars rushing past me. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, they wailed. Another day, another love, whooshing down the drain. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. This is my lullaby. The cars, the city, they keep me from thinking. They swallow the words I cannot spit out.

Maybe it used to, I said to him when what I really wanted to say was Save me.


Postcript. Seven years later, the boy still thinks of him often. The scent of Gudang Garam reminds him of the man he thought he could love forever. But forever is such a long time, he’d soon learn. It’s a promise he’d make to a string of boys who were just as hopeful as he was that summer.

♫: Leona Lewis | Run (2008)
Photo: night

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

maps


Imagine for a second that your life is a map and everything, every single moment that led you here were just stops on a route. Every decision you’ve made was a turn at a fork in the road. Look around you as you sit in your office cubicle reading this blog post or on the couch at your apartment swiping on your smartphone. Are you happy with who you are? Are you at peace with where your feet have taken you? Do you regret nothing? Has each turn been wise or have you somehow lost your way?

Imagine for a second that your life is a map. When one loses his way, common sense urges that he (1) calm the fuck down, (2) locate his position, and (3) pinpoint his destination. From there, he traces an outline of streets and corners, mapping the quickest route to where he wants to go. Right now, at this very moment, can you honestly say that you know where you need to go? Do you find that the decisions you made in the name of compromise have thrown you off your path?

Imagine for a second that your life is a map and those who wander from their paths need only to pause and recollect to find their way. Close your eyes and think of where you want to be. Picture yourself happy with sunny skies and green grass. Dig deep into the corners of your heart where dreams are not the least bit shameful. Do you see yourself walking the busy streets of Singapore? Are you lounging on the pristine sands of the Maldives? Are you alone or are your hands clasped with a lover’s? What do you do for a living? Are you a writer, an actor or a supermodel? Do you release multi-platinum recordings or do you dabble in politics? Close your eyes and dream as big as you can. Do not let anything cloud your vision in any way.

Imagine for a second that your life is a map. You know where you are. That part was easy. Now you have a dream in your heart. What if I told you that you were destined to become that person? What’s keeping you? Why aren’t you a famous writer in London? Why aren’t you a pastry chef on a luxury cruise? If you’re stuck in your own life reading this aimless rant then who’s manning that quirky shop you dreamed of in Tokyo? Who’s signing autographs at a crowded New York street corner?

Some say it’s age that stops them. Others will reason out that they have families and obligations they need to attend to. I call bullshit. You can be whoever you want to be. There are a million realities that exist for you right at this minute. Think of your reason, of what was keeping you from your happiness. That’s not a reason. That, my friend, is an excuse.

Imagine for a second that your life is a map. You are destined for greatness. You only need to know where you are, where you ought to be and the quickest way from Point A to B. I have reasons. I have excuses. Mostly, it’s fear that stops me in my tracks. If I never get over them, I will never become who I’m meant to be. Who knows? One day, I may find myself immortalized in books and magazines. Maybe one day, somebody will come up to me and quote a line from a story I wrote. At the same time, I may also find myself still in the same office doing the same boring things day in and day out. I may grab my destiny by the balls or I may just fall flat on my face. It all depends on the decisions I make, the turns I take and the stops I plan on the map that is my life.

It’s easy to dream. It’s easy to throw all caution to the wind and say I will be exactly who I want to be. It’s the hours and miles in between who I am and who I ought to be that jar me. I am so far from who I want to be. I have dreams as big as skyscrapers and at times, I feel I may not live long enough to see them coming true. They say the Aborigines believed that dreams could be mapped out in song. When you sing these in sequence, you could navigate through vast distances. I plug my earphones in, see my dream in my mind’s eye, and hope that a songline brings me there.

Lord, here comes the flood.
We will say goodbye to flesh and blood.
If again, the seas are silent
In any still alive,
It’ll be those who gave their island to survive.
Drink up, dreamers. You’re running dry.

Imagine for a second that your life is a map. May you never lose sight of your dreams.

♫: Peter Gabriel | Here Comes the Flood (1977)



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

somebody loved


“So we finally got to eat pares,” he said while we paid for the food. We were in the middle of a crowded mall carrying our overnighters like a bunch of hillbilly backpackers. I looked at him, unsure of the anecdote he was hinting at. “Remember? Back in November. We were supposed to have breakfast here but we flaked.”

The memory resurfaced like a buoy set free underwater. He’d refused to meet me for weeks and then he suddenly invited me to grab a bite. A craving, he reasoned but at the last minute, plans fell apart. I thought for sure we’d never meet but yet there we were, months later about to enjoy our first bowl of pares together.

“I’ll go get us a table,” he offered, juggling his backpack and a tray of rice bowls and iced tea. As the cashier was handing me my change, a little lightbulb flashed in my head.

“Is this seat taken?” I asked in a voice that didn’t sound like my own. He looked up from the bench he was on and flashed me a smirk. I set my tray on the wooden table to offer a firm handshake.

“N,” I introduced. “And you are?”

“Z.” He smiled, I melted. We shook hands and went through the ritual of pares-eating. Anyone who was watching might have believed we were strangers who’d just met for the first time. In reality, we’ve been together for almost three months and I have loved him for close to six.

---

It’s moments like this that I recall when I’m in bed, alone and missing him. I think of the way he stirred the burnt garlic crisps and sliced onion springs into his rice. I recall his untouched bowl of house soup and how he looked at me for approval as he sheepishly ordered a second helping of rice. And though we’ve eaten at a lot of nice places, it’s this quick fastfood trip we made that I’ll probably always remember. It was such a perfect image of who we are, of how uncomplicated things should be. There was nothing gourmet about the large chunks of beef bathing in broth. There were no spirits in the ₱15 iced tea they served in disposable cups. But still, I knew I had all I needed at that little table in the middle of a crowded mall with a man I pretended I’d just met.

There are times when I feel like I’m addicted to him. I crave the way he picks up the phone when I call him. I always long for the feeling of his head on my arm when we cuddle and watch TV. I love the sound of his laughter when I tell a joke or curse at the cartoons he watches. In the morning, I look forward to him showing me pictures he took of me sleeping. We glide through the previews and I see pictures of me, mouth ajar, legs bent at odd angles. In my head, I’m thinking ugly, ugly, ugleeeee but he’s telling me that I look funny, cute, and adorable. In less lucid moments of having just woken up, I actually believe him. I’d tell him about the wicked dreams that came the night before and he’d listen, without prejudice as though dreaming of dragons who steal your coffee was the most normal thing in the world. He’d tell me how I elbowed him in my sleep and I’d remark at how his snoring woke me up in the middle of the night. We’ve built a little routine around each other’s quirks and it’s things like this that I recall when I’m in bed, alone, still missing him badly.

It’s not perfect. Nothing is. We bicker like nine-year olds and we make up like them too. He tells me I smoke too much. I scold him when he refuses to abstain from the lechon’s fatty grip. We’ve hurt each other deeply with our words. We’ve both acted like jerks who didn’t care for each other. But then all I need to do is look into his big ol’ eyes and I remember how everything that happened in the past year only made sense when I met him. We were both disillusioned by love, both held shards of dreams we built with other people. And in the middle of all that rubble, he saw a broken boy and turned him into somebody loved. His heartbeat is my lullaby and if I close my eyes, I can almost hear the words.

Rain turns the sand into mud.
Wind turns the trees into bone.
Stars turning high up above.
You turn me into somebody loved

Nights when the heat had gone out.
We danced together alone.
Cold turned our breath into clouds.
We never said what we were dreaming of.
But you turned me into somebody loved

Someday when we're old and worn
Like two softened shoes,
I will wonder on how I was born
The night I first ran away from you.

Now my feet turn the corn
Sun turns the evening to rose.
Stars turning high up above.
You turn me into somebody loved.

I do not want to say I love you for we know not what the future betrays. Instead, I offer three simpler words: you are home.

♫: The Weepies | Somebody Loved (2003)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

dolls


Some girls are like paper dolls. You make them wear pretty clothes, have them stand around and that’s all they ever did. They’d stare at you with hollow eyes as you rip their clothes off and fold them something new. Some girls are marionettes, their husbands holding their strings like master puppeteers. They tell their wives what they could do, who they could see, when they could breathe. Mama was a doll made of little scraps sewn together. She had button eyes that always drooped and her seams weren’t always in the best shape. She wasn’t as graceful or eloquent or even smart as the other girls. And perhaps that’s what my father liked about her. She wore her poor childhood like a cross. He could always count on her to shut up and take whatever he gave because that would be always better than the shit life she grew up in.

And there were nights when he’d come home, reeking of gin and perfume. Mama would open the door and have his slippers ready for him. She tried to treat him nice and all but there was always some little thing she did or said that would rile him up. He’d start shouting then he’d hit her and she’d just take it. She was a rag doll and she took all that in because he was the only one who thought her beautiful, even though it’d been years since he last said it. I spent my whole life saying I would be nothing like her. That I’d be smarter than her or something; like a Barbie doll with a cool job and a car and all the frilly accessories only rich kids could afford. But life has a strange way of turning us into the monsters we hide from. When my lover first hit me, he did it so hard that my lip split open and one of my teeth flew out. My bruises burned for days. I should’ve called the police. I should’ve packed my things and left but his love held me in invisible chains. I stayed.

When I was a little girl, I saw this Russian doll at my rich aunt’s house. When she wasn’t looking, I slid that big old thing into my coat. When I got home, I cracked it open and a smaller doll came out. I cracked that one open and an ever smaller doll came out. I kept cracking and twisting and all these smaller dolls came out until I got to the very last one. It was so small, the paint was all smudged up and you could barely make out a face. Mama was a rag doll and I swore I’d never be like her. I couldn’t be Barbie. I was never pretty enough for that. But I could always be a Matryoshka. Every time he hits me, every time his fists fly towards me, I feel like a smaller, purer version of me comes out. And when he gets to my core, to that littlest piece at the center of my heart, I just know he’d finally throw his hands up and surrender. When I am small enough to be crushed by his right boot, he’d find it in his heart to love me just as I am.

♫: Goo Goo Dolls | Acoustic #3 (1998)
Photo: Matryoshka Dolls




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

heatstroke

Pinocchio Disclaimer: I’m possibly more or less not definitely rejecting the idea that in no way with any amount of uncertainty that I undeniably do or do not believe this post is a work of fiction, if that indeed is what it isn’t. In short, this was way before we became a couple, Z!!!


An all-expense-paid trip to Boracay. Why would anyone say no? For six whole days, I would have no deadlines to think about, no meetings to attend and most importantly, no love life or other emo thoughts to think over. I could stretch my legs, read a book by the shore, maybe get a tan or something. There was just one catch. It was a family trip which meant I had to butch it up for about a week.

I survived mainly by keeping a low profile, making sure I didn’t ogle too much on the passing shirtless hotnesses. I spoke only when needed and always at a lower key. My voice kept breaking every now and then. At night, I’d lock myself up in my hotel room and listen to gay music, puffing heavily on my e-cigarette. (That’s right. My parents don’t know I smoke either. Sometimes I wonder if they know anything about me. But that’s a completely different post altogether and believe it or not, I actually have a story to tell today.)

The story starts in the middle of day four. My sisters and I were walking along Station 2 when someone suggested we get coffee. The heat was ridiculous and the city girls in us needed a little taste of home. We all knew a couple of overpriced drinks on ice would breathe life into our very bones and so off to Starbucks we went.

The group assembled on the second floor while I was tasked to get the drinks. I took all opportunities to have me-time so even if I had to carry a gazillion drinks up a sandy staircase, I didn’t really mind. The queue was a little long and I was starting to get a little bored until *insert harp strumming here* I saw a man who would change my life forever.

He was standing just a few inches from me. It was his musk that first got my attention. I could smell vanilla with a slight wooden hint mixed with the sweet scent of sweat and sunblock. I looked up to find a tall, white man with curly chestnut hair. His face was full of stubble, like it had been days since he held a razor. His cheekbones looked like they’d been chiseled in and when he spoke, you could see a very light dimple on his left cheek. Now you should know I’m not really into white meat but there was something about this boy that I could not ignore. He wore dusty flip-flops, grey board shorts that dangled amply, and a long-sleeved plaid polo that he’d left unbuttoned. Thank God he left it unbuttoned. I could see his chest. Thought it was a little humble, it looked like it would be a perfect place to rest my head while watching a nice DVD. A mess of curly hair covered his belly and beneath it, you could see the sickest six-pack known to man. I watched as the careless strands dove deeper and deeper and deeeeeeeeper into his shorts.

Suddenly, the islands sounds started to blur away. From far away, a woman begins to sing her song.

Nowhere, yeah we’re going nowhere fast.
Maybe this time, I’ll be yours. You'll be mine.
C-c-crazy, get your ass in my bed.
Baby, you’ll be just my summer boyfriend.

I was still me. I was still in the middle of a crowded Starbucks but it felt like my whole life had just been proven true. It’s like everything that happened before I laid eyes on this Adonis were establishing shots in a silly romantic comedy. In my head, I pictured us running along the beach- line A and line B crossing at a blinding speed. And when we meet at point C, he’d lift me up and we’d turn and laugh like they do in those cheesy 80’s movies. I saw us cuddling, sharing mojitos on the seashore, all the while recounting our lucky stars that conspired and caused us to meet at an unsuspecting café.

Let’s get lost. You can take me home.
Somewhere nice we can be alone.
Bikini tops coming o-o-off.

We’d hold hands in the sunset and he’d kiss me under a coconut tree. I’d tell him how I loved him even before I knew how to love. He’d look me in the eye, a few tears glistening and he’d say…

“Sir? Sir? Sir?!” The barista woke me from my daydream and I was, in equal parts, annoyed and embarrassed. I fished out my mobile phone from my pocket and barked out my drink orders. At the very end, I asked for my usual: an Iced Venti Americano with two pumps of white mocha. Adonis was at the bar waiting for his drinks and I was stuck near the counter, staring, melting, imagining the life we would have together.

In hindsight, I’m guessing it was all the gayness I was repressing. Remember that I’d been butch for almost 100 straight hours (pun fully intended) and I badly needed an outlet. I told myself that if this had happened in Manila, my imagination would not be running that wild. But then I caught another glimpse of this sex on a stick and before I could catch myself, I fell headfirst into another daydream.

We were covered by the blanket of night. The stars were our roof and the sand was our bed. He tore my clothes off as I hurriedly stripped him of his. I ran my hands along his abs, the ridges firm and sharp. In between moans and loud slurping kissing sounds, I could hear the barista recapping my order. His voice sounded like he was underwater. I snapped back to reality momentarily to hand the barista a few crumpled bills from my pocket. I reminded myself that my family was just a few feet away. I could not blow my cover; not after twenty-five years of being safe and snug in their closet. I took one last look at the man who made my blood race as he walked away.

Don’t be sad when the sun goes down.
You’ll wake up and I'm not around.
I’ve got to go, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
We’ll still have the summer after all.

---

“Hot ba yung amerikano?” the barista asked. I looked at him and noticed he was smiling a knowing smile. Only then did I realize he was part of the federación. I felt validated; like somehow, I wasn’t the only one appreciating such beauty. I smiled back at him, recalling the smoldering piece of man-candy who was just at the bar, and in the gayest voice I could find, I released all the tension building up in my chest.

“Hot ba yung amerikano? SOOOOBBBBRAAAAAAA!!!” I exclaimed. The beki barista chuckled as he scribbled on my cup.

Segue to fifteen minutes later and my sisters and I were sprawled like cats on the beach. The eldest was enjoying a generous serving of Passion Iced Tea. My second sister was cooling down with a decaf no-whip Caramel Frapuccino. My third sister just finished her sweet Iced Caramel Macchiato. And then there I was, stuck with a drink as hot as the blistering sun.

“What kind of crazy person orders a hot drink on such a hot day?” my third sister crudely asked. The barista and I obviously miscommunicated. While I thought he was remarking at my Adonis, he was actually confirming my drink order. And so in the middle of Boracay, on a day that bordered on 37°, I dug my feet into the sand as I sipped my extra hot Venti Americano with two pumps of white mocha.

“My throat’s acting funny,” I lied in the low voice I use when I speak to family. All the while, my eyes scouted the shoreline for my beautiful boy with the chestnut hair and the sick abs.

♫: Lady GaGa | Summerboy (2008)


The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: Crazy-Happiness

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

on april and zac efron


I was in bed this morning thinking it’s been a week since I wrote anything and I should probably get to it. I fired up my laptop and started drafting this stalker story I’ve had in my head since the weekend. Somewhere in the middle of “I’m not really here” and “My skin blends into the walls,” I got a little lost. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say or where I wanted to take my stalker. I completely forgot my story.

A few minutes and a fuji apple later, I was bored to tears. I was ready to give up. I saved the single paragraph that materialized before my brain conked out and resolved to entertain other story ideas. I’ve always wanted to do a sort of retrospective on how things were like for me this time last year. I went through my vintage buoys and to my surprise, this is what I found tucked in the bowels April 2011.

B4N. As I look at my archives, I realize I haven’t written anything real in a long time. It feels like I’ve lost my purpose, my reason for logging into Blogger week after week. I started this blog because I wanted a means to express myself. Why then does it feel like I’ve stifled my own voice?

My life’s a little fucked up right now. There are things I need to discover, feelings and ghosts I need to deal with and so I’m taking a little break from blogging. It’s a decision I made with a heavy heart but one I know I need if I hope to return to some semblance of normalcy. I’ll be back faster than you can say not-another-blog-hiatus or didn’t-he-do-this-last-year? Hopefully, by that time, I’ll have found the real reason for my unhappiness. To friends, followers, lurkers old and new, wish me luck as I venture into a new quest of self-discovery.

Okaaaay… not an easy angle to spin. Let’s check out what I was doing two years ago.

AFK. Just to make things clear, I’m still on hiatus. There are a few things I still need to finish before I can fully commit to this page again. I realize that my last post, if anything, was a bit vague on the issue and so I wanted to write a quasi-epilogue to explain.

Another hiatus? That last post I was referring to didn’t help much either.

BYE FOR NOW!!! I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a little break from blogging to focus on other stuff. My life is a mess right now and I think I need all the epiphanies I can get for myself. I won’t be closing this blog. It’s become such a big part of me that to shut it down would be like cutting off an appendage. Anyway, I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Maybe it’ll take a day, maybe a few weeks or maybe a year. I don’t really know. One thing’s for sure, I will be back and I’ll have a lot more buoys to share with you then.

*fingers crossed* Three years ago?

BRB. In completely unrelated news, I’ve decided to take a break from heavy blogging. I’ve recently reacquainted with my first love- fiction. I finally finished writing a story (two years after I wrote my last story) plus I’ve got a few buns in the oven just waiting to be written. Like most infants, they need all the attention they can get and so to do that, I decided to limit my blogging. *hangs up Do Not Disturb sign* See you in a few weeks (hopefully with something good)!

Ugh. Four years ago?

No posts. Show all posts

Waddapack?! I didn’t even bother to write anything in April 2008. I checked and I was right in the middle of a nine-month hiatus. NINE MONTHS. If I were a celebrity, people would’ve gossiped that I had a baby or something!

I sat there, completely mind-fucked by my writing patterns. And all this time, I thought I was just tired. I didn’t know that this month typically saw me hiding from this blog and that I had four years of historical data working against me. What is it about April that dries my pen? I chewed on this question for a little bit and when there weren’t any easy answers, I just said fuck it. Daddy needs a little break anyway. And besides, I’ve always been such a sucker for tradition.

So this is me hiat-ing. I’ll be back in a week or so unless giant snails take over the world (in which case it’s every man for himself!) While I’m gone, here are some gratuitous pictures of Zac Efron that will change your life. You can thank me once you’ve thrown your used Kleenex away. :x



♫: Zac Efron | Get'cha Head In the Game (2006)
Photos: buzzfeed



The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: Obsession

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

three of three: right or wrong


I guess you’d think it was silly but I still remember the exact moment I realized I was in love with him. It was in the early days when things weren’t complicated. He was escaping from a destructive relationship. I was picking up broken shards of my heart. We were simply distractions to each other.

“Are you seriously asking me this question?” he asked as he flipped the cap off a fresh bottle of beer. The bar was practically empty. Most of the drinking crowd had already gone home yet there we were, still crawling our way through another bucket.

“Yes, I am.” I answered. “I believe there’s plenty you can learn from someone based on the food he identifies with.”

“Well,” he said, looking up in thought. “I guess you could say I’m a lot like bangus.”

“Milkfish? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Growing up, I saw a lot of them back home in the province. Did you know they can practically grow anywhere? Like it was completely normal for you to see bangus in little creeks or in the flood when the storms came in.”

“Ooookaaaay,” I said in disbelief. “How does that make you a milkfish?”

“Well, I guess it’s sort of like how… these days, it feels like I’m just swimming in mud.” He stubbed his cigarette into a full ashtray. A few stray butts fell to the table as the speakers chimed in a Jack Johnson record on loop. “It would be nice to think that someday, I don’t know. Maybe someday, someone would think I was beautiful.”

His eyes looked so lonely. I was never sentimental, never truly cared for anyone before but at that moment, I knew I could spend the rest of my life making this boy realize how special he was, how truly beautiful he was in the mud.

I always saw myself as plain tortang talong. It wasn’t that I couldn’t aspire to be anything more than eggplant omelet. It’s just, I always found the way that you cook it to be pretty interesting. You grill it or burn it on a stove then you mash it to bits with a fork. You have to fry it with a scrambled egg because let’s face it, no one sets off to eat just an eggplant. It always has to be prepared with something else. It goes through such a beating and at the end, it tastes exquisite. I guess you could say I’m a lot like that. It would be nice to think that all the shit I’m going through is temporary and when all this is through, maybe someone out there could say that I was deserving of his love.

I knew what we were doing was wrong. I’m not stupid. I didn’t wake up one day and say oh, I think I’m going to steal a husband today. I tried to fight it but it was always too strong for me. Each night, I said to myself this is the last time I’m seeing him. I promised every night would be the last. But there was always something in the way, some little thing he’d do that would remind me of one simple truth: there was no way my heart would let me live without him. I could hold my breath till I turn blue and each heartbeat would still call out his name.

“Hello,” he said, his eyes lighting up from alcohol and optimism. He was playing one of his little games. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m the guy who does nothing right. I’m the guy who let you down when you were 16. I’m the one who fucked you up when you were 23. I’m the guy who broke your heart, who breaks your heart. Have a drink with me,” he offers, his drink held high in the air. “Did I mention I do nothing right?” I raised my bottle to meet his and the clink sounded lovely but lonely.

“Hi,” I said, a skewed smile on my face. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“And you are?”

Six words and I broke my own heart. “I’m the guy who stayed anyway.”

He said he’d had his suitcases packed and stored in the trunk of his car since Monday and he was just waiting for the right moment to leave. On the day he was to arrive, I barely got anything done at work. I was nervous. My hands were sweaty with anticipation. I didn’t know what to expect.

He said he’d be home by 8. I cooked dinner, something I stopped doing since I was always out at night with him. By midnight, I still hadn’t heard anything from him. I checked my messages a couple of times. I kept trying to call him but he was always out of reach. The dinner sat cold on the kitchen counter, the oil turning white and solid. By 12:30, I sent him a three-word SOS: Where are you?

A gentle knocking wakes me at 4:25. I was still fully dressed, supine on the sofa. My neck and lower back wrestled in pain as I stumbled across the living room to the front door.

“I’m sorry,” he greeted. “I’m here.” He was drunk. It looked like he swam through cases of beer to get to me. He could barely stand, let alone carry his suitcase. He put his hand on my shoulder and collapsed to the floor.

I wanted to berate him. I wanted tell him how cross I was because he didn’t even call, didn’t bother to check in or anything. But when I saw how he looked, I knew to bite my tongue. That night found him leaving the woman he swore he’d be with forever. I’d probably be drinking like a fish too if I ever had to break a vow like that.

I carried him to the bedroom and took off his shoes. I grabbed a washcloth and a basin from the bathroom. I slowly stripped him of his shirt and jeans. My washcloth ran warm water all over his skin, stripping him of the day's dirt, his sweat and regrets. All the while, he kept mumbling about how sorry he was and that he came as soon as he could.

As I sat there giving a sponge bath to a man who’d just left his wife for me, I couldn’t help but think of all the different circumstances that aligned to bring him to my bed. That first cigarette, the many nights at the bar, the stories we shared, the first time we kissed. I recalled the night he told me he was leaving her and how it felt like I was alive for the first time.

You can judge me. You can call me names. Cheater. Liar. Home wrecker. It doesn’t even matter to me anymore. They’re just words. As random as cat, coin or comb. I just loved. I just listened to my heart. How can that ever be wrong? I loved a man and I did all I could to keep him in my life. I fought for my happiness. Doesn’t that sound like someone you know? Doesn’t that sound like you?

Part 1 | 2 | 3
♫: The Civil Wars | To Whom It May Concern (2011)
Photo: The Kiss



The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: A Criminal Mind

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

how to create a citybuoy blog post (or how I became the poster boy for emo)

Step 1: Choose a theme. Feel free to choose from the following. They’ve gotten me through the last few hundred posts.
  1. You are extremely unhappy with your love life because
    1. You are dating someone who is emotionally unavailable.
    2. You are dating someone who is in love with someone else.
    3. Your ex keeps haunting your dreams.
    4. You are dating someone who is generally fucked up (but you lahvett)
  2. You are extremely unhappy with how your life turned out because
    1. Your mother/father/brother/sister/how do you brush your teeth? is emotionally unsupportive.
    2. You were never able to reach for your dreams.
    3. You are crippled with the past and how things were easier then.
    4. You have writers block and your stories are starting to haunt you.
    5. You feel fat/stupid/ugly/all of the above.
  3. You are extremely unhappy in general because
    1. The world is out to get you.
    2. Nothing goes your way.
    3. Nobody loves you.
    4. Even you hate yourself.

Step 2: Establishing shots. Always use your current surrounding (this is also why *where* you write is very important). Now make the scene darker. Now imagine that it’s raining. Now imagine that you’re balled up in a little corner with your arms around your knees and you’re rocking gently back and forth. You there yet? Good. Now describe small details before “zooming out” to the bigger ones. In other words, write like an ant.

Step 3: Conversing conversationally. Make your characters talk. Use a lot of adjectives in your dialogue. Use a lot of adverbs in your attributions. When you can’t think of any lines, feel free to borrow from movies or songs. I promise you. No one will even notice. Also, try putting two physical things and one metaphorical thing in the same sentence (eg. I handed him my bag, my coat, and all the love my little heart could give.) They’ll be shitting rainbows on your serial comma.

Step 4: Emotional equivalent of an a-bomb. Many thanks to ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ for coining the term. Think of a really sappy line. Now add the following:
  1. Mozzarella
  2. Cheddar
  3. Feta
  4. Brie
  5. Camembert
  6. Edam
  7. Monterey jack
  8. Parmesan
  9. That quezo de bola from two Christmases ago.
Note: Position these carefully. They’re best placed in unsuspecting paragraphs.

Step 5: Who you calling an idiom? Each post needs at least one idiom. Not only will this make you look smart, it will also make the plot easier to contain since most idioms have a pretty long back story anyway. For more information, click here.

Step 7: Write the tragic ending. Short version: you always end up alone. Bonus points if you have any of the following in the final paragraph:
  1. An epiphany.
  2. A renewed sense of optimism.
  3. A reworked version of the lead sentence (also known as the Taylor Swift final chorus).
  4. Emotional equivalent of an a-bomb.
  5. An open question (This rocks the foshizzle out of your comments page. It gives people something to say other than “nice story” or “I love the structure of this post.”)

Step 8: Kudakan. Tie the whole thing together using media.
  1. Locate a melancholy picture. When all else fails, go to deviantART and search for the word “sad” under “Photography.”
  2. Lomofy the shit out of that picture. Rotate, crop and scale to 620 x 220.
  3. Choose a song. Anything by an angry/depressing singer-songwriter will do. If all else fails, Google your theme with the word “lyrics” and feast on the first search results page.
  4. Use the following code to post the picture and embed the song:

Let's try it!!!

night swim



“Why is this lake salty?” he asked. His teeth chattered while he spoke. Truth is, I’d done all I could to avoid him. It’s in these dreams I have of him where his memory refuses to die. And so although my waking life is rid of him, my dreams have always held him every night since the day he left.

“Let’s go for a swim,” I said hurriedly, my breath fogging up from the cold. In this dream, we are at the lake house where I first dared to call him my own. I unbuttoned my shirt and stripped to my underwear.

“It’s freezing,” he wistfully retorts, his puny arms shivering. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“With us, are there ever any good ideas?” He took off his shirt and lay on the grass by the lake. I sat down beside him, feeling the dampness of the earth seeping through my nakedness. He continued to strip and made neat piles of our clothing. I glanced as he removed his underwear, feeling my erection snake from underneath. I took his hand and under the moonlight in the shrill cold of that November night, we went into the water.

I held his face, my hands fumbling through his dark eyes, his sharp nose, his crooked mouth. I ran my fingers through his hair like a comb. As we kissed, I began to push his head down the water. We both knew what was coming.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked just before his mouth disappeared into the water.

“Because I need to keep living. Because I want to give myself fully to my new lover. Because your memory still haunts me when I sleep.”

“Then let go,” he said and so I did. He submerged his head under the water on his own. I could still see his under the haunting moonlight, telling me he understood why I needed to kill him. A few moments later, he let out a few bubbles. Then I saw a flash of panic in his eyes. One more thing, they said and it was clear he wasn’t going without a fight. I placed both hands on his head again. He flinched a little as he tried to make his way back up. His arms and legs waved frantically underwater. I firmly pressed both down on his head. I felt his claws hard on my body. I knew for sure he’d taken some of my flesh under his nails.

When he’d left, I emerged from the water and walked back to where we left our clothes. I put on my pants, lit a cigarette and prayed the worst was over. I fished out a flask from his back pocket and after taking a swig, I poured the rest of the vodka on his clothes. I flicked my cigarette into the pile and watched the whole thing burn.

“Why is this lake salty?” he asked. His teeth chattered while we spoke. We are at the lake house where I first dared to call him my own.

In the pale moonlight, under the roof of stars, in the water that held both our beating hearts, I whispered my response. “Because we’re swimming in all the tears I couldn’t cry for you.”

I’ve done many things in my life. I’ve reached many highs and survived countless lows. On lonely nights when I wake up from nightmares of him, drenched in sweat, tears and regrets, I often wonder if we ever truly forget.

♫: Alanis Morissette | 8 Easy Steps (2002)
Photo: sad / pixlr.com



The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: Vanity
  • ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ: Vanity, A Series
  • citybuoy: how to create a citybuoy blog post (or how I became the poster boy for emo)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

blackout


I probably shouldn’t be writing yet another sappy love post.
I know people only like me when I’m depressed.
But after all the bullshit I went through last year,
Don’t you think I deserve my moment of happiness?
And besides, it’s not like I’m not trying to write.
This story* I’ve been working on hasn’t been going anywhere.
What can I do when every time I pick up my pen, all I can think of is
 you ?

♫: Kylie Minogue | All I See (2008)


The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: Amnesia

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

interlude: a story called three


“I just don’t think it’s fair,” Three said, avoiding any eye contact. “Your whole life turns to shit and you suddenly drop me. Like I didn’t matter. Like you didn’t care if I got to tell my side of the story or not.”

I sighed deeply. His words were difficult to swallow and so I borrowed some courage from the bottle of vodka on the table. He’s right. I know he’s right but I also know I’m not the only one to blame.

“You remember what that time was like for me, right? I couldn’t think of you when thoughts of him possessed my day. I couldn’t focus when every day felt like dying. It’s amazing I even made it out alive.”

“Seven months and not a word from you.” His beady eyes glistened in the moonlight. It was apparent he’d stopped listening altogether.

“I’m sorry,” I said to him. It was all I could afford. I knew that I’d done him wrong.

“So what happens now?” he asked. His voice betrayed a loneliness that was not unlike my own. “You’re okay now, right? Do you think maybe you could… maybe you could try again?”

I let his words marinate in my head. Maybe he’s right. Maybe it is time to finish what I started.

“Let’s go,” I said, my hand extended to him. “We’ve got work to do. How do you want to start?”

“I’ve got something but I think it may be a little melodramatic.” I looked at him and for the first time since I came to him, his eyes met mine.

“Kailan pa naging kasalanan ang umibig?” My fingers started dancing on my keyboard, my laptop barely able to keep up. The line was a little cheesy but it was his story to tell, not mine and so I left the line alone.

Think of your lovers and the distances you’ve crossed because your heart told you to. Think of nights when only tears brought you rest. In lucid moments where logic prevails, ask yourself this simple question. When has it ever been wrong to fall in love?

♫: Stars | Changes (2010)
Photo: The Scream / pixlr.com



BUZZ!!! About half a year ago, I began writing a series of stories. It was to have three parts, each one exposing an angle of the same story. (First part here, second part here) Because of circumstances I’d rather not revisit, I found myself unable to empathize with the third character of the story.

It’s taken me a while but I’m writing Three and finishing this series if it kills me. I’m giving myself until the end of the week. Lezzzzdooodeeeezzz!!!

6AM UPDATE. So I completely forgot that the whole point of this interlude was this question that I wanted people to answer. Early birds did not get to see the last paragraph (here). I’ve been struggling with this part of the character and any thoughts/insights would be very much appreciated. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

hearing


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♫: Rachel Portman | Highlights from Never Let Me Go: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2010)


The Emo Blogger's Happy Blogging Challenge: Happiness and One of the Five Senses