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I'm vulnerable. I'm vulnerable (but) I am not a robot.

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

58 comments:

  1. Although the ending is sad, you made a good story here. Nice write as always...

    JJRod'z

    Ps. Will be in the philippines this tuesday. Hope to meet all my blogfriends. Trying to schedule even just a night in manila...

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    1. JJRod'z: Thanks JJ! I appreciate it. :)

      Uy, that's so cool. I have work on weekdays. Usap tayo sa Facebook to see if we can meet up! :)

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  2. naalala ko yung mga binabasa kong books ngayon. yung binibilisan ko yung basa pag exciting na yung part. ilan lang yung nakakapagpauto sakin ng ganun. haha at itong ito yun. nakakainis! :) ang galing


    HALIMAW ka! :D

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    1. Mots: Wow naman! I didn't expect such a compliment from theeeeee teacher's pwet. :p

      Medyo hilaw pa nga talaga 'tong post na 'to. I wanted to explore a few other things and maybe trim the fat in the middle section. Maybe one of these days. Madalas naman ako maubusan eh. haha

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  3. Lovely story, despite the bitter dénouement.

    Well done as usual, Nyl.

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    1. Rudeboy: Thanks Rudie! I was a little worried it would be predictable but I guess the blogging medium made it a little easier, no?

      You know this still doesn't get you off the hook for not calling me about Ramahari. lolz just kidding. :p

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    2. Oh, so that's MY fault now, eh?

      I was grinning as I read that part in this story where "you" realized you had three missed calls and five messages. "Heh," I thought."Serves him right, the absent-minded twink."

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    3. Rudeboy: You could've called, you know. It's so bagets to rely on SMS! lolz

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    4. I only call when I'm livid ;)

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    5. Rudeboy: Noted. haha why couldn't you have been livid then? chos

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  4. i'm having a feeling na paulit-ulit nyang sinasabi sa sarili nya na: "It doesn’t really hurt as much as it does right now" until ma-feel nya na ulit ang legs nya para makauwi.. sad.. :/

    really nice story, nyl, as always. :)

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    1. Nate: I have the same feeling too! Or at least until maka-sakay siya ng taxi. I'm not a medical practitioner or anything pero diba pag-super stressed, namamanhid ang extremities? Or stroke lang ba yun? haha

      Thanks for the feedback, Nate. I appreciate it. :p

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  5. Nakakawasak naman ng pagkatao tong istorya nato. Pambihira.

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    1. Overthinker Palaboy: In fairness, consistent na pasabog ang mga comments mo ha. lolz Nawasak ba ang pagkatao mo? Sorry naman. :x

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    2. abot tenga ang ngiti at bungisngis ko sa post ni ser. lol! nakakawasak talaga? lol

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    3. Cyron Agustin: Wagas din naman kasi ang comment ni overthinker! At welcome pala to my blog! :)

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  6. There was this article on psychology today that talks about this. Why good guys always come last. I couldn't find the exact post anymore but it was rather enlightening to see the psychology behind all of it; being taken for granted, the way you would react to how they treat you, and that, eagerness, that bliss that fills up your face one you find out that he's there, waiting for you.

    Story of my life man. Can't help but see myself going through the same thing a month ago. I'm slightly better now though, but I know deep inside that I'll always be there when he needs me.

    I dunno..maybe because I have this weird gut feeling that one day, I know we're meant to be?

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    1. Herbs: Wow, what a different sentiment than the one you shared when we last met! I guess I've always believed (deep, deep, deep down) that there is some truth to the concept of having one person for every other person. That may be him for you and in that case, I wish you the best of luck! :)

      I'd love to read that article. Maybe it would shed some light on a lot of my characters.

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  7. yay. this is a sad story. and nicely written too.

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    1. eArL...: Why thank you, Earl! I'm guessing you like sad stories like this? hehe Welcome to my blog! Baka malunod ka sa dami ng ka-emohan ko dito. haha

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  8. i sort of thought it would end that way -- knowing how you write. Just the same, kept me on edge. Cheers.

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    1. Peter: Yun nga eh. May matindi siyang predictability factor. Glad it kept you on edge anyway. :)

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  10. Some girls can really be a pain in the neck. Ahaha! Well done, Nyl.

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    1. LJ: A lot of pussy-hatin'? haha I think the angle I wanted to explore (but couldn't, really) was how they were just perfect for each other until he saw her with him. ewan.. medyo magulo utak ko. haha

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    2. well, hindi naman lumabas sa post mo. pakiramdam ko sobrang nangarag ka dahil nasira lappy mo. haha.

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    3. LJ: Kurek! haha nakaka-stress ang buong kaganapang yun. You should see how I scribbled parts of this story on reciepts, ripped out notebook pages, etc. :x

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  11. Replies
    1. Ichan: Hello! Welcome to this side of the cyberworld. :p Like I replied to your tweet kagabi, sorry naman. I can't promise I won't write any more stories like this kasi I seem to gravitate towards them like flies to shit. haha and I think it's just precious that your avatar's crying just like you said in your comment! :)

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  12. di ko hilig magbasa ng mahaba pero naintriga ko dito. sad naman. kung ako yun, sasampalin ko na sarili ko para matauhan ako at tumigil ng umasa.

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    1. Hustin: I'm glad you pushed through the word count. :x I'm glad I don't have feelings like this anymore. Baka nasampal ko din sarili ko! haha Pero I'm glad I groveled and was super low like this before. It helped me appreciate the mature, two-way relationships I've had in adulthood.

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  13. what i enjoy about this story the most is how delicate but powerful confirmation bias haunts the entire story. the correct messages are sent but are we paying attention to receive them?

    i dated this cutter once. he was very malambing -- in fact, that's how i discovered he was a cutter. anyways, then when i asked him if he wanted to be in a committed relationship, i never saw him again. my friend said that apparently he was enraged that i'd actually be interested in a relationship with him especially after discovering his scars.

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    1. LOF: "what i enjoy about this story the most is how delicate but powerful confirmation bias haunts the entire story."

      I guess this is what Peter was saying. People are just so used to my emo shit that they see it coming. (continued)

      "the correct messages are sent but are we paying attention to receive them?"

      But don't we all still hope for the best anyway? haha Now I feel bad for not giving the guy a happy ending.

      As for your cutter... maybe he just didn't think he was worth all the effort? While I don't think the guy in the story thinks that way, I kinda see their parallelism. I've often said I tend to gravitate towards complicated relationships when maybe on an unconscious level, I had a hand at choosing them (?) And when your cutter finally found someone who didn't reject him for what he does to himself, he freaked out.

      I'd love to hear more stories about this guy. Ithi-theme natin yan! haha

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  14. Replies
    1. Spiral: A cutter is someone who slashes their wrists! See: Garbage hehe may libreng LSS yan! you should see my scaaaaaarrrssss!!!

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    2. a cutter is someone who cuts themselves/inflicts pain through cutting. i believe this process is typically assumed to give the cutter the feeling of control over their own life through their mutilation of their body although this says almost nothing in a specific sense about why a particular individual would cut themselves...

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    3. LOF: That makes it seem so serious! I always just thought they needed to inflict great pain to prove they're not numb anymore.

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  15. Wow! And a huge bam OUCH for this. To rescue but it turned out you'll be needing someone to rescue you. it's an unfathomable feeling I could say, the excitement back home, the feeling of romance and love scowling their ways to the very moment that the two of you will be reuniting again, seeing again.

    I couldn't be more bitter and mad if I am your shoe! I would command my angels to slaughter everyone who would stand my way back home. And even the lady who knocked me off the ground. I swear to heaven it is painful as being fucked up first time!

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    1. Tim: I didn't think of that angle but yes, the person in the story probably needs a hero right about now. (I realize I've had this recurring theme for many posts now. haha)

      I appreciate the empathy, Tim. :) You're very passionate!

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  16. Tss. The tragedy of being an option.

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    1. Rei: I knerryttt... it's a pain we know all too well! lolz

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  17. Replies
    1. Arkinscent: At napa-tweet talaga ako, diba? haha I know I did something well whenever you drop by and leave a comment. :p

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    2. Gusto ko man i-dissect bakit naging maganda sya or kung paano ko nakarelate pero getting older have made me na parang di na ko na-susurprise.. pero it doesn't mean, when i say that, na hindi ako awe stricken.

      (I always adore the writer and his talent I envy. #kumuhNgAsido)


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    3. at nabasa ko yung tweet na yun hehe

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    4. Arkinscent: You know I love you, kuya. Buhusan mo man ako ng asido. lolz

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  18. ehem. lol
    story of... oh never mind :)

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    1. Darc: Story of who? haha ikaw ha. Ichika mo na yan!

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  19. Aray ah. Mejo may taglay na sakit itong post na ito aside from the physical pain ng pagkakabalya. Bakit kasi nagdedaydream sa taxi.

    I know how much effort you put in literary pieces like these but here is one point I concentrated on:

    I scrub my armpits a little harder than usual and trim my pubes

    Nagmamadali ka tapos nagtrim ka pa talaga??? Haliparot. O yan sayang lang pinagtrim mo LOL.

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    1. glentot: you know i can always count on you to find the weird little stuff i add in there just for the heck of it. nangyari kasi yan sa friend ko noon noon pa. sobrang alaskado siya pero i'm sure bad trip yung feeling pag-uwi niya haha

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  20. The bathroom part got me. I haven't done that in a long while. There must be something wrong with my social life. :D

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    1. Visual Velocity: You should get out more! Don't I owe you coffee or something? 417 followers later, I still haven't met you!

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  21. sorry mawalang galang po...

    i just dropped by to wish you the best for the holidays...

    Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!..

    JJRod'z

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    1. JJRod'z: Sorry at super delayed! Hope you had a wonderful christmas/new year! :)

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  22. Oh God, he saw everything.
    - define awkward.

    Napa-blurt ako ng p-curse (yung Tagalog) out of the blue dun sa last text message. Nagulat ako sa sarili ko bcoz its so malutong hahaha.

    Galing mo talaga kuya Nyl. Hehe. Ngayon lang ako nakabalik dito. Or rather, ngayon lang ako nakapag-internet ulit sa PC. Haha. Good read for me, nice write for you. :)

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    1. Green Breaker: Awww... ang nice ng reaction mo ha. Pwede kita i-test group. lolz Salamat din! And please, drop the kuya!

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  23. to the gut. and up on ♔ıǝɹɯɐı♔ comment... :)

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    1. Kaloy: Uy wow! Nakaka-starstruck! haha I know this is a pain you know pretty well. Haay, the things we do, no? haha

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