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I don't look a thing like Jesus but I talk like a gentleman.

Monday, June 10, 2013

stella and her waiting (2): running


“There was a guy here who was looking for you,” said Joci while I was getting ready for my set. I looked at her through the mirror. She was putting on way too much eyeliner. “The funny thing is he called you by your real name. It took me a while to figure out who he was looking for.”

And it felt like my legs had gone cold all of a sudden. Someone once told me that when you get really nervous, all the blood flows to your legs so you can run. Part of evolution, he said and for a second, it really did feel like I was going to bolt out the door. Could it be that he was just here?

“What was his name?” I asked, my voice uneasy and shaking.

“I’m not sure. Was it Bruce? Or maybe Ryan.” My heart stopped. “Bryan. Yes, that’s the name. Does it ring any bells?”

My memories from our last night together are quickly fading away. There are times when I get confused about the day of the week or the color of the shirt he was wearing. All I remember with perfect clarity is the sullen look on his face. He couldn’t be with me and it was becoming clearer and clearer that what we had was slowly slipping through the cracks.

“This is hard,” he said. “I don’t want to leave you. You know that, right?”

“Then don’t.” I begged. “If we run now, they won’t ever find us. If you…” I couldn’t finish the thought. In my head, I could see her carrying his child, just as confused as we were. I saw her father, or at least a figure I imagined him to be like. In his hands he held a shotgun, a poor reimagining of a daytime soap opera where all the actors perform stiffly between poorly written dialogue.

“And what? Spend the rest of our lives hiding from them? Escaping the responsibility I know I must face?”

“But what about me? What about us? Bryan, I left my life to be with you. I have nowhere else to go. Aren’t you responsible for me too?”

“Gina,” he said, his hands on my face. “I know you. You are strong. One day, we’ll be together. Just wait.”

One day, we'll be together. Just wait. That’s the promise I’ve held on to all these years. I learned to get by, to live my life as though it were a movie and I was just sitting in the audience waiting for the happy ending. My heart hardened into a cocoon. Though men have often tried to pierce it with their promises of stability and a good future, I have always known that my heart can only beat for one man.

“Ready Stella?” asked Bookie, peeking through the small hole we use to scout the men. I dabbed a bit of concealer on the name tattooed on my hip. I tightened my bikini top as I got up, endeavoring to momentarily forget about the man who held my heart prisoner.

“Oh, he asked me to give you this,” Joci said. “He says you’d know what it is.” She handed me a copper cufflink, a cruel reminder of the love I once had and lost to the wind. I took the present from her and pinned it to my garter.

“I can’t let you go.” My tears had become too strong to hold in. “I just can’t. This,” I said, bringing his cupped hands to my heart. “This… this can only beat for you. I thought you understood that.”

“I do. I really do. But I can’t do this. If we leave, if we run from this mess that I made, I’m gonna put you in danger too. And that’s just not fair. You are the courage I need to get through this. I just need a year, two at the most. Then I’ll come back and we can be together.”

“Let’s run away. Please Bryan, let’s run away.” My voice was dry with desperation. The cool June winds shook the trees as we spoke. With all my heart, I wished it could blow us away.

“We can’t. I can’t. I’m sorry.” Six words that broke my heart.

I wonder what men see when I’m dancing. My hips move to the music, my undergarments snap off to the beat. Do they think of me when they come home to their wives, smelling like Red Horse and stale cigarettes? Do I remind them of the life they once had as horny teenagers, fapping to their father’s Playboys? Or do they see me for how I really am – a bit of road kill stuck to the burning asphalt. By day, I am too little, too unimportant for their affection. But at night when they are with me, they whisper empty promises in my ear and push bills down my underwear. At night, I am who they want me to be and who I was or how I got here is just an unfortunate consequence.

“Let’s run. Just for tonight, let’s run away.” I said. I got up from the pavement, tossed my purse into the nearby bushes and started running for my life. I kicked hard on the road and with it, I wished to stomp at all the things that were keeping me from him. As the cold evening air stabbed through my face, I felt I was shedding the weak skin I once held.

Bryan caught up with me and we held hands in the moonlight. We ran because we had to, because we really couldn’t, and because for once, it felt like we were escaping the hand of cards life dealt us. We ran together, ran ‘till the air burned in our lungs and it felt like they would explode. And when they didn’t, we ran a little more.

I collapsed onto a field of grass, the blades wet with dew. Bryan lay beside me and he kissed me lightly on the cheek. He held me as we quietly watched the stars above us. And when we’d caught our breaths and I’d wiped my tears, he stood up and left me in the grass with my broken heart.

I walked to the center of the stage while the lights were dimmed. As the intro to my song played, my right hand absentmindedly fiddled with the cufflink on my thigh. If he was here still, he would see that I’m doing just what he said. I’m waiting. From far away and deep down the quietest corners of my heart, the singer sings the story of my life.

For you I was a flame
Love is a losing game
Five-storey fire as you came
Love is a losing game

One I wish I never played
Oh what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game

And though many memories from that night have slipped away from me, I will never forget the fevered thoughts I held back as we lay quietly in the grass. Maybe if we ran fast enough, we’d outrun every little thing in our way. Maybe if we pushed hard enough, we would look back one day and see that we'd won.

♫: Amy Winehouse | Love is a Losing Game (2006)
Photo: night race



OOPS. Sorry about that. I know I promised I’d post this a few weeks back but things got kind of crazy at work and between that and having to fly to Davao to see my parents, I lost my train of thought. Aaaanyway, there’s one last part to this series and I hope I can find the time to just sit down and write. Ooh and also, Aris (who I collaborated with here) translated a post from three years ago! Check out his (and by association, my :p) awesomeness here.


34 comments:

  1. I love that song.

    I hate Winehouse for dying so soon.

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    1. Rudeboy: Well maybe there is some truth that only the good die young. As you can see, we're still here, Rudie. Just keeping on keeping on.

      I once shelled out a week's worth of wages to buy a limited collection of her first two records. It's one of my most prized possessions. :x

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  2. You are SOOO good, you writer you! Just get on with your novel so I (we) can all spend hours living your stories!! :)

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    1. R. Burnett Baker: I hate that you got to read this in its unedited form! Silly me, I thought I hit Save when I clicked publish. I usually edit with exagg OCD and so up until a few minutes ago (it's a minute to 12 as I type this), I was still hacking away at unruly paragraphs. And thank you for your kind words. If you've been reading my comments for the last couple of years, you'd see that getting published has always been my dream. But it's pretty hard to get that done here. I'm sure you know that. :p

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  3. I'm reserving my thoughts about the series until the last part. Can't wait! :)

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    1. Splice: Hey! You're here!! :)

      Don't hold your breath. Grabe, I have a vague idea lang of what to put and so far, it's pretty anticlimactic. But maybe that's all it needs to be at this point (?) I'm still waiting for the characters to tell me what's going to happen (hala, parang sintu-sinto lang) if that makes any sense. Midnight thoughts not as coherent. Sorry :(

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  4. Parang may hook sa esophagus ko pagkatapos ko tong mabasa. Your writing reminds me of Eric Gamalinda. Dapat ka nang magkaron ng altar.

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    1. OP: Sa esophogus talaga? haha And Eric Gamalinda! Sushal ka!

      Magpapa-photoshoot ako para sa altar na yan ha. #chauce

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  5. anong nangyari kay armi millare? hihi pero dahil si amy yan, keribels na :) eeeh ang ganda! akala ko di mo to masusundan haha pero ambangis ng 2nd part!

    (dapat dun ako kay splice magcocomment, eepal lang) ahaha :D

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    1. Mots: "ambangis" talaga. haha I was gonna use the UDD song again kaso parang naging unspoken rule ko na yun na bawal umulit ng kanta. :x Nagisip din ako ng ibang kanta nalang nila pero parang walang bagay eh. Nagkataon lang na this song was playing while I was writing the ending tapos nagka-eureka moment ako na sheeeeet, eto na yun! haha

      At oo, nag-comment si Kuya Splice. Dapat tayong mag-bless!

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    2. Turn it Well naman! hahaha fete hang-over lang bakit ba? :D pag hindi nagets ng mgat tao,kung bakit yung song na yun-- art yun. sabi mo nga! hehe

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    3. Mots: Or Indak! haha pero may naisip na akong magandang soundtrack for the next installment. Balak ko Harana. lolz

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  6. Girl's father with a shotgun = Run, Joey! Run!

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    1. Spiral: Correct! haha there was originally going to be this big thing about why he couldn't be with her but I figured the simpler, the easier to digest (and by association, write!) haha

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    2. napakanta naman ako lite ng binasa ko ito. keri! hahaha

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    3. Spiral: Ako naman, your comment took me back to Glee Season 1. Oh good times with Jesse St. James. :)

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  7. Saklap naman ng life ni Stella. And waiting is srsly not an easy thing. I can relate :)

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    1. Rei: Best in relate ka! hehe Let's hope she catches a happy ending soon. I really don't know how this ends either.

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    2. Haha. You should contemplate and meditate na XD

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    3. Rei: Puros contemplate at meditate na nga pero it's not that easy. haha

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  8. Sighhh Nyl... what can I say... you gave me mental images... of Stella. Stella. A girl, homo, a girl. A girl. What kind of employment do you think I have of these mental images, Nyl, what?!

    If you would be so kind as to do a Stello next time, please, that would be quite charming.

    Muahness from Pasig Cirehhh!

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    1. Momel: Did you ever consider that the problem may be you? haha I never said Stella was a homo. lolz Although admittedly, that would make the whole story a bit more interesting.

      And for you, Momel, I offer everything I can. Here is Stello in all jeje glory.

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    2. Gagah, when I said "A girl, homo, a girl," I was referring to you. "Homo" is endearment. Homo.

      Muahness from Pasig Cirehhh!

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    3. Momel: (reading my last reply. parang ang bastos ko haha)

      Well, I fully accept the homo label then. Muahness from Makati Cirehhh!

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  9. amazing naman si stella. nag hold on talaga sya don sa promise. i love the story. hope maging okay na sila ni bryan. at sana tuparin naman ni bryan pangako nya. hoping for a happy ending.

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    1. Phioxee: Hey! You came back! hehe

      Like I said to Rei, di ko pa talaga alam at this point eh. I can see what the next installment looks like pero natatakot ako it's gonna be too similar dun sa isa kong sinerialize noon. :x

      Yes, I want a happy ending for her too. Parang masyado nang wagas yung mga kaganapan sa life niya for it to all end in shit diba?

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  10. ooh a writer huh? hehe maybe you can follow our story too. :)

    The Rainbow Connection.
    Here: :)
    http://blogserye2013.blogspot.com

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    1. The Management: Hey! Welcome to my blog. Sige, I'll check it out later. :)

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  11. I love how the words flow. hehe mukhang kailangan kong umpisahan ang kwento ni stella!

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    1. Kalansay Collector: You came back din! :) Oo, isa palang naman yun although I wrote them in such a way that they're supposedly independent of each other hehe

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  12. Sh*t with those empty promises!! Haha. May pinaghuhugutan lang.

    Tagos nanaman sa hypothalamus 'to! :)

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    1. Gord: Haha oo nga, napansin ko din. haha I'd like to think the promises aren't that empty. I guess he just knew he'd never really get to make them even though he really wants to.

      At napagoogle daw ako ng hypothalamus!

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  13. Like I always do when reading your posts, ini-imagine ko na ikaw yung narrator. So ito, since dancer ang first person, in-imagine ko uli na ikaw in some skimpy outfit. Kaso hindi bagay. Mas bagay as Gina si Carlo (T). Pole dancing ito.

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    1. Glentot; Gawd, any excuse for you to imagine me in a skimpy outfit! lolz I miss u, glentot! Kelan ka ba magpapakita? Mas elusive ka pa kay mewtwo!

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