Monday, July 8, 2013

stella and her waiting (3): next to me


Some girls dream of having money. Some girls dream of fame. Other girls dream of finding a husband and bearing children, perfect visions of white picket fences. I only dream of love. And I remember the very first moment I found it. I was sitting at a bar with a couple of friends. He was a nice looking boy who mostly kept to himself. As the night drew on, our friends left one by one until it was just me and him. We were pretty drunk, me with my Tequila Sunrise, him and his San Miguel. As he ordered another round of drinks, we started talking about his girlfriend. It was a surprise to me. He had never mentioned her before.

“What’s it like?” I asked, my heart cracked but not broken.

“Being with Gina?” His eyes lit up as he said her name. It was a fire I had never experienced for myself. “It’s like a river, I guess. She’s calm and then she’s not. Sometimes being with her feels like I’m lost in a raft and the current’s too strong. But we’ve been together for so long, I just don’t know what life is without her.” Using his lighter, he popped the crown off another bottle as I took short sips of my drink.

“How long have you been together?”

“Uh... we ran away together when I was around nineteen? I got her knocked up. We ran away. Though she miscarried when we got to Manila, it just made perfect sense to stay here and keep living our new life.” Suddenly it made sense, how this boy worked so hard, often taking any and all opportunities for overtime work. I wondered what it felt like to have someone working that hard for me and whether I would ever find a lonely raft for my quiet river.

As the waiter announced the last call, we capped off our drinks and settled the bill. He excused himself to go the restroom but couldn’t because he was so drunk. As we walked to his car, it became clear that he was in no position to drive. I offered to take him home. He tossed me his keys and slumped over the passenger seat.

“Hey. Hey... Where do you live?” No answer. “Buddy, how can I bring you home if you don’t tell me where you live?” I attempted to flip him over for his wallet. Maybe it would have some identification on it. He resisted at first but soon lost all consciousness. I turned him on his side and fished out his brown leather wallet.

There was a picture tucked in one of the sleeves. It was one of those cheesy studio portraits. He stood behind her, arms wrapped around her waist. They were both smiling. She was pretty, a little morena but nonetheless, she had one of those faces most people would call beautiful. He had longer hair then and they both looked like they had their best years ahead of them.

My search for his address yielded nothing. Apart from a few loose bills and the picture, his wallet was empty. I couldn’t bring him home. My father would kill me. And so I did what made sense at that time. I took him to a motel.

As we drove in, the attendant looked at me with a peculiar expression. Perhaps he was used to the girl being passed out while the guy drove in to take advantage. He helped me carry my drunken passenger to the room and we set him down on the bed. I sent him away with a small tip and an order for some coffee.

He looked so peaceful, so unaware as he lay there sleeping. Even with the AC on, he was still sweating profusely. I took off his sneakers and his socks. There was a big hole on the right one and his big toe was popping out indignantly. The motel lights were warm and somber as I undressed him. He started moaning as I freed him from his left sock. I froze in panic. I knew how this would look. It was far from my first rodeo and you could spin it any way you want but there was no denying that there I was, in a seedy part of Pasig undressing an inebriated man. His fists clenched up as he grunted. I got up from the bed. With a deep sigh, he started to relax. He continued mumbling and I pressed an ear towards his chest to hear what he was saying.

“Mmm... Don’t stop,” he beckoned. I took it as my cue to keep going. I straddled him between my legs and unbuttoned his shirt. As I stripped him of his clothes and lifted my skirt, I could tell he was awake. Still, he kept his eyes firmly closed that night. When they finally opened in the morning, I could see the disappointment, the regret that lay behind those dark brown pools.

The next few months were a bit of a blur. He and I didn’t speak again after that night. It broke my heart but I knew not to expect. Then I started missing my period. I didn’t need a pregnancy test. I knew what I did but I didn’t expect that I would walk away from that night pregnant. I did not tell my parents and if it weren’t for that bump that refused to hide in any form of clothing, they wouldn’t have suspected anything. It was my mother who first noticed it and when she and my father confronted me, I told them a version of the truth that they would understand. We weren’t in love. It was a mistake. He shouldn’t have to know. That’s when my father slapped me so hard, he knocked me to the floor. My cheeks burned in pain and embarrassment. You will tell him and he will pay for what he did to you. Or I don’t know what I’ll do. That was his way of dealing with the problem. It was no idle threat, mind you and with that, we were forced to get married.

I knew he didn’t love me. I could tell by the way he looked at me. There was no fire, no passion, nothing but absence. As the years went on, he pulled himself farther away from me. He would stay in the office until the wee hours of the morning, often crawling into bed at sunrise. I would lie in bed wide awake, wondering where he was or what he was doing. I knew that our marriage was killing him but despite all that, I also knew that I love him too much to let him go. And so although I know he isn’t really with me, I take comfort in the fact that he lives in my house, takes care of my son, and provides for our future. It may take him a long time to learn to love me or he may never learn at all. What matters is that for a few hours each day, we dream in the same bed.

And so while some girls dream of money, fame, or success, I only dream of love - my husband’s. In my dreams, we are happy. We have picnics on grassy hillsides. He wraps a blanket around me as we dip our feet in the lake. He wipes the cappuccino foam off my nose and we laugh. He holds my hand in dark movie theaters, his buttery fingers clasped in mine. He is raising my son to be a good man like him. He tucks him in at night and kisses him lightly on the forehead. He makes love to me and holds me till the morning.

When I wake from these dreams, I am almost always crying on an empty bed. My hands run through his vacancy and then another day begins.

♫: Emeli Sandé | Next to Me (2012)
Post: three dreams
Photo: 968975


HOLA! Sorry this took so long. I recently faced a bit of a crisis in my professional life. An offshoot of that crisis is this blog I started. Please don't judge me.


43 comments:

  1. Is it okay to be typing this while stifling sobs in my little corner of the office? This is the first time you made me cry sir and, to hell with it, I am ready to cry some more. Thank you for this one. All is not lost.

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    1. Dindin: Call me a sadist but making you cry is a-okay! haha balik ka for the next part (hopefully this time next week) for the guy's account. I've had a pretty rough idea about what i want to do with him for a long time. He's the last character piece I need to write before the real shit happens. :x

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  2. aww. almost shed a tear. good I'm somewhere public, napigilan. haha

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    1. Olivr: Mukhang madaming iyakin ngayon sa blogosphere ha! haha Salamat sa pag-daan and for taking the time out to read this. Medyo napahaba. Welcome to my blog! :)

      (BTW, I was returning the favor but when I went to your blog, Chrome wouldn't let me through. Something about top blog area being malware or something. wala lang, worth checking out)

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    2. other bloggers are telling me that, too. but through a little searching, I found out that there really is nothing to worry about, you can view my site through other browsers, e.g. mozilla firefox & internet explorer. I'll try to fix this asap.

      btw, looking forward to more from you :)

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    3. Olivr: This happened to a friend a few years back. You just have to check your blog links. Baka naka-link ka sa isang blog na may virus. Sayang naman. Madaming naka-chrome!

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    4. btw, napansin ko tong post na to dahil sa Next To Me. hehe. and since then, I was backreading :)

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  3. naalala ko yung last part ng post na to (at mind you, hindi ako nag skip read) sa isang part sa god of small things. sabi nung isang character dun “If you're happy in a dream, does that count?” ang lungkot lang ano? na kahit gano man sila managinip ng masasaya, hindi naman talaga yung bilang :(

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    1. Mots: Sobrang fascinated ako sa mga ganyang konsepto. Kung binasa mo yung original post na tinag ko sa baba, I once wrote about how you can keep loving someone in your unconscious mind. haha

      At mukhang maganda talaga yang god of small things ha. pahiram ako!

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  4. sadist!! huhuhu.. :p

    i admire women who'd "settle" with the man and the situation they're in, for the sake of her young.

    "I only dream of love." --- striking words.

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    1. Nate: Ako naman, I don't. Kasi parang ang hina nila. Ewan ko ha.. baka iba tayo ng iniisip. I once met a girl who refused to marry her boyfriend (kahit they were in love and she was pregnant) kasi she didn't want their marriage to be about their baby. Parang marry me because you love me, not because you got me knocked up. Ang strong lang nung eksenang yun and parang na-color tuloy lahat ng future views ko about pregnancy and marriage.

      And at the end of everything, di ba lahat naman tayo'y nagdi-dream lamang of love? #charaught

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    2. hahaha!

      oy, after this post, yung happy happy naman.. mga cindy-ella levels, ganyan. nakaka-miss yung ganung tone mo of writing.. :D

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    3. Nate: Naku, mahirap yan! Minsan wala ako sa hulog eh! haha

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  5. Maybe I'm a prick, but sounds like the poor guy got raped. What happened to Gina? This girl had her way with him and then lied to daddy dearest about riding the prairie, and BINGO a shotgun wedding. Shed tears? Ah hell no, I'm mad at her....!

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    1. Rick: It was rape! haha Date rape? It'll take a lot of convincing but even men can be raped! haha in Filipino, we call it pikot.

      Gina is not in this story (even though she peeks in every now and then) because I wanted this character (I actually named her but never got around to using it. Maybe in a different post?) to struggle between thoughts of Bryan and guilt feelings towards Gina and then her own agenda. haha

      Don't be mad na, please? lolz

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  6. Felt the same thing, stifled my tears. :(

    Wow! I like this story! Can't wait for the next one, especially since it's the perspective of the guy. They say guy's love are way different from girls. Guys zero-in on girls. If he likes her, then you bet he likes her! As for girls, their love could "grow" inside, not loving this guy at first but later on "developing" the feelings for them. Excited to know how the guy here really feels about the girl. :)

    Keep it up! :D

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    1. Random Vignettes: Wow, what an interesting perspective. haha I've never really thought of Bryan that way pero it would be interesting for him to fight that strong feeling to do what he feels is right. hehe

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  7. how sad that her happy dreams were actually her nightmares.

    sad sad sad. hehe

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    1. Kalansay: Perhaps. I certainly thought so at first pero there is something nice about how she can escape into those happy dreams even for a few hours each day. Like maybe she could choose to believe she exists in a parallel universe and that she's really in a happy marriage with bad dreams.

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  9. maybe she should dream more...

    maybe she should decide not to wake up.

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    1. Kaloy: Like my last series, I forgot na may SME pala sa blogosphere when it comes to these relationships! haha

      This dream thing for me is interesting. Perhaps she really should just stay asleep. (or like I said kay Kalansay, baka yung life yung dream at yung dream yung life! haha aning aning lang)

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  10. I've read this before, and I'm just leaving a comment now. I'd like to echo what everybody here has been yapping about, and I'd do that, too, if only I had a soft spot for sad stories. That little area in my heart has been occupied by this fond longing for scandal, real scandal, sooo... I dunno what to say. Go Stella, give them hell?

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    1. Momel: Well it's always good to have a different perspective. haha And I hear you about the scandal part. Pero aaminin ko, mahina ako sa ganiyang mga eksena. Pero I'll really try (?) haha

      After writing this, I feel a little more inclined towards the new character. Maybe Stella should just move on! #char

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  11. Replies
    1. Nomad: Mak-what? hehe welcome to my blog! :)

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    2. Maktub means "it is written" often called destiny.

      I was wondering if you think this was meant to happen -- that night.

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    3. Ooops! Sorry.. fictional lang pala

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    4. Nomad: It's okay. haha common mistake sa blog ko. Pero some parts of it naman are real and maybe yes, they were meant to happen. :)

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  12. sad to read this kind of fictional story on this icky dawn. But i learned something from this " there comes a time when we beg for love, and it is just fine, the waiting is not."

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    1. Tim: Probably not the best idea to read this at 2AM! haha

      That's a very interesting point. It's like saying it's okay to beg as long as you get something for it in a timely manner. But isn't the whole point of begging an act of desperation?

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  13. Hmm. This got me a little bit depressed about life.

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    1. Rei: Oh dear! I hope you're feeling better now. (sorry late reply! haha)

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  14. "I also knew that I love him too much to let him go. And so although I know he isn’t really with me, I take comfort in the fact that he lives in my house, takes care of my son, and provides for our future. It may take him a long time to learn to love me or he may never learn at all. What matters is that for a few hours each day, we dream in the same bed."

    So heartbreaking. <//3

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    1. Dairen: Nat King Cole said that the greatest thing we;ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. He never said how the reverse would be so painful!

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  15. I want to hug someone right now. This is so sad but so real. Now I may want to rethink my life choices.

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    1. nyabach0i: I hope you found someone to hug! (at sana di siya ang Bryan to your Leslie! haha)

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  16. And then it all fell into place. Wow.

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    1. SP: Not quite! There are a few missing pieces pa that I hope will get sorted out soon. This plagiarist thing threw me off a bit pero I hope to be back on track soon!

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  17. Blame it to the drinks! That's why I made an oath never to get drunk again. EVER. Hahaha.

    Now I can understand Bryan. Lupet naman ng tadhana!

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    1. Gord: Tadhana ba malupit o mga tao? #char!!!

      And how has that oath worked out so far? Mahirap yan ha!

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  18. Malandi ka kasi. Alam mo na ngang inlove sya kay Gina. Nagpapicture na nga sa studio diba? Hindi mo ba gets yun? Kapag may studio picture, forever na yun. Talandi. Nung sinabi mo na He's in no position to drive, alam na! Parang di pa kita kilala. Yan nasampal ka tuloy. Adik.

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    1. Glentot: I am so glad someone else believes that studio picture = forever! haha

      No position to drive pero ina position to, ahem. Ayun na.

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