Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So Clever, My Friend

"Now I've justified this to myself in all sorts of ways. It wasn't a big deal, just a minor betrayal. Or we'd outgrown each other, you know, that sort of thing. But let's face it, I ripped them off - my so called mates."
---Trainspotting (1996)

K: Hay V. I can't believe it. Talagang we're really both single noh? For the very first time, you are my competition. Hahahaha.

V: Oo nga honey eh. It's the first time we're both single together.

K: Talagang keep your friends close, and your BFFs closer. Hahaha.

V: And your prospects the closest! Hahahaha.

It was a Thursday night and V and I were drinking with some friends including a guy I kind of liked. Let's call the guy Euro Punk. Euro Punk and I have been spending a lot of time recently although we are not dating. He doesn't even know I like him. We have known each other for years but it is only now that we are starting to be friends.

V knows I liked Euro Punk. I tell him our exchange of text messages, how Euro Punk said he wants to make me smile. How that makes me smile. How happy seeing him makes me.

I noticed Euro Punk and V were flirting with each other that night. No biggie, I told myself. I know Euro Punk likes to flirt and I trusted V because he knows I like the guy.

We ended at 6 a.m. It was one of those unforgettable fun nights where the talk and laughter never seemed to end. The next day, I couldn't contact V the whole day. I was a little worried about him, worried if he got home safely.

All of us had made plans to meet Friday night at the Fort. V had told us he couldn't make it because he had another party to go to with his friends from the gym.

I was texting with EA about our plans for the night when suddenly my friend JKN texted me.

JKN: Ayan may batt na ako.

K: Saan ka na?

JKN: Dito Timog.

K: Sa Tony's ka? Tara, sama ka sa fort now.

JKN: May work ako bukas. Andito si V ah, kasama niya si Euro Punk.

I was shocked. V and Euro Punk were together? And V didn't tell me? I couldn't believe it. I learned later on V and Euro Punk also spent some time together last Saturday night.

He's so clever, my V. I didn't see the bullet coming. He has truly outdone himself. Who would have though that he, of all people, can do this to me?

I saw Euro Punk Sunday night and I was glad we weren't awkward. He just came from meeting a guy and was about to meet another one.

K: Another one? Todo ka ha.

Euro Punk: I just want to keep my options open.

K: Well, apparently, you're very wide open.

Euro Punk: Nakakainis ka!

We both laughed. I touched his tummy and told him he should go on a diet.

Euro Punk: Pagnagka abs ako, talagang ipapakita ko sa iyo.

K: Never ka naman magkaka abs eh.

Euro Punk: Ganoon? Tingin mo hindi ko kaya?

K: It's not that. Di mo naman kailangan eh.

He smiled, in that charming way of his. When I asked him how his weekend was, strangely, there wasn't a mention of V.

I am still reeling from the shock of my best friend's betrayal. I am so emotionally drained right now I can't even muster up a decent anger. I can't even be properly angry at V. I barely got out alive from my last harrowing emotional war, I don't have the energy for another drama.

I'm just so tired. All I wanted was for some quiet time before the next seasons opens. Apparently, I am not being given any rest. V and I have been friends for six years now. We have cared for and loved each other through our heartaches and pains, through our joys and sorrows.

Emotions are complex. Most of them are made up of separate emotions bundled up together. I feel angry, sad that I may lose our friendship, and disappointed at V's lack of integrity.

Betrayal plays a big role in my life lessons for this year. My ex-boyfriend betrayed me and now my BFF has also betrayed me. As I think of M and V, I ask myself how well do we really know the people we love? Who can we really trust?

V and I have not spoken for five days now. He hasn't contacted me and I haven't contacted him. What is there to say? Do I accuse him of flirting with a guy I like? Are we really going to do this let's-fight-over-a-guy scene?

There are many things I want to say and ask but the question I really want to ask him is: why?

"Thou dost betray me with a kiss."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farewell, M

"In life, as in art, some endings are bittersweet. Especially when it comes to love."

It is the month of November. The year is almost over and with it, my life as I know it. They say some endings take a long time to complete, but when they do, you just can't ignore them. The season is about to end, and I have but one final episode to play.

Manuel is leaving this Saturday. We will meet tomorrow, our first and last meeting since we broke up three months ago. Three months, I told myself. Has it been that long? Nothing can stop the relentless march of time, it seems.

M and I agreed we won't communicate after he leaves. I have rehearsed the things I wanted to tell him and practiced the scene in my head.

The Scene

K: "I want to thank you for inviting me to see you before you leave, for the time spent with you. It means a lot to me. I always thought we deserved a better ending.

At first, I wanted to tell you I will wait for you. But I won't, because it is not fair to you or to me. I want you to be free to decide who you want to be and what you want to become without feeling beholden to me or guilty about me. On my end, I also want to open myself up to possibilities of love.

But, one day, if you finally figure out what you want, and you suddenly remember me, I hope you won't hesitate to call. I am happy for you and I will miss you."

I handed him a small envelope containing three things: my letter for his birthday, a photo of us captured during our happier times, and a letter for his leaving.

K: Open this only when you feel you are at one of the lowest point of your life.

This is what I wrote. I don't know when he will read it. It could be three months from now, or six, or never.

Nov. 11, 2009

Dearest M,

I'm writing this letter to you as you leave for the U.S. and I told you to open this only in the moment of your greatest despair. I know you go away with the burden of not knowing how things will work out for you, and I know that the only person who can ever take it off is you.

"I am a work in progress," as you told me this week.

I don't know the circumstances you face right now but don't give up, M. The only thing we really need is one person who loves us and believes in us and you have him. I know you are a good person, and that you will triumph over these challenges.

I will wait for you, always. I love you, K.

After he goes, I will leave things to the hands of fate. Throw it up high, high into the air. If we will see each other, then we will. If not, then so be it.

I told M he was my first great love. And from what I heard, we are allotted only a few in a lifetime. I guessed I have used up my first slot.

I never thought emotions like this could exist. These mind blowing, heart wrenching, intense feelings you thought only happened in movies. I will miss M. He is gone, and I may never see him again.

I wonder what the future will bring. In a city that never sleeps, something is always brewing. And let me guess, it probably will start with boy meets boy …

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hush, Hush: This Too Shall Pass

Shakespeare once said: "All's well that ends well." But sometimes, it just … ends.


It seems you have joined/are joining the ranks of people ending relationships. What can I say that you don't already know? There are times when words are useless, no matter how well-meaning they are.

We try to manage loss and staunch grief, but perhaps these emotions are based on false assumptions. Our lovers will be there indefinitely, and that is what happiness is based on. When in fact, most of them leave, sooner or later.

So what is there to hope about? And I'm not sure what the answer is. Some people have resorted to living in a series of authentic moments, rather than hope for an everlasting love.

But deep down, everyone wants love, the kind that stretches beyond your horizon. The kind than transcends, not only space and time, but even our own mortality, even death.

But we don't know if we will have that, or when, or with who. And as we grow older, we start to surrender to the idea that maybe some aren't meant for that kind of love. People who have lost two husbands, and a parent, or a child, have a deeper understanding and acceptance of the mysteries of life. But you aren't there yet. I'm not there yet. You can't expect to be. We're too young, not yet close to philosophical. You want him to change, to love you again, and we have to hope that happens. And also … also prepare as much as we can for the possibility that he might not.

We talk to our friends, read books, in our search to understand what happened, and how to change things. But there are things books don't say. There are some terrible times when knowledge isn't power, when being sane or intelligent won't save you. You are standing in the middle of the night in an arctic sea on a flaming ship that's exploded. Maybe I can help. We are going to try. But perhaps all I can do in this moment is make you feel slightly less alone on a burning deck.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Telltale Hands of Fate

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
We had no word to say.
---"The Ballad of Reading Gaol", Oscar Wilde

Excerpts of a chat with JK:

K: It was our anniversary yesterday. I wasn't sad at all the whole day. When I got home, my tita was there. And when she hugged me as she said goodbye, that's when I felt it. Out of the blue, it hit me. It was supposed to be our day.

I was surprised at how I felt. I decided to call him, just one attempt. As my BFF V said, it was a special day and I could try. He didn't pick up.

JK: OMG! Didn't that crush you when he didn't pick up?

K: I was more prepared. I was more disappointed, more sad than hurt. Unlike before, when you're more hurt than sad. Do you ever feel you can switch your emotions on and off?

JK: No. That's something beyond my capacity. I don't have a switch. I'm more like firewood. I keep burning until I'm all consumed. In fact, I'm getting a phoenix tattoo.

K: For me right now, it's like a switch. If I turn it on, I feel sad. If I switch it off, okay ako. Unlike before, walang switch. Puro ON.

JK: As for me, kahit anong switch on ang gawin, I really don't feel anything for my ex na.

K: You've completely exhausted what you can give him.

JK: That would be very accurate description of how I feel right now. I don't regret anything. I'm happy that I've give all that I could give. I don't regret about not having given enough at least, because I know I gave my ALL.

K: That's what I mean when I say you reach a point na alam mong tapos na tapos na. Ako kasi, I know I CAN still give. But I'm hesitating.

JK: It's either your fear or your pride. Your love has turned conditional now, I believe.

K: Yes, it has. It's my fear, not pride. It's the fear of letting the hurt happen again.

JK: Which means that now you're more concerned about yourself than him. I think that's a big step. If you're trying to get away from him.

I was in a state of turmoil. I have been trying to decide if I should continue trying to win M back, or if I should let go. If I listen to my head, it would list the one thousand and one reasons why this relationship will not work. What am I thinking? Do I actually think we would survive a long-distance relationship? That we would be the exception rather than the rule? Besides, isn't he "seriously dating" someone right now? Aren't things messy and complicated enough as it is? Wouldn't it be better if I simply step away and let go?

I wanted a sign. I wanted M to initiate a point of contact with me. I wanted to see if he was still willing to have some form of communication with me. I was waiting for a star to fall.

A few days later, I lost my phone. During my state of panic, I called M using my other phone. he didn't pick up. I sent him text messages. He didn't reply.

The next evening, I was on the phone when my mobile phone rang. The number seemed familiar until I realized it was him. M was calling me. I answered and asked him if he could call me back.

We spoke and we had a great time. He asked me how I was and we exchanged stories. I was surprised how easy it was for both of us to fall back into our old selves. He told me his sister was getting married, that he was now working at the ICU department at his hospital. I asked him how his plan of leaving for the U.S. was coming along, how his mom and dad were doing.

Needless to say, I was shocked. I got my sign. Fate has intervened. But the next question is: so what?

I know what I wanted but I realized I wasn't brave to do it. I texted F, "Honey, are you brave?"

F: What you mean?

K: I know that I still want him. It's just that I'm not brave enough. My self-preservation instincts are kicking in. I don't want to hurt again. But if I ask myself honestly, I know that he is worth it. I know it F. My blood, my heart, my soul knows it.

F: I have always believed I am braver to let go of something rather than brave enough to fight for it. I still miss D. I want to see him again. It has been three months since we last saw each other or talked or even exchanged text messages. There are days when I want to just go and show up at his door, unannounced.

K: Why don't you?

F: Honey! What about my pride? Hindi ba nakakahiya iyon?

K: I think there is no shame in fighting for someone you love. Why don't you just go? You want to see him. Do something crazy for a change. Wear your heart on your sleeve.

F: You really think so? OMG! I can't believe I am even considering it.

That night, F went to see D, unannounced. The next morning, I got this text:

F: None of it happened. No fireworks in the sky or a serenade in the night or a happy ever after. This letting go happened in a quiet, almost gentle way. I was ready for that conversation. I guess I just didn't know it then. So the cat is out of the bag, and the heart is on the sleeve. And it is not meant for me.

But more than understanding what happened is the discovery of the self. That one can step out of all things predictable and rational, get into a cab, and head to the home of the one she loves. And tenderly, oh so tenderly, tell herself it is finished. The curtain has fallen. I love you hun. Thank you for giving me courage.

I imagined F going down the building after work and hailing a cab. How she jumped in and told the driver, "Manong, sa Valero!." She told me how excited she was during the trip from Ortigas to Makati, how she felt so alive. How a grand adventure it had seemed.

D was surprised to see her at 2 in the morning. They talked for exactly 30 minutes. She timed it, that's how precise we are. He told her about the girl he is pursuing, why he wanted her, why they cannot see each other anymore, why she cannot sleepover, and why they cannot have sex.

He hugged her as she was about to go and told her how brave she was. "You're really something special, you know?" D said. She smiled and left.

F: It felt good to see him again. I missed him. I missed how he is.

K: I am so proud of you honey. This is the you that I have always loved, fiery and strong. You used to be unafraid of things, you were always the gaga one even before me. It is good to know you can still summon the courage, when needed. Rest well. It was a battle worth the fight. I love you.

After many days of night pondering over my situation, I have made a choice. I have decided to give it my all. I love M and what we had was one of the most beautiful things that happened to me. I have to try as hard as I can to win him back, and only then can I be convinced we are not meant for each other.

I have no illusions. I know that the chances are against me. I am not doing this, telling myself I KNOW we would get back together. You can never know the future, I've learned. You can only hope. And those little voices of doubts in your head will never completely go away. They'll whisper to you the absurdity of your actions. And they may be right.

But the thing is, you will never know unless you see it through the end. It's like you're driving at 120 miles per hour, and you don't know if there's a wall ahead or not, but you hope there isn't.

Because if there is, then you crash and burn.

"The world is full of mediocre things. Let my love be not one of them."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Of Fates That Could Be

" . . . is there a man on earth
who seizes more joy than just a dream, a vision?
And the vision no sooner dawns than dies
blazing into oblivion."

---Oedipus Rex

"Metamorphosis happening. The Second Chapter begins," the Oracle told me as I sat in front of her inside a small shop in Cubao. It was raining that Friday night. S and I have known each other for six years and over that period of time, she has helped me make important decisions in my life.

I trust her absolutely, implicitly. I decided to see her and have a reading, hoping I would be able to make better sense of my situation. It has been six weeks since M and I broke up. I had struggled to fight for him and our love but I had failed.

I was in a predicament. I had reached a point where I felt I had become ready to let go completely, but I also knew I still had the energy to continue fighting for our love. I didn't know which road to take.

I listened to her intently as she drew the cards and spoke.

S: As you well recognize, pain bled though all aspects of your life, into your personal relationships with family, friends, and even work. It is giving you the last few inches of maturity that you need to grow into the shoes that you need to fill.

What happened to you was very jarring. It's like your eyes fell to the floor and you suddenly see things in a different perspective. You're seeing yourself in a new point of view, recognizing the kind of person you need to become, but at the same time you know you are not yet that kind of person.

I see you returning a gift. It is both physical and emotional, something unexpected, something so beautiful you enjoyed looking at it down to its very last angle. But I see you returning it with finality. I don't know what it is or who. It could be M, it could be something else.

Fire - this one refers to pain. It's like this. Three people were asked what was the most painful thing that could happen to their houses.

A: Burglary. Pinasok kasi ang bahay mo at ninakawan. It feels like rape.

B: Water is worse. To have your house flooded and your things destroyed by the waters.

C: Fire is more painful. At least you can salvage your things from the flood. But with fire, everything is burned down to the last ground.

Someone you know will experience this kind of pain, to have something you have worked so hard for all your life be lost.

Water - this one is physical. Someone you know may experience drowning or be drowned.

K: What did you mean when you said earlier that it's all elementals?

S: Everything is happening so fast kasi. For most people, for a particular period only one element is present and that element is either friend or foe. Change is coming for you.

You will rise above your work, work will become envious of you. It has begun; the prioritization of career as path, the lessening of the personal as self. It will come naturally. You will recognize what you need to do and you will adjust to it instinctively.

I asked her my seven questions.

Question 1.
K: If I decide to work on getting us back together, I just want to know if there is hope. What are the chances?

S: He is changing, constantly, and you recognize that he is changing in different levels. It will be too difficult, too heavy. It's just too much, too distracting, it will require too much energy.

He will want to communicate. It's not because you will be frustrated with how long it will take you to win him back. Your intellect will war with your emotions kasi. There might come a point in time where you might have to force yourself to like him? As opposed to naturally liking him.

K: Talaga? What happened S? The last time, the cards said we will get back together. What changed?

S looked at me and said, "You know what did? You did. The last time, you were pure emotions. I told you then that the intellect will catch up eventually. And now it did.

At that point in time, you loved him unconditionally, but now your love has lessened. Yes, you still love him but not as much as before.

When she said this, I felt something click inside me. She was right, I hadn’t recognized it but it is true. My love, my great big beautiful love, has diminished. I hadn't realized it until now. I felt sad.

S: There were certain things you didn't allow yourself to look at in your relationship because it wasn't necessary. It was uncalled for. But now the situation calls for it. You broke up. You're like this kasi K, you accept people first and you judge last. You're very accepting of people.

But now, you are re-evaluating your relationship and allowing yourself to see aspects of him which you didn't allow yourself to see before. Maiinis ka, you might be irritated by certain things and you will have to decide if he is still worth it.

Question 2.
K: Will he be able to leave for the U.S. this December?

S: He was really supposed to go before. There was a real opportunity for him to leave. He is going. But at that point, he either doesn't want to go, or is afraid to go. There is some form of emotional constraint. But the resources will be there for him to leave.

Question 3.
K: Given the three months we have left, will it be enough for us to rebuild our relationship, rebuild our love?

S: Okay, I have a stopgap. I can only say a couple of things. A stopgap is like an alarm bell ringing in my head that tells my I cannot speak too much of the question or else my personal biases will come out. It's like a door closing and I can rush out only a few words before it slams shut.

So in this case, it's Yes... and Sacrifice. I don't know what sacrifice or whose sacrifice, whether it's yours or M's. And I can no longer look at the question. But yes, the love is there, the foundation, the basis is there.

Question 4.
K: If I throw myself absolutely, completely at the M endeavor, how will it affect the other aspects of my life? What will I lose?

S grew quiet and took a long time to answer:

K: As the years pass, it's getting harder and harder for you to read me, right?

S: Yes, and not because I don't see the answers, but it's becoming more difficult for me to keep my biases outside of the reading.

I know, because you took a long time to answer and you had to smoke, I said laughing.

S: Okay, here goes. You will always be in control of yourself K. You always have been and you always will be. That's how you're built.

Okay, what's the most spiritual book or movie or short story you've read or watched?

K: What do you mean?

S: Something that made you wonder or believe that there maybe a Higher Being out there, a God?

K: Well, top of my mind, C.S. Lewis.

S: Okay, which book?

K: A Grief Observed

S: Okay good. Then you will like what I'm going to say.

Grace kasi K, once bestowed upon you, is absolute, is unconditional, whether you wanted it or not, whether you deserve it or not. But as human beings, we always have free will. We always have the freedom to accept it, or not.

I was shocked. The reading was getting more intense.

K: So what you're saying is that once I do this, doors will close for me.

S: No, not doors. Let's call them something else. Fates. May mga tadhanang mawawala sa iyo. BUT, what is important K, is that for you, it will be worth it.

K: From my point of view.

S: Yes, from your point of view, she stressed. Which is what really matters.

K: Will I be cognizant of what I will lose?

S: Oh God, I hope not and I will do everything I can to shield you from knowing what you will lose. And as someone who experiences unconditional love everyday, tulad nga ng sabi ng kaibigan mo, pikit mata, go. You had unconditional love, and that kind of love doesn't happen all the time. Who knows when it will happen again.

Question 5:
K: How does M see me right now?

S: Tries not to. Looks at you, gets angry. Looks away. Looks at you again. Gets angry. Looks away. Nakakapagod yan. Very few people can keep it up. The strain is too much. He is angry because he is not in control of his emotions. He doesn't like the fact that he cares for you.

K: Where did it really begin S? Why did he get angry at me?

S: It was your text. It sounded so final, you wanting to return each other's things. He was hurt. He was surprised he was hurt. He was shocked at how hurt he was. He got angry he was hurt. After all, he broke up with you. Then he realized it was easier to be angry at you. Aren't you glad it happened?

I was surprised. Many times over the past weeks, I looked back on that day and sometimes askws myself if I shouldn't have texted him that. After all, we were happy at that time, we were talking to each other and having fun. If I hadn't texted him, would things have turned out differently?

S: He is being forced to confront who you really are to him in the same way you are also being forced to decide if he is really worth it.

Question 6.
K: He is dating someone now and I want to know what will happen to them.

S: He will allow himself to be carried away. But it will not last. He will spit it out immediately.

Question 7.
K: I want to know how will we communicate again because at this point in time, our lines of communication has been completely cut off. I want to know who will initiate, will it be awkward? Will it feel natural?

S: People around you, your friends, will help. Fate will intervene. Despite the distance.

Very few people kasi K realize that unconditional love creates energy, whether it's good karma or in this case, Fate helping you. You will have points of communication, whether you want it or not, whether you do something about it or not, whether you force it or not. It will happen and it will bear fruit.

S: Something is bothering me and I'm not sure if it's because I'm looking too closely at the situation and I see spots. But I sense a hesitation in you. Why is that?

K: You're right. I don't know. I guess naguguluhan lang ako.

S: Pero K, you've always followed your instincts. You've always trusted it. Just remember, the heart is as important as the mind. It will tell you about the soul. Whatever you decide, it must be absolute. If you decide to cut him off, it must be absolute or else there will be points of stress as he will want to communicate.

If you decide to fight for him, it must be absolute also. You must want it completely, absolutely, or else there will be leakages. The heart and mind must be one.

What do I do now, I ask myself? Sometimes, you walk away with more questions than answers. Or the answers may be not what you wanted, or expected. And then there are those answers you wish you never learned. Waititng for the future to unfold.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So Goodbye, These Days Are Gone

"of all the edifices man has built,
no one can deny, no one who has lived at least,
that love is the frailest structure of all...
built to tumble, meant to fall."


I was hesitant at first to write you. I know you may not want to hear from me and I don't expect you to acknowledge this letter. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday. I wonder how you are, how you feel. I hope you are happy on this day.

I wanted to give you this as a birthday present; my memory of you. I was talking to a friend who is turning 50 next year and she told me that all this, all that we see, and feel, and touch, and love right now, will all one day just be a memory.


So Goodbye, These Days are Gone
A beautiful boy can make you dizzy… like you've been drinking Pouilly-Fumé all morning. He can make you feel high - full of the single greatest commodity known to humankind - promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a great hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. You can find it in his smile... in his soul... and in the way he makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it's going to be okay.

It was a classic tale of boy meets boy. A storm was raging the night I met M. My friend Rafael celebrated his birthday that night and threw a party. Everyone was getting tipsy, happy. Since we wanted to dance, my friends and I decided to brave the rains and go to Bed in Malate at around 3 in the morning.

I saw him standing along at the bar inside, smoking and drinking a bottle of beer. He was alone. I approached him and asked for his name. M, he said. He was wearing white long sleeves and dark blue jeans. He was tall, lean, and very good looking.

We were both drunk. We exchanged small talk, we kissed. When I asked for his number he said he had a boyfriend. I said I still want your number. (I found out later he broke up with his ex-boyfriend that night.)

Over time, we got to know each other well. M was beautiful. He made me feel dizzy. Like I was drinking Pouilly-Fumé all morning. He made me feel high.

In one of the entries of his blog, he wrote the lyrics of a song I love.

"Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth"

He wrote about his friend's death, of his break-up with his lover. He spoke of their love, of the pain of their parting.

We dated, deciding to take things slow. As we went out more often and often, I discovered how beautiful he was. How gentle and kind. He was responsible, and smart, and hardworking. He had a good soul. And I fell in love.

Sept. 12, 2008
Dear M,

M, it's Friday and the weekend is almost here. I am so excited to see you and this is how I have been feeling almost every weekend ever since I met you.

Hayyy.. M, I think a lot about us. I don't really know what the future has in store. When I analyze things, I can already identify some potential issues that may surface.

If I focus on those issues, I sometimes feel that it may not be worth it, that our fragile relationship may not survive. But the future is not set in stone, we create the future.

I want you to know I want to be with you. This is a choice, my choice. You are my choice. Mahal kita M. I love you, and I think I have loved you for sometime now. You said it yourself, you knew I love you, how could I forget?

You are amazing. You are humble and kind, intelligent and compassionate. Not so long ago, you told me you felt pressured because you felt you wouldn't meet my expectations. Do you remember what I said? I said "You exceed it in every possible way." And you do.


Excerpts of a text message:
M: K, can you trust me?

K: Ang funny. I was writing something kanina and I wrote about trust. Well, trust is a commodity that is hard to come by these days. But yes, I can and I do trust you

M: K, do you think I'm worthy enough for you?

K: I'd like to think I'm a good judge of character. But I have been wrong before. Does that mean I shouldn't trust again? There are no guarantees in life. I just have to trust myself, trust you and hope that we are indeed worthy of each other.

M: Bwiset! You're such a sweet talker!

One day, we decided to become a couple. We promised to love each other, forever.

M: K, when you saw me the first time I was in complete desolation. Full of grief yet filled with hope. And now, here you are, trying to complete my wholeness. I hope you can be my twin flame while I traverse the pitfalls and goodness of life.

Thus, the twin flames were born.

The past year was one of the happiest of my life. M and I shared so many things together, from the ordinary to the sublime. We ate, drank, talked, laughed, danced, and traveled. We discovered the world was a beautiful place, especially when shared with a loved one.

I still remember what I told him last year on his birthday, that whether he's 24 or 40 or 60, I hope we will always have each other.

I felt like I was the happiest guy on earth. I had a wonderful job, my friends and family were great, and to top it off, I had an amazing boyfriend. What more could I ask for? But the happy man who wants nothing more actually wants something else; the continuation of his happiness.

I wasn't prepared for what was waiting for me. Some surprises sneak up on you when you least expect it.

M left me. At first, the shock and the pain were so intense; it felt like dying. Maybe it was death, in a sense.

As they say; the brightest stars burn out the fastest. The twin flames that had shone so brightly were extinguished and my world plunged into darkness. I decided to fight for our love; I wanted to win him back.

But now, a different kind of peace has settled into me. Maybe this is as far as our story goes, and maybe that is enough. We had a good run. When I look back on all our times together, I feel blessed. I am privileged to have had that kind of love, to feel for someone so intensely you were willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work.

A love like that is hard to come by. Yes, it did not last. But M made me happy, and I cannot deny him that. He was my best friend.

I miss M. I miss our daily talks after work. I miss sharing things about my life with him. I miss his laughter. I miss drinking wine with him. Tonight, I will raise a glass to him.

To you M, thank you. I will forever cherish you and the love we had.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Genetic Root of Desire

Leonard Da Vinci's Sketch Studies

I was browsing photos and profiles on PlanetRomeo, the gay online site du jour, when I suddenly had a self-revelation. My preference for men has changed.

I used to date cute young guys; charming, boyish, smart. Some of them were effeminate, and I found it endearing. Whenever my friends would ask me what's my type, I always say goodlooking and intelligent. If he's not, goodlooking will do. But last night I realized I was noticing men who were around 30 years old to 34 years old, who looked strong, tall, manly, mature, and built.

I was shocked. What happened, I asked myself? As I thought about it, I realized my attraction to them wasn't even sexual but in fact, I was connecting it to a relationship. After all that happened, I wanted a relationship pala.

"Oo, bitin ka kasi doon sa huli," V told me as I clicked on another profile showing a shirtless guy with arms that looked like they could sweep you off your feet.

"Tama ka nga," I said. "I must have really enjoyed being in a relationship the last time."

As I scan each of their faces and bodies, I realized I was unconsciously interpreting these men's physical traits to signify that they would be strong, mature, and caring. I know intellectually that this is not necessarily true. The human genes I inherited have been activated causing me to look for certain physical traits in a partner which our ancestors used to assure a successful married life.

Strength means he can hunt boars and rabbits for food; maturity means he is no longer a boy but a man who can take care of a family.

My break-up has affected how I look at potential dates, I realized. I now wanted someone who knows himself very well, knows what he wants, capable of giving into a relationship, can take care and work on the relationship.

We carry our past relationships with us, whether we want to or not it seems. A week ago, I told V I will only ask two things from my partner: his faithfulness, and that he will never give up. Just two things.

Last night, my dreams were haunted by strong, able-bodied men, promising to love me forever.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Hope, Therefore, I Am

"Though you might hear me laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun, it's not aimed at anyone, it's just escapin' on the run"
---Bob Dylan, "Mr. Tambourine Man"

To hope is the human response to despair. I remember reading A Metaphysics of Hope by French philosopher and Christian existentialist Gabriel Marcel a long time ago. During times of despair, I always go back to it and remember what it means to be human, to hope.

There is a distinction between "I hope" and "I hope that". The "I hope" in all its strength is directed towards salvation, a coming out of a darkness in which I am presently plunged. Right now, I am both "hoping" and "hoping for something".

K: G, may kuwento ako. I've made a decision. Are you ready? No judgments? = )

G: Go! I'm ready

K: I have made a decision. I have decided this is what I want to hope for. I felt so lost for a while, not knowing what to want. I didn't know whether to hope that I will be okay without M, or to hope that M and I will be friends again, or for us to get back together. The easiest is for me to be okay without M, because it only involves me. That's because for us to be friends again, he has to want to be friends with me too. For us to get back together, he has to want to get back together with me too.

After a lot of thinking the past days, I have decided that I want M and I to be friends and hopefully to be back together. I decided this knowing there is a big chance I might fail. I am keeping in mind that opportunities may come to me also and I am open to it. I am also open to the idea that I may one day decide that I no longer want it. I'm open to all possibilities, ang priority ko is to get back together nga lang

K: I decided last night and as a result, mas kalmado ako. Ganoon pala. Nagulat ako sa sense of peace? Or calm?

K: I have thought a lot about this. I think this is what is happening. M is trying to find out who he is and what he wants. He has options and he is coming into his own self as an adult, as an individual. He needs someone who can walk him through his options, but not impose on him who he is and is not, who he should be and should be not, what he should do or not do.

I think for awhile, I tended to "parent" him. I did mean well, I wanted what I thought was best for him. But I realized you have to make people make their own decisions, even if you think it's a mistake. I also realized there are times when he simply wanted me to listen. That he didn't need me to say what I think.

K: Romantic relationships are his least priority. Its' all about him, for now. I am trying to reach out to him. When we do start talking again, I won't bring up our issues muna. Things have to be light and happy (similar to the week after the break-up) when we were talking and having fun lang. Kasi pag issues, he will avoid it, run away, because in his mind, that's the last thing he wants right now. Sa dami na niyang iniisp, he doesnt want anymore stress. I have decided I want to understand him. Kaya pa. Isasagad ko na, and one day, when I look back, I will not regret fighting for the kind of love that I wanted.

K: I asked N when do you know if a relationship has reached its limit? I believe that for some couples, there is only so much you can give to each other. But for the lucky ones, there can be endless giving. N said, for him, it's intuitive. There is a point when he can say tama na. On a cerebral level, he says it is when there is little or no more growth in the relationship for you or the other.

Break-ups are a point of growth too. I have learned so much about myself, about him, and about relationships because of this break-up. I have to ask myself though: where is there more growth? Moving on or getting back? Break-ups give both people a time to reassess themselves.

So there, I have my decision. I have decided on what I need to do. Wait for an opportunity, take it,

K: I know you might not approve, but I appreciate everything you have done for me through this break-up G.

K: - - - - end of statement - - -

G: 1. GO!

G: 2. Go for it!

G: Obvious naman e. Gusto mo pa talaga siya. Feeling mo di mo pa tapos lahat ng options na makuha sya ulit. E di explore mo na lahat. Para kung maubos at wala talaga, mas matatanggap mo. And kung makuha mo naman, e di it's meant to be.

K: Yes, that's it, I can accept the results because talagang I'll know I tried all means. But I am fully aware that I may be hurt again, that I will fail. It's not like I am blinded.

G: I know. Actually on the contrary, you're being strategic nga e. Not blinded. Go. Wala din naman makakapigil sayo kaya isagad mo na.

K: Thank you honey = ) pero grabe ang sense of calm and peace that you get when you know what you want na. This must be how some generals feel when they go into battle, parang kalmado ka, kahit matalo ka. I'm not sure if I'm making sense.

G: You are. Nakita mo na san ka pupunta e. Di na paikot ikot.

K: Yes!! I felt so lost. One moment I tell myself ayoko na!!! Then the next, I still want him. Ang gulo. Thats the word, ikot ng ikot.

G: Ang sa akin lang e he better be worth it! Pag naging kayo man ulit dapat umayos siya and all.

K: Hahahaaha. I agree!

Second Meeting
I saw M again last Saturday. I saw him the moment we arrived in Malate. My friends chatted with him and then we went inside Bed. Inside Bed, I saw J and we danced. I told him my ex was there that night and I told him to keep me company. I was trying not to look at M.

M approached me and we spoke. He asked me about my sister and how she did during her board exams. I told him she passed and that I was so happy. So happy in fact that I hugged him.

We didn't speak again after that.

My BFF said I was so inaccessible. He said there was a time M was approaching me pero I was already jumping up and down to the tune of "I Gotta Feeling".

I called him after I got home. He was on his way home then. I let him express his anger over what happened two weeks ago. He said all is forgiven but that he cannot forget. He said he can only be civil to me right now. He said kung iniisip ko na merong mangyayari sa amin, he's already dating someone.

Looking back, I wish I had taken the chance to talk to him that night. But I guess I should be patient. Baby steps. At least, he already spoke to me.

I still believe M is worth it. He maybe is, he maybe not. Who knows? But I know he is a good man, and I believe that what we had, the love that we shared, is worth fighting for. The path of true love never did run smooth.

"Like this, I want you. Like this, I love you."
---Pablo Neruda, "And because Love battles"

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Scandal to Remember

Hey Upper East Siders! Once in a while, a piece of gossip comes along, so juicy it explodes into a scandal. And have I got one for you.

So what's the difference between a gossip and a scandal? Anyone can commit a minor offense and generate a day's worth of gossip. But in order to birth a true scandal, it requires the right person to be at the wrong place. Or in this case, two people at the right place at the same time.

Take one It Girl, put her on a pedestal, add a crowd waiting to see her fall, and then watch as the fireworks happen.

Spotted: K and M at a showdown at the Blackout party last Saturday. We heard drinks were spilled, shouts were heard, someone went home, and someone broke down.

M and I had been talking to each other last week. Our conversations were cheery, reminiscent of our happier times together. We spoke of how we both didn't want to return our things yet to each other because that would mean tapos na tapos na talaga kami. I told him I still believe we would be back together someday. He said he misses our talks.

M told me he would be at the Blackout party last Saturday, the same party I was going to. He told me he will be with someone and he might do drugs.

I got so upset he planned to take drugs. I told him I appreciate that he told me about it given that we were no longer together, but I guess that was just not how I knew him.

M: K, I was very different when I was with you. I wanted to show you my best.

K: And you did. And I loved every bit of it. But you said it yourself. You were very different. Well, I guess the old M is back, and I'm not very happy to see him.

Last Friday, I texted him and told him this.

K: M, I have been doing a lot of thinking and I want you to know not to worry about Saturday night. I want you to enjoy and be happy. I'm also thinking maybe it's time for us to return each other's things. I want this to be as easy as possible for both of us. I want you to be happy. Don't worry about me, I'm okay.

M didn't reply and didn't answer my calls. I was so worried why he was not talking to me, I couldn't understand why he was avoiding me. I had thought I made myself very clear and wrote the text in the nicest possible way. I wanted us to be good friends.

The big night finally arrived. It would be the first time M and I would see each other in seven weeks.

I saw him the moment we arrived. I was battling with myself whether to approach him or not. I danced, drank, and chatted with the various friends I saw at the event. Two hours had passed and we haven’t spoken.

Fate finally intervened.

While walking around, we accidentally bumped into each other. Just like that. I was shocked. He was too. I tried to talk to him, but he didn't want to. I went after him when all of a sudden, the guy he was with suddenly barged in and started telling me to leave M alone.

Needless to say, I was shocked (again). My eyes never left M, I didn't speak to his guy and I didn't look at him. I never acknowledged his presence because from my point of view he wasn't involved in our problem.

What M does with the other serfs in the village is his business. But when he brings his new maiden to court, and the maiden attacks the Queen, it's a declaration of war. Sound the trumpets!

Eventually, M's friend intervened and we spoke. M was very angry. I only remember two things he said. He kept repeating I don't like you anymore, I don't like you anymore. I told him in a quiet voice that I thought we were twin flames (the name we call each other). He said, no, we're not.

He left. I cried my heart out. And then I went back inside, and went back to partying. The night passed in a blur.

A day later, I learned M thought I spilled my drink on him. I was shocked (again). I texted him to tell him I didn't do it, I told him I swear by God I would never do something like that.

I texted him several times, I told him how I couldn't understand why he was so angry. I told him I was reaching out to him, with open arms and a bowed head. I told him it's important for me that we remain friends, na mahalaga sa akin ang aming pinagsamahan.

He told me I was the one who made a scene. He told me kung ano mang naging atraso niya, sana nakabawi na ako.

I was shocked (again). I couldn't believe what he just said. Is this the kind of person he thought I was? I told him I just wanted to talk. And that I hope he knows I'm not the kind of person na bumabawi. I told him hirap na hirap na ako. I told him sana maawa siya.

I never heard from him again.

So this is how a royal break-up happens. Hearts are broken, dreams are destroyed. It is painful to realize certain truths about your lover, and your image of him slowly changes.

I realized M is not compassionate. He is a coward, and he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Nagmakaawa na ako, but he didn't respond. It was the humane thing to do, my friend said. I know. I would never do that to someone else.

We must choose our lovers well, I learned. Sometimes, their worst traits may be hidden so deep down, but when it does surface, all hell breaks loose.

One good scandal deserves another. Wonder who's going down next? Everybody, if K has any say in it.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Tale of Two Heartaches

"Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah. The clouds are lifting. The sun is breaking through."
---The Great Dictator (1940)

J: Sorry I don't think I can meet you tonight. I went to my ex's house and returned the things he left sa bahay. I burned all the letters and a picture of us. The only picture I saved. I'm sorry. I can't talk about it. Not yet.

K: Naiintidihan kita. Tight hug. If you want to talk, I can listen. If you don't want to, that's alright too. I am sorry you have to go through this pain.

J: I lost half of me and I have come to accept it. It is hard.


J: I am crying na naman.

K: Hay. Ako katatapos lang. Do you want me to call? If not, we can text.

J: Huwag muna. I don't know what to say. Tears just started falling. I am losing it Kane, I am losing it.

K: Alam ko man ang sakit na yan. Siguro I embrace mo na lang ang pain, iiyak mo, ilabas mo lahat. Huwag mo ng pigilan. Matagal pa siguro pero darating din ang araw na okay ka na. Darating din.

J: Ayaw ko na. Everyday I cry, everyday. Why? Wala naman akong ginawa. Wala naman akong ginusto sa nangyari. Bakit ako?

K: Siguro makakatulong if you talk to a friend.

J: I know what they will tell me. I have heard it all. But they don't carry my load. They don't know how hard it is to watch something you fought for die in front of you… to beg, to watch, to cry. They don't know that moving on is letting go of a part of you. Someone I ate with, someone I can't sleep without, someone I cried with, someone I am willing to die for. How in the world do I let go of that? Tell me Kane, is that suppose to be easy? Parang binubutas ang dibdib ko.

K: Alam ko, hindi madali. Devastated ka talaga. Parang giyera yan na talagang natalo ka at nasira lahat. Mag uumpisa ka na walang wala, paunti unti.

J: Thank you Kane. You don't know how much comfort I get just knowing somebody understands. Mahirap talaga eh but I am trying. Nanood ako ng Up kanina. Akala ko feel good movie, lalo lang ako na depress.

K: Hahaha ako din! Umiyak ako after the movie sa parking lot.

J: Naaala ko kasi promise naming sa isa't isa, we will be buried in the same grave. Ahhh this is too much. Good night. Thank you for sharing yourself to me. A gift I didn't expect.

Yesterday, my friend JM and I watched the movie Up. The film begins with a romance, sweet and lovely. Two children meet and discover they share the same dream. They grow up, have a courtship, marry, are happy together, and grow old.

It's not a perfect life. Problems get in the way, but at the end of the day, they always had each other. Until one day, death came for one of them.

I wanted that kind of love. I once told M that couples who absolutely love each other are afraid of only one thing; death. They knew nothing in this world can ever break them apart, not distance, or illness or another person.

"To have and to hold from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part."

JM hugged me and comforted me inside the car. But what surprised me the most was when JM broke down. He spoke of how his heart was broken four years ago, and how he was never the same after that.

JM: I wanted to give him the world, but now the world is not even enough to pay for my pain. Now, when someone tells me they love me, I think to myself, until when? Pare-pareho lang kayo, isang araw iiwan niyo rin ako. Kaya uunahan ko na kayo.

JM: Now, when you talk to me about love K, I can't relate to it. I don't even know what it is. After R left me, I told myself, never again. I will never give my heart to someone else.

He spoke of their vow, of a day when they went inside a church, gave each other a ring, and promised to grow old together. I saw a future with him, he said.

I hugged him tightly. All this pain, all these years. But who would have guessed? JM with his prancing ways and lovely gaze. But underneath all the smiles and laughter is a heart that has gone cold.

Heartaches affect people differently. Some become stoic, others shrug it off after a few days, some are haunted throughout their lifetime. But a few are able to accept it, quietly, with grace, in time.

Last night, as I fell asleep I thought of those characters in the film, of a kid trying to please his Dad, of two old men battling for meaning in their lives. A loyal dog. And always, that house, that flying house with all those bright, colorful balloons.

"Thank you for the adventure. Now go get yourself a new one."

---Up (2009)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wish You Were Here

"What do you want, Joe, my life history? Here it is in four words: big ideas, small results."
---Clash By Night (1952)

Jay is sad. He laughs and tells stories but deep down I sense a well of sadness that never goes dry. And I learned that the difficult thing about dating after a break-up is going out with a guy even more joyless than you are.

Jay and his boyfriend of six years broke up last year. Since then he has been aggressively dating men, but until now he hasn't found someone he is willing to commit himself to.

At first, things were great. But after a while, the walls are up. The facts of the case are these: Jay wants a relationship but when the time comes, the trauma of his past scares him and prevents him from taking a risk.

Last Saturday, Jay and I decided to see each other in Bed. He was with his friends and I was with mine. He also told me the other guy he was seeing (who I also know) would be there. I was also worried that my ex (who I haven't seen in six weeks) will be there.

I wrote him a letter. I folded it, kept it in my pocket, and brought it all the way to Malate. I gave it to him. He asked me if he should open it, I told him do it tomorrow.

We danced that night, and had our first kiss. But what I remember most is how when I hugged him tightly, he wouldn't let go. Naramdaman ko na ang lungkot lungkot niya. And I thought to myself: here we are, two lost souls clinging to each other for comfort because we are sad. And at that moment, we only had each other.

I realized I needed someone who could give to me, who would bring me joy. But it wasn't him.

The next day he texted.

"Your letter almost made me cry. Thank you for being an angel. In time, I'll fly again."

I hope you will Jay. One day, you will find love again.

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl,

Year after year,
Running over the same old ground. 

What have we found?

The same old fears,
Wish you were here.

---Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here"

Monday, August 24, 2009

The (Un) Sleepover

J and I were texting as we planned to meet for dinner one night when he suddenly said this.

J: I can do a sleepover tonight.

I was shocked. Wasn't it a little too early for this, I asked myself?

K: Whew. Okay. Nakakagulat ka. Hmmm, why do you want to sleepover? I just want to understand where you're coming from.

J: So we can spend more time together.

K: Okay. I'm not assuming pero okay lang ba if we don't have sex? Awkward naman ng tanong ko. Haha. (And of course, by saying it was awkward, it made the question just a little bit less awkward.)

J: That's actually better.

As I thought the proposal over, I realized I wasn't ready for a sleepover with another guy. In my heart and mind, my place was still our home, mine and M's. It was our sanctuary. Sa amin yun eh.

A relationship dies a thousand deaths, I told myself. Every time we take something that used to belong to our old relationship, and give it to someone else, it dies a little bit more.

Like our daily after-work conversations, our weekly sleepovers, our dinners and Sunday brunches. The I-love-yous, I-miss-yous, I-can't-wait-to-see-yous.

I called J one time after work to talk about our day, and I immediately felt sad after. Not because I didn't enjoy our talk but again, it felt weird, like it wasn't supposed to be this way. Unwinding a relationship does take time.

p.s. I agreed to the sleepover. J eventually cancelled the plan before we met for dinner. J declined to give a reason, I did not ask why.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The L Word

Sometimes, mornings can be doubly fun in the Upper Eastside. What better way to wake up than to two messages in your inbox: one from your ex, and one from your latest guy.

M: Good night.
J: Good morning.

Such short brief messages. Well, I have been known to be attracted to men of few words, I told myself. The past few days have been quite bumpy, a roller-coaster ride. When I remember M, I get sad. When I think of J, I get happy.

Excepts from an SMS exchange with J:

Until that sometime, somewhere,
We just have to be content with stealing glances
Somehow, content with saying nothing,
Smiles that are always wanting.
Though deep inside it hurts
Because we know that our love, like love,
Is what it is, it's what we got
Our love, like love will have to wait
Until that sometime, somewhere

K: Is that meant for your ex?

J: No, I just like it. Waiting is good, right?

K: Well, that's the thing. There's a fine, fine line between waiting and moving.

J: Can't one move and wait for someone?

K: There's a fine, fine line between "you're wonderful" and "goodbye"

J: I like you

K: Hahaha (nervous laugher). Maloko ka ah

J: Did I just cross the line?

K: J, you barely know me. Inaliw lang kita kagabi, nawili ka naman. You just like what I have shown you so far.

J: Haha. Mabilis nga ako maaliw.

When should you tell someone you like them, I ask myself? Do you tell him because you expect him to like you too? And when did like become such a dangerous word? Looks like someone's wanna be starting something.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When K Met J

Good morning Kane, my phone read when I woke up this morning.

I went out with J last night. I met him with zero expectations, I almost didn't take a bath if not for my BFF who pushed me to make an effort to look nice. I didn't want to go because I knew in my heart what I wanted, and who, and it wasn't him. But I also knew I needed to do this, to open myself up to possibilities.

Jim was waiting for me in front of a bookstore and I was surprised when I saw him. Wow, he is cute. Hmmmm... make that really cute. I found myself drawn to Jim, and his stories. He talked about his six-year relationship, how it was like, how it ended. He spoke about dating and the struggles of dating, how tiring it can be. To find someone again.

At one point, he said he was sorry he felt he wasn't putting his best foot forward and try to impress me. I told him, it was okay, that I wasn't expecting anything and I liked the truthfulness of our first meeting.

We said our goodnights and our farewell. As I lay in my bed, I got into thinking. Sometimes, life does surprise you. Last night I slept soundly for the first time, in a long time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Anatomy of Grief Day Two: Why

When his wife Joy died in 1960, C.S. Lewis' life crumbled. "If my house has collapsed at one blow," the famous author and Christian apologist writes in the early pages of A Grief Observed (1961), "that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which 'took these things into account' was not faith but imagination."

Sometimes I feel I have deceived myself. Our love was like a house of cards, not the massive fortress that I thought it was. One giant blow and it all fell apart.

As I struggle to make some sense of my loss, I ask again and again, was our love real? Was it as beautiful as I thought it was? If it was, then why did it end … and so quickly? It was supposed to last forever, wasn't it?

Despair comes to those who do not seek it. I think too much. Why? That is one of the most frustrating question of all. Why? Of course I know why, M gave up. But what I'm really asking is why God?

Job said it best, the Lord gives and the Lord takes. I will never be the same. Words cannot articulate what my soul has lost. And I don't understand. I pray for answers. Why is happiness so elusive? You think you found it and one day, it's gone.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Anatomy of Grief

So this is what grief feels like, I told myself as I woke up today. My mind felt heavy and my eyes were tired from all the crying. I had five hours of sleep in the past 48 hours and yet, I couldn't go back to rest.

M and I ended our relationship last night. He no longer wanted to make it work. I asked, reasoned, cajoled, begged, pleaded. He was firm. He wanted out.

My eyes were tearing up while I was on the train going to work. Okay, I told myself. Here comes the first wave. I went to a corner of the station and cried as people rushed to the exit.

I was glad it is a Monday and I had work. I needed something to do, something to keep my mind busy. Or else it would have been unbearable. The pain, that is.

Pain. It's familiar, like an old friend that comes to visit once in a while. I had thought we had said our final farewells. I thought M was the one. I thought I would never walk this road again.

But here I am. There is nothing I can do but move forward. I will not stand still. I will not look back.

A friend of mine once told me that she likes the Bible because the stories are metaphorical. She cited the story of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot's wife looked back longingly at the city, and becomes a pillar of salt.

Leaving a relationship is like that, she says. You leave and never look back. Because if you do, you will see and remember all the beautiful things you shared with your partner. The countless joys, the love that was shared. Then it becomes harder to move on. So what do you do? You move forward and stare straight into the future, no matter how bleak or sad or dreary it may seem. You embrace the future and leave the past behind.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Falling Stars

Do you remember still the falling stars
that like swift horses through the heavens raced and suddenly leaped across the hurdles of our wishes -- do you recall?

For there were countless numbers of stars: each time we looked above we were astounded by the swiftness of their daring play,
while in our hearts we felt safe and secure
watching these brilliant bodies disintegrate,
knowing somehow we had survived their fall.


I miss you. I miss us. I miss the togetherness we had. I hope you won't take too long to realize we belong together and come back to me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

M and N

During lunch last Friday, my friends M and N blurted out to me the good news: they have decided to become a couple.

Here we go again, I told myself. Two young lovers, filled with hope. It still amazes me how love can make people brave the journey again, and again, and again. Despite our tired feet and failing eyes, we still look for that pot of gold over the rainbow.

So here's to new beginnings. Wherever they may take us, through wide plains and rolling hills, black swamps and lush jungles, it's a comfort to know someone walks beside us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell to Youth


Hello old friend. They say age is but a number, but what people forget is that numbers are a very real thing. In one week, I am turning 29. As I prepare to cross that border between 20-something and 30-something, I suddenly realized I will miss me, the young me.

I will miss the Kane who was just discovering the world; seeing, tasting, touching, feeling sights, sounds, emotions for the very first time. God, what a ride it's been. I think I have never been happier as I was during this particular period in my life.

Do you remember when we first met? All this was just a dream. 30 seemed so far away, and we thought youth would never end. And now here we are, both nearing the end of a decade. Time stands still for no one.

Each year, our problems become more and more complex. We discover beautiful and ugly things about the world, and, ultimately about ourselves. We struggle to be good, knowing that each choice puts us a little bit closer to or farther from where we want to be.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. Will it be as exciting and thrilling as yesterday? Will we find happy ever after? Does older mean wiser? Too many questions, too little time. But we won't stop, won't we.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Gossip Girl Birthday Ball Season Two: The Hamptons Ball

Hey Upper Eastsider! Gossip Girl here. Top story on my blog today: everyone's favorite it girl K's birthday ball.

We hear on the fourth of July, everyone's heading east… to the Hamptons. Think Park Avenue princesses but in tennis whites and golf trousers.

Will this year be any different from the last? Because it looks like our friends from the other side of town got themselves an invite to the inside. From NFFs to BFFs to FBFs, everyone's just dying to get in.

The players may change but the game remains the same. After all, unlike the rest of us, sex, lies, and scandals never grow old. So who says game over? When the clock strikes 12, let a new game begin.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Review: Philips GoGear Spark

Let's face it, ladies and gentlemen. The world is currently dominated by Apple's iPod music players with an estimated market share of around 80 percent of global sales of media players.

Ever since Apple launched the iPod Shuffle in 2005, competitors including Samsung and Sandisk launched their own wearable music players.

This year, Philips introduced the GoGear Spark which CNET called ``a diamond in the rough.''

Philips last week invited a group of bloggers to discuss their line of music players including the Spark. Over beer, vodka and pizza, the company explained the features of their products and gave each one of us a free Spark so we can test and review it.

Available in 2 GB and 4 GB, the Spark measures 1.75 inches square and 0.5 inch thick, including a 1.5-inch display. The player supports MP3 and WMA formats (including DRM-protected subscriptions and purchases). The music is organized by artist, album, genre, and playlist and allows the user to delete songs directly from the device.

Information about the song, including song duration and position information is displayed on the screen. The album artwork acts as a full-screen background image, similar to what Apple did.

The Spark has a radio player with 20 memory-preset slots and a photo viewer that allows you to browse pictures manually or as a slide show. The Philip's patented Full Sound technology restores sonic details lost in compressed music formats allowing listeners to enjoy optimized sound quality.

Based on tests done by CNET, the Spark has a battery life of 27 hours compared to the Shuffle's 12 hours.

Suggested retail prices:
Philips GoGear 2 GB - 1900 pesos
Philips GoGear 4 GB - 2500 pesos

iPod Shuffle 4GB - 4,100 pesos

Friday, April 17, 2009

On Writing

I have what I think is a common affliction. I want to be liked. Doesn't everyone? But who am I trying to please?


Who are you trying to please? Be selfish. But be honest. Write with unflinching honesty.  Assume no one will read it. That is the only way to write.


Monday, April 13, 2009

When We Were Little Men

Last Thursday, my phone rang. Okay, a miss call from an unknown number, I told myself. 

Me: Who is this?

Person: Hi K.

Me: Hi. Who is this please?

Person: J

Me: Hey, sinong J ito?

J: Di mo na ako kilala?

Me: Ang kilala ko kasi si XXX

J: Anak ni A, remember?

Me: (OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!)




It was the summer of 1993. My family and I had just arrived in Manila. My parents and my sister accompanied me from the province to help me settle into my new high school.

We stayed at my cousin's place and because it was a small house, I had to bunk in with one of my cousin's sons.

His name was J. He was around 8 (I think) that time, he was effeminate and people would tease him about being gay. Still, I didn't think much about it. My sister and I would play with him and his siblings on the streets, watch TV, and hangout together at the Harrison Mall. 

But one night, while we were asleep, I felt him rubbing my cock and because I enjoyed it, I let him. At that time, I didn't know a lot about sex or jerking off. So, I was very surprised when I felt an intense feeling and then I came. It was my first orgasm and it was heavenly.

And so it happened almost every night. Come bed time, he would snuggle up beside me, we would pretend to be asleep, and then he would touch me. Once I asked him to suck it, but he only tried it and said he didn't like it. No one knew about it and we never talked about what happened.

After about a month, classes started and I moved into the school's dormitory. We said our goodbyes, and I never saw him or his family again.



Me: Oh hey J. Kamusta? Ano balita?

J: Ayos naman. Kakagraduate ko lang, andito ako Pangasinan. 5 days vacation lang. Ikaw? Kamusta ka na?

Me: I'm great. So how is your family now?

J: They're fine. What are you up to today?

Me: Rest lang naman.

J: San ka stay ngayon?

Me: QC

J: Ah. Sino kasama mo? Partner?

Me: No, I live alone. 

J: Ah.. Tagal na natin di nagkita no? Mga 15 years na ata

Me: Oo nga eh. I haven’t heard anything about you guys.

J: Very long time. But I thought of you many times.

Me: (OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD!!! Silence. No reply)

J: Would you like to meet up next week?

Me: (WHATTT???????????? Again, silence. No reply.)

J: K?

J: ?

J: K


After several hours, I finally replied.

Me: Sorry I was busy. Yeah sure. Sige, let me know when you're free.

I guess the ghost of summer pasts is haunting me. I don't really know if I should meet J or not. What will he say? What will I say? What if he brings up what happened?

P.S. I called my bestfriend V and told him what happened.

V: You should meet him. That poor guy probably was traumatized and wants closure!

Me: Come on, we were just kids. What did we know. Besides, I'm probably the story he tells all his friends, his hot sexual encounter with a relative.

V: Well, true. It's very much nifty.org or kwentongkalibugan.net, the incest files.

Me: Gaga ka talaga!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twitter, Multiply, Friendster, Anyone?

For millions of years, human interaction has been limited. Social intercourse had to occur face to face, through messengers, smoke and light signals.

But with technological advancement such as the cellphone and the Internet, billions of people can now reach out to touch friends and strangers thousands of miles away.

We may now be able to say things faster to more people, but what we say is another story.

I have an account in Multiply and Friendster. There, dozens of people provide constant updates that can be classified as the death of structured writing. They range from "I want a new camera!" or to the occasional ad ``We are selling a brand new Ipod Nano…"

It is easy to criticize the instant-messaging culture but we shouldn't blame the messenger. These social networking sites thrive because they tap into primal forces. It upholds that most cherished human value: freedom.

I can say what I want to say, when I want to say it, or not say anything at all. Direct interaction is unpredictable. Technology relieves us of that burden. It allows us to control the face we show the world. (Look at those glossy, edited photos posted on everyone's profile).

Social networking sites feeds our inherent narcissism, allowing us to talk on and on about ourselves, our thoughts, our views, without fear of watching boredom spread on the listener's face or someone cutting us of.

And on the other end, it allows us to be voyeurs. To secretly watch the lives of other people unfold, check our exes' new lovers, spy on where your boss went for vacation.

Nevertheless, as I roam the blogs in cyber space, I can't help but realize how ordinary most people are. The deepest mysteries of life are always there to tackle but these are the eternal questions: How are you? How was your day?