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.