Friday, November 25, 2011

A Wedding and a Funeral

I. Here Comes The Bride

My sister was getting married. Shobe, as I fondly call her, was marrying Junie, her boyfriend of nine years. Armed with a Barong Tagalong and accompanied with seven of my closest friends, I flew to Davao to attend the wedding. I had been preparing myself for this.

"OMG!! Bakit ang dami ninyo? (Why are there so many of you?)" my sister Honeylet asked me.

"Bakit? (Why?) I need my own entourage. Akala mo ikaw lang?" I replied.

"Hahaha. Gaga ka talaga. Baka matalo niyo pa ang entourage ko!" she said laughing.

"Humanda ka! (Be ready!)" I said.

A month ago, Carlo, Fran and I observed a wedding in the island of Boracay.

"How strange no," I said. "How weddings make you sentimental. Every time I witness two people getting married, it makes me want to get married as well. It makes you feel you're ready. All of a sudden, you become the relationship girl."

They both nodded, agreeing. We were all lost in our respective reveries while sipping mojitos at the hotel's bar.

"But then, when you're in the club and some cute guys are flirting with you, you suddenly think 'parang hindi pa ako ready' (or, maybe not)," I said and we burst out laughing.

"Exactly!" Carlo said. "That's my ultimate test. If I can give up all the fun of flirting for one guy."

"Oh God. It's just soooooo hardddd honey," I said and we laughed. We all know what I meant

She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen, that was the first thought in my head when I saw her. Her face shone with a light that revealed the happiness she was feeling.

"Oh my God. Is that a Vera Wang?" my friends asked me when they saw her wedding gown.

"Yep. Love?" I replied. "But then again: what do you expect? She's that kind of girl. She deserves the best." 

The gown was my present for her. She chose it and I wanted her to have the wedding of her dreams.

The ceremony took place in a garden overlooking the sea. The sun was setting and the dying light cast a golden glow on everyone. Their vows were simple but true. My sister started with "I believe in the life we have..." I cried, of course.

I was asked to say something during the dinner.  "And now, we would hear the bride's brother speak," the host said.

That was my cue. I stood up, and walked to the center of the room. I was nervous. I had little time to prepare and only made notes in my head. I looked around and saw the happy faces of the bride and the groom, their friends and families. Oh how everybody glowed.

"For those who don't know who I am, I'm Honeylet's brother," I said, introducing myself. "I used to say she is my favorite sister in the whole wide world. She always answers by saying I really didn't have a choice."

The audience laughed. I saw my sister smile. It was our favorite joke.

"During the past year, I've seen my sister got so stressed planning for the wedding. It was really a roller coaster ride. And I wondered why people made such a fuss about weddings. And I realized it's because they want their weddings to be perfect.

I paused. "Because they want their marriages to be perfect."

"I used to have a friend," I continued. "Her husband left her after they've been married for almost 20 years. And she told me, 'Marriages can be so fragile pala talaga no?'"

"Relationships are fragile," I said.

Relationships are fragile. I've learned that myself. I thought of all the lovers I had and the promises we never kept. I thought of all the failed romances in the world and the odds that two people will love each other forever.

I brought back my focus to the wedding. "Sometimes, I can't help but be worried after seeing many couple divorce or end up unhappy. I mean ... she's my only sister."

"But then I realize I really don't have anything to worry. Because we have the best relationship heroes one can possibly have in this world," I said and stopped.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to give a toast to my Mom and Dad who I've seen have loved each other more and more as they grew older. They've taught us how to love our partners, how to care and nurture each other, how to be patient and understanding."

My parents were stunned. I knew they didn't expect that. But I wanted to give them credit for what they have achieved in their 30 years of marriage. Without knowing it, they have inspired me and made me wish I can have a love like that.

"They are my relationship heroes," I said. "And I'd like to think that a love like theirs can happen all the time."

"Shobe, Junie, masaya ako para sa inyo (I am happy for you both)," I continued. "It's a beautiful day and I am excited for the life you will have. Mahal ko kayo (I love you both) and I will always be here for you."

Hours later, my friends and my sister's friends have finally depleted the open bar of its entire contents. Everyone was laughing and smiling, and dancing and taking lots of photos.

The night was ending and I was tired but happy. I looked around and I saw how everyone was having such a great time. I went to the bar to scavenge for any last bit of alcohol and I saw my ex boyfriend Marvlitz there. He was my first boyfriend and we were together when I was still sharing a room with my sister during my college days.

"Kamusta? Having fun?" I asked him.

"Oo naman,. I'm really glad I came," he said. I drank the wine in my glass and finished it. We were both watching the crowd.

I turned to Marvlitz and hugged him.

"You know what, Marv, we may not have made it as lovers but I'm glad we we made it as really good friends," I said. He smiled and hugged me back.

"And I couldn't have had a better first boyfriend," I said. "I'm glad you're here to send our little girl off."

"Grabe no, kinasal na talaga si Honeylet samantalang dati tinuturuan ko lang siya sa mga assignments niya. (Can't believe Honeylet's really married. It wasn't so long ago I was just helping her with her homework.)"

"I know ... She's all grown up now, isn't she?" I said.

"She is. And you ... when are you going to get married?" Marv asked.

"Sigh ... I'll probably be an old maid," I replied and gave him a small smile.

"Well ... you'll always have me," he said and squeezed my shoulders.

They say weddings are one of a person's happiest moment. From what I have seen, I tend to think it's true. Whether it's a simple ceremony or a lavish one, at the end it's just two people promising to love each other forever.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Road to Perdition


Gossip Girl: The Games We Play (III)
Beauty and the Feast

One fine morning in the Upper East Side, Vackie woke up to the sound of his best friend having an orgasm.

"My God! Winalang hiya ninyo ako! Di ninyo man lang ako ginalang. Natutulog akong walang kamalay malay, eh yun pala may sine sex na kayo ni Gino sa tabi ko! (How could you and Gino have sex with a guy beside me while I was sleeping? You have shamed me!)" V exclaimed.

"Hahaha. I'm sorry honey," I said. "You know how it is. Sometimes you just get carried away."

"Hahaha. Teka (Hold on), did you cum on the guy's face?"

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?? Hahaha. I refuse to answer on the ground that the answer may incriminate me."

"You dirty girl. I saw you! I love. Porn star ka na. Hahaha. I'm going to tell Arlan!" V squealed.

"Nooooooooooooooooo," I said, and we both laughed hysterically.

"Hmmmm. Parang meron kang hindi kinukwento. (You're not telling me something)," was the first thing Arlan said when we met.

"Ha? What?"

"I heard … ibang level na raw ang pagka pokpok mo! (you've become the new girl of the town!)" A said with an I-know-what-you-did look on his face.

"Ha? (What?) Who told you that?" I asked.

"Oh honey, stop pretending. It's all over Gossip Girl. So … is it true? That the lady is now a tramp?"

"Tsk tsk … Ano ka ba. (What's with you?) You should never listen to gossip," I said. "Besides, between the two of us, I'm not the original group fun girl here. Bina bawasan ko lang naman ang lamang mo. (I'm just trying to catch up)."

"My God, ibang level ka naaaaaaaaaaaa," A said laughing. "Where's the girl I used to know?

Indeed, where is she, I asked myself. I used to think I was built differently, that I'm the kind of guy who prefers quiet dinners over sexual trysts. But lately, the dinners have become far and few in between while the sex ... well, don't let me get started.
Am I having a midlife crisis at a young, tender age of ... (gasp) ... 31? Why am I rebelling against the things I used to believe in? Maybe I just got too tired of trying to be the good guy, the nice guy when it seems the world wants to fuck you. So you fuck back.

Perhaps the pressure to find love in the modern world was too much, so I caved in and decided to just have lots of sex with really, really, really uber hot guys. Come to think of it, the trade off doesn't sound so bad.
I thought I have gone too far, but I realized you can actually go further.
Gino and I met Jason near his place. It was just going to be a casual meeting. After a few minutes, he invited us to go up to his place to hang out. Oooohhh, hang out. I knew what that meant.
He shared a small apartment with a friend. He introduced us and we made small talk about his work in a cruise ship, about the Halloween parties they went to, about Bigfish and drugs and boys and sex. I stood up and walked around the room because his shoes caught my fancy when suddenly in my peripheral hearing I heard one of them say

"So ano, apat tayo, game? (So the four of us?)"

What the hell. I was stunned. There I was, caught in between two guys negotiating sex where I was supposed to be part of. I suddenly realized I wasn't prepared for a foursome. I told Gino I had to meet a friend, so we told the guys we'll set another date.

"What the fuck? What happened?" Gino asked me inside the car. "Andoon na tayo ah at game na sila. Anong nangyari sa iyo? (Everything was set. What happened?)"

"Honey, I was so not ready," I told Vackie after I narrated what happened. "The first thing that came to my mind was: Paano ang blocking? Ang choreography? Kanino nakatutok ang camera? (What's the blocking? The choreography? Who gets the maximum camera exposure?)"

"Hahahahaa. Yan kasi. Bata pa lang child star ka na. Laking Hollywood ka kasi," V said. "Nasanay na may script, may direction. Di mo ako tularan. Laking Broadway. Magaling sa improvisation. Noong sabi ng mga ka sex ko na may gusto pang pumunta, sabi ko go lang. Walang issue."

("Hahahahaa. That's the thing. You were just a kid when you became a star. You got used to Hollywood," V said. "You got used to a script, direction. You should emulate me. I grew up in Broadway. I'm used to improvising. When the guys I was having sex with said another guy was coming, I said go ahead.")

"You're such a game girl. I love," I replied, laughing. "But God honey, these kids these days. I mean, they're like 23, 24 and I'm a fucking dinosaur compared to them. But they didn't even blink. They're just more aggressive, more experimental, more adventurous. Nakakaloka. (It's outrageous.)"

"I guess it's really a new generation," V agreed.

"You know, I've decided the next time I'm faced with a similar situation I'm going to go for it," I said. "I mean, Yes is the word right? Maybe it's time for me to take on more difficult and challenging roles. You think I'll make it?"

"Honey, you're a natural born star. I'm sure next year, you'll be the grand slam winner for best breakthrough actress in the adult film category!!!!"

"Gaga! Let us not get our hopes too high. I may not even like it."

"Or ... you may."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Gossip Girl: The Games We Play (V)


Previously on Gossip Girl:
Gossip Girl: The Games We Play (IV)
Pigs, That's What We Are

True love and betrayal. Revenge and more revenge. A heroine with an impossible goal. If only Mozart had lived on the Upper East Side.

"Hey honey kamusta? What are your plans for the weekend?" Vackie asked.

"I'm meeting Grindr Boy lang. Then maybe after, we can go out," I said.

"Ohhhh. I thought things were over between the two of you since he has ... you know ... a boyfriend."

"Honey, shouldn't you know by now? Just because he has a boyfriend doesn't mean the game is over. It only means the game just got more interesting. It's over only when I say it is."

"Hahahaha. I should have known. So ... are you going to have sex?"

"Arrrgghhh ... do I really need to answer truthfully? You're going to judge meeeeee."

"Honey, we don't judge. We're the non-judging Breakfast Club," V said. "I mean, I've seen you with vomit on your clothes, make out with random strangers in clubs, give a blowjob in a public restroom ..."

"Okay fineeee. Stop it. You didn't have to be so ... specific," I said laughing.

"I'm your best friend and anything you've done is something I probably did too," V said. "None of us are saints. So ... are you going to fuck?"

Grindr Boy and I haven't communicated since he confessed that he was actually in a relationship. But one night, he suddenly texted.

"Asan ka? (Where are you?)" he said.

"I'm home. Kamusta? (How are you?) What's up?"

"Wala naman. Kita sana tayo (Nothing much. Thought maybe we could meet)," he replied, with a smiling face. Oooohhh, where is this headed, I wondered.

"Ahhh. Next time? I'm exhausted and about to sleep. Ipapaalam mo ba kay boyfriend? (When are you free? Are you going to tell your boyfriend?)"

"Yep, oo naman. Ipapaalam. (Yep, I will tell him.)"

"Ano sasabihin mo? (What are you going to say?) How do we know each other? =) Through Grindr?" I teased him.

"Uhmmmm... Wag na nga lang magpapaalam. (I think I'll just not tell him.) Hahaha."

"Bad boy ... tsk tsk. Mag se sex ba tayo? (Are we going to have sex?)"

"Hahaha. Derecho talaga. (Straight to the point huh.)"

"Huy hindi ah, (Hey, that's not true,)" I protested. "If I wanted to, I could have had my way before. You know that. Besides, I figured you owe me. If I had known you had a boyfriend, we should have just skipped dinner and went straight to fuck."

"Hahaha. Uhmm ... sige. Ako na lang pupunta diyan. (I'll just go to your place.)"

The problem with hiding your sins is that they always come back. Just when you think some have atoned for past transgressions, a once-pure Prince can't help but commit a new one.

Grindr Boy and I set a date for this Friday night. He's sneaking out after his boyfriend leaves for work. Albert and I also have made tentative plans to see each other, also this week.

"Wow. All these dates with married men. So ... what happened to your vow to not hook up with guys who have boyfriends?" V asked me.

"Sigh. I know ... I know," I said. "See? I knew you were going to judge."

I was quiet for awhile. I thought about the things you promised yourself you wouldn't do, and how somehow you find yourself breaking them. Maybe you've changed, or the game changes you.

It all starts out innocenly, at first. Then someone starts to break the rules and play unfairly. So you decide to keep up. You find youself crossing boundaries to step into someone else's shoes. You tell yourself ... it's okay, it's just a game right? Or ... is it?

Maybe it is. Until you screw someone. Or you find yourself screwed. Sometimes you wish it would stop. All of it. The sportsmanship, the jockeying for positions. But that's the thing: it's in our nature to play the game. To seek to influence others to gain our desires. But we do have a choice in how we play: do we play fairly or do we cheat and lie through the game?

"Well, their boyfriends cheated on them," I told Vackie.

"And so by cheating with you, they get even and everything's okay?"

"I don't know," I said. "Oh God honey, come Judgment Day I can already see the list of charges against me. Accomplice to the crime of adultery!!!"

"Correction ... adulteries!!!" V said laughing.

Maybe Vackie was right. Maybe two wrongs don't make one right. But some things are just too good to resist. The spirit is willing but the flesh is just ... oh so weak.

Mistakes. We all make them. They usually start with the best of intentions. Like keeping a secret to protect a friend. Or lying to help someone.

Sometimes we don't even know what mistakes we've made to get us where we are. Or we figure it out just in time to make it right again. But every mistake happens for a reason. To teach you a lesson you would otherwise never learn. And hopefully, you never make that mistake again.

Lucky for me, that never happens.