Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gossip Girl: Tick Tock


"So tomorrow, I'll wake up and wish myself a happy birthday. I will look at myself as if I'm meeting my 32-year old self for the very first time. I'll remember what was, understand what is, and hope for what could be. I'm young, I'm happy, I'm free."

Gossip Girl:To the Ball, To the Ball!!!  

A few days after the New Year, I received a text from Arlan. 

"Hey K, thank you for loving me unconditionally," he said.

Wakey Wakey Upper Eastsiders, Gossip Girl here. When the summer heat fades and the rains start to fall, we all know it's time for K's birthday. But with nary a man nor family in sight, it looks like Birthday Boy's back to being Lonely Boy.

For the first time in a decade, I wasn't planning anything for my birthday. No birthday ball, no quiet dinner with a date, nothing. I was preoccupied with upcoming work-related trips, with handling the demands from my job, and well ... I suppose I just felt there wasn't really anything special to celebrate this year. A few days before my birthday though, it suddenly hit me: what exactly was I going to do on that day?

I was planning to do my usual routine: go to work, go home, go to the gym, read a book or watch television, then sleep. But I realized no matter what, you do want to do something special on your birthday. It doesn't have to be big, but the thought of spending my birthday at the gym just seemed so sad.

I missed my family.

"I guess sila kasi yung default na kasama mo dapat," I told Carlo. "It's either you're with your boyfriend or your family and well ... I don't have any of those right now."

What I didn't  say was that it's either you're with your lover, family or ... friends. Last year, some of them didn't go to my celebration and I was terribly hurt.

"K, you have me," C said. "Come on. If you want, we can have dinner. I can meet you after work."

"Talaga? Sige sige." Carlo had always been one of my most dependable and loyal friends and I was touched by his offer. I always loved our dinners together and I found myself slowly cheering up.

July 2
It was the eve of my birthday, and I was thinking of the years gone by. As someone once told me, by the time you're in your 30s, you already have a history.

And what a history it has been. Lying in bed, I found myself missing things, people, places. Midnight in Paris, shiny disco balls, isaw in U.P., kisses under the rain, these were but a few of my favorite things. I haven't thought about some of those memories in a while.

I was getting nostalgic. One of my favorite tunes played on the radio. 

"And now we're moving to new beginnings
But as we move we looked once behind
To see what we might find out
Lost loves and old thoughts of our nights of winnings
That lunge, tear and grasp
at lost wanting minds"

Where have they all gone now? I know I have many beautiful things to look forward to, but I missed the beautiful things I had. Especially the things that can never be again. 

With every choice we make, the path ahead becomes clearer. We strengthen the we that we want to become. But it also means we let go of a thousand other things; versions of ourselves that may no longer exist. 

I remember I used to love physics, chemistry, and math, and sometimes I wonder what if I became a scientist? Perhaps I'd be in some laboratory in some corner of the world researching about space flight. Who knows now right?

Ahhh ... the curse of being finite. To have infinite desires and just one life to live. But that's what we are all given. And I suppose it will have to be enough.

July 3
It was drizzling that night. After work, Carlo and I met up with Gino and Chris who wanted to see me that night too, and off we went to Chef Tatung, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in Quezon City.

"So why here?" Carlo asked. 

"Well, the truth is, I've always wanted to eat here. But I kept postponing it since I wanted to try it out with a boyfriend," I admitted. "But today, I decided to live in the present. Perhaps the important thing is I'm with you, here, right now."

The place was gorgeous. We were the only diners that night and the food was delicious. The chicken in roasted coconut and yellow ginger sauce was tasty but what took our breath away was their specialty: honey glazed slow roasted pork belly. The meat was roasted in a brick oven for more than six hours while resting on a bed of garlic and lemongrass.

Man, this is some serious food, I thought to myself while munching on belly after belly. I was feeling happy; the dim lights, the beautiful artworks decorating the room and the rain was making me feel heady.

And then suddenly, they came. One by one they trudged in with impish grins on their faces: Arlan, Vackie, and fuck, even Fran?

"Oh my God!!!"

"Happy birthday!!!" everyone shouted.

"Honey, we wanted to surprise you," A said, handing me his gifts. I hugged them tightly. "Consider me  surprised," I said.

We ordered more food and a bottle of wine. Outside, the storm was pounding hard, but it seemed like no rain can damp my parade. Fuck, I was so happy. I couldn't believe they were all here. These people are my best friends and somehow each one found a way to brave the rain to see me.

We were all laughing and talking about ... what else, but boys, sex ... work, movies, books, family, gossip, and then more boys, and sex. Fran updated us about her lover David and their recent beach getaway. After everyone had their fill, we transferred to a bar and danced to 80s music drinking bottles of beer and mojitos. 

After a while, everybody went home. Arlan decided to stay at my place and drink a bit more.

"So ... tell me. Why are you here? What made you decide to travel all the way to QC in the midst of a thunderstorm?" I asked him, taking a sip of wine. I was tired, tipsy and still giddy from the night. "I mean, I really wasn't expecting to see you."

"I guess ... I felt guilty," he slowly said. "I know I haven't always been there for you. I wanted to be here now." 

Outside the storm went on unabated. But somehow, I felt warm and happy inside. A and I have had a colorful, turbulent history spanning almost a decade. He always has been the most ... unpredictable of all of us. You'll never know when he'll disappear  for weeks or even months. But somehow, we find ourselves coming back to each other.

Are we really going to be best friends forever? I sometimes see my dad and his friends and I can see the love they have for each other. My mom always teases me and my sister, telling us we take after our dad. Mabarkada, party boy. Looking at their photos when they were younger, I can't help but imagine how I would feel like looking at my own photos year from now.

I hugged Arlan. "Salamat ha."

"I love you," A said. "I hope you know that."

I looked at him and took a deep breath. "I'm really happy tonight," I said, smiling at A. "You wanna know why? It's because ... I feel special. I guess I haven't felt that way in a long time."

Transitions in life are usually marked by major occasions. Birthdays, graduations, weddings. When we stop and look at where we are. And oftentimes, we find ourselves defining who we love as we tread our paths towards the future. 

There's the family you're born into ...

"Happy birthday Ahia Stay young, happy and free. We love you very much!" my shobe Honeylet texted.

There's the family you choose ...

K + V + A + C = GG

Maybe it's not blood bonds that make us a family. Perhaps it's the people that know us and love us. The ones with whom we can truly be ourselves.


I'd like to thank those who took the time to comment on my previous story to send me a message on my birthday. To Eon, Nate, Raymond, Rudeboy, Dane, Rei, Aris, Lee, Désolé Boy, LJ,  Mr. Chan, JJ, Mac, and Olivr, salamat ha. It means something to me.


dane said...

Off-topic :)

You know, sir Kane, I finally admitted to someone I'm gay. He was talking about gay stuff, like a cutie pie in the university hooking up with some celebrity, or this hot professor who was in a relationship with a collegemate. I just couldnt contain myself anymore, I know everything he was talking about but I couldnt just converse about it while im still closeted, hence, the confession. So there we went talking about PLUs (it feels good pala when youre out to someone na), and then I told him I'm interacting in a community of gay bloggers and I told him about you, my favorite one. Well, guess what? His bestfriend also knows about you, not just know, your one of his favorites din. Im not shocked namn, it's just that I realized youve already become a celebrity. And I was like, sir Kane is too mainstream na ha, I dont want the time to come when I literally have to queue up in some bookstore where he's having his autograph signing. Joke lng sir kane, Im all for your fame haha

Sorry po for the lengthy comment. :p

rei said...

Yay! Na-mention ako! You're welcome Sir :))

Nate said...

awe... i super like this line --- "Maybe it's not blood bonds that make us a family. Perhaps it's the people that know us and love us. The ones with whom we can truly be ourselves."

thanks for the mention, K! :)

eon said...

of course dear! hopefully when you come to LA I'm still here and we can hit WeHo together. :)

bien said...

Uyyyy may fans' club.

I was like nabasa ko na to dati ah and then it dawned on me, you mentioned snippets of this that night at Robertson Quay.

Salamat sa uulitin.

Anonymous said...

i miss fran!

-the geek

Mac Callister said...

Kinilig naman akko kay carlo! Hihihih ang sweet lang nya!

Im glad u r happy kane sulfur sa birthday mo you deserved it :-)

Orange said...

Haist... may crush na ako na taga upper east side, haha. :D

Happy Birthday ulet... :)

Lulu LaBonne said...

wishing you warmest birthday wishes and that these wonderful (and such good-looking)families and you continue to give each other such pleasure xxx