i can never write about a lover unless it’s over.
it’s as if i need the emotional distance from the person to finally see him and what we shared. for who he is and what is was. and even then, i’m not always confident of the picture or the storyline the conflicted messages my unapologetic selective memory collects.
riding in a car with friends through nlex at a break of dawn, i summon the memories of a former lover who i am about to visit in jail. friends talk on a long drive and there are kids inside the car, making the memory of a secret sexual, albeit extended relationship that happened almost a decade ago elusive.
we stopped for coffee at 5 am in a gas station in the middle of the highway. starbucks was still closed so we had to settle for chowking coffee. the horror! mental note for future reference: bad coffee does nothing to stimulate reminiscences of lost love.
as we left nlex and entered the rougher roads of north luzon, things started to quiet down in the car. everybody except the driver slowly dozed off. i was thinking that the melancholic voices and guitars of tuck and patti was perfect foil for my forced remembering in wakeful semi-solitude. instead, i joined the rest in sleep.
i woke up when we stopped for breakfast. the place was pretty. looked like it can be busy at night. there was a sign on the door that says ‘wanted: waitress. apply inside’. i wondered if they would settle for a waiter and what it would be like to live in a small town where nobody knows me. tempting.
inside, there were small pieces of found objects slightly-aged that looked like they were supposed to be antiques. kitsch but cool in a small town way. there was a bust of bearded man in wood and a woman with a fin-like crown instead of hair in ivory. as i studied their faces, i tried to remember his face but my mind was drawing a blank. if he wasn’t in jail and i bumped into him on the street, would i have recognised him?
the next few hours of the trip after breakfast was rough but uneventful. until we were stopped due to road works that rendered part of the mountainous highway only partially working. after some time, vendors started to flock the line of cars. they were selling peanuts, quail eggs, cigarettes, juice and bottled water, all sorts of goodies to pass the time.
the man-boy selling bottled water caught my attention. it hit me suddenly that this vendor reminds me of him. not that he looked exactly like him. maybe it was his build. or the way he moved. or the way he talked. or a combination of any or all of those.
or maybe it was the way he was holding the bottled water.
i suddenly remembered his cock. i looked nervously at the rest of the passengers in a way only a guilty person thinks others can read his mind. mercifully, they seem just wanting to get on, impatiently trying to see what is happening ahead of us.
i spent hours to catch a significant recollection and all i came up with is something i felt embarrassed to remember.
there must be more than the offending appendage that i have managed to commit to memory. as i silently chastised myself, we started to move.