Saturday, December 12, 2009

wilted flowers

today i chucked the flowers i received for my birthday in the garbage can.

it’s been more than a week since my birthday. a week since the party that was thrown by my partner and friends, to celebrate my life. or the beginning of it, should we believe the tired adage.

everyday, since that day (after recovering from the hangover that tails every good party, that is), i open my blogspot account and attempt to write a post, something to mark my official entry to the rank of middle ages. i review my earlier posts to the point that i re-read everything i’ve written since i started this blog. i consider regurgitating earlier posts but felt like a phony and stopped myself in time from committing self-plagiarism.

i combed through the recent and not so recent posts of my favourite writers in my blogroll. like always, their words bring inspiration, smiles and vicarious heartbreak, and yet they failed getting my fingers active on the keyboard to appropriately punctuate this (subjectively) momentous occasion.

lyka asks in his recent post, ‘are you happy?’

i realised that i heard this question posed to me more often in the last few days than i can ever remember. definitely more times than i can come up with answers that resonates the truth rather than those resembling the lines beauty pageant contestants spew out to impress judges ready to make a mark on their scoreboards. somehow i felt like i would let people down and get a failing mark if i give the ambiguous truth and thereby respond with less bravado than expected.

the thing is, this age thing, it doesn’t make you more wise or witty or profound. it definitely does not make you happier. truth be told, it doesn’t make you sadder, either. it just makes you, well, older.

it is rather disconcerting to realise that this new leaf that i turned did not come with an earth-shaking epiphany, not even a startlingly fresh insight. it did not come with a wave of joy nor a surge of sadness.

it just came to pass.

as i wash the vase that reeked something terrible, i was hit by panic that maybe there was a card enclosed with the flowers that i missed and unwittingly chucked in the bin.

i took out the bin from the cubbyhole below the sink. like a bag lady, i opened the garbage can and looked for what i discarded.

i examined the flowers. while wilted, they still looked hopeful and uncrushed by the move from vase to bin. i started to think of all the affection, well wishes and good intentions that so many people extended in the last few days. i realised they were far more than the questions that wait for answers that dread the imminent scorecard. the wilted flowers' tenacity trumped my cynicism.

there was a message there – but it wasn’t in a card.

i put the bin back and dried the vase, mentally embracing the people that signifies everything that is good in my life.

lyka, i may be fucked up. but for now, i am thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

new loon

because it doesn't make sense for you to love me. i'm nothing... human. nothing

so goes another hollywood movie line to shake the very core of our beliefs.

jp and i watched new moon because everybody else did (so much for personal integrity). the prospect of buff half-naked boys prancing around the jungle, acting like drooling dogs, made succumbing to pop-culture peer pressure a little easier.
truth be told, it wasn’t half bad.

i’ve always had low expectations for books having movie tie-ins. it’s just usually just a tad better than their gaming counterparts.

but i digress.

i came home after the movie with an inexplicable urge to sort that line out in my mind.

make sense. what makes sense? 1+1 = 2. that makes sense, and then very little else do.

even more so when it comes to love. true, some studies linking love to a feeling of elation produced by a combination of hormones released by specific parts of the brain to ensure progeny makes sense. but to reduce all that drama to something hormonal is too lose all the romantic and spiritual significance we assign to it. so i was thinking, do we want love to make sense, anyway?

personally, i don't think love can make sense even if i want it to. however, i believe i have to make sense even if my feelings don't.

and going back to the movie: for instance - this thing about edward and jacob. sure, i am not averse to the odd threeway when it is called for. but to expect it to happen with a werewolf and a vampire? what was she thinking?

oh right, even vampires cannot read her mind. (could it be because there's nothing there?)

as the consistently divine dakota fanning playing jane said, 'this may hurt just a little.'

it might be just the green envious me talking, so

bite me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

memory like elephants

all of my memories of elephants are happy:

like the elephant that swings from side to side that one day me and my brothers bullied my father to take us to manila zoo;

or the elephant that chased our little hired car once on a road trip and we got hopelessly lost in a wildlife reserve in limpopo province;

or the elephant that scared my mother when i took her to a night safari in kruger's park;

and very recently the hundred elephants parade that my friend id and i followed all throughout amsterdam because we were hopeless tourists.

they say 'an elephant never forgets'. in fact, some studies show the verity of this claim. specifically, the ability of the matriarch in an elephant herd to 'remember' and recognise danger, migration route and source of food is crucial it the herd's survival.

lately, my brothers and i are noticing that my mother is losing her memory. it started with her repeating herself. then she started to forget where she places things. now she is starting to forget details of events.

my mother's loss of memory fill me with a deep sense of sadness. i guess my mother has always been the bastion of strength in the family. to the extent that she is the one true person you can always rely on. now, i have to contend with the fact that that strength is affected by age. of her being in the sunset of her life. and in contending with my mothers' mortality, i have to contend with my own.

some people tell me, 'you have a memory like an elephant.'

maybe because things are fleeting that i hold on to the memories of people, things and event that are dear.

and i never want to forget my elephants.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

vanity flair 2

i have been trying to revive my blogdrive (drive to update my blog, that is).

unfortunately, i always seem to be behind with work that all i can do when i get home is watch a movie (to clear my mind), drink (to manage my stress) or worse, work some more.

at any rate i decided i would update my blog by posting pics of myself (i'm not vain, really - i'm not) in stockholm where i am at the moment. that way i don't really have to think about what i am going to say.

after dinner & drinks at the theater

freezing my ass off in front of the royal palace

strutting my stuff in front of the stockholm international fairs and congress center, in the hope that the hot janitor would notice me (he didn't).

and finally, channeling my inner model by sitting on scandinavian furniture (realising too late that i cannot out stage those fixtures) at the swedish international development office

if you want to see pictures of stockholm without my eager mug blocking the way, scroll down and wait for the slide show to load.

but hey, winter came early in sweden. it so happened i cannot stay in the nordic countries for an extended period of time because the wet, drab and grey weather gets to me. so if this post blows, blame it on climate change.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

wikus and the theory of emptiness

j, my man of the moon, alerted me to the movie district 9. he said the trailer looked cool. i was intrigued (j downloads movies like a maniac so he has somewhat a film opinion credence), but had to check the reviews before i spent my hard earned money to yet another CGI fest devoid of insight and heart.

rotten tomatoes, with their coterie of snotty film critics gave district 9 an 89%. and while there were raving reviews, i noticed that most stopped short and just gave the premise. an alien ship ‘landed’ (this in itself is a weird concept because the extra-terrestrial vessel stopped and just hovered in the air) on top of johannesburg and humans set up a place for them to stay called – district 9, and what ensues are problems emanating from the human-alien interaction. further, the consensus was 'technically brilliant and emotionally wrenching'.

a critically-acclaimed alien movie set in the city where i lived for 5 years – i guess my watching it was a shoo-in.

so after a real shitty day at work me, jp and my blogfriend id headed off to gayteway. after watching, the 3 of us agreed that it was a brilliant film. those who know us would say this is rare.

the erstwhile mr. scheez once asked me if i can review a movie. i said many bloggers are already doing this and i can’t see what i can possibly contribute. truth be told, i hate spoilers.

still i’d like to talk about the protagonist of the movie, wikus - an unlikely anti-hero. he was white (which in south africa, given its history is, in itself, enough to make you an antagonist), tacky, cheesy and, well – a jerk. so much so that many reviews said that the movie was marred by its unlikeable lead character. however, after all the trials and tribulations his character arc is one of the most compelling and believable reel transformations i’ve seen for some time. so much so that i bought the whole idea of he who relished incinerating alien embryos will risk his life and go between bullets and missiles and their target to save an alien father and son.

this got me to thinking about the whole question of real life heroes and villains. good people and bad people. are they a product of what is inherently virtuous or evil in their character? or are they just objects playing into the circumstances that they find themselves in?

the theory of emptiness contends (and i quote the dalai lama himself here) that any belief in an objective reality grounded in the assumption of intrinsic, independent existence is untenable. all things and events whether material, mental or abstract, are devoid of objective independent existence. everything is composed of dependently related events of continuously interacting phenomena with no fixed immutable essence, which are in themselves in constantly changing dynamic relations. things and events are ‘empty’ in that they do not possess any immutable essence, intrinsic reality or absolute being that affords independence. (what?)

if i haven’t lost you yet what i think this means is that if this is true, then there are no heroes or villains just heroic or villainous events that cause people to act and react a certain way or the other.

this, of course, leads to the question, who or what, then decides which of us gets to be put to one event that builds our character or leads us to damnation?

all my life i have fancied myself a good person. a good son, a devoted lover, a hardworking employee and a loyal friend. this thinking humbles me into reflecting that maybe it’s so because i have been fortunate to have had a loving mother, a committed lover, a host of interesting jobs and many, many steadfast friends.

and then there are times when i can be a vindictive, cruel, unkind bitch many gay guys can only hope (and quite often dream) to be. and i can allude to many hateful persons, circumstances or events that has made me, in a number of instances, somebody worthy of unimaginable self-loathing.

and here’s the mindfuck. following the (lack of) logic of the theory of emptiness people, cirumstances and or events that affected me are, in themselves, not innately good or bad. to think so will assume an intrinsic reality, which does not exist. my mind reels just trying to write this.

so what begets what? does anything beget anything? who knows? does it really matter?

here’s my take. wikus got it rough. i’m just glad i don’t have to interact with creatures from another world, and just look at those in my immediate vicinity in order to recognise my dues to those who have caused me to be me: hero and villain both.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Picture this: Golden Girls vs. Gossip Girl Showdown. OMFG!

lately, i have been socialising with a group of friends i met more than 10 years ago. we likened ourselves to the golden girls. wise, funny, loveable, fab.

almost the same time, my good friend G has been hanging out with a group of people he fondly refers to as the gossip girls. cunning, glam, fuckable, fab.

so i’ve been thinking – it will be the clash of the fab titans if the golden girls were to take on the gossip girls or vise-versa.

i asked my friend R to help me think how this would pan out, but we came up with such lame scenarios i decided to leave it to your imagination.

who do you think would win?

Friday, July 17, 2009

vanity flair

my mother said, if you don't have anything good to say, keep your mouth shut.

so i have been quiet. but i opened my blog in this dark, grey and rainy day (coming home after work) and it stared back at me with the eyes of a neglected child.

so i decided i'll post something -

even if it is just a vanity post of pictures of me in prague and amsterdam. it's the reason i have to catch up with the work that was left behind and ignore my blog anyway.

here's me thinking i was in the tower next to the bridge where tom hanks saved matt damon's privates - not.

here's me trying to toss in a fountain (turned on by the cherubic angels) - drat that colleague who keeps on taking my pics!

and then so - tired from all that...

finally - i couldn't leave prague without paying homage to kawadjan for that obligatory jumpshot. (apologies to the ultimate jump shot goddess - i can't pout while doing this and instead open my mouth like an idiot)

in amsterdam i laid low and killed time in a sidewalk cafe near the flower market

but i guess even when you are travelling incognito the paparazzi will still catch you as you leave the esprit shop thinking how outrageously you spent your hard earned money on something you don't need.

OK that's it. my mother is probably right - i should've just keep my mouth and blog shut. but hey - any self-respecting faggot should indulge his vanity once in a while, right?

Friday, July 3, 2009


the things that make me most happy are most basic: eating, sleeping, shitting, fucking, and washing (shower is cool enough but bath – when it’s available – even better). if i can spend the rest of my life doing just these simple things i think i will be a very happy man. simple.


that sounds self-centred, doesn’t it? shouldn’t loving make me happy? after all these basic things are elevated to a higher plane if you share it with somebody you have tender feelings for. ok, maybe not shitting. guess i’m not that kinky.

putting loving into the mix might make me less self-centred but does not make me less selfish. so let’s put working to make me relevant. after all, many observe that i spend a disproportionate amount of time doing my non-profit, change-the-world work. more time than all the basic things that make me happy plus time i spend with my loved ones put together. the truth is, i have observed that nothing defines my self-esteem, my sense of self-worth, more than how well (or how bad) i do at work.

however, it is also at work that i feel most stressed. so i escape in watching movies and shopping. these two are my favourite sanctuaries from the ugliness in the world. there is no pain of having to deal with the wrongs inside and outside the workspace that a good old-fashioned hollywood popcorn film, a new pair of italian leather shoes or designer bags cannot put to right.

and then there are the absolute luxuries like reading, writing, dancing and singing. things that i love doing but hardly have the time for.

wait there’s also smoking, drinking, exercising, talking


i started writing this post wanting to make a point how simple the path to happiness can be. i thought simplifying will make it easier.

still, a simple listing shows the near impossibility of doing everything within the finite time we all have to do it in. and that’s not even citing the innate conflict between these things. smoking vs. exercising, shopping vs. the non-profit work, sleeping vs. fucking, the list goes on and becomes more incriminating.

clearly, the happy me is a work in progress.

it’s that simple.

illustration in this post from xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

airports - washington dulles

just to share my continuing romance with airports

'But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in'

- Ricky Fitts played by Wes Bentley in American Beauty

Sunday, June 7, 2009

enduring love

‘he died of a broken heart. where’s the political value in that?’

we laughed with disdain.

this was G and me talking, over bottles of beer and countless cigarettes. we were in a homestay one rainy night in baguio in the early nineties, a night before some writer’s workshop we were conducting. we were talking of R, a common acquaintance who was found dead when he hang himself because some girl broke up with him. we were rabid activists and the thought of sacrificing one’s life in the name of love was just pathetic and – well, funny.

our mistake is that we were talking about this oblivious that we were in front of CDQ, a noted columnist, wise and eloquent as we can only aspire to be, who was there as one of our speakers. he looked at us with disgust and said (with a hint of anger in his voice), ‘there is probably nothing more noble than to die for love.’

chastised, G and i fell silent. not that we believed him at that time (can’t speak for G but i know i didn’t). we just realised we were being callous and weren’t being very nice.

i remember this story because last night, on the occasion of kawadjan’s visit to the fair city of manila, we had a lovely dinner where i met N.

as we were nursing our beers and coffee after the splendid meal, N joined us. and almost without prompting, regaled us, a group of almost complete strangers, with the story of her woes over a loved one who did not return the feeling with quite the same intensity or dedication.

not that i think N will be committing suicide soon. it’s just that her somewhat impassioned and animated disclosure made me realise how far people would go - for love. and the shock of it is: ‘people’ includes me.

i started to put a list of willing and not so willing deeds i have committed in the context of a romantic relationship and decided that even the blogsphere is not a worthy (or discreet) confessional for it. suffice to say that dealing with the guilt of competing with the church (yes, there was some action involved with a man of the cloth), is not the highlight of the list, but is way up there.

it seems that while i consider myself to be an activist, a good son and a loyal friend, there is nothing that comes close to what i can do, what i have done, in the name of love.

and i have a feeling i am not alone in this.

last night after dinner i steal myself for another difficult discussion with JP. like all relationships, ours have its ups and downs. and lately, i have been reacquainted with the ‘downs’.

i tell myself, i can do this.

and for now, i did. we did.

this morning we renewed our commitment to work on our relationship. and tonight i take some time to write this post and remember R, whose death we laughed at decades ago.

i confess, in humility, that there have been times that i considered hurting myself, if only to manifest the devastation i feel inside. and that i now realise that people end their lives must be dealing with some pretty serious shit.

i won’t speak for G. but for all its worth, i apologise. i will not pretend to understand what R went through, but his death certainly did not merit ridicule.

as penance, i resolve that i will love well and live through it. let the proverbial shit hit the fan. i’m ready.

alternatively, in the words of martika, let's just say

‘love, thy will be done.’


image in this post by linden laserna

Thursday, May 14, 2009

breeders in malate


after reading my post, fiery godfather, my friends felt a bit bothered that i was feeling that they have no occasion to celebrate my life choices and milestones.

so they decided to make up one – the occasion of my successful root canal procedure. like really now.

not to miss an opportunity to further a cause, i suggested that we meet in malate in order to participate in task force pride’s activity on the occasion of the international day against homophobia. they all said it was my party so they were in.

most people arrived by pairs. noticeably without kids. ok, one had 2 bodyguards, but (unlike kids) they did not need to be the centre of attention.

once seated in o-bar, one of the guys was uncomfortable. he asked me if it safe to go to the toilet, telling me if somebody’s just going to look at his prick while peeing, he’ll be ok with it. i laughed and told him he should be fine and should not flatter himself. another asked if we need to take off our shirts for the activity. and yet another observed that the waiters were ‘yummy’. the girls even went up to check-out the kinky underwear and sex toys in top & bottom store.

it was clear that while most of them may be straight, they were willing to be gay for the day (err, night) for me. and from the looks of it, they were enjoying it, too.

too bad we got too entertained by the chit-chat amid the loud thumpa-thumpa music and friday night revelry of nakpil (or maybe i didn’t get the details right?). by the time we got to remedios circle, not one of the tfp’s usual suspects were there. not to be daunted by the slight hiccup, we took the chance for a photo op.

with no one bitching about the fact that we missed what we braved QC to manila traffic for, we had coffee and cakes in cafe adriatico.

we parted ways later than usual (1:30 am!).

as we were saying goodbyes, i felt a wave of love for my friends when i realised that while they may not share (nor understand) my world, they recognise that my life choices are as valid and need to be celebrated as much as their relatively conventional ones.

these breeders, they’re all right.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

fiery godfather


i’m a favourite godfather to my friends’ and family’s children.

not that i mean the children prefer me to the others who have committed to be their second parents, i mean my friends and family like assigning me this task.

living a life of a gay man is not exactly an automatic indication of street cred when it comes to rearing or nurturing a child. i would think, normally, that it will be otherwise.

i wonder if they think, that being gay,i should be more feminine and thus share the mothering instincts of women?

or worse, they choose me because of the illusion of pink money - gays, imminently successful and usually without the financial burden of parenting, have disposable income to throw around?

a friend, to whom i shared these thoughts, said that they are not intending to die soon – thus nullifying the need for me to step in as a parent in the foreseeable future. she said my value as godfather is really all about the life skills i can impart my godchildren. i nodded in quiet contemplation, as if indicating my satisfaction to her explanation - all the while thinking that the value of my impeccable taste in shoes will probably only kick in if the little critters grow up to share my passion for footwear.

jp, recovering from a flu was feeling surly the other day and asked me (after the nth similar function i said we had to attend), ‘shall we have a schedule of things they have to attend for us, then?

while i put it to the fact that he is not feeling well, there’s the issue of consistent obligation to celebrate the milestones of the friends and family’s life. and the lion-share of these entails their children. birthdays, recognition days, graduations, proms and every imaginable rites of passage. while i do this without question for my family and friends’ children, i can hardly expect them to celebrate the acquisition of a new pair of shoes, a new job or my dog’s successful castration. what do they have to celebrate for me then?

i wonder if this anxiety hits home now because i am in my mid-life without securing my progeny.

do biological clocks tick for gay men the same way it does for women?

after days of mulling over these thoughts, i decided this: my family and friends are compensating for the fact that my life choices led me to this childless existence. they all say parenting is one of the most fulfilling things you will do in your life. i would like to think, that it is their concern over the fact that i might be missing out on this experience that they wish to share with me even a fraction of what it might be like.

or so i tell myself.

but that will do for now.

tomorrow, is my good friend m’s child’s baptism. i think i might be one of the godfathers again. i’m deciding on the appropriate outfit to wear.

while i may not be a father, i’m going to do my damnest best to be the hottest godfather.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

memories are deceitful above all things


caloocan city, midnight, 1995

having survived what must have been the worst ‘date’ of all time; a torturous dinner in cafe ysabel worthy of all sorts of indigestion, i felt a certain relief. i put the word ‘date’ in quotation marks because i didn’t know what exactly just happened.

despite the disastrous rendezvous j was dropping me off at my place. still, the drive home proved to be be just like the dinner, a series of uncomfortable silences punctuated by awkward small talk. it was a few blocks from home so i was not taking any more of it.

“why do we even bother?”

i saw his forearms flex in the steering wheel and his jaw muscles clench. his dark brooding eyes peered through his long hair, “i think we both know why we want this.”

i didn’t know what he meant and i wanted to ask, but it was my street corner. his big car couldn’t go much further into the urban poor side streets. so he stopped. again, the silence.

“goodbye, then.” i said as i reached for the door handle.

“goodbye, kiel.”

i felt there were things that were to be said but it was not the time. i stepped out of his car. as i closed the door i saw that he was already looking ahead. i stood there and watched him drive off, his car’s rear end lights blinking farewell in the dimly lit side street.

i knew i will probably never see him again.

washington dc, close to midnight, 2009

after finishing his lobster dinner, j and i asked the fil-am waitress if we can smoke outside. the dinner was unlike the one that we had more than 10 years ago. though i didn’t eat (on the account of having to endure some ghastly vegetarian dinner earlier while schmoozing with NGOs from all over the world, contemplating on our raison d’etre and our changing place in the power tables), it went well because we actually talked.

getting the blessing of our waitress, we were standing in the curb of a shabby chic restaurant cum bookshop near dupont station. smoking thoughtfully. it was almost midnight.

“so, you don’t live in the city, right?” i asked.

“that’s right. i live in virginia, about 45 minutes via the metro,” he gestured vaguely at the direction of the station.

“so what time’s the last trip?”


“we better get going then.”

“it’s alright,” he said, taking a long drag from his flickering cigarette.

“alternatively, you can stay at my hotel and i can do funny things with your body,” i offered deadpan.

“i appreciate the gesture but, no thanks, ” he paused thoughtfully, “ besides i have work tomorrow.”

“good. i really don’t want to sleep with you. but you were being so nice i thought it would be rude not to make a pass.’

we looked at each other and then we started laughing while putting out our cigarettes.

back at our table, we both reached for our drinks quietly, the laughing fading to smiles.

“a lot of people think i’m gay, but i’m not – you know,” he said suddenly serious, looking me in the eye.

“we dated once, j.”

“really? i don’t remember. all i remember is that i felt you were always judging me. and how i proved you right being mr. establishment, working for the bank. while you are still an activist.”

i studied him, looking for signs of denial. the thinning clean cut hair and boxy marks & spencer suit have taken the place of the long silky hair and tight fitting shirts of old. the ‘suit’ looked earnest. if he was lying it didn’t show in his countenance.

“i wasn’t exactly memorable, but yes – we did go out once. and i never judged you.”

the silence that once was the trademark of our time together came back.

”so what are you doing tomorrow night?” he asked. but before i can answer, he continued, “ oh no, i have a date with this girl tomorrow.” he was frowning.

“that’s ok" i said, adding promptly, "we should go, or you will miss your train.”

we paid the bill and walked outside.

“well, enjoy the rest of your stay in washington” he said.

”i will. goodbye, j.”

we hugged tentatively.

“check me out if you come back, in case i’m still here.”

“sure,” i said quietly, not knowing if i was being truthful.

i turned and walked away, zipping my jacket to ward away the cold. i was already thinking that for 14 years i thought that there were things to be said between us and it turned out there was none.

i don’t know if he was watching my departure because i didn’t look back.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

panaginip sa abril

as promised to luis and zen, here is the original tagalog version of last week's poem. every second line is mine:

sapantaha lang natin ang pagpatak ng ulan
sa panaginip, yakap mo ang araw
at kapwa tayo naalimpungatang pawisan
balot ng init at uhaw na abot langit

ilang tag-araw na tayong isinumpa ng ganito
dinadaya ng panahon,
kinukutya ng pagmulat
sa umaasong aspalto ng tanghaling tapat

babangungutin ba ako
ng pangamba sa dapithapon
kung pagkakanulo
ng salawahang panahon?

pipikit pa rin ako
at hihimlay sa ulap
ng tag-salat
sa buwan ng paggapas
dahil kahit di ininda ang patak ng ulan
di man natin saliwan
ang unang tikatik ng abril
liliparin natin
ang panginorin
hindi hihintayin
ang muling paggising

Sunday, April 12, 2009

a dream in april

i once had a relationship with a writer. while the passion was mediocre, we wrote well together. here's an english translation of a filipino renga we wrote while we were still figuring out what we were to each other. thought i'd share it before april ends...

the rain is just in our imagination
in dreams, you embrace the sun
until we both wake up drenched in sweat
consumed by unbearable heat and thirst

many summer have passed with this curse
cheated by time
mocked by consciousness
in the burning asphalt of midday

will i have nightmares
of melancholic sunsets
if i betray
the traitorous seasons?

still, i will close my eyes
and lay in the clouds
of famine in harvest time

because even if we missed the rain
even if we did not dance
under the first shower in april
we will fly to the skies
and not wait to be awaken again

Sunday, April 5, 2009

mona lisa syndrome

jp once told me, you are like the monalisa, you are nice to look at, but not much use for anything else. that comment did not hit home until much later when i realised that i have been infected by the da vinci virus.

the da vinci virus infects the unknowing, but fully healthy individuals as host. before you know it you are one piece of work, err… art.

latent symptoms include:
• over-articulation
• over-intellectualisation
• self-indulgence

full blown syndrome to watch out for:
ISO sarcoma – unrealistic standard applied to everybody including oneself
pronoun disorder – inability to recognise anything but i and me, a.k.a. me- as-earth pre-copernicus syndrome
paparazzi paranoia – delusion of persecution of the tmz-type reporters and yet posing for pictures not being taken
hysterical garp blindness – sudden bouts of failure to perceive a world not according to one’s definition
delusion of rebonded rapunzel – delusion of hair so long, so smooth - flipping it would make the asian tsunami look like a drop in the bucket

initial morbidity reports claim that long-time sufferers eventually die alone.

unfortunately, there is no known cure. there are anecdotal reports, however, that a good dose of talking-down-to by undaunted close friends can make the syndrome almost a manageable disease.

thankfully, my early diagnosis aided by my partner's astute observation led to better disease management. i reject being a cordoned-off picture, no matter how pretty (and even that is a subject of debate). as my good friend fuschiaboy reminds me…

“refusal is elegance.”

look at the mirror and ask yourself, am i infected? better yet ask your most cheeky friend.

smile, mona lisa.

Friday, March 27, 2009

love three-logy

id and i were rummaging through storage boxes last night for my copy of the watchmen which she wanted to borrow when i stumbled into this piece i have written decades ago – back when i was still (gasp!) straight. it’s the story of what happened between me, mon and lisa (not their real names) who after all the history, evolved to become two of my closest friends. anyway, this is nostalgia...

i always thought that maintaining a relationship between two people was tough. when i found myself in a three-way set-up, i knew that i was in deep shit.

it all started harmless enough. three friends whose bond was built by common interests. in the beginning all encounters were determined by the fact that we belonged to the same student organisation. back then, lisa and mon never struck me as relationship material. i particularly detested mon. he called me his nemesis.

the nerve.

yet between the three of us, the best idea, plan or endeavour always resulted. with a lot of fuss maybe. but we always felt it was worth it.

for years thee intimacy was deepened by shared experiences – joy, sorrow, and yes, even heartbreaks. for some reason we broke up with our most serious relationships (till then) almost at the same time. we were thankful we were on the same boat. loveless creatures whose consolation was the comforting shoulder of friends.

then the plot thickened. mon started flirting with the idea of courting lisa who, in turn, was too preoccupied with this huge crush on me to notice. i was dating a lot of people and was too busy to care. not an unusual situation and definitely tenable had we kept it to ourselves.

we did not.

it was a night we were marking our formal departure from the organisation where we met and became friends. in drunken camaraderie, we played truth or dare. before we knew it, the cat was out of the bag.

mon proposed to lisa. lisa proposed to me. i was ill-prepared, i was eyeing another girl outside of our small circle. i rejected lisa’s proposal. she cried hard. she cried on mon’s shoulders.

they started dating exclusively and eventually went steady. i went steady with another girl. anyone would have thought this was where the end credits roll for a totally Hollywood-esque ending. and they lived happily ever after.


in less than a year they broke up. it was not long before i also broke up with my girl.

suddenly, we found the joy of each other’s company again. we had wholesome, social dates that were never meant to be complicated. like lost friends, we found we had a lot of catching up to do. we were basking at the maturity the time and distance have lent us. the affection increased with the regularity of these dates. we were never happier.

the closeness started canceling out people outside our unlikely trio. no one else got it. it was just the three of us that really understood.

at one point we watched the movie threesome. it dawned on us that we were starting to act like the confused characters of the movie. while the movie was enlightening, it also scared the living daylights out of us. we were getting too close. the situation was getting more complicated than we wanted it to be.

we tried to define what was between us in a vain effort to clear the air and found ourselves facing a blank wall. call it recklessness of youth, curiosity or just plain stupidity, we carried on. throwing caution to the wind, we continued seeing each other, always pushing the limit of what was acceptable in each rendezvous.

it would be hard to imagine for anyone who hasn’t been refused by a motel how embarrassing a three-way semi-relationship can be. it is trifle superfluous to enumerate similar situations that constantly reminded us our being together can never be. suffice to say, mon’s mother catching us in our underwear, sleeping in his bed, arms around each other – took the cake.

as lara flynn boyle said in the movie, this is not normal.

there was never a conscious decision to quit but we drifted apart a few months after. we were all busy with our work and i was assigned to work in camiguin for a few months. we tried to maintain a facade of normal abnormalcy and tried to see each other when we can. each one was considered the closest friend of the other, after all.

life went on.

one night i was in manila, they came and picked me up from my office to have dinner. i was struck how the same time and distance that once drew us closer at that point set us apart. tactlessly, i remarked on how pathetic the once meaningful ‘friendship’ has been reduced to a series of uncomfortable silences. they looked at me with equal parts of anger and hurt but they knew what i was talking about.

we recognised that we had a relationship. and we decided it was time for it to end.

this is one break up i will always remember. up to that point we were grappling on an appropriate manner to regard what was between us. it was apparent that none of us knew the rules in this game. we all winged in the best of our ability what was acceptable and what was foul. in the end we all lost by default.

looking back, i wonder what would have happened had we been living in a society where mores are not as defined. i flinch at the idea of how good it was, how it felt so right and how hopelessly doomed. it’s a society where things that don’t fall under standard definition are wrong. we were wrong.

but i refuse to stop at that. i don’t want to vindicate ourselves by passing the buck to the ills of society. with the benefit of hindsight, society’s standards weren’t the biggest stumbling blocks. i realise it was our own fear of the unknown that made us give up. the stakes were too high and gambling on emotions at a high risk of losing did not seem a serious and sane option.

in the end, there was nothing but bitter resignation. in the tradition of our generation, we raged against the dying of the light but we found our anger wanting. all i can hope for is that we can melt the chilling drifts, emerge from the darkness and find our way to the warmth of our friendship, that surely must still be there.

maybe someday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

remembering the tinman, part 5

march 2002, letter to g

dear g

thanks for the advice.

know what? a few days after, i'm totally over M(!). of course, i still remember that fateful night especially when I can still smell him in my bed and my pillow. but given a certain degree of rational perspective, i know that there is no use torturing myself on the why's and the what for's.

having said that, i feel i also owe it to myself to try to explain why i was overreacting. not to justify, for indeed, what's the use? but more to try to get off clean. you know, straighten it out in my mind. maybe because i want you (as my bff) to understand a little what i'm going through. or maybe i want to rehearse what i will say to E once i decide to tell him all about it (which i will in time). either which way let me try to explain.

i think i've already discussed in full what i am going through professionally. what i haven’t explained yet is how this has affected me and the way i interact with people here.

the truth is i can’t explain what is happening to me. except perhaps as any other person who finds himself in the role of a stranger in a foreign land. even my new friends are hours or days away from where i am. at this point, i need to wait for the weekend before i can speak to a friend.

do you know what it’s like to have no one to talk to?

it’s like nothing that is happening to you is real. sometimes i find myself just wanting to scream just because nobody is listening.

and this has such an effect on me as a person. most of the volunteers here think i’m an "introvert". isn’t it funny? introvert! me?! i realised it’s because i have gotten used to not speaking to anyone that even when i am amidst people, i still keep quiet. sometimes i feel suffocated if people speak all at once. all the while, i was thinking, i was once the life of the party, whatever happened to me? weird, right?

you know what? i have been taken to further isolating myself by frequently going to the abandoned train station 30 minutes walk away from where i live. it was built way back when the plantation was a center of commercial and social activity. now the trains don’t even pass by anymore and the station is all vandalised and crumbling. it looks like all the lost hopes and dreams of the community here are captured by the station that has not welcomed a guest for years and the track that forgot the heat of metal running against metal. there i find peace.

in this state of mind, M found me. i guess when M came i was just so hungry for any kind of human contact. and when he showed me tenderness, its like a showing an addict who’s dying for a fix some narc that is for free. no wonder i sounded shrill and out of control.

but i'll be o.k. now that i have been told i will be re-assigned to the city, away from the oppressive silence of the plantation, i can finally see the light. even now i can feel changes in me. it’s good because i already worry about myself sometimes.

i’ll park my pen here.


ps. M called. we agreed to spend some time together in cape town last week of this month. i told him i’d rather discuss things with him when we see each other. don't worry, i'll play it cool. i understood your message loud and clear.

Friday, March 6, 2009

beyond watching the watchmen

last night i embraced my inner straight boy by being a comics dork – lining up for the first night to watch the watchmen (i even considered dressing up as one of the characters), only to be sneakily sabotaged by dr. manhattan’s floppy flaccid blue prick.

ok it’s not comics. it’s even listed as TIME’s best 100 novels of all time. but one look at the yellow & black cover plus the coloured illustrations with conversation balloons inside and my friend id gives me ‘the look’ (the one given to hopeless men) and says, “aren’t you supposed to be old enough to read something without pictures?”

still, watchmen was what got me to graphic novels. now i have a small but quite respectable loot including from hell, superman for all seasons, death of superman, 300, wanted, sin city volumes 1-7 and stardust (although, the last one is an illustrated story – there is a difference.) you may raise your eyebrow to a level higher than bebe gandanghari’s because they now all fall within the ‘tv/movie tie up’ category. but then again i can hardly stop the hollywood agents from transforming art to cheesy money makers, can i?

i digress.

so there i was, braving the long lines in front of the gay’teway cineplex till. shifting my weight from one foot to the other because i was so excited i needed to pee all the time. not because there was so much cruising in the cinema lobby, silly - because the trailers were really good. to get to this point, i left my boss’ mouth hanging open when I said no to his request for me to re-send that one last email (you know, the one he didn’t read and now it’s my fault) and convinced jp it was a cool movie, he had to go. it was going good.

we got the tickets with time to spare for a quick beer at café adriatico downstairs before the show. when we came up for the show, there was time enough to go to the loo for a pee. when we went to our seats i carefully inspected the terrain for toddlers or jologs who might insist on imposing their noise while I was watching my movie. clear. i was on a roll.

all was right in my world (the opening credits was a killer) until dr. manhattan appeared with his swinging blue cock. suddenly, the (straight) couple next to me started sniggering whenever the offending appendage made an appearance (which is – by rough estimate - about a quarter of the movie).

suddenly the movie seemed all too ridiculous.

don’t get me wrong, a built, ripped, buck-naked and shaved billy crudup (or whoever was his body double) in blue is not exactly appalling. and I’ve always found soft cocks endearing in their vulnerability. but how can i take his existential pronouncements seriously when there are people around me who can’t get over his incandescent flopsy?

the movie ended with me feeling cheated.

i had the urge to rummage through my graphic novel collection, looking for clues why i found this one so precious. and there, (edited from the movie) I found my dr. manhattan again when he said…

‘The world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another's vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away.’

go watch the movie and try not to be distracted by the naked moviestar playing radioactive-nuclear-disaster-survivor-turned-superhero. better yet, read the graphic novel.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

remembering the tinman, part 4

february 2002, letter to g

dear g,

what else? i am writing to you because of a man. it's not a matter of life and sex, er, death. but seriously, this is different. how will i tell you? ok, better do it the quickest way.

i slept (read- been sexually intimate) with somebody.

before you pass judgement, let me just recount some details of what happened:

i first met this guy, M - (for anonymity we will call bloke) in the volunteers’ conference in february. immediately i had a crush on him. he’s 36, stocky, a londoner, a head of the dept. of social forestry in one of the universities here, and, seriously - a bloke. (like a lumberjack or something). because he's into social forestry we had a lot of things to talk about - with my stint in the community forestry program in camiguin.

after the conference, i e-mailed just to thank him for his company - as we had a lot of laughs (the male bonding type). then he responded and said he'll be visiting my province and might need a place to stay (!).

of course i was...afraid. i told him other volunteers live closer to where he's going. and even asked him to get in touch with one. so he was left with no choice. but not before telling me that he will be renting a car so the distance won't be a problem. i said, ok then. what else can i say?

when he arrived i insisted he meets up with another volunteer first so he won't have to drive another hour after his flight. he obeyed. but sometime during the night they decided that they will visit me and spend the next night in the plantation.

i was thinking, he’s with this girl – there shouldn’t be too much temptation. and he seems straight so i convinced myself that it will not pose a problem
they arrived. we dranked. we sang. the girl fell asleep on the floor of my room.

then bloke asked me, "what are you going do with her?"

to which i responded, "let her sleep."

then he said, "no, i mean it's your house, don't you have an extra room or something?" and then he started running his fingers through my hair and massaging my back.

i said, "oh." i woke up the girl and took her to another room.

when i came back, there were no words. he jumped me and kissed me. we made out like hungry animals. he’s so aggressive and a bottom (he’s first time, he said – like, whatever.) i was with bruises and scratches the morning after.

the point i wanted to make for relating all of that is that (1) it was all unexpected, unplanned and therefore confusing (2) i didn't even think of the consequences and (3) as you maybe predicted, i am finding i am liking this guy more than i want to.

and here is the dilemma in order of importance:

1.what does this all mean? does it mean i'm incapable of being faithful as i claimed i would be? is the real kiel the polygamous one not the one who professes faithfulness for the sake of love? is this a fluke? or is it a sign of the things (and dicks) to come ?(and cum?) already a 23 yr old black cute kid in the plantation is insisting he should spend the whole next weekend with me. yaiiiks! i tell E? if i should, will it be now? or when i come back? or when i'm sure he won't break up with me (like giving a hypothetical situation)? Or when i'm sure i can handle whatever his reactions will be? i love the guy, G. i want to build a life with him. but is it realistic? two years. sometimes i think i just want to go home to stop myself from getting into further trouble. to complicate things i just been offered a glamour placement. a communications coordinator for a sexual harrasment ngo in Johannesburg. so the other part of me is just wants to finish what i committed to.i said 2 years – i should be able to do it, right? so i feel worse, i cheated and then i decide to stay?! do i play it with bloke? i know i'm being neurotic, - at least we can be friends, right?

i don’t know hausmeyt. i’m so out of practice, i don’t know how to handle this. i want to tell him i want more than anything else to be his friend. of course, if i'll be honest, if he wants to be fuck buddies that’s not too bad, either.

we agreed that i'll pay him a visit in his university before i or he leaves (he's probably leaving by may). but now i'm having second thoughts. because (1) i might fall for him or/and (2) maybe all he really wanted was a one night stand. i am even doubtful if i should continue any form of contact.



Friday, January 30, 2009

remembering the tinman, part 3

January 2002, meeting M

The first time I saw him, he was talking to a group of people. I found myself staring at his legs. Beautiful muscular legs covered by the dusting of dark blonde hair encased in dark walking shorts that did not disguise his bubble butt. His upper body was similarly rounded with a hint of beer belly about to erupt in a few years time. He has a head shaped like an egg-a similarity heightened by his receding hairline and hair shaved close to the scalp. His Cockney accent was lilting. Sentences ending in an upward sweep making you think each one is a question.

He suddenly looked my direction and caught my eye. His other body parts receded into background when I looked in his eyes. It is of indeterminate color that always seems to be smiling. He strode towards my direction, all the while looking at me with those mischievous pair as if we were sharing a joke even before he introduced himself. He had a crooked smile. I wanted to bite his lips.

"M," he said extending a hand.

"Kiel," I said, clasping his hand, trying hard not to stare. His handshake was firm. Yet his eyes maintained that mischievous glint that I started to wonder if there is any external manifestation of the unbridled lust I was feeling.

February 2002, the call way after the morning after

"You shouldn't expect anything from me," I detect his imploring tone despite the choppy connection of my mobile phone. I can almost see him frown. "I’m basically a selfish bastard."

Two weeks after M’s visit, this is the first time he calls. Separated by thousands of miles, perhaps just as well. I was afraid I was going to jump to the first bus to where he is in Eastern Cape at the slightest hint of invitation. Apparently, that is not forthcoming. Since he drove away from my house, I was listing down all the things I wanted to say when we finally get to talk. Now all I am left with is uneasy silence and an increasingly loud thumping on my chest.

"That's just it. I'm not expecting anything," my voice sounded unsure even to my own ears. "Let's just talk about it when we see each other in Cape Town in a couple of weeks."

February 2002, text messages after the call way after the morning after

"Thinking of you -," the short message in my cellphone read. It was from Brian. It was 10 P.M. - three days after his phone call.

"No shit," I muttered under my breath, thinking of that vague brush off in our phone conversation a couple of days ago. Where does he get off sending me a message like this?

I decided to play it cool- as all my friends seemed to insist, so I wrote back teasingly, "the sort of thoughts that give you wet dreams or nightmares? too bad you're a -selfish bastard- "


"Well thanks. I've been thinking about you too but I don't know if that's something you want to know," I retorted. I imagine I can hear all my friends' indignation at the way I'm handling this. As I watched the miniature envelope travel from one phone through the other, I wanted to cancel. But heck, he asked for it.

"I'm confused, excited, interested and unsure in us." Finally, some truth. My heart resumed it's almost forgotten thumping.

With renewed confidence, I sent a message back that read, "Unsure is good. It's definitely an improvement from the don't-expect-anything line. Remember, I maybe feeling the same thing."

In two minutes, my cellphone rang.

"I'm sorry if I'm such a shit," he apologized not even bothering with the usual pleasantries.

"Why do you say that? Did I say that?" I asked, genuinely puzzled. I started walking out of my bedroom, out of the house and lit a cigarette.

"No, but I thought you may be thinking it." Brian explained. I wish I could see him try to get these words out. Why is he apologizing?

"I said -selfish bastard- but those are your words, not mine." I wonder where the guilt feeling is coming from. I suddenly felt afraid that he might feel sorry for me. Shit. That's the last thing I need right now.

"You'll have to understand. This is unfamiliar territory for me, eh? And there's all this uncertainty on how long you'll be staying in the country. Or how long I will." The thumping in my chest suddenly increased a notch higher.

"Hey M, one step at a time, OK?" I took a drag off my cigarette and blew the smoke out lengthily, thinking of words to say. I'll be damned if I let myself sound like a bimbo again. "I'm just wary of putting limits to anything before knowing what it is all about. The thing is, if I don't expect anything I don't have any options. And for me that sounds like a defeatist self-fulfilling prophecy."

"You're right. No options closed at this time. "Then there was the silence that lasted for a long time.

"Oh M, what am I going to do with you?"

"Right now I can think of something that I want to do with you so badly." His words taking on the familiar mischievous, naughty lilt.

"Oh. Right. That is precisely how it all started." How did we get here? I was asking him and myself silently. I know that our affair is not turning out to be a mess of Miss Saigon proportions. Then again, real life never had to have the absurdity of a musical to be tragic. And for those involved, utterly compelling.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

remembering the tinman, part 2

September 2001, meeting & leaving E

I was trying to hold back the tears as I piss in the airport toilet I spent half an hour trying to find.

What am I doing?” I half-consciously muttered to myself. This merited a raised eyebrow and embarrassed smile from the man occupying the urinal next to mine. I wanted to explain but I didn’t think it was too wise with both of us holding our cocks, piss gushing out of them. Compromising position notwithstanding, I don’t know if I know the answer to my own question.

I’m on my way to Africa leaving a loving partner, my meticulously designed apartment, my mother and a powerful consultant position for a government department. All because one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and decided I don’t like myself anymore. No. There must be a more precise way of describing how I felt. I cannot think of a better way to put in than Tom Cruise’s in Jerry Maguire,

I hated my place in this world.

All this I blame to that darned job that I mistakenly stuck with for 2 years. Lured by the prestige of being a government consultant for a multilateral development bank project, not to mention the money that goes with it, I left a very comfortable position in a non-profit organization 2 years ago. I had such high hopes in introducing reforms in government. At the age of 30 you would think I left all this romantic idealism long ago. But I tell you, it only took 2 years in government to snuff out all the living light of idealism in me. Before I knew it I was the epitome of everything I once hated.

So I thought, I have to get away from here. I have to find a place where I can search my soul or what’s left of it and find out how I can get out of this rut. Ergo, South Africa. Where else can I go where the delineation between the good and the bad can be so clear? Black – good. White – bad. Simple, isn’t it? A lot I know then.

So I sought to volunteer in Africa. Tired of the rat race that a high paying job inevitably brings, volunteering seemed to be a dreamy option.

Everything was going as planned and I resigned from the job with aplomb worthy of an academy award when things went haywire.

In a bored night chatting in the internet, a guy with the handle of “engineer” double clicked my name and invited me for coffee. We agreed to meet in a coffee shop in the mall within an hour. He’ll be wearing an orange shirt. I hastily washed my face, sprayed on cologne, and hailed a cab.

The first thing I noticed as I walked into the café to his table was his height. He was the only guy in an orange shirt so I approached with unusual confidence. My god, he can’t be more than 5’2”. My suspicion was confirmed when he stood up to shake my hand.

Hi, I’m E.” He smiled. His smile seemed to light up the whole café. I was hooked.

After 30 minutes we were back in my apartment. Shortly after, 1 night of unbelievably good sex ensued. Needless to say, we fell in love.

And now I’m leaving. Sure, my relationship with E is but 33 days old. Considering, however, that he practically moved in the day after we met; it’s a relationship with an intensity to be reckoned with.

Damn, you should have asked me to stay”, I muttered to myself again as I try to lug my guitar into the passenger waiting area.

I can still see his face so sad a few minutes ago as we hugged in the check-in area to say goodbye. The sight of planes taking-off from where I sat suddenly made the idea of being apart so real. Suddenly, and to the embarrassment of co-passengers waiting for the boarding announcement, I started sobbing.

And for the life of me, I cannot seem to stop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

remembering the tinman, part 1

February 2002, setting the scene

I used to work in a farm in Africa. I don’t want to do a Baroness von Blixen-Finecke impersonation here but I don’t know how to tell this story without telling you about where it all started.

Zebediela is a citrus plantation in the Limpopo about 400 kilometres north of Johannesburg. Unlike the city of gold, though, Zebediela looks as if apartheid is not yet over even when the whole world celebrated its demise more than 10 years ago. While it used to be a booming citrus plantation boasting to be the biggest in the whole world, the whole community seems to be living in the quagmire of poverty, ignorance, disease and disempowerment.

To be truly accurate, there have been some changes. Black civil servants have replaced the white management a few months before I arrived. Still, the life of plantation workers seems to be in a time warp. The workers receive the same wages they used to receive in 1994 before the democratic elections. Extended families averaging in 7 people have to live in small dilapidated mud rondavels about 3 meters in diameter. TB, HIV&AIDS and skin diseases plague the community. They still address white people “Morena” – meaning Lord. Unfortunately that includes me. They talk to me in hushed scared tones refusing eye contact.

Having spent a good part of my youth as a student activist, the plantation should be ripe for what we used to call a revolutionary situation. It’s jarring to realize that sadly, for the people of Zebediela, the revolution passed them by.

I went to Zebediela as a volunteer to help uplift the lives of the people in the plantation. For somebody who has worked in the non-government sector demonstrating rural development models for more than a decade I believed no community should be too wretched as to not benefit from organized efforts.

I was naïve.

This shouldn’t be so bad. The opportunity of working in Africa alone is a chance of a lifetime. There were times that I still held my breath at the view of the majestic expanse of the Limpopo mountain ranges as I walk on my way to work. The myriad songs of birds wake me up every morning as sunlight pierces through the curtains of my bedroom window. Monkeys, snakes and other forms of exotic wildlife nonchalantly cross the street almost oblivious of my presence. And yes, the beauty of the sheltering African sky at sunset cannot be captured in words.

After six months of failed attempts to get the management and the workers interested in organizing efforts, the mountains started to look like prison walls. The sunlight is scorching. The birds emit cacophonic mockery of heralding another futile day. The wildlife once enchanting seems ominous, deadly. And the sunset is just another reminder of the days still to end without the comfort of home. I wanted to make friends, but nobody would even look me in the eye.

A fat, utterly disgusting Afrikaner told me once over dinner in a rare moment of social life that Africa was not for sissies. I was dumbfounded with outrage the first time I heard it. After 6 months in the plantation though I’m thinking - fuck, yeah, maybe he’s right.

I was feeling this way when this story started.

February 2002, the morning after

I woke up with a start feeling something has definitely gone wrong. A hairy muscular arm was resting comfortably around my waist. Slowly, I turned around and watched the man sleeping peacefully beside me. I smiled to myself remembering our frantic and sweaty fucking last night. I search for a sense of guilt about having cheated on E to whom I swore fidelity. My smile broadened when I found none.

I looked around and looked in amazement at our clothes strewn all over the bedroom. So uncharacteristic of the usual order and bareness. Our pants looked good together entwined on the floor.

My eyes were drawn back by his gruff handsome face trying to figure out how I got into this situation when he shifted, eyelids fluttering as if sensing and being brought back to wakeful consciousness by my wonder.

"What time is it?" he asked with a smile, his voice thick from sleep. His eyelids still heavy.

"It's 7 o'clock. Almost time for you to go," I whispered softly.

"Hmm." he moaned snuggling closer. I felt his hardness against my stomach. I was still looking at him when he suddenly opened his eyes wide, smiled and kissed me on the mouth. "Good morning."

I mumbled a similar greeting. I wriggled out of his embrace, stood up, reached for and started putting on my pants. All the while I was uneasily aware of being watched by a pair of sleepy eyes. I was never the one to know what to say the morning after. The harsh daylight seems to banish all the intimacies forged in the dark.

"Would you like to have breakfast before you go?" I asked before leaving the room on my way to the toilet.

"Nah. Tea will be nice, though." He said, looking around the room for his clothes. He found his gray boxers, reached for it and put it on while still in bed.

"How do you take your tea?" I asked, my legs shifting. I really need to go to the toilet.

"No sugar with a little milk. Just a little," I vaguely saw him making a gesture with his thumb and forefinger as I hurried to the toilet. There, I thought as I watched the golden arch of my piss making its way to the toilet bowl noisily, I now know how he takes his tea in the morning. I can claim I did not sleep with a person I hardly know. Somehow that gave me a deep sense of satisfaction.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Losing Rings

what are the things that bind us? it’s a question that all of us have asked ourselves at some point in our lives. at the beginning of this year 3 friends, [G], id and kiel decided to connect their blogs, in a way that a blogroll cannot. they decided to write about something around this very theme and let another introduce the post from a sympathetic perspective. to make things challenging, the question must be answered around a specific piece of jewellery: the ring. this is mine. for the full picture, take time to read [G] and id’s.

Introduction by [G].

If his dick was detachable, he must have lost it several times. Not that he doesn’t value that part of him; he was just simply not an ideal keeper of valuable things. Material things, that is.

Good thing it was just a ring that he misplaced several times. But then again, they were not just simple jewelleries consisting of circlets of precious metal. They were rings that were given by his life partner as a sign of being inside the same circle that binds them as a couple.

Not that he doesn’t value whatever those rings signify. He does, believe me. He was not just a keeper of materials things. But he does value the quintessence of the ring more than anything in his life

ever since i can remember, i was good at losing things.

on different occasions, i have lost my passport, a number of IDs, mobile phones, monies, my dog and a car (alright, this one was stolen, but it was lost to me no less). heck, i even lost my way a number of times.

i always tell myself, this does not make me a bad person. i just don’t need to hold on to something as much as the next guy. when i lost my way, i somehow find another path to get me where i should go. in the face of loss, self-preservation kicks in, i let go.

when i say i was good at losing things. i actually meant i was good about losing things.

it’s one of those quirky things my family and friends love and hate about me.

but then i also lost 4 rings jp gave me as a sign of our love and commitment.

again that doesn’t make me a bad person, per se. just a lousy boyfriend.

last year i lost the giver of the rings twice. just when i thought i lost him for good, jp came back to me with another ring. this time it’s a chunky silver number with elephant hair weaved across, put in place by transparent resin. (did you know that animal behaviour studies show that an elephant never forgets?)

when he gave it to me, my terror at the prospect of another possible loss must have been apparent because he gave me this look. to me it was a look that said, ‘it’s OK, i know you get the message even if you lose it.’ i think it was a look that can otherwise be described as, well, love.

here’s the inevitable question:

will i be a good boyfriend this time and manage to keep this ring? or lose it like the 4 others before it and stay true to my nature of being good at losing things?

i can run rings around the question. but let’s face it. despite my most resolute attempts to keep it, chances are i’ll probably lose it again.

but this ring: it’s more than a piece of jewellery. it’s more than micro-handcuffs disguised as ornament detaining me to a relationship. it’s more than metal and animal parts and resin. i may lose the ring, but i will never lose what it stands for. nor forget the look on his face when he gave it to me.

for the first time, i think i need to hold on to this. if i can be true to myself, i just may learn to be good at losing being good at losing.

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