"Hello there! Bernie here, care to chat?" :)
He popped up unexpectedly, it was a username i haven’t seen in years. Pie pauses for a while. Dejavu. Same old intro, same online “warmth”, should there be one. It was this “warmth” that got me talking to him til the wee hours of the morning when i was still “discovering” myself in the chatrooms, a good six years ago. He had a style all unto himself; confident, but not arrogant, as most chatters i’ve met back then were. He had the “mature” stuff, going all over his online “aura”, that got me giddy, like a teenage girl who just held hands with her boy for the first time. that was the feeling—a princess meeting prince charming for the first time. Bernie was quick to burst my bubble though. he told me that as much as he was enjoying our little chats, that he was prowling the site, like most guys present there are doing—for easy sex; he was quick to add, as a brotherly advice that i shouldn’t go looking for love in chatrooms for i will surely be disappointed; I saw his point, but still proceeded chatting with him, anyway.
I was 22, i was just coming to terms with a sexuality that i fought and struggled with, for so long. Yes, he “read” me right when he gave me that unsolicited advice; that i was looking for my prince, eyebags growing by the minute, in that chatroom where one’s face is his YM handle ; his identity. if one is good with words, ugly will become beautiful, hideous will be gorgeous. And in that chatroom, almost everyone held doctorate degrees in creative writing. A minute of delightful conversation passed.. and then ten. Thirty was easy if you’re in cloud nine. i told him i was tying to hit two birds with one stone—that if love blossoms in the process, then it’d be the added bonus; i was there looking for easy fun, too. I know, foolish, stupid reasoning; but i was secretly hoping he’ll have a change of heart in the process, that after the eye-popping sex, he’ll realize he’s looking at his prince charming’s eyes all along, too. At 22, I was that desperate. We set up a date and time to meet, at shangrila mall, in EDSA.
“oh yes, i remember you”, i said, as my mind trailed off to that place beside kalentong market. We just got off the taxi he hailed from shangrila mall, and proceeded a bit further, on foot, passing the street filled with illegal vendors, to reach that small room. That small room, with the incandescent light bulbs and that small bed, waiting for us; waiting for me.
to be continued...