Monday, September 28, 2009


I went to the Journal Office yesterday to check if the record of last week’s proceedings have already been approved for release. On my way there, I saw the ugly sick pig going my direction. Apparently he also had some business with the Journal people, and it was just my luck, finding myself in a head-on collision with him on a beautiful Monday morning. It was too late, when I was finally able to focus my eyes to see who could be the hulking guy walking to the direction of the doors, to where I was also headed. Had I known just a fraction of a second earlier, I would have made for the adjacent room, anywhere just to avoid a direct hit. But he was there already, and I was there, too. I looked directly into his eyes, consciously telling myself not to register any emotion of anger or disgust. From my view, it looks as though he also doing the same. A few steps more and both of us would be side by side, going for the door handles. I was preparing myself for the worst when suddenly, the strangest thing happened. I wasn’t mad anymore. A strange thing really, for just seconds ago, I felt an ounce of anger pump into my veins—and then no more. I let him pass first, and then I followed him inside. Curiously, eyes followed us, as though we were a spectacle to behold. When I got to Gigi’s table, and he has already turned in a corner somewhere, I felt suddenly light headed. Whew. Nonetheless, I was thankful for the whole experience; for I can safely say that I’ve officially moved on.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

the tides, part 7

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism

Theo was suddenly roused from sleep by a tingling wamth, luxuriating in his muscles. It felt like those rare times when he actually made use of his tub instead of the shower in their small city apartment, immersing himself in a warm bath; the water feels just right on the skin, engaging his senses. He opened his eyes to see that thin shafts of sunlight are passing through the dome, as he’s been calling that delicate overhead mesh of leaves and branches that enclose the shack in a perpetual rain of green; he saw it a year ago, with the person he’s now running away from. Running away from? He’s not chasing you, for chrissakes, Theo. Stop this nonsense at once. Fully awake by now, he realized that the sunlight reaching him is falling through an open window, impaling him at precise points in his body—his cheeks, his chest, his tummy—each part resplendent in their hue of light pink. How could that be? I closed every single one last night on account of the storm.

A clink of teaspoon touching porcelain. He turned around to see Manong Gerry with a fresh cup of coffee on hand, greeting him a good morning. Manong Gerry is a next door neighbor who lives in the clearing, about two hundred meters from the shack; he was one of the residents who took an immediate liking of Clem and Theo, enough to offer them this abandoned shack. It had already been a year ago, to this day when they wandered into the island, alongside some others sharing their boat.

They were tourists, lodged on a nearby island, and were hopping from one island to another as part of the day tour package they availed, when they spotted the island’s rugged cliffs and lush greens from afar, floating like a dream in the blue waters. Seeing the group’s excitement, the guide was quick to point out that it’s not an official stopover in their tour and would not be the one answering to his bosses should they be spotted by other tour boats wandering off into the island. The adventurous group insisted that they won’t take long; that they’d just take pictures in front of the rock formations once they land on the beach. Overruled, the tour guide steered them into the island’s direction.

Upon reaching the shore, the excited bunch got off immediately, finding spots to have their pictures taken. It didn’t take long, however, for them to notice that local children were playing some distance away; and that a handful of makeshift establishments made of wood and rusted corrugated iron were sprouting like mushrooms at the cliffsides, complete with improvised verandas to accommodate breathtaking views of the sea and the nearby islands. Mesmerized by the strange allure of these renegade coffee shops, drinking bars, and a quaint little marketplace not far away from the cluster selling the day’s fresh catch, half of the group asked the guide to just fetch them at the end of the day; adding that they’ll just pay him extra for the fuel and his efforts. Seeing that it’s a good bargain on his part, the guide finally agreed.

As the boat left to continue touring the remaining passengers aboard, the small group that remained explored to their heart’s content. The shack called to them from its perch. High atop the faded red and green awnings of the shops, sitting at the highest part of the cliff, Clem and Theo saw a shack flanked by big trees on all its sides except the one looking down at them, facing the sea. It looked rustic, and grand at the same time, recalling scenes conjured from childhood fantasies, of green-domed castles resting by the cliff, jutting out to sea. Like two explorers excited with their new find, they made a dash for the remaining slope to reach their prize.

Reaching the top, they found the shack to be abandoned and in a state of disrepair. A bunch of local children were playing at a nearby swing, its ropes tied to a branch of a mango tree. Soon, two adults were rushing into their direction, alongside some more children who obviously told them of the tourists’ arrival. The elderly man with the graying beard introduced himself as Manong Gerry, and his wife by his side, Manang Linda.

“It’s good that you came here,” Manong Gerry said, after a few niceties were exchanged. “In the past two years, more and more tourists are gradually discovering our island. It’s good for the local tourism”.

“You must excuse us for the lack of electricity, though. Electricity cables haven’t reached us yet. The shops below are only good for day trips from the nearby islands. We are horrible hosts at night,” quipped Manang Linda.

“So you don’t have inns around, should we decide to stay for the night?” Theo asked, smiling, thinking of nights lit by gas lamps.

“Sadly we don’t have those things yet. But should you and your friend would want to stay, you can stay here,” Manong Gerry said, pointing to the shack. “It’s been abandoned for years now. My neighbor Tomas relocated to the town proper when he struck luck with his seaman son’s good fortunes.”

“Will it be any trouble if we actually did?” asked Clem. “We were looking for an adventure when we came here, seems we really found what we're looking for”.

“Oh no, please, help yourselves. We’re actually going to have a fluvial parade tomorrow, for the Blessed Virgin. That should be a sight to see for city dwellers like yourselves,” Manang Linda said smilingly.

At the end of the day, when the boat came back for the group, Theo and Clem already had a ready line made for the tour guide, and asked to be picked up the next day instead; thankful that they haven’t checked-in yet at one of the fancy inns of the bigger island like most in their group did upon arriving in the morning. After sharing dinner with Manong Gerry’s family and exchanging a few laughs, they headed back to the shack where they made love under the light of the gas lamp.

“I opened the windows to let some sunshine in,” Manong Gerry’s voice pulled Theo away from his reverie. He was beside an open window, holding his cup of coffee. “You came back at a terrible time, we’re being assaulted by heavy rains for almost two weeks already. It’s good to see the sun finally shining again though, in time for the procession later. I was surprised to see you yesterday. I haven’t really thought you’d remember the date of our fiesta. Your friend really should have come, the procession will be extra special this year”.

Theo smiled. He didn’t mean to come at such a precise a time. He just needed refuge; some solitude to thinks things through. But now he feels his past is closing in on him, more than ever.

In a wooden jetty at the end of a dirt road somewhere, Clem contracts a boatman to take him to the island.

<to be continued>
image source

Friday, September 25, 2009

the tides, part 6

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.

In the end, the light from their bedside lamp could not compete. It grew paler with each passing moment, and eventually fizzled out as the warm glow of knotted hearts and tangled limbs slowly lit up the room, throwing frenzied shadows along the walls. The old airconditioner nearly broke down with the heat, and the green curtains turned yellow with envy. In the aftermath of shallow breaths and whispered i-love-yous, their once-pristine sheets lay crumpled at the foot of the bed, drenched in sweat.

Clem’s head remained buried, deep in Theo’s chest; his ears still throbbed in unison with Theo’s heartbeats, when he heard him ask—

“Why did you say hi?”


Clem looked up, struggling to see Theo’s face through sweaty eyebrows; but as his eyes still stung from the sweat, he just closed them to listen to Theo’s voice as it went on—

“At the party, when we first met. Why did you say hi?”

Clem knew at once. It wasn’t a question that demanded answers. It was a question asked in dreamy tones, in a voice that only Theo can deliver, in a perfect mix of amazement and thankfulness. They have played at it for as long as he could remember, and this would be the time when they would lie side by side, facing each other, to look into each other’s eyes—

“Oh, that question again?” A teasing look would erupt in Clem’s eyes, a cascade of dazzling fireworks in a cloudless night sky.

“I just needed to be sure”.

“To be sure of what?”

“That you did not confuse me with someone else, hehe”, Theo would grin, planting a wet glob of kiss at the tip of Clem’s nose. Clem would almost always feign disgust, only to retaliate by hitting on Theo’s tickle spots, at the side of his ribs, and at the base of his neck, touching the shoulders. Only after when Clem had his fill of Theo’s laughter-induced tears would they snuggle, with Clem behind, kissing Theo at the nape.

“Why would I take you for somebody else? Did I look like I confused you with somebody else that night?”

“No, I just...”

“Shh... no need to talk, then.”

Theo’s eyes would close, feeling Clem’s broad shoulders and arms around him bring him to his most secret place on earth.

“But you’re a matinee idol and I’m just one of the regular guys”.

“Who says you’re regular? You’re the most special person in my life”.

<to be continued>
image source :

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the tides, part 5

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.
The sun was up early this morning. It rose golden and majestic over the distant hills to the east; its rays melting away those delicate curtains of mist that hung like spider lace over the fields and the meadows, and the little brooks they passed by along the way. They have been travelling by bus, a rickety one, for almost two hours now; and each bump along the road is reminding Clem how hard it is, getting to the island.

He hasn’t had a decent sleep yet since setting out by himself at dawn, nor is he complaining about it. He has endured two transfers already: from an airconditioned bus, he took a ferry ride taking him to the main island; getting off from the main port, he had to fight a multitude of other passengers just to get in one of those old buses with open steel frames for windows and creaking wooden slats for floor, plying the route from the port to the far end of the island. He was lucky to get aboard one, and has been enjoying the ride since, despite a few patches of rough road they’ve been encountering, from time to time.

After the sudden flood of memories at the bar last night, he had to do something. He had to act. And this is it, the ultimate road trip. It didn’t surprise him at all to see himself going this length to get to Theo. He loved the guy for seven years, loves him still to this very day. Arriving at his apartment, feverish from the terrible rains, he tried for his cellular phone a number of times. No answer. Not the one to easily give up, he sent several short messages to friends, to no avail—within an hour, they all sent their answers in the negative—no, they haven’t seen Theo for awhile, and no, they do not know his whereabouts. Even Reema was vague in her answer—her brother didn’t exactly say where he was going, except to a retreat, a few days away from the city.

“Tis great, noh? That we found this island by accident, or that it found us. It’s like the perfect hideaway, when you’re hiding from the world and you don’t want to be found; or when you’re soul searching, or whatever. Imagine, there’s no electricity yet! How do people here survive?! Know what...we could set up a party here all your friends in Manila, what do you think? We’ll have a gas lamp luau by the beach. Haha!”

He only had to close his eyes to see Theo’s face that day they set foot on the island: pure bliss. And there had been a religious procession too, a fluvial parade going the length of the rocky shore. It passed by the abandoned little shack they took shelter in, which the residents were kind enough to offer for the duration of their stay. Colorful, triangular pieces of paper shimmered in the water, adorning the boat that carried the image of the Blessed Virgin. Little girls clad in white dresses were throwing red and white confetti to the throng of believers that gathered along the shoreline, singing Ave Maria. Exhilarated from their vantage point at the edge of the cliff, Theo shouted, “Hah! The perfect retreat!”

It was the only clue Clem could follow; the only clue he’s desperately clinging to.

The bus stopped on a dirt road to unload its final set of passengers. Clem got out, stretching himself from the cramped way he’d been sitting for a good two hours. All of a sudden, a light breeze blew in from the south; he can smell the sea.

<to be continued>
image from

the tides, part 4

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.

Thunder claps. This is going to be a long night.

Even with the thick bricks lining the walls of the joint, he could still hear the grumblings—muffled and distant, like some memories he’s already resolved to drown with a bottle of brandy. Two, in fact. For tonight, as the streets of the metro will be flooded by merciless rains, so too, will the avenues of his heart be, with a rush of sweet brandy.

He had come here drenched, soaked to his socks. His only saving grace was the black leather jacket he was wearing, that repelled the assault of the stinging rains much like an armor of a knight to a volley of poison arrows. Yet this knight is not of the shining ilk, and it was this realization that made him walk two blocks from his office, amidst torrential rains and buffeting winds. From the streets, he passed a sea of perplexed and odd stares from pedestrians and transport passengers alike, wondering why he’d brave a storm of such magnitude without so much of a raingear. Let them stare. I don’t care. Let them stare.

He needed to forget. He needed to make them stop. The memories, so powerful they end up in his dreams, invading his waking hours, so much so he sees him in every face, every dealing, smells him in his pillow before going to bed. Theo.

It wasn’t long before he’s back in familiar ground. This bar is the only place those bloody memories dare not enter—this place that stank of wine and mindless chatter, wreathed in smoke. It has offered him sanctuary for the last two months or so, and has never denied him of forgetfulness whenever he comes rushing to its doorsteps. He will not be denied one now. Moments later, dried up and already settled in his favorite corner, he lounged in the strange comfort of his seventh glass and the smoke-filled dim. A kind of languor has already descended on him when a light tap on his shoulder woke him from his trance.


“Oh, hi. I didn’t know it’s gonna be you tonight”.

“Why, would you have gone somewhere else had you known earlier? Stay after my number, ok? I’ll wipe that glum off your face”.

“Like you could,” a smirk contorted his beautiful face.

“Haha! Trust Jed to do it. Later, ok?”

Clem didn’t answer. And it seemed Jed wouldn’t take no for an answer, either—as soon as he’s uttered his invitation, he went onstage holding his saxophone to weave his magic before an audience already in rapt attention. Jed was just one of the many boys that chased after Clem like a pack of hungry wolves; chased and still chasing. All of them fall for him sooner or later. He has known this certainty all his life, and has ran from it ever since he could remember. It’s a curse he can never totally be free from, like an anchor bearing down on his soul.

As the first of the notes to My Funny Valentine sauntered, silky in the air, a night scene from a small room some years back unfolded like it’s just happening now; and the smoke and the wine, the semi-darkness and the mindless chatter—all of them melted to the tune of his humming. Theo likes to hum. Theo hums a lot, actually. In the car, on the way to some dinner they’d attend; after the movies when he’d sort of float in the sidewalk, humming the theme song—humming like he is humming now. They’ve just finished dinner, and they were watching some old black and white movie on TV. Out of whim, when My Funny Valentine played, he rose to his feet, took Clem by the hand and started on a slow waltz. They say Clem has a drowning stare, but nobody has ever looked upon Theo’s eyes for long to see those deep pools of longing call to you. Nobody but Clem, and he is shrinking—the high and mighty sun god Apollo—shrinking to a kind of girlishness now, as he puts his head onto Theo’s broad shoulders, looking still through his eyes.

He was jolted from his reverie by the cheering crowd. It was a standing ovation and Jed was looking directly at him. In the darkness, he suddenly felt his cheeks were wet. Has he been crying? He rose immediately and stumbled through the crowd. He must get out. Out of this place.

He needs to think.

<to be continued>
photo credit - rob melnychuk

Saturday, September 19, 2009

the tides, part 3

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.
He woke with a start.

Winds were howling in Theo’s ears like they never howled before; taking him from some wine-colored dream--one that’s pulled faster and faster away from him, receding in the dark as he reluctantly waded into wakefulness.

Before his eyes opened, he heard the shack. Little creaks from the wicker and the timber, and the ceaseless flapping of the windows against the battering winds. Shivering from the cold, he rose and went immediately to the nearest window, taking hold of the wooden handle to shut it close. He took a quick glance at the moon’s direction to see that it had taken cover behind the train of passing clouds. Below him, the land lay under a blanket of darkness, lulled to sleep by this unnatural wailing that seem to come from some unfathomable depth. He gave each handle a hard tug, and pulled the latches in place, as he locked the windows one by one, from the inside. Despite this, the wailing winds persisted with their dirge, and Theo, now completely awake, have no choice but to listen.

It’s like being in a cavern; with voices rising and falling like waves, bouncing off each other’s lament, as they follow an unseen conductor bent on orchestrating a grand performance. It didn’t help that the cold have already settled in his bone marrow, and no amount of blanket can help keep him warm. A moment later he heard another layer to these tangled “voices”—the sound of rain; gentle at first, then slowly gaining momentum with every drop, and later on, pouring like truckloads of gravel onto the tin roof above his head. Theo sat on his bed, suddenly realizing he’s in the front row seat to a rousing performance of loneliness and despair.

Light the gas lamp, Theo.

No, its better this way.

Afraid to see your loneliness?

Theo didn’t answer. You’ll get tired of it, eventually.

He lied down, feeling the soft brush of the pillow against his cheeks, and turned to face left. He always liked facing left, especially when Clem has already followed him to bed. Clem would always lie from behind him to give him a hug, placing his right arm across, snuggling him until they both fell asleep. He now reached across, feeling for those arms, waiting for Clem’s soft, warm breathing to start caressing his nape. For the longest time, Theo lay awake.

Only the tears and the endless rain came that night, merciless with their lashings; and the sea below their shack roiled and coiled to the sound of Theo’s silent whimpers, grumbling with the wind.

<to be continued>

Friday, September 18, 2009

the tides, part 2

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism

He came like a gust of fresh air in Theo’s life. The man-child with the warm, infectious smile and the drowning stare. He can leave a room breathless just by the flick of his eyes, fiery and incandescent; all lights leave the room the moment he enters, for they get magically drawn right into his irises, and stay there when he wills them to. Men and women fall into his sway as easily as the ocean is pulled by the moon’s rising at night. And when he has finally set his eyes on you, you fall powerless against a desire, a longing so great to know him, and be among his peers that forever bathe under the gleam of his arresting presence. Clem the beloved, Theo’s sweet Clem.


He came, holding his glass of wine.

Theo froze right where he was sitting. Up til now, he had been a wallflower at this event, quite content to ogle at the boys from a safe distance, unsure why he had signed up for this gathering in the first place. It was a grand eyeball, a meeting of sorts among gay men who kept online profiles in the internet. In the days leading to the event, the organizers had been pious in sending email updates to the members for information, and to drum it up as well. Reading through them, he felt it wouldn’t hurt to try this one out—might be the one thing that will spell the difference between singlehood and meeting the man of his dreams. Being the reluctant optimist that he was, he signed up for it anyway, and hoped that lady luck will look his way when the right time comes.

Lucky Theo. Tonight, it seems all her attention is on him.

“Uhm, hello”.

Theo’s heart skipped a beat, as he put down the book he’d been absent-mindedly reading before the angel came, bearing good news.

What is this heavenly creature doing by the poolside, talking to me?

The pallid light from the pool was not enough to mask the guy’s splendor : a charming face that can easily land him a spot in the avenue of billboards that is EDSA, and an athletic body to boot—just the right amount of muscles in all the right places—

You shouldn’t be here. You should be there, inside, in the light—among your fellow boy-toys and muscle marys. What are you doing here?

“Can i help you?"

Darn, what were you thinking, asking that, Theo? This is a party, of course he can go anywhere he wants to.

“Uhm, I just came out for a breath of fresh air. The air’s too stifling inside, I can barely hear my thoughts. I guess that’s what you get when you put together a bunch of gay men inside a room...after a few minutes they start working each other”.

“Haha. You’re funny. I’m Theo, by the way. What’s your name?”

“Clem," and as he said it, a gentle wind that seem to come from nowhere, blew a few wisps of hair out his lovely forehead. "So, you’re reading a book, i see. You brought that all the way here to the party?”

“Nah, i just casually picked it up from the shelves. Our host has quite the collection. You’re not gonna report me, are you? I’m not gonna take this out of the building, i promise”.

“Haha. No, sir. They won't hear a word from me. Uh-uh. So, you came all the way to this party, intending to ignore us upstanding, fine young men, just so you can read a book,” a half-smile was slowly breaking out from his tender lips.

“Oh, no. Not just to read, but to drink fine wine too,” Theo raised his glass, starting to enjoy himself, and this unexpected little banter he’s suddenly having with a beautiful stranger. “Books and wine you see, they go well together”.

“Know what, Theo, you are one weird guy. I sure am pleased, meeting you.” Clem smiled, and raised his wine glass as well.

And just like that, Theo was smitten.

<to be continued>
googled image

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the tides, part 1

Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism.

The faint glimmer of the early evening stars just come out to play by the horizon, threw specks of dull starlight at Theo; instantly fading on skin contact, as the entire place, now reflecting the muted colors of a twilight sky, slowly succumbs to the enveloping dark.

He has been absent-mindedly sitting on the sands by the beach for what seemed an eternity, watching the billow of soft waves curl gently at his feet, soaking them and the underside of his trousers wet. The shrieking gulls that have glided over the immense blue of the sea that afternoon as he was walking along the rugged shoreline, have now fallen silent and gathered themselves like some priests in congregation, huddled at the rocks some short distance away from the shack—now barely a shadow against the swirling blue and black evening sky.

As his mind continued to swim with the somber images of the gathering dusk, Theo slowly made his way up the steep terrain leading to the shack; little by little it emerged from the shadows, luminous in his vision, for the moon had already risen from the sea like some magnificent dream, bathing the landscape in sparkling silver.

He had just arrived that afternoon by small boat from the main island with a couple of other tourists, who, like himself, have chosen an obscure hideaway as their adventurer’s paradise to pass the weekend by.

The island’s share of tourists these days are trifling, dwindling figures compared to the past seasons; leaving some of the shop owners and inn-keepers with no choice but to temporarily close shop amidst the heat, and the dust, and the flies whirring incessantly over rotten mangoes and carabao dungs lying in the dirt. Children—who use to approach tourists drinking in makeshift bars during the peak seasons, to sell them necklaces strung from shells and pebbles—are regular children once more, marching in packs towards their respective houses and shouting inaudible, exhausted goodbyes to their comrades after a day's worth of climbing trees and soaking in the surf. He trailed this ragtag band’s ascent, sluggishly walking a few steps behind, until he reached his own address : this rundown, wind-battered shack, just a few meters above the sea smacking at the cliffs.

With a lingering glance and a wry smile at the little gang slowly breaking up for the night, he proceeded to close the door, shutting himself in darkness as palpable as his sorrow.

<to be continued>
the image source

Friday, September 11, 2009

hava heir moment numbah one

arnel lasik ha. tandaan mo. pag nagawi kayo sa masbate, ipagtanung mo lang ako. madali lang hanapin ang place ko, sabihin mo sa traysikel, dun sa may gym. i own that place. iisa lang naman ang gym dun.. alang hilig ang mga tao dun sa pagpapalaki ng katawan. magsama ka ng friends mo, okey lang. masaya pag pyesta dun. arnel lasik ha.

thus, the mild mannered gay man in his mid-fifties alighted from the bus along with his other companions. their stop was the dau terminal in pampanga, as arnel lasik claimed their small group was to attend a friend's wake, somewhere in angeles. when they boarded the bus an hour and a half ago somewhere in quezon city, i had no idea that the proceedings would turn out into such a mess, a mess where i barely emerged unscathed from, barely breathing and barely alive hehehe.

when riding the bus be it in short distances in the metro or when province-bound, i always like taking the window seat. when arnel took the seat next to me, i had no idea he was gay. he had companions, and the bunch looked like a family going out for a few days vacation in the countryside. being that the bus was almost full, they have no choice but to have separate seating (as it turns out, his taking the seat next to me was no coincidence at all); add to the details already mentioned, that he had this rough-hewn aura around him, almost like a father's--pot belly, the works--which probably accounted for my gaydar's obvious malfunction.

when province bound, i almost always have stuff to take home; i always like bringing pasalubong so the household would have something to busy themselves with/ nibble on, in the days i'm at home. i dunno if he took it as a signal, my rummaging around my little plastic bag placed on the floor of the bus (i probably brushed on his exposed legs by mistake--he was wearing shorts), but i guess that was it; coz that was the time he started talking. he sortof suggested to the lady sitting in front of me to adjust the reclining seat for me to have more room to sort out my stuff. harmless enough, don't you think? i thought so too.

when the lady gave in to the request of this fatherly figure seated beside me, and i finally straightened out in my seat, arnel began to work his magic. he started out by making a comment on the greenery we were passing by, which he probably noticed i take interest in, given that i stared at what's outside the window almost all the time as we were traveling. not knowing what to say, i just smiled my demure smile. he then asked me how long it would take them to get to dau terminal, to which i courteously replied "mga isang oras at kalahati, depende sa bilis ng patakbo ng drayber at sa dami po ng sasakyan sa expressway". to which he replied, "mukhang sanay ka nang magbyahe ah. so palagi kang nauuwi pag weekend?"

before i knew it, the conversation was turning out to be some sort of a question and answer portion in a beauty pageant--with arnel being always the first one to ask questions, and me answering them. the questions were actually designed for small talk and i didn't feel as if my life was being pried open for the whole of the bus to devour, so i answered. but at the back of my mind, i was already beginning to feel a little discomfort; my gaydar was slowly coming to life with all the little beeps it was steadily giving off. when i finally turned to face him, it was too late, arnel's fatherly demeanor has already transformed into something predatory, like the big bad wolf to my little red riding hood. but all of that was probably in my mind; for he was his mild mannered self, all throughout the journey.

when the bus finally stopped to unload passengers at the dau terminal, a rush of relief passed through my being. throughout the conversation i conducted myself properly; i didn't humiliate, and i didn't snub. i was cordial, as he was cordial. and when he asked for my name, i gave the real one. i wouldn't trample on an aging gay man's dignity and self worth by giving a false name. after all he gave his name too, many times, in fact, so that when time came that i get the chance to visit masbate i can look him up.

arnel lasik, ha. yung may ari ng gym. isama mo ang friends mo.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


wendy's, 9:10 am.

i just finished ordering meatloaf sandwich from the counter, and settled at my favorite place beside the store's glass enclosure-walls. i am near the bulky, overhead (and ancient) airconditioner, but did not sit directly under it for fear that dust and soot, accumulated through years of neglect, might fall off and land on my sandwich, which the counter-lady promised to deliver in five minutes.

to pass my five minutes, i went on to check my celfone for messages, sent a couple of short ones to friends, and, having nothing left to do except wait, i surveyed the place for cute guys. (yes, i am allowed to do that, under the dadee terms of agreement, hehehe).

a couple of tables away, in front of me, i was distracted by a somewhat loud voice coming from a guy who seemed to be lecturing his guy friend on the nature of love and relationships. i passed them both, on the way to my seat a couple of minutes ago, and i can see that the one being lectured on had the more feminine, sleek, gay urbanite/ metrosexual look that translates to hairgel, muscle shirts, and make-up foundation. the lecturer is in sharp contrast with his friend, for he seemed not to care at all, what with band-aid splat right on his chin--a razor cut, i reckon--loose-fitting shirt, shorts, and flip-flops make for a very home-boy look. homeboy was rubbing knees with ate gurl, (its not my fault i can see it from where i was sitting, noh?) as he continued his very animated discussion of the gay man's take on relationships. here are a few excerpts that managed to stick :

and so what if inabot kayo ng ilang taon?

from this, i reckon ate gurl is nursing a broken heart; but i still can't see the reason for kuya's knee, sliding deliciously into ate gurl's thigh.

what's important is the years shared together. problema ba yon? e di magdagdag pa ng ilang taon.

this part is quite hazy, but i'm just putting it here as conversation marker, to stress my observation that they are not an item, kuya band-aid and ate gurl (but i'm still terribly bothered by the knee action, mind you). kuya band-aid's voice is becoming quite loud, as his monologue is starting to reach me in steady frequency. at this point, i'm already beginning to wonder if the other customers are already getting the drift of their conversation, too. kuya band-aid kept saying "sa mundo natin", and from the way he said this, i get an impression that he's so much comfortable with his sexuality already, that he doesn't really give a damn if others are eavesdropping (ouch, hehe).

at this point, my sandwich has arrived, and kuya band-aid continued, with ate gurl (and myself) in rapt attention:

it's different kasi eh. in boy-girl relationships, the relationships tend to evolve into something sacred; the boy, being the agressive one, tend to get domesticated over the years, arrested somehow by the allure of domesticity offered by the woman. whereas in boy-boy relationships, both are fueled with competitiveness, with raging hormones. its easy to fall prey to the lure of collecting boyfriends. in straight conversations among men we usually hear that, di ba? may girlfriend kung saan-saan? imagine how much more sa atin, na parehong lalaki. before you know, it easily becomes habit; so we collect and collect hoping eventually that it will equal-out to that of the happiness in being in a monogamous, lasting relationship, sa dami ng nakolekta naten along the way.

from where i was sitting, kuya band-aid actually made sense. at this point, i got my celfone out and texted a very important person in my life; the word "sacred" glowing all the more in my mind.

before i got up, the lyrics to one of rufus wainright's song, "i don't know what it is", rang clear in my head. i heard this a couple of weeks ago, and not hearing rufus wainright steadily for days (as i usually did, during my rufus phase years ago) it kinda floated eeriely, and here, now, it resurfaced:

so i knock on the door, take a step that is new
never been here before, is there anyone else who's too in love with beauty?
playing all of the games, who thinks three's a company?
is there anyone else who has slightly mysterious bruises?

thank God somebody answered.