Yesterday I was feeling better and I thought it was over but I couldn't have been more wrong. Around 11pm I was overtaken by a fit of coughing that felt like my lungs were trying to free themselves of my chest. It sounded pretty much like that night a few years ago when I thought I could sneak my dad's car out of the garage; I turned on the ignition and what else happened but the motor wheezed and spluttered in the noisiest way a motor could.

There's no one to blame but myself. Actually there is. Prince Henry (the other guy in my apartment) started it all with his getting the flu. Now three of us are down. Of course it didn't help matters that I continued to sleep shirtless at night despite how cold it got. Also the fact that last weekend I went some 36 hours without any rest. Now that's a story.

My boss thought it was about time I did something productive like actually selling stuff instead of just productively sitting at my keyboard and banging away at the keyboard sporadically to give the effect of being busy. So since the 3rd of December I've been out of the office and manning our booths at random bazaars in the city. I was ecstatic at the opportunity to finally be free of the office walls I'd been starting to find claustrophobic until I found out I'd be working 10 to 14-hour shifts with no overtime compensation. Didn't you get the memo? My co-worker could only shake her head at my naivety. The insult to my injury - or, since this was probably not intentional, the salt in my wounds was that for three weeks I would have only two days off and no, they couldn't be used consecutively. Boss said I could have them at another time but who is he kidding, next week will be Christmas vacation already.

So anyway, back to last week. Faced with the prospect of work on Saturday and Sunday, I decided to go out on Friday night. I left work at 12 midnight, had a bite to eat and a quick shower at home, and arrived at the usual at 2am. For the most part I managed to contain myself and sit quietly to the side, in fact I think I pulled off the creeper act fantastically: sat by myself beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, on my face a glower or maybe a leer as I scan faces in the crowd at leisure like a hunter surveys a herd of deer. To be honest I was just tired and maybe a bit sleepy. After an hour or so of this sitting down I started to feel fidgety. I think I must have ADHD or something similar. I mean I was still tired and sleepy but, holy shit man it was like the dj was a snake charmer and I his snake and he was making me dance like magic because there were no drugs involved. You know that's how snake charmers do it.

There I was making a fool of myself again and it was an honest-to-goodness riot what with stage stomping, hip grinding, hand waving, and head banging. With such a flagrant mating display it was not long before a birdie came chirping by and when the sun came up he took me to his nest where we did a whole lot of brooding.

I slipped out of his house at 10am and flagged down a jeep only to find that I was down to my last 10 pesos. I mentally revised my projected tardiness to one hour and walked the rest of the way home. On my arrival I was surprised to find that it was still 10am and what do you know, turns out the time on my phone was 1 hour fast. Popped some pills - a colorful variety of Vitamins C, E, iron, etc; nothing prescription or illegal - with breakfast and then it was off to work. I got there only an hour late and ahead of my partner. By early evening we'd hit our quota.

Not too bad, I reckon. Not until now, at least.


It occurs to me that I'm afraid of this: I might have grown bored of the random hotel rooms, random meaningless banter, random boys with which I've built my Babel. I tell myself that this straining to reach heaven must be blasphemous except I have no choice but to build higher and higher because there is no way down.

When it's really quiet my thoughts often turn maudlin.

A soft light shines from the half-open bathroom door. From somewhere in the room a tinny radio sings ridiculous songs, I'd turn it off if I fucking knew how but. I'd tried to call the front desk to ask how to turn the thing off but dialing zero got me nothing but a dial tone. Actually the front desk had called earlier, just when the kissing turned torrid so when I answered the phone and the woman on the other line asked if we were settled in okay I told her that yes, we were doing just fine until she called and then I put down the phone. Also a few hours after that the phone rang again but that time I just took the phone off the hook. For a while I could hear the woman's voice coming from the handset but not for long.

There's something about the way TVs saturate a dark room with their colored light that always gets to me. The Incredibles was showing and I watched the first half of it because I'd never seen it before. Tell-chan snored beside me, his left arm draped around my body. Fuck there never was a face more beautiful asleep than his.

I'm lying there, trying not to move too much, watching his chest rise and fall softly and I'm afraid that what I really want is this: to hold his hand in silence.

*Photo is from the photobook 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' by Jeff Sheng. Click on the picture to view his website and some of the other photos in the collection. 



For your edufication edifycation edification, a manifesto on how to bond so well with another guy he'll let you into his pants afterwards: g0ydar.

Here are a few salient or otherwise entertaining excerpts.
"This is why the best g0y relationships begin as friendships & go deeper over time.  Done with self control & respect over time -- the other guy will love you on a level that also makes the friendship very deep, intimate & usually -- these emotions are aired privately because of the nakedness of self disclosure."
"Homophobia is not the fear of intimacy with other guys.  It's the fear of being labeled an "arse-pounder" & being stripped of your masculine reputation (& ultimately your respect)." 
"Two buddies helping each other pump out a wad is the closest bonding experience that best friends can share.  Be naked without shame & he will be too." 
This one is particularly precious:
"The most erotic & powerful sexual responses are those that happen without you trying to make them happen.  After all, your dick knows what to do & the two of them up against each other soon engage in their own form of communication that kinds takes both guys along for the ride.  Slow & sensual; --- the total opposite of what is portrayed in most gAy porn where one guys uses the arse of the other like a man-sized masturbation tool (how shallow is that).  G0YS know that the orgasm that happens while rod2rod / face2face (called PhROT or FROT) often happens without anyone having to "try".  All that skin on skin acts like a large sex organ ... like your whole body becomes a sensory extension of your penis; -- & all the hairs on the 2 dudes' bodies scratch, tickle & feedback on each other.  This is why PhROT generated orgasms are so intense.  It's a body-wide sensation, with the focus at site of the grand-mauling set of dicks; -- Incredibly bonding.  The unspoken message to each guy from the other is: "YOU get me off; - not just your cock".  You don't get more honest & loving with another dude than to lose control & cumm like a stallion around him.  It's the most primal compliment I can imagine....saying love, trust & acceptance all at the same time (especially if you watch the dudes expression as he loses his nutt)."
Read past the ignorance, naiveté, and self-delusion in the article and you'll see it's pretty good advice on having great relationships with other guys.



DJ Mamy Rock tells us how it's done.
"I can't believe the type of reaction I have got so far. People seem to adore me, they say they want to be like me, when they should just try and be like themselves, the dear things"
Read the full article here.


über Freunde

20 minutes of grit I'm sure you won't regret watching.

This story goes absolutely nowhere but it'll take you back to when you were young and fucking around and life in general was easy.

PS. Makes me think - for those who don't want to grow up, the moment you learn to love you've gone to the dogs.


On blind threshold

Holy crap I can't stop listening to this song. Arab x electronica x dubstep is an awesome idea and beats antique is just great for thinking of it and making it sound really good!

The whole album could very well be the soundtrack of a steampunk version of Sinbad's adventures, replete with belly dancers in leather and goggles, robotic djinns, and elephants on LSD.

You can listen to the rest of the Blind Threshold album on beats antique's bandcamp page. If you like the music (or you want to help bring about changes in the present capitalist paradigm) you can also buy the album there.

Alright that's all I'm going to go lie on my bed now and listen to this whole album on repeat.


On dreams and dreaming

The man lies on his bed, peaceful in his sleep. He is slight for his age and the day-old beard on his chin clusters pitifully on the point, never venturing further no matter how often he shaves it. Beneath the blanket carelessly draped around his torso and his legs he is naked save for a pair of green boxers.

His eyes open abruptly as if waking from a dream. "My name is Drew," he says to himself. Andrew. The name lingers on his tongue. Andrew. His eyes take in the room he is in. He knows where he is. A thin mattress beneath him, and underneath, the wooden bed backed up against the wall. A curtain barely covers the window. Its thin fabric ripples into the room, carried by a warm breeze. The afternoon light slanting in highlights dust motes spinning in the air. It is warm and beads of perspiration lie on his chest.

He turns his head to the man lying beside him. Miguel. A voice sounds through the void. Miguel sleeping turned on his side like he always does - Drew does not know how he knows this, but he does - back turned toward him. Sweat carves lazy trails on his back.

"I'm sorry Miguel, the AC is broken."

Suddenly Miguel is awake, his bright eyes looking at the ceiling and the beams criss crossing it, hands beneath his head. He is wearing the cap he took from Karl last night.

"No big deal Drew. The heat reminds me of summer. I can almost imagine that I am a child again in grandma's house, pretending to sleep when she made me nap in the afternoon."

He turns to face Drew. "Do you want me to teach you a game?" he asks with a half-smile and walks his fingers across the smaller man's chest.

Drew sighs as he looks at Miguel's face, trying to memorize its handsome planes. He knows where he is.

"You shouldn't have kept the cap like I told you to. It suits Karl better."

Miguel looks at him questioningly, eyes narrowed and brows knit together. "I thought this was what you want?"

Miguel hadn't wanted to enter the club last night. He was not gay and he'd never been to a gay bar.

"Don't worry, we'll make sure no one takes advantage of you. And if they do, you tell Karl and he'll punch them in the face." They all laughed at the suggestion.

Half an hour later, Miguel was dancing with the rest of them. He snatched the cap from Karl and put it on. Later when he said his goodbyes he said, "I should return the cap to Karl. It doesn't suit me."

"You should keep it," Drew said laughingly.

That was last night. Only a faint smile touches his lips now. He knows where he is. The strange stone ring he wears on a leather necklace around his neck feels light. The ring was flecked in brown and red, but the strangest thing about it was that it had only one edge. One's finger could run around it inside and out uninterrupted.

With an effort, Drew stepped out of Tel'aran'rhiod and into lighter dreaming.

His eyes open abruptly as if waking from a dream. "My name is Drew," he says to himself. Andrew. The name lingers on his tongue. Andrew. His eyes take in the room he is in. A thin mattress beneath him, and underneath, the wooden bed backed up against the wall. A curtain barely covers the window. Its thin fabric ripples into the room, carried by a warm breeze. The afternoon light slanting in highlights dust motes spinning in the air. It is warm and beads of perspiration lie on his chest.

He turns to face the man lying beside him. The other has darker skin than he, a five o' clock shadow framing his handsome face. Almost with wonder, Drew runs a hand through the other man's short-cropped hair. July. That is his name.

"Como dormiste amorcito?" July was awake now. He takes Drew's hand in both of his, studying the lines he already knows so well.

"Tuve un sueño contigo, Julio." Drew smiles as he embraces the other man.


On how I want to be, possibly - Part 2

Nothing in my childhood stands out as being particularly sad. There was enough love to go around at home and I was an average kid in elementary and high school. I never got bullied - not for being smart, or for being small, and definitely not for being gay and this makes me feel doubly guilty that I'm so harsh on other gay people. It makes me sad how I sometimes feel disdain for loud, effeminate gays.

I'm too much of a coward to have ever bullied anyone outright but my straight friends and I frequently badmouthed people we thought were too faggy and that was just as bad. I was in the closet and I thought parading my homophobia would make my straight act more convincing. Now that I'm older it's easy to call my teenager self on being a shithead hater because I know there's absolutely no reason why anybody should be homophobic. There's still a long way for me to go toward becoming the inclusive, anything-goes, open-minded, flower-waving hippie I imagine myself to be.

I still have this almost instinctive distaste for the stereotypical queer that I try my best to repress. A few weeks ago, on my way home from the club, I was called over by a group of boys who wanted me to join them for breakfast. I asked myself why the hell not and went with them. The banter at first was light-hearted but once we got down to our meal it took a turn for the worse. My companions started shrieking in their high-pitched gay voices and generally making a scene and I could feel the disapproval of the other diners. I was a bit embarrassed but that's not yet the bad part.

They started throwing themselves at me - they'd ask me to choose which of them to take home, asking me if I thought one or the other was yummy or not. I thought they were just pulling my leg so I brushed off the flirting and answered in non sequiturs but they were fucking persistent it wasn't funny anymore. At one point, the guy across me was stroking my knees and the guy to my right was clinging to my arm and the one on the other side was trying to spoonfeed me!

Of course this totally fulfilled my macho fantasies and made me feel good but at the same time I could not help feeling scornful, an aversion I'm sure I would not have been there had they been the other kind of gay. I beat down the metaphorical bile and kept my game face on, smiling at the company and trying to be as cute as I could. Not long afterwards, we said our goodbyes. They asked one last time whether I would like to go with them but I refused, saying my flatmates would be worried if I did not come home in the morning. This was a lie of course. I don't think my flatmates care about me at all.

On the way home I felt really bad about how I sort of just used these guys. I feel bad about the times I almost automatically scowl when I make eye contact with gays on the street but I'm trying my best and one day I just might have some drag queen friends, I hear they are a blast to be with.

I'd like to share with you what inspired this entry. Yesterday Bobby wrote about suicide among gay teens and it struck a chord with me. I may only do my bashing in silence but I'm just as much a part of the problem. And even if you don't discriminate, but let it pass when others do, you're part of the problem. If you're not against discrimination you're for it. And since I'm not ready to crusade for gay rights on the streets, let me do it here.

Dear you,

I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. It must be hell to keep your head held up high everyday through the jeers and catcalls that surround you. It must be terribly difficult to smile when all you want to do is cry. Or maybe you cower in fear of being found out. You're lonely, you can't talk to your parents, and you're not sure who your real friends are. Life sucks, and it takes all you've got just to get through the day and maybe you're so tired of trying to understand why this is happening to you and you just want to give up. Don't. Because things are going to get better.

I'm not saying that it'll be butterflies and rainbows when you grow up cos it's not. There will always be assholes and stupid people. But there will also be people who will see that you're beautiful, who will believe in you. You will meet people who understand you and accept you for who you are. Life will still be hard, but things are going to get better.

But for now, suck it up.

PS. Since I'm not very good at writing inspiring stuff, maybe this video will help.


Yesterday work was so fucking bloody, it was certainly bloody awful with a British accent. I got myself into trouble because I'm not more mindful of what goes on in our office. Our front door has two locks and two people keep one key each. Yesterday I had one key and what I did during lunch was, I left it at my desk! So we were locked out of the office until like 3pm when the boss sent someone over with the spare key. I felt so embarrassed cos everyone expects me to be responsible and have a lot of common sense when in fact I am so absent-minded. I should start eating more almonds maybe.

Anyway a friend told me that I should write an email to my boss apologizing for the incident so that's what I did and when he came in later that afternoon he called me to his office to talk about the project I was working on. Not a word at all was spoken about the incident earlier so the apology email must have worked. And I'm never going to get us locked out of the office again!

I thought that was the end of my troubles but no - at around 6pm a faint itching began in my throat, by 6.30 I had a runny nose, and by 7 I was feeling the full-blown effects of flu. So instead of my planned run after work I decided to do some meditation/yoga because you know, some alternative medicine just might work. What this involves is some squatting on the floor with my legs crossed and my back straight against a wall. I just sat there for a while listening to my breathing and imagining my chi points getting unblocked and circulating healthy vital essences around my body. I almost fell asleep.

At some point my sister walked in the room and remarked to me how my head was cocked to one side and I told her no, I'm sitting straight up but she insisted that I wasn't and she brought me a mirror to prove it. She was right, my head was leaning to the right but the weirdest thing is, when I correct it by leaning to my left, I feel awkward like my body is off-balance.

It's like my body is getting back at me for all those times that I sit slouched or just take bad care of it in general. Getting sick is one big I told you so and that pisses me off cos I hate being wrong.

And this is the soundtrack of my life right now:

Like what the fuck beautiful choreography and burning walls and that little instrumental before the song ends - feels like jacking off in the shower and cumming.


On meeting people

3 September I meet a guy at Republiq.

He is wearing a t-shirt that shows off his biceps, his chest, and his belly. He is also wearing a pair of glasses. I will find out several days later that the frame is red. For now, he is too far away for me to see. In between us there are the following. A man who tries to impress a girl with his dancing; he is not successful. Three trannies made up like women; one of them grabs my friend's butt. A Fil-american boy in a sweatshirt; he is very handsome; he is having a good time. A group of five lame kids with a forty year old chaperon; the older man is drinking a vodka and sprite. An RNB singer who I don't recognize until my friends tell me who he is; he is wearing two earrings with a chain. Across all of these people our eyes meet again and again and again. I put my hands on one of my companions' waist and grind with her and watch him watch me with an impassive face. This game, pretending to not be gay, this shit turns me on.

After a while my companions decide it's time to go. Before we leave I gesture for him to come over and then I ask for his number. He keys it into my cellphone and when that is done he presses my hand, "text me okay." Sure, I reply, and then I go.

4 September I meet G. at Greenbelt.

It has been a while since we last saw each other and he looks different. Younger. Maybe it is because he is clean-shaven. Most likely it is something that happened while he was away. We talk in a Burger King and then we talk in a coffee shop and then we talk some more. But in all that time he never tells me what happened while he was gone. Instead we talk about his new job and his new apartment and his new books and other things inconsequential or otherwise. And then we go home. I missed him and now I don't anymore.

I also text the guy from last night and I find out the following things: his name is C. and he is an architect. Later I tell Elaine that I wish he is as sweet as Ted.

10 September I meet C. at the Shangri-la Plaza.

We are supposed to watch a movie at 3pm but he is late and there are no more tickets. I should be annoyed but I'm not. Anyway they say watching a movie is a lame first date. We decide to have coffee instead. I used to like coffee but now I don't anymore, not really. Starbucks coffee just tastes like sugar but I go ahead and order a white chocolate mocha. The drink is not white and I can't taste the chocolate. I feel betrayed. We stay until 5pm and then go back to the cinema level to get tickets. Again, they are sold out. For a while, we wander the mall aimlessly. Now that there is no movie to look forward to, we do not know what to do next? Go home? Have dinner? No one wants to take the lead. Finally I point us towards the terrace and we take a table. Then we smoke some cigarettes and talk some more. C. invites me to a day trip he is planning with some people from the Internet (apparently, there is a forum where such things happen on a regular basis). The idea appeals to me, not least because I'll get to spend the day with him. I say yes.

11 September I meet M. at the Shangri-la Plaza.

Early in the morning M. texts me to ask if I would like to meet up that day. We have been planning to see each other for several weeks already but our plans always fall through. I shared this fact with Santiago and he said that maybe we don't really want to meet. I don't want this to be true so I text M. back that I will meet him later that afternoon. And then I go back to sleep.

I wake up again at noon and I lay in bed for a while pondering the state that my flat is in. The kitchen sink is clogged. The dishes are unwashed. Clothes are strewn all over the living room. Everything is a mess. I open my mouth as wide as I can and pretend to scream. Of course I am careful not to make a sound because everyone else is still asleep. I'm thoughtful like that. And then I get up, toast a pop tart, eat it, drink some water, and then decide to try out my plumbing skills. Skilled plumbers can make up to $75,000 a year in America. That's like twenty times what I make at the job I am starting to feel ambivalent about.

I survey the pipes underneath the sink and they're not all that complicated. In a few minutes I've disassembled the thing. I clean out the pipes hoping that will solve the problem. Of course it doesn't. The build up is in the pipes in the wall and for a long while I try all sorts of household things (a piece of wire hanger, a plastic spoon, etc) to reach inside but nothing works. And then it is 1pm and I haven't had lunch or a shower and I'm supposed to meet Neil in half an hour. Frustrated, I leave the disemboweled sink as it is. I reassure my sister that I will call a real plumber to fix it.

We watch Der Räuber for free courtesy of the Cine Europa film festival. It is a very good film about aimlessness. It is even more awesome because the protagonist is a marathoner and well, running makes a very good metaphor for my life. Afterwards we go out to the terrace and I text M. to meet us there. I don't think it's strange that just yesterday I was sitting at that very same table with C.

M. finally arrives and we are awkward for a bit but soon enough we settle into comfortable conversation. He is really nice, which is not surprising. He smells nice too.

12 September I meet C. at the Pacita Complex.

In short, I spend the whole day with C. and a bunch of other people, all of them really vivacious and curious and interesting. We drive around the South, go swimming in a lake, and then have afternoon snacks at Ugu Bigyan's house.

I feel like I really jive with these people, and with C., and the days ahead look bright. Everything's just awesome.

*Photo from Travelog Philippines


On how I want to be, possibly - Part 1

I'd like to share with you a poem I found yesterday, Give Me Your Eyes by Angelina Weld Grimke.

             Give me your eyes.
I do not ask to touch
The hands of you, the mouth of you,
Soft and sweet and fragrant though they be.
No, life your eyes to mine;
Give me but one last look
Ere I step forth forever,
E'en though within that moment's crashing space
I shall know all of life and death and heaven and hell.

This poem is supposed to encapsulate the longing which Grimke felt for women and the restraint with which she controlled it. And even though I do not know what this restraint is, something in the verse speaks strongly to me. You can read more about her here.

Also, yesterday I go for a walk in the rain. It is not so much for pomp as by circumstance, a light shower catches me halfway home. Luckily I am close to Megamall when this happens so I go in and buy an umbrella which I dearly hope but don't believe will last me more than two months like my last umbrella did - goddamned made-in-China trash.

And then I go home and have dinner (beef jerky, fried egg, garlic rice) then after that I wash my face and brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack shot of vodka and then I try to decide what to wear. I'm thinking that I'll just wear the same t-shirt I'm wearing like I'm that guy who doesn't really care about his clothes but I remember there is a dress code so I pick out a nice shirt. Actually it is the only nice shirt that I have. Anyway, the next thing I know my phone is ringing and it's Elaine, Elaine is downstairs. 

We take a cab to her place where we chill for a while. Well, I chill for a while while she's busy eating dinner/putting on her make-up/getting dressed/smoking. Also, we talk for a bit and there's a part where I'm sat on her couch watching The Vampire Diaries and falling in love with Ian Somerhalder and she's in her room and also we're talking about whatever when she says out of nowhere, "You know what Drew, I'm so glad you're not a butterfly. I don't think I could hang out with you if you were. I mean, they're really fun and all that but I think if I spent a lot of my time with them I'd go crazy."

This gives me some pause because I share the same sentiments she does, like I find that too much camp can be grating and this used to make me feel guilty because I'm gay and I thought that I had to accept all gays too. And then I remembered that I'm all for transcending the boundaries of sexual identity and that although on the surface being camp has to do with being gay, it doesn't really. So that made me feel less guilty.

It also made me consider my obsession with the macho ideal. I admit it is something that I think a lot about; I am constantly agonizing over the fact that I am not masculine enough, physically. And I know that this is entirely superficial but it does not change the fact that what I find beautiful is this - a well-built body, a restrained demeanor, and purposeful movement. Or to put it crudely, "bawal ang mataba, bawal ang maingay, bawal ang malamya." These strokes, of course, are quite broad and only meant to outline my idea of an ideal. Consider David. He is standing still forever but thanks to Michelangelo's skill, we can imagine him in motion. We can see the strength and grace in that powerful body. Even at rest, relaxed, he is not limp but self-possessed.

David could very well be gay. 

I'm afraid that this entry has spun wildly beyond what I imagined it would be when I set off, and that I have rambled on long enough. More of my thoughts on this (as well as the rest of my story) when I have put them in the right order. Also, I have to exercise/wash the dishes/do the laundry.


On seeing the world through a child's eyes

I apologize for the picture video above - I wanted to share an amazing video but embedding was disabled. I know I could have just linked to it but you would have had no warning of the unbearably adorable cuteness that was to follow. The video is of a 3 year old boy reciting the poem Litany by Billy Collins. I swear, he is such an amazing performer.

The poem is terribly sensual - there's enough color and sound and motion to overwhelm your senses - and to hear it recited so innocently feels refreshingly different. It shook me from some weird notion linking physical sensation to sexuality and reminded me again of the childish delight in discovering the world.


On being sad/tired/absurd

I like to listen to this song when I'm sad/tired because Gregory Lemarchal's voice is just so heavenly it doesn't matter that I barely understand what he's singing about. Actually, I do know what he's singing about and it's not because I know French, but because one night I realized that I really shouldn't be liking this song so much without knowing what it actually says, I mean, what if it turned out to be a Nazi anthem you never know. So I searched for the lyrics of the song and ran them through a translator and that did not work at all. Not to be deterred, I signed up for classes at Alliance and mastered French in like, six weeks because I really had to know what the song meant. Stat.

I wish.

What I really did was I did a search for "a corps perdu lyrics english translation" and then worked my way through page after page of sucky translations until I found one that made sense. And I discovered that the song is indeed a Nazi anthem. Just kidding. And what I understood is that it's a song about being drunk and making the most out of life. It's all very existential and that probably explains why Lemarchal gets so angsty at times. My favorite lines from this song are:

Les hommes meurent de n'avoir jamais cru
De n'avoir pas vecu ivres et sans fard
Soldats vaincus pour une guerre sans victoire

Which roughly translates to:

Men die because they've never believed
Because they've never lived drunk and openly
Beaten soldiers for a war without victory

That last line reminds me of Camus and his philosophy of the absurd, which amounts to (as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy puts it)

...the resistance of the world to our endeavours. Whilst we crave for sense and harmony, the world has nothing to offer but chaos and a random play of blind forces. All our efforts to impose order and sense upon a world that can ultimately accommodate neither are therefore doomed to fail. The absurd, then, denominates both the most fundamental state of the world and the absurdity of human attempts at overcoming this basic fact.

And if you have any idea of what's going on around you, you will be inclined to agree. The world is absurd - no reason nor rhyme (ok, maybe just a bit) and we are all going to die in the end. If life were a game, it's rigged and totally unfair and just plain full of shit. The minute you press the Start button, you've lost. How fucking frustrating is that? Maybe it's not. No one ever said that you can't have fun while losing.

I know that I'll never ever measure up to Joseph Sayers. Okay, maybe we're the same height, but look at those pecs. And those guns. And that dick (you'll have to use your imagination). It'll take me a bazillion hours at the gym and tons of whey protein before I get that big and hairy and broody.

But I try. This week is detox week for me. This means no cigarettes, no alcohol, and sticking to the one hundred push ups workout plan. I'm so surprised I've made it this far without my ciggies. Not to say that it hasn't been hard. Yesterday was a really shitty day at the office and I swear my heart hurt so bad because of wanting to smoke. Anyway, there's just three more days left and I think the first puff I will have after this will be so sweet. I will be smoking less though because I've seriously been doing better on the push ups thing. Last week I could barely do forty but now I'm up to fifty-three. Yay.

The only drawback is that I've been burning calories like hell and I seriously need to keep eating just to make it through the day. This is challenging me to be more responsible and cook more of my own meals because I've been eating double servings of everything and it's burning a hole in my pockets.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that I'll never be like that guy and it's hopeless to try. Which does not change the fact that I will try, in part because if you shoot for the moon even if miss you'll still land among the stars, but mostly because I choose to try.

There is a road in front of you and even if that road goes nowhere, walk. Walk because you can. Walk because that is what it means to be alive.


On being more truthful

Damn it, I miss you. Or,
to be more truthful - I miss the idea
of you.

You have, after all, existed mostly in my head.
You were words made flesh.
But, Jesus Christ, how real it seemed.

If I long for the dream I have
of you,
Is it any less than if I did long for you?
It can't be all that different. After all,
the dream wouldn't be the same dream without you.

On being more truthful, I will tell you a secret. (I cannot be completely honest, but that is alright, everyone understands that.) Do you remember when once you told me that you missed me? I did not want to say "thank you" so I let it slide. Instead, I set off on a non-sequitur because that was the path of least resistance. Also, that was the only way I could be honest.

Do you remember when once I told you that I wanted a hug? That part was true. I told you that because, because of you there is a tautology I don't ever forget and it helps me to be more careful with my words.

I want what I want
when it isn't what I need. Or,
to be more truthful - I can't need you.

Rand says that love must be selfish
and even if I, sometimes, despise objectivism
I agree with her.

I hope that you too are selfish.
It would be great, it would be grand.
We would weave wonderful dreams.

Dman it, I miss you.
I hope this does not make you happy.
It is not meant to.


On shitting in my own backyard

So the strangest thing happened to me and I'm still sort-of reeling from what happened.

I leave to have lunch in the building cafeteria at 12:30. I'm so hungry that I finish like three cups of rice. And then I promptly fall asleep after the meal. I mean not right after, I have a smoke first and the compulsory chit chat with my co-workers and then I put my arms on the table and rest my head on them and just go right to sleep.

I blame the carbs.

And then I start having weird ass dreams. In one I am back in my old apartment and it's summer again and I am on the floor in an Indian squat. I'm trying to concentrate and keep my eyes focused on something on the wall opposite me but I can't because I'm perspiring like I was in a sauna and the sweat keeps getting into my eyes. Then the scene changes and I am in a jungle, or at least it must be a jungle because it's suffocatingly humid and there are all these wild trees and sinister ferns and stuff around me and I can hear like a thousand tiny insects buzzing all around. I'm following someone ahead of me, someone I don't know but who feels familiar, and then I trip on a vine and I wake up.

I don't know about you but Inception sure changed my life.

I feel like I've been sleeping for a few hours but in fact it has been only ten minutes, or fifteen max. At first I just sit there being lethargic until I realize that I'm sweating and there are red marks on my arms and my forehead. I find this vaguely embarrassing. I take a tissue to wipe off the sweat (because hankies are dirty!) and while I do this, I scan the cafeteria to find out who might have witnessed my being a total bum.

Co-worker is still on the table next to mine, minding her book. Other co-worker is at the cashier paying for her meal. I don't recognize any of the other diners as regulars so I don't really care. And then I see a boy who has caught my fancy before and I die a little inside. The boy is wearing a white dress shirt, charcoal pants, and a brown belt. This strikes me as either tacky or classic but as he stands up from his table to pay at the cashier, I behold the fit of his shirt and the fullness of his ass in his trousers. I decide on the latter.

I must have been contemplating his appearance for far too long because Jungle Boy notices and looks in my direction. I turn to co-worker and start making conversation. He walks over to the water dispenser and loiters for a while. I notice him look at me a few more times before he leaves. After a while, it's 1:30 and we have to go back to the office. I take a quick detour to the restroom and Jungle Boy is there by the sink, fixing his hair. I pop a boner.

Shit, I think to myself as I enter a stall and try to urinate, which is all but impossible. I try visualizing a pungent, hairy armpit being pressed into my face but I get no slack. I surrender and zipper up and exit the stall. Jungle Boy is still standing by the sink. I see him look at me in the mirror.

And then a thought penetrates my still-sleepy brain and I realize that I am being cruised. I smile at Jungle Boy. He smiles back.


On why I shouldn't have been so unlucky last Friday

Last Friday was insanely unlucky for me. Maybe because it was Friday the 13th but I don't really go for that shit and anyway 13 is my favorite number. There is an explanation for that.

When I was a junior in high school, I had two best friends. We were the three musketeers. Let's call them Athos and Porthos because I want to be Aramis. I always thought Aramis was kinda gay. Well, Athos, Porthos, and I, we were almost inseparable, we sat together at lunch and we did extracurriculars together and we went home together. I guess one of the few things that we gave each other space for was when girls entered the scene and even then we weren't really good at staying away. Especially because Athos and Porthos were dating Prue and Piper so we were always building each other up with the girls.

Guess which one is Aramis. It shouldn't be too hard.*

So know that at this point in my life, I was exceedingly confused. Like I was a total horndog for guys but I loved girls, a love that was pure and chaste. In other words, total bullshit but come on, I was 16, I didn't know any better than to fall in puppy love with Phoebe.

I was totally smitten by her. She was lithe and willowy and her voice was like the tinkling of spring water. That previous sentence may be from a poem I wrote for her but never had the guts to give her. I was a total dork about the whole thing. Like I would be extra nice to her and find any excuse to hang out but I always made the excuse that it was just because our friends were dating. I was such a pussy I opted for the friend zone.

And unless you think that I am wandering ever further from any explanation of my favorite number, we're almost there.

One day I thought that I should at least make her aware of what I felt, even if she did not know who it was coming from. Doesn't every high school girl giggle at getting notes from a secret admirer? Except I did not write her actual ntoes. I bought a new sim card and spent every night composing love quotes that I would then send to her. Looking back I find this episode enduringly embarrassing but I am nevertheless proud of those messages. They were at least, original.

Nor speech is close nor fingers numb
If love not seldom has received
An unjust answer, was deceived.
I, decent with the seasons, move
Different or with a different love,
Nor question overmuch the nod,
The stone smile of this country god

That never was more reticent,
Always afraid to say more than it meant.

Eventually, she fell in love with that persona, or as in love as one can feel with a textmate, which, going by the replies she sent, can be quite like real love. Seeing as I am an egotist who cannot keep his mouth shut, I had to tell someone and who better to share the secret with than Athos and Porthos.

For some strange reason they insisted that I save their contacts on my secret sim card. Athos chose to save his number as "3". Porthos saved his as "Z". 3z sounds like trese, thirteen.

I decided then that it would be my lucky number. That is how much I treasure my friends.

That is also how awfully lame this story is, very much like the last Friday, Friday 13th, as well as most other days in my life.

*Image is from this website.
**The verse above, is sadly, not my own. It is an excerpt from A Letter, by W.H. Auden. You can read the poem in its entirety, as well as several others, here.


On the view from the fourth floor balcony

From where I sit on the cafeteria balcony, I can see a part of the metro tracks, suspended between the towering white facade of the Malayan and the stand of trees lining the ADB compound. Every so often, a train comes thundering past: a shock of blue that appears and disappears just as quickly.

Well, it doesn't exactly thunder past - this far, four blocks away, you can't really hear anything. But I can imagine the muted rumbling as the train cars flicker by in the soft rainy day haze.

"There goes the metro," I say to Greg. "And inside of it, how many souls and how many souls in love and how many souls bored?"

Most of my conversation is like this. Repetitive and rhythmic and ultimately rot.

"I'd guess a few hundreds. Half of them think they're in love and half are bored and those may be the same halves."

I chew on the straw of my soft drink while I ponder on this answer. I can't make sense of it.

"You just know everything don't you?"

"No. For instance, I don't know what you're thinking."

"I'm not really thinking right now."

"You know that's not what I mean."

"Ha, I don't know half the fuck of what's going on most of the time."

"Tsk, Drew, I've seen that act a hundred times too many. The Noble Savage should have ended its run several seasons ago."

"Everyone loves an oxymoron. Making fun of actual morons was too easy."

"Well I'm sick of figures of speech. Nothing nowadays is ever straightforward."

"Nothing and no one but you, is what you mean to say."

"It wasn't always that way. I remember when you were too, once." There is a wistfulness in his voice when he says this and the words carry an inevitable finality.

I am silent as I finish my cigarette. Its smoke curls upwards and is lost in the fog.

In the distance another train.


On B-Side and Cable Car: first impressions

Last Friday, I went to The Collective with Neil. My first impression of it was that it was seriously difficult to get to - like, you have to drive all the way down Yakal before turning left into Mayapis before turning left again into Malugay because of the one-way routing. Then you have to pray real hard that parking space is available but chances are, it isn't. I guess I'm good at praying because just as we were approaching the place, a car pulled out in front of us.

The Collective is a bunch of random shops housed in a converted warehouse. From the outside I thought it looked like an old-school market building. Inside there are a couple of restaurants, artsy shops, galleries, a bar, and lots of negative space.

We took a table outside B-Side and just sat there for a while. Actually we were waiting for someone to come and take our order but no one ever did. Well, there was this one girl in a skimpy outfit who kept on coming back to our table and leaving samplers of light brandy. I wanted to be supportive of her reaching her giveaway quota but I don't really like brandy so what I did was, I furtively poured the drinks into the planter beside our table. Later, I spotted a waitress all the way on the other side of the bar. I tried calling out and waving my arm in the air as urgently as I could but to no avail. The music was too loud and the lights too low. Anyway, I had to walk over to where she was to get the menu.

IT WAS FUCKING EXPENSIVE. Like San Mig Light was 60 pesos a bottle. And they didn't have beers by the bucket. I thought this place being "alternative", it would be cheaper but I don't know, being as close as it is to the CBD, maybe they couldn't escape the capitalist crap.

Actually, that's not true, because afterwards we went to Cable Car on Pasay Road to meet up with Panda (who had just come back from studies in China) and their local beers were only 45 pesos. And colder even. And the service was better.

Cable Car (Sports Bar. KTV. Billiards) was a nice surprise. On the first level there is a huge wooden bar which runs almost the whole length of the room. Upstairs is the KTV and the billiards tables, where we found Panda and his friends. There was also a beer pong table with a gaggle of minors around it. 

Neil and I decided to play it cool and hang out at the bar downstairs. There was a little piped in music loud enough to keep up the buzz but quiet enough to allow for good conversation. Panda et al came down and joined us at the bar. Onion rings and chicken fingers were ordered and promptly finished. Can I just say that they were the best onion rings I have ever had. EVER.

Also I discovered that it is incredibly awkward to try to have a group conversation at a bar. But it was all good. In the end, everyone went home slightly inebriated and happy.


On refreshing my perspective

Have you heard this song? It sounds like that other song, but it's not, it's this song:

Phil Wang (the guy in the doughnut shop) is like, one of my favorite people on the Internet because I find him hella cute. And also because he makes really good videos. How awesome is this new video? It's got flashing lights, dancing ladies, and a sweet as beat! So maybe the lyrics don't make a whole lot of sense but who cares I just want to dance to this song. Let's dance to this song!

There's also this other guy, Charley, who I don't really count among my favorite people, but who gets a lot of love from me because he gets to make up useless words.

Like one time when he was younger, he was sitting in a cafe and being moody because he was so poor. Scanning the cafe, maybe looking for pretty girls, his eyes happened upon the oval glass plate on the door, on which Coffee-room was printed, but the words facing the street, he misread the sign as Moor-eeffoc. Even in his later years, reading the word backward on cafe doors would remind him of that moment when he first noticed it, and this would send a shock through his blood

He wrote all this down in an autobiography and some people who read it (like G.K. Chesterton and Tolkien) were so taken by how Mooreeffoc perfectly describes the intensity with which we notice again something that has become trite - notice how any word sounds queer when you say it too many times - that they adopted it and that is why it still exists today.

And that is why Charley is awesome.

Charley writing A Christmas Carol and wondering how he can incorporate a sense of Mooreeffoc into the narrative.

When I had just come to Manila, I struggled with conversational Filipino. It must have been very entertaining for my classmates to hear me speak; my accent was all wrong and my diction left much to be desired. For example, once I was walking with a friend down the college drive. A flashy car drove by and I remarked to him, "ang ganda ng sasakyan o!" He laughed and when I asked him what was so funny, he explained that "we do not usually say sasakyan. You can say kotse." So I took to calling all four-wheeled vehicles kotse.

Fast forward a few years: at lunch yesterday, I was telling my colleagues that I had to deliver some samples to Makati in the afternoon, and that I wished our boss would allow me a car, so that I would not have to commute.

I said, "Sana may kotse mamaya," and they laughed.

"Sosyal! Ang BM ni sir, baka yun yung ipapagamit."

"Haha, di naman. Kahit yung delivery van lang natin, basta may masakyan lang ako."

"Edi sabihin mo, ang L300."

"O bakit, hindi ba kotse din ang L300?"

"Hindi, van yun eh."

"Onga, hindi ba kotse pa rin?"

"Hindi. Sosyal kasi ang kotse."

And I laughed at the absurdity of our argument and how mooreeffoc this was.

Afterwards, I wondered if its Spanish roots made kotse classier than sasakyan. And on some level, it might be, but in a country where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line, does not even matter if your ride was pimped out or beat up. Sosyal ang kotse.


On being by myself sometimes

This is why I follow so many blogs, why I like to surround myself (if only virtually) with all sorts of people:

And what I mean is that I find so many clever things like this video, so many wonderful ideas like this poem, so many beautiful people like this woman.

And this video made me understand that I had forgotten how to be alone.

Like last night I was restless and did not know what to do with myself. In itself this was not strange - the nagging feeling that I should be doing something is a part of my creative process.

No rest for the wicked.

On further introspection, what I was feeling was the unrelenting desire for company. After being out all Saturday with a whole lot of people, and spending most of Sunday with Greg, I was ill at ease being with just myself again. And then I realized that this was the exact same thing I felt on Friday night: home early and no one else in the flat, listening to dubstep mixes all by my lonesome, I wanted to be somewhere else so bad that I sent Jason an uncommon email asking him to drinks, and when it was already 10 PM and he hadn't replied, I decided to go to Malate and then changed my mind about it a couple of times, a hundred times until it was midnight and I fell asleep because I was tired.

There was a time when I never had to feel this way. I was perfectly happy to be home alone and loll on my bed and read a book any day of the week. Even on a Friday night. I didn't care that no one ever invited me to go out on Saturdays (actually I did but I prefer to remember this part of my life another way). I was content and I wrote a lot of poems.

And then things gradually changed; and this transformation was so subtle (or I was just not paying attention) that my profile on planetromeo still declared that I was "more of " a homebody when I partied every weekend. I still imagined that I spent quiet Sunday afternoons reading or writing when in truth I sleep through Sunday with a hangover.

Francis and Maurice enjoy a hot bath.*
None of which is a bad thing, really. My introversion is not something that I particularly want to hold on to. I like to believe that I am versatile well-rounded. In any case, I need to be more sociable and charismatic because I want to be successful in life. And my definition of success involves impressing people, persuading them to follow me, and whatever else it is that leaders do.

But I digress. My point is just that I haven't really given me some alone time recently. Even when I'm alone there are hundreds of voices in my head. Aside from the one that narrates my life to myself, there's people online telling me what they think about things I don't care about, and on top of that there's James Franco telling me not to be scared.

I won't be, James. I won't be scared of being by myself anymore.

* Photo from Graviton Creations.


On feeling lost and confused

It is today when I wake up. My computer tells me that it is Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 7:01 AM. I feel sad that is not yet Thursday. I feel even more disappointed with myself, with how sick and confused I must be to wake up and think that it is Thursday.

I roll over and pretend to go back to sleep. A few minutes later I hear heavy footsteps on the stairs and I roll over again and open my eyes slightly (still pretending to sleep) to find out who else is up so early.

It is Mark and he goes straight to the kitchen to make breakfast.

I ask him what day it is today and he tells me that it is Thursday; my first thought is that my computer must have run out of battery and lost sync with time and after that, I feel relief, maybe even a small measure of joy.

This is what I feel today. Close your eyes and think of a golden field and a gray sky. There are no thunderclouds, there are no flashes of lightning. There are no stalks of wheat waving in the breeze. There is

just an expanse of gold below and
grayness above, both
stretching ad infinitum, into everywhere.
and stillness.

And maybe the camera pans over this scene as it rises, or maybe it is you soaring into the air but this scene moves away from you, faster and faster and faster.

This is what I feel today. I went on the Internet and found a lot of people. On their blogs they were kind, and they were beautiful, and they were good. And they wrote stuff for me to read like I was their friend, like I could know them, and I believed this.

It made me want so bad to be their friend so what I did was, I followed their blogs. And now that I follow their lives I will listen to the same kind of music they do, read the same books, go to the same bars, maybe even learn to think the same thoughts.

This is what I feel today. I am not really satisfied that it is Friday tomorrow. I wish it were tomorrow already and I would drink many beers and I would lie on a hard bed and I would forget that I am sick. I would forget that I am.


On my being sick, and other things

     This emo music is the perfect soundtrack for my life right now because I am fucking sick again! At least thank God I don't have chickenpox. (My sister is better now, and no one in our flat got infected, so hooray for that.)

     There's a virus lurking in my throat and it's making my voice hoarse and my eyes hot. Not to mention that I'm always feeling tired. Why does my body do this to me?

     Oh yeah, I know, it's karma. It's payback for all the times I've taken my body for granted, the late nights and cigarettes and too much beer and not enough food.

Payback is a bitch, as this woman very well knows.*

     If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I really am addicted to cigarettes. And I know this because I can't help smoking even when my throat feels ever so scratchy. I have long been in a cycle of acceptance and denial with regard to my smoking habit. Sometimes I tell myself that I can quit cold turkey any time I want to (fiction) but sometimes I manage to admit that I need some help (fact).

Being constantly in the Nile, you might find yourself with child.**

     Speaking of undesirable habits, my Internet addiction reared its ugly head again and it is all due to my being reunited at last with Cody. He is my darling iBook G4 and we have been together four years now, counting the time when I left him in the care of my beloved sister and then she, in turn, abandoned him to my father.

     It was not the easiest of reunifications to pull off - I had to convince my sister to proceed with her trip home to the province (ostensibly so that she could be pampered for a bit after suffering through quarantine), and then I had to pitch in for her plane ticket, and finally I had to pick her up from the airport upon her return on Sunday. The last of which proved quite a challenge.

     Her flight to Manila was supposed to be at 5 pm but after bad weather, a broken airplane, and major airline mismanagement, it ended up rescheduled to 11:15 pm. Which is how I ended up going to bed at 10 pm and then getting up after only a few winks, leaving the flat at an ungodly hour for the second night in a row, and waiting along EDSA for a bus that took forever to come.

     I wait like, fifteen minutes before I decide that the MIA bus isn't going to come. I take the next bus (LRT-Ayala-Leveriza-Baclaran) which drives by. It turns out to be a mistake I can't afford. When the conductor comes to collect the fare I hand him a 20-peso bill. But no, apparently, it costs 25 pesos to get to Baclaran on this bus because of a long fucking detour through Makati. I take some coins from my pocket and thankfully I still have 13 pesos. I pray and pray that the fare from Baclaran to the airport would be just 8 pesos.

     An hour later, after countless stops in Makati, I get to Baclaran and transfer buses. I strike my drunk pose in the hopes that the conductor will decide not to collect my fare. It doesn't work. I hand him the 8 pesos. He considers the coins in his hand and then asks, "saan ka?"

     "Sa Terminal 1 ng airport."

     "9 pesos ang bayad."

     I half-wince, half-smile at him and tell him that I have no other money. I expect him to call out to the driver to stop the bus and make me walk. But I concentrate all my powers on him and he sighs and prints out my ticket.

Student Ticket
From 29 to 35
Php 9

    After that, everything is just smooth sailing. I get to the airport and find my sister. We take a cab home. I go to sleep, Cody beside my pillow.

*Betty Buckley in "The Happening", photo by Zade Rosenthal
**Baby Moses Saved from the River, Nicolas Poussin


On hearing confession

altar boy

he was spending too much time in the confessional,
they started to notice,
spent too much time cleaning up the wilted carnations
that never left the feet of wooden icons.
too much time dusting out the cupboards that held
the ironic white of robes and vestments.
"ah, how nice, he will be a seminarian!"
and parents glad, turned their eyes the other way,
never considered the way he never betrayed
any hint of betrayal, 
for alas -
he never knew,
never got to that part of catechism
when reverend father took him aside
and took away his innocence.

I have a friend who thinks he can write poetry and sometimes he does manage to come up with something decent. Like he wrote this poem a few years ago and it really spoke to me on several levels, none of which, thankfully, included personal experience. Aesthetically speaking, I like how he repeated certain words and the rhythm this established. He did not lack too, for commentary, and criticism whether constructive or destructive is always useful.

I'm not a big fan of confessing to priests. I find it highly embarrassing to have to tell them how many times I have had gay sex since my last confession, which is why I am never honest. Bless me father for I have sinned. I think dirty thoughts. I lied to my parents. I stole 5 pesos from my flatmate. I am materialistic. I touch myself. Mostly I just tell my sins to myself.

Last night I heard confession for a stranger.

Went to Metrowalk to have a few drinks. We chose a table in the courtyard and ordered a bucket of beer. He takes off his dress shirt because he says it's hot. His wifebeater is soaked in sweat so maybe it is hot.

"I guess you come here often," I said, "seeing as you've been working in Ortigas for several years."

"Yeah, you could say that. Where do you hang out?"

"Used to be I'd drink at Cantina. Nowadays, mostly I go to Malate. To dance."

"So you've been to a gay bar?"

"Yes. Have you?"

"No. I don't want to. I feel like I'll be harassed or something."

"Haha. You don't have to let it happen to you. Sometimes people I don't like come on to me. I just tell them no."

He lights another cigarette. Exhales. "So does that mean you're... a gay?"

"Um, yeah. Aren't you?"

"No." He shakes his head.

"So, that's the question you wanted to ask me earlier."

I lean back in my chair. Awkward silence ensues. The beer is not yet here. And then it is. He opens a bottle and hands it to me. I take a swig. It is cold and sweet and bites my throat.

"So if you're not, you know, why did you follow me around Shang kanina?"

He runs a hand through his short-cropped hair and chooses to ignore the question. We talk about other things. About a beach-side house with a hummock slung between two coconut trees. We talk about his secrets, the ones no one else knows. And they are sad secrets, and I am moved by this, I want to help this guy, I want to hug him, I want to help him be happy again. And then we talk some more, about lighter things this time. And there must have been a lot, because we're ordering our second bucket of beer.

We're sitting knee to knee now, the table has moved away.

"You know why your girlfriend left you? Because you're fucking passive-aggressive."

He shrugs. "See that's my problem, I'm just not vocal about what I want."

"You can't just expect people to know what you want. It's easy to talk about it. For example, tonight, what do you want?"

"I want this," he points to the beer. "And this," he takes a puff at his cigarette. "I want somebody to talk to, because no one's home."

"Are you sure that's all?"

"Yup. What do you want?"

"Honestly? I want you."

He laughs. "Chong, are you trying to seduce me?"

"But I don't have to." I smirk at him.

He laughs again.

We talk some more about things that I can't remember anymore. And then he gets up and leaves and I'm confused, what the hell is going on. I get up to follow him and a thought flashes through my mind. We haven't paid yet. Fuck if I'm paying for this guy. I walk away from our table and no one calls out after me so it must be okay. I scan the crowd and find him. When he sees me he starts walking again.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going home."

"Oh..." I follow him.

"Leave me alone."

"I'm not following you, I'm going home too."

"Okay, fine, go home then."

He jumps a railing and runs across a street.

I run after him.

When I get to the other side, he's gone. I look around but I can't see anything, everything is blurry.

Fuck fuck fuck I tell the street lamp and then I black out.

When I wake up I am on my bed and it is 8 AM. Mark is in the kitchen making breakfast. He tells me that I came home at 12 last night, soaking wet and raving. Am I glad my sister went home to the province. I swear I'm never getting drunk again.

I take a shower and this helps ease my hangover. I go online for a while and then I leave. I have a work errand in Boni and this is not very far away so I should be okay. But I am wrong; there is a queue that takes forever to move and the sun is brutal and I'm hungry but I can't eat. Standing in line I close my eyes and take slow deliberate breaths and this helps me calm down. And then to distract myself from feeling bad about having to work on Saturday, I decide to process what happened last night.

So I send one of my friends a text and our conversation goes like this:

D: I heard confession for a stranger last night.
F: Sounds interesting.
D: Yes it is. He could only share his innermost heart with someone who did not know him.
F: The presence of a stranger encourages honesty.
D: How ironic is it that we lie to the ones we love but share our secrets with strangers?

And I was so taken by what I said that I thought about it for a while. Last night, when I was encouraging the stranger to be honest, I told him, "Dude, you can ask me whatever you want, you can tell me anything. You don't have to be embarrassed because I'm a stranger. Like I could disappear from your life after tonight so it won't really matter what you say." He believed me.

Maybe the truth of what we say matters less than whom we say it to.

Like how sincerely we make love matters less than whom we make love to. 

PS. Stranger if you ever happen to read this, I would like to be your friend.