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. 


On snarky emails

One of the things that I enjoy doing at work is writing emails. And I know that a lot of people hate this part of their day, but I try to be different. But seriously, I relish composing emails - I give it as much thought as if I were writing a blog post or writing a poem. Correspondence is like the middle child of literature, growing up no one really pays attention to it and it ends up either stiff, boring, or plain misunderstood. Just kidding. My sister is a middle child and she's quite normal and well-adjusted. Misunderstood maybe, but nowadays who isn't.

I like writing emails because it provides me with a way to occupy myself creatively at work. It is not easy for me, I always struggle to sound professional enough without coming off as a stuck-up prick. In itself, this is a very delicious challenge and when you consider trying to inflect the message with familiarity, attempting to build rapport, subtle manipulation etc etc, it becomes a veritable Herculean challenge.

Yesterday I had to compose one of the most interesting emails I ever had to write. And if you don't find it interesting at all well, that's how boring my life is. But for now, a little back story.

So yesterday a very particular customer walked into one of the stores where our products are sold. They wanted to buy a couple of robot dogs, but not just any robot dog mind you, they wanted the shiny black ones. Unfortunately this store only had the white variety, and the customer was not willing to settle.

Now in the same mall as this store, our sister company happens to have a branch, and this branch happens to have some of those black robot dogs. So what the customer service representative at our partner store, let's call her Ms P, what Ms P does is she sends a text to Ms W, the saleslady at our branch asking if we have robot dogs, the black ones, in stock. Ms W replies that yes, she does have black robot dogs in the store and will Ms P send the customer her way. And Ms P is horrified by this, so horrified she sends an email to their main office and it goes like this:

Ma'am J,

We have a costumer order of ROBOT DOGS with SHINY BLACK COLOR, 3 units, P100,000 each, but what we have here is the WHITE COLOR so I text Ms. W of A CERTAIN COMPANY and told her about the order.
But then, she's asking me to bring the customer to OTHER STORE (other store here in PROVINCIAL MALL where they also have available units).
I tell her to give us stocks but she says to bring customer there because it will be along time before they restock...

Please help us...

Thanks po.


Ms. P

This unfortunate email (notice the symptoms of middle-child syndrome) creates a minor shit storm in their main office where remarks such as "are we showroom that we display their robot dogs and then send the customer along to their stores?" are thrown about. This is not very good for my company because no matter how badly they treat us, we do need them to sell our robot dogs for us. My boss calls me into his office and asks me to write an excuse letter and this is what I come up with:

Dear J,

Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. I understand how the above episode seems unprofessional to you but what you must understand is that while we also operate OTHER STORE, it belongs to a different company and not ours. So you see it just doesn't make sense for Ms W to turn over the stocks in her store to you. I mean come on, you do have your own operation manuals don't you? 

In the first place, why did Ms P text Ms W? Are they friends? Well if they are, Ms P wouldn't rat on Ms W would she. So obviously they're not friends. And the point I'm trying to get across here is that Ms P should have called up our office with a request for black dogs instead of running to OTHER STORE. Like, if Ministop ran out of Nestle Drumsticks I'm sure they don't pull over the manong Nestle cart driver and tell him, "hey Guy, we're out of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Drumsticks, can we have three of yours?" So it's not a perfect analogy but it's just not right.

And why is it that we hear from you immediately after a small slip-up like this happens and when it's your branch that loses 20 of our robot dog spare parts (10 tails, 4 paws, 3 eyes and 3 ears) it takes you forever to make a report. How long has it been since we did an inventory and reported the items missing? Half a year? And how many times have we asked for the report? So we let it slide because we want to work with you and now you have the gall to call us unprofessional?

This is just plain wrong. I humbly propose that we all get over this.

Thank you and have a good day.

Best regards,


If it's a bit rough, that's because it's a first draft, one that is written in white heat. And I feel that it fully reflects the truth of this matter. After repeated readings however, I realize that it is not quite the polite letter my boss asked me to write. He advises me to adopt a lighter tone and reminds me that it's not the complete truth that matters, what matters is the bottom line, and if I piss of these people well, my bottom is going the same way as our profits, that is, out of the window.

So in cold blood I take my cursor to the Word document and ruthlessly revise. I cut out the vitriol and graft in some positive jargon. The end result is a conciliatory message, our excuse padded in promises.

Dear J,

Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. We will gladly do all we can to accommodate this order as soon as possible. Rest assured that we remain focused on delivering satisfaction to our customers and value to our partners. In the interest of maintaining our good working relationship, I would like to explain the actions of our staff as reported by Ms P. 

At the time that Ms P coordinated this request, Ms W was manning OTHER STORE. Although A CERTAIN COMPANY and OTHER STORE are affiliated, they are distinct companies with different business goals. A CERTAIN COMPANY is engaged in distributing robot dogs and related paraphernalia in the Philippines. OTHER COMPANY, on the is a retailer carrying various products, of which robot dogs are just a few. In this light, you can see why Ms W cannot just move stocks from OTHER STORE to YOUR STORE without permission from the office.

Moving forward, may I suggest that any and all concerns regarding robot dogs be referred only to our office. This will help us to address you and your customer needs faster.

Best regards,


Even when I am polite I cannot help but be snide.

Here is a sweet chaser to wash the bitterness down.


On secrets

If I had an iPod I would have this track on loop. The lyrics don't really make a lot of sense but that's okay, they're still nice to listen to. But what really kills me is the cello, it's so awesomely haunting and sad I just want to lie down on a bed of dry leaves in a park somewhere. You may know this song from The Sorceror's Apprentice but the video below is from Zweiohrküken, where the track first debuted. Because one, Zweiohrküken is fun to say (just try it) and two, this movie is written by, directed, and produced by the same person who stars in it. And Til Schweiger is hot. And rabbits without ears.

So I think I've found my calling, and it involves going back to school. I have decided that I want again to be a lawyer. And instead of becoming a corporate lawyer which I feel will be too exciting for me, I will be a litigation lawyer and have lots of fun preparing lawsuits. I will make a lot of money running after Evil Corporations with class-action lawsuits calling out their anti-consumer antics. Like what's up with your Koko Krunch packaging Nestle? I almost picked up the 500g "Econo Pack" at the supermarket last night but fortunately for me I am neurotic so I decided to compare prices across SKUs. Out came my calculator and what I discovered was that while the 330g box costs something like 0.39 pesos per gram, the so-called Econo Pack costs around 0.45 pesoses per gram! So I guess they were right, it is indeed economical but not for us, no sir.

And the moral of this story is that it pays to be neurotic. Look at all the positive traits that are usually symptoms of neurosis: 

...anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc.

Ok, so maybe the only positive symptom is vigilance, which we all need nowadays. Vigilance against pickpockets, against the corrupt in government, against the subliminal messages in advertising, against encroaching waistlines, etc etc. Still, I think it's cool if more people would be a little bit more neurotic. It'd be like everyone was on drugs and there would be more peace and less war.

But seriously, I think I might be more than just a little bit neurotic. Psychotic, even. Like this morning I was thinking of what I should blog about. I imagined opening with "So I've decided to always be sarcastic and ironic in my blog," which at first glance is harmless, but as I pondered the implications of such a statement, my inner world was thrown into a turmoil. Would this mean that I haven't been sarcastic and ironic until now? And if I had been, what was I saying this for? Who am I trying to fool, and to what end? And I could not come up with any kind of motivation for this decision, none whatsoever and that was really scary. I went deeper (Inception, is that you?) and wondered what I did with the external stimuli I was receiving, and I found that although I reacted to some of them quite normally, there was sometimes a hint of irrationality. The whole thing was quite maddening. Literally maddening like if I screamed my lungs out at the passing traffic on EDSA and the incompetent enforcers and the tonto pedestrians. Screaming like this is irrational. I reckon this is the first sign of losing touch with reality.

I came back from the rabbit hole of my own mind and one of the more relevant realizations I had is that people who laugh at jokes they don't understand are not stupid. The reaction is natural, as I discovered earlier when, not comprehending what I was thinking, I could not help but laugh.


On stuff that make me smile

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remembery my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad. If you were able to read through that without singing it in your head, then congratulations on your iron self-control. If you don't know the song, then you can stop reading this right now. Just kidding.

And if you do know the song and are into experimental music, check out this mindblowing cover:


I like to pretend that I am a happy person. This is the only way that I make it through life alive. And pretending to be happy involves smiling all the time, making stupid jokes, and generally being avoidant of anything stressful. All of which is quite easy to achieve. I have discovered that a very good way of causing myself to smile is to think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts are very cheap. For example, last night I was queuing at the check-out counter of my neighborhood hypermarket and ahead me was an insanely attractive gay couple. I eavesdropped on their conversation and noticed that they were speaking Bisaya. This made me smile. Also, when I was in our building's elevator, I saw myself in the mirror. This made me smile too. I make it a point to see myself on any reflective surface because this always makes me smile. This is kinda vain but I figure that if I derive all my happiness from external sources, I will be putting myself in a dangerous situation. Like what if I survive the Apocalypse but everyone I know is dead and there is nothing beautiful left in the city and everything is nasty, brutish, and short. There won't be any kittens or roses and definitely no apple streudels but at least, walking through the ruins of such a world as will be left behind, I could peek into a grimy car window and maybe see a rag doll inside, a doll that would evoke such a profound nostalgia in me as to cause me to cry, and my tears would wash away the dust on the window, and I would see my reflection in the glass and I would smile, and this would give me enough strength to survive for one more day, to walk on for one more day until finally I stumble upon a colony of other survivors. It's just like love, you know. If you can't make yourself happy what else can?

Happy thoughts are good not just for smiles but also for making a better world and a better future for us all. I sincerely believe that positive thinking is the way to go, and that imagining the future will make it happen. There is an explanation for this phenomenon that has to do with quantum physics and multiple dimensions but it's all still hazy right now. My homies at CERN haven't completed their research yet but early data shows that our brains emit bosons and quarks and other awesomely-named subparticles which we all know are what rainbow unicorns are made of. And if you can believe in rainbow unicorns you can make anything happen. Truefax. I've tried it. Like a week ago I was eating lunch and after lunch I went out to the balcony to smoke. The wind was uncommonly strong and I could almost swear that it was literally caressing me. It also reminded me of sitting beside the beach so what I did was I closed my eyes and I let my mind work its magic and then wow, it was great, I could totally smell the salt in the air and I could hear the waves breaking against the shore and I felt at peace. And the salt was not just in my imagination, no, it was real. Carried on that breeze was a speck of dust and that speck used to be part of a fish, a fish that lived in the Pacific Ocean maybe. And I didn't make up the sound of the waves, it was real. Somewhere in the South China Sea the waves are endlessly hurling themselves at the land, and the sound they make can be heard all the way to wherever you are, you just have to try.


Last weekend my sister had huge as boils on her face and her arms so she went to get herself checked and she came back with chickenpox. This is very bad news, obviously for her, but for me and Mark too because we haven't had the pox yet. She's in quarantine in her room because she's not allowed to fly home. I'm not very worried though because my inflated sense of confidence tells me that I will not catch the virus. I mean, I take like 1 Centrum tablet and 2 Myra 400 E capsules a day. I'm sure the antioxidants in 800++ IU of vitamin E will be enough to regenerate my cells before they even die. I also have it from a very reliable source that this zoster virus is easy to kill. So last night I bought a giant can of Lysol spray and 2L of Isopropyl Alcohol which I hope is enough to disinfect our apartment on a frequent-enough basis.

In keeping with the metaphysical theme, I would like to request anyone who hears this plea to imagine yourself folding a hundred paper cranes for my sister's health and mine. And world peace. Thank you.


On Mark the First

Let me tell you the story of the Mark who is not my best friend. And this happens in the summer of 2008. I am doing an internship at a bank, an internship that is boring as hell. Boring with a capital B because I hardly have anything to do and even less to learn but mostly because it is the first word in this sentence. It may have been less so if I had met Mark, but at this point, I don't even know his name. To me, he is just the tallish, chinky-eyed intern from UP, and he isn't very handsome. Interesting maybe, but only vaguely attractive.

Fast forward to a few months later. Despite being crazy busy with senior year, I am on guys4men every night, often for several hours. My addictive personality is in full gear. I feel that I have to check every single profile online or I would miss my shot at The One. I don't mean Neo. Although finding Keanu Reeves online would also be great. But I digress. But instead of Keanu I find Mark, and his pictures are so scandalous that I think I must be mistaken. But it is indeed him and here is an example of the messages we may have exchanged.

1. Drew 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:12
Hey, I think I recognize you. Did you intern at a bank last summer?

2. Mark 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:14
yup. do i know u?

3. Drew 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:16
I don't know if you remember but I also interned there. I was with a certain group.

Password: xxxxx

4. Mark 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:17
ah, i remember. wow it's a surprise seeing you here.

5. Drew 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:18
Yeah. When I saw you last summer I never thought that you'd be... naughty. :P

6. Mark 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:20
you don't know how naughty i am. haha.

7. Drew 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:23
I'm curious. ;) Let's meet on Saturday.

8. Mark 01. Jul. 2008 - 01:24
ok sure. what's your number?

Then it is Saturday afternoon. It is raining. It is also cold. I text Mark that I'll wait for him at a cafe and that's what I do. For an hour. He is late because of school stuff. Maybe that is true because he has his laptop with him. We talk for a while until the rain stops and then we walk to a nearby restaurant to have dinner. I almost order sisig because that's what I always order at this restaurant. And then I realize that we might make out at some point afterwards and for a split second I'm not sure I should order the sisig. And then I go ahead and order it anyway. Later when we are making out I taste the garlic and grease on his tongue. But that's not yet for an hour or two. Right now we are eating and, in between spooning and chewing, talking about everything but anything sexual. I feel like maybe I won't be getting into his pants after all. But dinner is over and he doesn't split, he asks what we should do. Of course I say let's hang out. I'm very good at hanging out, especially the let's-sit-here-and-enjoy-each-other's-company-in-silence variety. Furthermore, I imagine that if we do that, it'll get boring enough for him to want to have sex with me instead. He agrees (to hang out, not to have sex). I suggest further that a nice place to do that would be the balcony at P-. I explain that it is close to my dorm and has a view of the Marikina valley. I don't mention that it is one of my favorite places.

When we get there, Mark tells me that it is a nice place, with a nice view. This ticks me off a bit because the place is not just nice - it's great. But I let it slide as I sit on the floor. Mark sits beside me. His knees don't touch mine. I light a cigarette.

Look at the moon, I say. Whose face is that?

It's the man on the moon.

It looks like the Playboy rabbit to me.

That's because you're naughty.

No I'm not. You're naughty.

Well, not really. I just like to take pictures of my body.

I think it looks like a woman.

My body?

No, the dark spots on the moon.

(In the background, dance music comes to life. The dorm party is starting.)

Oh. It's a full moon today.

I can see that.

Well, I can feel it. 

He flashes me a smile.

Don't tell me you're a werewolf because that's going to be cheesy. 

I put my left hand on his thigh.

No, I don't care for that shit. What I meant was that full moons make me happy.

Seeing the moon just makes me sleepy. It reminds me of a children's song. Something about the moon being big and round so big and round round like a plate. And when I think of that song I remember afternoon naps. 

The explanation is a build-up to leaning my head on his shoulder. He takes my left hand and massages it gently.

Sleepy already? What about...

What about what?

I look him in the eyes. His face is just an inch away from mine.

You know.

He kisses me. I taste the garlic and grease on his tongue.

I kiss him back. And then we suck face for like, a long time. And in direct proportion to time, the intensity grows until both our shirts are off and we're groping each other frantically. This is difficult to do when you're squatting on the floor but if we stand up the people at dorm will totally see. Out of the corner of my eye I see someone on the fifth floor walking along the corridor. This is getting too dangerous.

I lead Mark down the unlighted path behind P-. It's a forest back here, and completely dark. The only eyes belong to those who don't care anyway. We make love like animals.


On regret, and household chores

From downstairs, he can hear the radio blaring tunes he does not recognize. On the fridge sits a calendar, a company logo emblazoned on the lower right-hand corner. On the reverse side is a photograph of the majestic Niagara Falls, cheapened by ubiquity. The calendar is useless. It is there because it would be a waste to throw it away.

There are many things in this apartment that he could do without. That Coke glass he got from McDonalds. An extra mattress he calls the Buddha mat, because it is where he meditates in the morning. The miniature rocking chair sitting on top of the computer table, where he sometimes puts his phone. Several notebooks from college, only partly used, which he keeps around because he thinks he might fill the blank pages with fiction. Ha. Such hypocrisy. In truth, he could not let go of them if he wanted to, he needs to keep them against the possibility of future need. Much like the minor degree in Finance he crammed into his last year of university. Just in case he pursued a career in banking, which seemed likely at that time. How ridiculous that kind of preparation, he realizes. Of all the possible futures that lie ahead, he's prepared for only one. Or two or three, but that does not matter, it is neglible.

Still, there is no regret. How can one regret the foolishness of the past? It would be just as foolish to imagine that one could know the future.  In a world where anything can happen the choices he makes could only be just as arbitrary. There is a relief in this, a freedom which nevertheless rests heavily on his shoulders. It is the unbearable lightness of being.


Nothing worth reporting has happened in the past several days so today I am going to add to the detritus of trivial narrative online, on TV, and our broadsheets.

Wednesday, June 30

Mark and I spend most of the day at Neil's house. We watch the Mythbusters debunk anti-gravity (for now), people playing poker, and then for dessert we watch the spectacle that is the inauguration of the 15th President of the Philippines. He makes a like-able populist speech (which I like too), during which time "Noynoy Aquino" is the number 1 trending topic on Twitter. Worldwide. Which may or may not be significant but we will crow about it nonetheless because we have to take pride in what we can. Also, Neil got a new puppy and he is beyond cute. His name is Tobey and he looks like that cute canine in the picture. That's not him though.

To celebrate the ascension of the Philippines' next biggest hope we have dinner at Max's. Santiago makes big bucks now so he decided to treat us to Max's Chicken-All-You-Can. I'm usually not very good at eat-all-you-can's as my stomach is quite conservative. Tonight however, I force-feed myself because the only thing better than a free meal is three free meals and I'm eating for breakfast and lunch tomorrow as well. By the time I stuff the last of the five servings of chicken down my mouth, I feel so gluttonous but satisfied nevertheless. I just saved myself the cost of three meals. Hah. I'm really impressed with myself, considering that I almost never manage to eat this much and that half the time I was watching the boy sitting at the next table. It was the waitress' fault, she passed by his table and he called her to order but she probably did not hear because she ignored him, and I heard him say "fuck" really softly as she walked away, and the way his voice was endearingly mild was so deliciously ironic. I called the waitress back and told her the other table wanted to order (a move my friends called me on for being flirty. It wasn't - I'm just really helpful that way) and the boy looked at me with something like gratitude in his eyes and it was love.

Thursday, July 1

I work.

Friday, July 2

Today is Pasig Day so I don't have to go to work. I intend to be productive but the only things I accomplish are:
1. Watch episodes 17-22 of Glee
2. Watch Gamer
3. Complete 3 levels of Plants vs Zombies in Adventure Mode
4. Cook dinner

My only consolation is that today, my definition of productivity is hitting the nearby malls and taking advantage of the ongoing sales. So by being unproductive, I managed to save some money.

Saturday, July 3

We decide to clean up the apartment a bit. This involves beating the Buddha mat. It has gained considerable weight since my sister gave it to me two years ago. I get goosebumps imagining how much dust, dead skin cells, etc etc there must be in it. My sister and I take it to the fire exit and take turns beating it with her Taekwondo kickboard. Each stroke produces a spray of fine dust and despite the face towel I am wearing as a mask, my allergic rhinitis is triggered and I spend the rest of the day with tissue stuck up my nose. It's not such a big deal except that as a result, I CAN'T PARTY TONIGHT. :'( I settle for playing poker with Mark. I win, like 5 times out of 10 but we're not playing with real money so it's not that exciting.

Sunday, July 4

I still can't get over winning at poker so I challenge Mark to another game. Santiago suggests we play tong-its instead with chores at stake. This is seriously inspired. We play for who will do the dishes after lunch. Mark loses. The stakes are higher for the next game: bathroom cleaning. We all try to do our best to make Mark lose but luck is not kind to my sister.

And then it's time for lunch and then siesta time and then everyone goes off to wherever and I am home alone. I try sleeping but my dreams are too vivid and unsettling and I wake up drenched in sweat and disoriented. I try staring at the wall but my imagination is too worked up for my body to stay still. I pace for a while, go to the kitchen and get a snack, go upstairs and back down just to hear the stairs creak, and then finally decide to finish the book I am reading.

Three or four or five hours later I finish Ilustrado and I have to hand it to Migs, the novel is quite an accomplishment. I'm not very smart so I didn't really understand how it ended. It's probably because I didn't pay attention to any of the dates but I'm not the most factual person and details like that escape me. Still, I liked the style and if his choice of adjectives is at times surprising, they always make for interesting images. Mainly, I like the novel because it caters to the bourgeois in me. There are so many references for me to recognize and relate to and make me feel like I too am a modern-day Ilustrado. So if you're middle-class and need a dose of self-gratification go and buy the book. It's only P300 or something at Fully Booked.