Saturday, October 10, 2009

One Night In Malate: Tannis Reloaded

Another Moment In Paradise (First Part)


Malate is a place where dreams are made and where fairy tales not end with happy endings. It is a place of refuge for those who mend a broken heart or a shattered soul by lathering their throats with beer and partying the night away with club music until the sound numbs away weary ears and the dancing drains energy from exhausted feet. Malate is a home for those who wishes to forget and for those trying to escape the agony of living a suspended existence. Yet, despite the sorrowful stories that come out of that place, Malate is still full of promises. Amidst the teeming mass of lonely gay people swerving their hips aimlessly at the center of the dance floor, there are moments when fate intervenes and connects two people who share a common longing.

And perhaps even a common dream.

That promise is what keeps people like me returning over and over to Malate. Even if there are no assurances of a happy ending after the night is over, the thought of a stranger making you feel complete is what makes the whole endeavor worth doing.

I went out last night after a week's absence in the club scene. The choices are tough for I already exhausted myself in the gym and the feeling of weariness is enough reason to go home. However, the lingering thought of an ex-boyfriend suddenly knocking at my door and asking the maid if he could sleep over crept like some terminal fear driving me to the smoke-filled hall of Che'lu. Running away instead of confronting a hanging issue proved more feasible for someone as broken as me.

Nothing has changed in Che'lu when I entered the bar. The same beautiful people lined its narrow corridor leading to the dance floor. The same effeminate twinks danced on the ledge with their smooth and lean naked bodies and with a plastered smile fit for glossy magazines. The same old house tracks were being played by the DJ. I could say that the scene was getting boring and for several occasions I contemplated whether my age of rage was finally over. You see, serenity dawned to me after the separation and the frustration I expressed through dancing wasn't there anymore.

I was expecting a boring night, which I planned to cut short by 2 in the morning. However, it seems like someone had other plans for me last night. As I moved my body slightly to make it appear that I was dancing, I noticed a tall guy beside me. He looked Caucasian judging from his surfer haircut and strong jawbone alone. He was rugged-looking and danced like he owned half of the dance floor. Tipsy, he would move from one side of the floor to another. He would brush my right arm for support when he crosses in front of me. I never took the subtle skin to skin contact as a move to get my attention. However, when our bodies rubbed more frequently, I got what he hinted all along:

He wanted to dance with me.

I granted his invitation with much hesitation. At the back of my head, I knew I could never match his moves and I had an idea where it would lead to - bed. Had the dancing happened when I was still taken, it would have been easy to draw the line that separates emotion from lust. Now that I'm single, things are different. I could do whatever I want.

At the price only my heart would pay.

What made me change my mind was his near-perfect smile. He was far cuter than I initially assumed and his pearly whites blew away all traces of grumpiness that I felt the whole day. His bawdy dancing revealed a very intoxicated state and whenever I held his arms firmly, (every time he was about to fall) I felt his need for companion. The night has been hard on him.

"Lasing ka na ah, nakailang bote ka na ba?" I asked.

He just smiled and raised his hand to show his four fingers.

Our dance continued without uttering a single word. Like the other dance partners I had before, there is comfort in silence. It's like no matter how the music pounds our ears, the unspoken connection is what makes our bond secure. The bodily movements were never really important. It is the presence of the other that matters.

"This is the first time I've been here," he finally confessed while Janet Jackson's Feedback blared on the stereo.

"Talaga? What brought you to this place?"

"I just broke up with my ex." He said.

"Three weeks ago." His face turned gloomy.

"Lemme guess, you broke up last October 1?"

He never uttered a single word. Instead, he leaned his head on my shoulders. Something tells me that our encounter was a serendipity. Who would have thought that I would meet someone who broke up at the same time I quit my five-year relationship. This was indeed something and our revelations lead us closer to each other.

The music played on while intimacy began to settle in. He was a very aggressive make-out partner. He would gently bite my neck, nibble my ears and still won't give me a chance to return the deed. When he would touch my lips, he would grab my neck then passionately run his lips into mine. No wonder, I fought back with much passion when I got the chance that he would later say.

"Tangina men, ang galing mo humalik."

Much as I would like to stay and look after him (and his bag which he left somewhere near the ledge) time was against us. I already spent my gimmick pass last Friday and what kept me out last night was a "work" excuse at home.

"I thought you're gonna bring me home." He said frowning. Gotcha! My hunch was right all along, this affair would end up in bed if I don't hold back my defenses.

"But I have work at 4 am."

"Ganun? Sige na nga samahan mo lang ako magyosi sa labas. Sabay na tayo umuwi."

I agreed to extend my stay so I'd get to know more the only dance partner I had for the night. It was never my habit to switch partners like others do on the floor. Instead, when I find someone worth keeping, I'd stick to that person as long as he wants my company.

We went to a nearby stand since he had one stick left. The whole time we were together, I never looked at his face. The reason was simple, I find him too attractive that I felt that my presence wasn't worthy. Besides, the "market insecurities" I raised a few weeks ago was something I still needed to address. I know he was drunk and he blabbered things that probably he never meant to say. However, when he told me these words,

"Ngayon ko lang narealize ang cute mo pala."

It was as if my stock market rallied to an all time high, financial analysts would claim that I am out of recession.

We walked towards Nakpil to hail him a cab. We talked about little things that we find interesting. His affirmation brought back my confidence that I started speaking to him in equal terms. He might be three years older, but I certainly know that we might have something in common other than our prowess in bed.

"Hey can I ask you a question?"

"What is it?" He replied while putting on his aviator sunglasses.

"What music do you listen to?"

"Hmmm... Alternative and Slow Rock. Ikaw?"


"Yeah why?" He asked back.

"Listen to this."

I took out my iPod and let him listen to a track that only few guys knew. It's an Our Lady Peace song that I really love. A long time ago, I was so infatuated with that track that I swore, I'd give myself up to anyone who knows its lyrics. Its because I've learned from my failed relationships how similarity in interests strengthen the bond between two people.

He listened to the song for a few minutes.

"OMG, we really have something in common. Isayaw natin ito men"

At the corner of Nakpil and Orosa streets, he hugged me tight despite the throngs of people around us. They're all gay alright, but at that moment, I felt that I've finally met the man I've been searching.

The plan to go home at 2 am was aborted. I decided to stay with him for another drink and to dance at Chelu like our lifetime only last for one night.

One year later,
O-Bar, Malate

"Mukhang lasing ka na ah!" I followed him outside the club after hounding him from a distance in the dance floor. He was standing at the middle of the road, waiting for someone to come out of the door.

"Honga eh. May work pa ako later ng 8."

"Si hubby ba?" I cannot help but pry into his love affair.

"Nasa loob pa siya eh, kasama yung mga tropa namin."

Contrary to my earlier claims of being a fast mover, there were close encounters which I have never forgotten despite the march of time. Guys come and go leaving no footprints to follow, but my short affair with Tannis remains laced with so much speculation, it keeps me wondering about the things that could have been had I accepted his offer for us to be together.

Looking back, I was very attracted to him. Our after-party conversation outside Silya made a lasting impression, I thought he would take the place of my ex. As I get to know him deeper, I learned his imperfections and it slowly soured my affection. I found his life too unexciting, (he works in a boutique store, loves clothes and dreams of living a loud, almost-flamboyant lifestyle) too old fashioned, (he hates the internet for one, he also feels awkward having sex naked) and shared many similarities with my ex-boyfriend that I had to let Centurion see his Friendster account so he could give me a sound advice about an imminent commitment.

Contrary to claims that I never date, Tannis and I went out once. I accompanied him to dinner and then headed to his place to watch DVDs and drink beer. It was a near miss. He wanted me to stay over but I declined. With the intention of leaving, he asked me if he could call me "hon" before I set myself to return home. Panic stricken, I told him to slow down and reconsider our status. Coldness settled in after expressing my decision.

Hindi ko alam, nagmamadali pala siya.

Kasi may kaagaw na akong iba.


Tannis is a very understanding person. I saw it with my own eyes how he tried to remain cool despite being left alone, while guys surrounded his plumpy, effeminate boyfriend. If I read his movements well, the hubby enjoys flirting. Twice, he eyed me while prancing to a progressive house track spinned by the dj. I also caught him checking out utol Lukayo the last time we saw them in Bed. I could list down all the bad observations I had with Tannis' boyfriend. I could even cast him in a bad light. But no matter what I tell, the fact remains. It was I who left Tannis broken and it was him who came and fixed him again.

"Samahan muna kita habang wala pa siya, ayos lang ba?"

"Okay lang." His desire to go home was so strong, his restleness showed when he declined my invitation for us to sit in a table. Inside the club, I imagined his partner wading across the packed dance floor, trading glances with strangers, and engaging everyone - friend or acquaintance alike to a pointless small talk. It was like they never knew each other.

It was like both of them were single and I, found his boyfriend suspended between two worlds just like he was when I first found him lost in paradise.

At that moment, I felt Tannis' loneliness the same way I felt mine. Now that we're alone - together - in the same fleeting corner where we first met, I cannot help but think of the what-ifs, had I given him a chance before: He would be introduced to my allegiances and for the first time, the Alliance, Encantos, the Odders and the rest of my groupies would see me not alone, but with someone else. He would get to know my mother, sleep in my room anytime he wishes to, and perhaps even becoming a regular guest when utol decides to stay elsewhere. There are so many scenes running inside my head - while comparing myself to the one he's waiting outside - I've almost forgotten that I will always remain a footnote in his life.

"Bili lang akong yosi, gusto mo?"

"Sige bili mo rin ako. Thanks"

We spoke about his relationship and how things are going. He's with a doctor. Someone a year older than me. They live together - just like he always wanted. They're going strong, apparently, having celebrated their ninth month last September. I never told him things about me and the downfalls I had after him. What he knew is that I am still single and that, I am not looking despite his urging for me to find someone else.

At one point of our conversation, he leaned his head against my shoulders - the same way I leaned mine when he found me drunk and wasted inside the same club on New Years Eve last year. I thought we will have a part two, but I was so attached to someone, who strangely decided to ditch me that night. Raising my arm, I pressed his head against my back. I would like us to rekindle our lost bond but before I was able to do so, he took my arm away and shifted his attention to his pocket.

"Teka tumatawag lover ko." Overhearing their conversation, Tannis was telling his partner his exact location.

It didn't take long for him to take matters with his own hands. After dropping the call, he decided to go back and pick the boyfriend personally.

"Paano, balik na ako."

"Sige, hanggang sa muli dude." The coldness of my voice tried to re-assert the distance we must keep.

"It was nice seeing you again."

The gap, suddenly bridged by a tight hug affirmed that Tannis has already moved on. There is no need to bring back the past, nor remember the beginnings we had. Sad that these thoughts only emerge now that I've realized what I had lost. But I must let go, and be grateful. I am, at least forgiven for the things that I've done. Wrapping my arms around his shoulders, I wish we could stay in that spot a little longer. But the hubby is waiting and I don't want him to catch his boyfriend embracing someone he will never be.

Following him inside the club, I stood at a distance, watching, as Tannis and his boyfriend are reunited once again.


wanderingcommuter said...

"Malate is a place where dreams are made and where fairy tales not end with happy endings. "


well i hope tannis and his hubby will last long and for you my friend, magsettle down ka na din! hehehehe...

I Am Lukayo said...


Nahipo ako sa post mo na ito. Ipinapakita kung ang isang aspeto ng Malate.

'Where lonely hearts and broken souls go to have respite and forget'

To the next adventures in Il Postigo... kung kailan man yun. Hihihi!

P.S. May masquerade ball ba kapag Black Party? Parang gusto ko magmaskara. LOLs

engel said...

maybe i'd need to go to Malate one time. Try to find a fellow lost soul. Maybe that's what i need.

Not necessarily a lovelife.

dabo said...

Maybe Malate is like a star?

Different people sees it differently the same way star does offer to a princess, to an astronomer, to an astrologer, to a priest, to a nation, or to an ancient farmer.. yet our concept of time has its way of putting us in a perspective where we end up mere spectator of our own star. the one we called our life beyond malate.

cheers to you repa.

period said...

There are so many scenes running inside my head - while comparing myself to the one he's waiting outside - I've almost forgotten that I will always remain a footnote in his life.

naiyak ako sa sinulat mo...tama, i will always remain a footnote in his life...

ano ba ang mundo sa malate?masaya ba? makulay ba? if malate is a place where dreams are made, then why are the fairy tales in that place don't end with 'and they live happily ever after'?

kuya joms, sama mo naman ako minsan diyan, gusto ko kasi ma-experience ang malate...

and with this post, mukhang may mapupuntahan na ako sa new year's eve (ang panahon kung kailan nagsasaya ang lahat samantalang ako ay walang mapuntahan para magkubli)

Iurico said...

I'm at a loss for words - u took 'em all out and blogged 'em.

Knoxxy said...

Mukhang interesting gabi mo!

john stanley said...

malate is for fun.

sexy fun... naughty fun...

pero hanggang doon lang.

Yj said...

"Malate is a place where dreams are made and where fairy tales not end with happy endings. "

there is always an exemption to every rule....

the key is to believe....


sigh.... sana makapag malate na ulit ako....

Mac Callister said...

i know the feeling of regrets and the flow of "what-if's" on mind..

Knox Galen said...

Mac: Oh well, sabi nga nila, you miss most what you don't have anymore.

Okay lang. Lesson learned yun.

YJ: When you go to Malate, just be sure to have fun. Don't follow my direction na main target eh mang seduce ng ibang party goers dun.

John: But there are always exception to the rule. :)

Knox Galen said...

Knoxxy: Reverse Cinderella mode pa yun. Midnight na ako nagising, nag-insist pa ako gumimik. Hahahaha.

Nice to have you back.

Iurico: Thanks men for the complement. I also like the way you write.

Period: Kung may kasama ka sa lugar na yun, hindi mo mararamdaman yung mga naramdaman ko sa mga oras na mag-isa ako dun. Usually, emo lang ako kapag mag-isa dun.

New Years eve party? Hmmm.. Ikaw bahala. Act of desperation ang nangyari sa akin nun.

Knox Galen said...

Dabo: I'd rather think of Malate as a blackhole. It's hard to escape and when you let yourself be sucked in, you emerge from the other side either jaded or empty.

Just like me... Most of the time.

Engel: That's the reason for me to come back. To look for lost souls I could still salvage out there.

Knox Galen said...

Lukayo: Because you were there at times you were most broken. It so happened I was there with you that's why we were able to deflect much of the pain. :)

Ewik: Ako magse-settle down? C'mon. Matagal pa yun. Ikaw ang mag-settle down na. Lol.

xtian1978ii said...

before, a friend used to bring me to che'lu. I have no idea pa about malate dati. para lang ako natutunaw doon kase dami tumititig, nakatingin.

there's no used regretting over what could have been Knox. Things happen for a reason, maybe not meant to be that particular period who knows someday.

Hindi ko lang maimagine what you've been through and why you're so afraid to commit once again. well, i won't ask naman, don'r worry. I just wish you happiness.

Knox Galen said...

Xtian: I promised never to bring back the past again, but since the past deeply affects my present, from time to time, I will repost some entries I wrote at a time when my heart beats for one.

xtian1978ii said...

Oo naman kase mga nangyari sa atin in the past ay nagsisilbing gabay natin sa pagharap sa kasalukuyan at magiging sukatan sa hinaharap. Kaya hindi rin dapat kalimutan. hugs

Knox Galen said...

Xtian: So long as hindi na siya connected sa events sa present, hindi ko na siya muling uungkatin pa. Salamat sa hugs. :P

xtian1978ii said...

yup pili lang din naman talaga.

no probs anytime