Sunday, December 9, 2012

Into The Barakos

"May gagawin ka? Wanna meet later?" A stocky guy with a headless display picture asked. His invitation filtered through a private message.

"Yup. I have work, dude."

The guy and I got acquainted on Twitter the night before. Ayos lang. I was the one who trailed first so I was grateful for the follow-back. However, things got uneasy when he invited me for coffee. I read his direct message just hours after the mutual recognition. 

The meet up didn't push through. I had no time to respond because I had to rush a neighbor at San Lazaro after being bitten by our dog. He asked again the next day. I was at work, so I replied that I will have to see if I can accommodate his invitation. He was persistent, he even offered to pick me up so we can meet. 

"Mas nakakahiya yun. But thank you for the offer." 

Behind the stalling was the slight interest in the meet-up. I had nothing to do after my shift and the Encantos had their binge already. 

But I was aware too that I will be meeting a stranger. Someone, whose Twitter timeline I just got to read, and whose motives for the eyeball remain in doubt.

"Hindi naman ako stalker or bad person..."   

Given that I would be meeting a really nice guy, and his intention was just really to talk. But how can I be assured that I can carry a conversation? That our coffee eyeball won't be punctuated by cricket sounds, blank stares and whistling of the wind?

You see, despite the liberties guaranteed by my restored sovereignty, I haven't met anyone to talk and get to know. The Weatherman is another story, and while Fox will insist that I dated an Encanto apprentice, the hangout was merely a promise kept. 

He belongs to the friend zone.

I maybe denying myself some choices. But my gut tells that there is something wrong about the guy's approach. For one, our private talk centered around his keen interest for a meet-up. He did ask about my work and my face picture and that's all. 

For a moment there, it felt like Planet Romeo.

Twitter guy sent a direct messages from the start of my shift at 2 pm, until around six, when he asked again if our meet up will push through. All I knew from our conversation was his work and that he goes to the gym. The other details, I didn't bother to ask because as the hours passed, I have grown disinterested. I guess I was only thrilled at the idea of being picked by someone at work, and maybe, enjoy a midnight cruise around the city.

A road trip with someone you just met? In your dreams, Mugen.

"I have to decline your invitation. I am needed home. Sorry."

They say that a man who runs away is either a coward, a loner with a broken spirit, or someone who relocates to a new spot to shore up his strength. From departing the sleazy land masses of Planet Romeo; to the one-on-one friendly meet-ups I've been delaying; to becoming a not-so-prudish but uber-protective Ninang instead of hunting down my own prey in the dance clubs - there is a full-scale retreat - and somehow I'm beginning to understand the reason for the apparent cocooning.    

"Kuya Joms, nandito kami sa Googel Bar (malapit sa Eclipse) inom!" Nimmy sent as a direct message just minutes before my shift was over.

In the end, rather finding comfort from guys I don't know, I chose - for the first time - to wander closer to home and get to know the people who really touched my life.

And I didn't go wrong.

It was 5 in the morning. I left O-Bar after playing Ninang to Jap Nishi the entire night. Tired and exhausted, with the smile and laughter of those I met earlier that night becoming my hangover. I went home assured, no longer I will walk alone.