Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Truth About Love

It's in the stars
It's been written in the scars on our hearts
That we're not broken, just bent
And we can learn to love again

I maybe in the twilight, but it's not too late. Not yet.

Bed, Malate (First Part)

It was just a matter of time before the laser lights and disco ball lure me back to the dance floor. I was in my early twenties, my second relationship was just barely a year old, and my time at Mint and Mister Piggy's - dance clubs that were infamous for their scant lighting and perverse dark rooms - were too memorable, I would like to be seen at the club scene some more. I've been a regular fixture in Malate for the past year and a half. To suddenly walk away and abstain from the nightlife - like men in relationships are expected to do - means losing the place I go for solace and distraction.

I am not ready to give up the dance club.

So when friends decided to check out the newest party place in town, it didn't take a lot of convincing for me to join. "You're in good hands," they assured. "Your boyfriend will not find out." I no longer remember where on earth did we go in Malate to drink that night, but after the Contingent went their separate ways, those of us who stayed behind sashayed to the belly of the Orosa Courtyard to queue at this place called Bed.

What I recall is that Bed was flanked by Fidel and New York Shop Cafe - boheme restaurants that offered fine dining experience to those who can afford it. Upstairs, there's this boutique called Pride Exchange. The store sold lubes, dildos, neon-colored undies and undershirts for those gay enough to wear them. We have no idea what to see inside Bed. What we know is that it occupies a sliver of space, and we doubt it can accommodate everyone who tried to get in. 

When the dark-skinned bouncer opened the red bar door for us, I was in complete awe by what I found inside. Gorgeous men were everywhere. Some were half-naked, almost all of them had the physique of Adonis. Even the Go-Go boys looked like they did some commercial photo shoot first before moonlighting at the club. The likes of me - who was fat, fashionably challenged and had no social connections in Malate felt unwelcome.

But I had no choice. I need to fit in.

The dance floor itself was a narrow strip with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. It divides two ledges and a stair leading to the second floor. Drinks were served below deck. Across the bar counter were velvet sofas where the demi-gods of Malate out-gay one another. Upstairs, there's a plush seat shaped like an O. It overlooks the dance area. I used to lounge there when parties wind down. Dazed and exhausted from all the dancing, I would look at the people below and think of the lives they lead outside the club. 

Bed 2 opens to public (2005)

The first time was followed by another, and another, until the weekly pilgrimage stayed unbroken for years. And despite unsuccessfully finding lasting friends there (I have my Brodders anyway), I would rather stay at Bed than get in all sorts of trouble and temptation in Bath and Red Banana. The only time I had to leave the place was when it had an expansion. Government opened its doors. I loved the music and for the first time, my attention was diverted.

No longer would I see the club the same way again

Life went on unhinged, and Bed - for half a lifetime of my gay life - had been a place of refuge and reverie. I return every time I need to unwind, to nurse a broken heart, or when the need to belong outweighs the call of solitude. Sometimes, I would return to introduce a rookie into the fabulousness of the Pink life, or simply, to catch up with the latest dance anthems spun by the club's resident DJs.

For a generation of gay men, Bed was the original nest. It was the place to be; the spot where the has-been and will-be converge to be seen, checked at, and be talked about. But for me it was home - until they thought of occupying large swathes of the courtyard and their music stayed - Diva House - when my ears sought something orgasmic - like progressive house remixes.

Club Bed would burn to the ground. But by the time it was put back in place, I have stepped on so many dance floors that I no longer feel the vibe of Orosa. For some of us who had returned to the flirt side of clubbing, we would begin to see Bed as a social place - where the old vanguards and their stateside guests go, and reminisce the early days, when Malate was every gay guy's fairy tale. I would go on complaining about the music. The pricey cover charge. The swanky atmosphere when all I wanted was a quick and easy lay.

I would fall in love the third time. Succeed in purging myself of the dance fever. But the union didn't last and I would once again pick up the pieces in places like Bed. Upon my return just a few weeks ago - to grieve once more at the derelict that has become Malate, I would learn of the club's fate - like the fate of all the dance clubs before it.

Bed leaves Malate. Never to return again.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Historical Reference

After the tequila joe shindig, ENDY and i headed for malate, its been a while since ive been there so i siezed the opportunity. We decided to go to BED, i havent been there and im intrigued about the stories i have heared about it. So once we entered the establishment...i was in complete awe...its like ive gone to GAY heaven! Gorgeous guys left and right, with the built and physique to match. There were great looking guys by the stairs, on the ledge, near the bar-everywhere! The best part about the place was the music...so far the best i have sampled in malate-with the exception of aquario for playing vinyl on turntables. So, with great music comes great dancing. Guys were really gyrating and swaying to the beat...never have i seen such great dancing after "Keep on Dancing" ceased airing on channel 2. 

July, 2003

The Sounds Of Bed

Music parts two gifts. Sound and memory. Sound pleases the ears. It makes the listener hum, sing, and sometimes bounce his head to the beat. But it is memory that lets melodies paint scenes and turn music into an experience. It doesn't matter if the scene is about a person, or moment. The purpose of remembering is already present. 

Bed has been around long enough to shape an entire generation's outlook of the Pink life. For the most part, I was there to celebrate diversity under its glittery Disco Ball. Bed's retro-inspired plush seats and solid red accents mirror the influences of Queer as Folk in our collective consciousness. Its dance floor was burned to the ground, and yet, Bed was reborn - like a Phoenix from its ashes.

The club has become the symbol of Malate we used to know.

Nothing lasts forever and as Bed opens its doors for one last time, tonight, allow me to look back at the last decade with five dance anthems that has become synonymous with the club. Well-hidden in my sound collection so memories will never skip, I play these songs in my music player and reminisce.

Andrea Doria - Bucci Bag

Who Da Funk - Shiny Disco Balls

Misia feat Kevin Aviance - Into The Light (Gomi's Beauty and Beast Remix)

Inaya Day - Lift It Up

DB Boulevard - Point of View

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Man-Machine Meld

It has been two weeks since the Lesbian Driver's departure. We have no word yet of her whereabouts, or had she safely landed in the Middle East. In the home front, my mom still has to find a driver replacement. Family connections are yet to provide referrals. 

It is difficult to let strangers in. 

As the wait goes on, the FX sits idly in the driveway. Its hood is raised from time to time for routine inspection, and to make sure the radiator doesn't run out of water. I would turn the ignition switch on, step on the gas and rev the engine. This way, the motor oil never turns into gel. It has been this way for the time being.

Twice this month, the matriarch left the house to attend social obligations. First was when she went to a reunion hosted by her college friends. It was a weekend luncheon and I had work. But instead of going to the office, I was swayed to accompany her. She asked if I can spare some time. 

For in her words she said, "I'm getting tired of staying home."

I felt my mother's helplessness. Unsaid, she articulated the feeling of being caged, and the inability to move around like she used to when our driver was still there. She no longer walks without her wheelchair, and to flag a cab proves to be an endless chase. 

Taxis are fairly expensive too.

Sucked into uncertainty, I see despair with my own eyes. For the longest time, I begged not to be groomed as the one taking over. I have yet to make peace with the past. But the longer it takes to find a new driver, and the lingering fear of not knowing anyone who can drive in times most needed goes on, our situation pushes me closer and closer to making decisions that will alter my communion with machines.

Elections are just around the corner and mama needs to vote. The monthly royalties from the publication is due in two weeks. It has to be claimed personally by the matriarch at the newspaper office. Groceries must be procured; someone has to pick up the matriarch when she returns from work.
The car must be at all times kept in good condition. Otherwise it will break down, never to run again.

With great reluctance, a decision was made. No longer can I do nothing while waiting for the replacement to come.

Someone must take the wheel. After getting my student permit at the Land Transportation Office, I will take canned lessons in a driving school. Learn. So that in a few week's time, I can take my belated place on the road. 

Instaboylet 2.0 (Epilogue)

"Thanks hon. lol. Kaw din ah."

"Awwww did u like it no?"


"Wala. :)"

"Hmmmm. Yup. I did. Kung tama ang nasa isip ko."

"I've always known that you're more than just a DP. (Display Picture)"

"That time you showed your best."

"Did you like it too?"

"U afforded me a day to get reacquainted with my best."

"Nice. I guess we all have that side. Thanks for the experience."

"Who knows."

One week later, we would still call each other "hon" and "baby cakes" in private. No hints of possible meet up happening soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Instaboylet 2.0 (Last Part)

Ric and I have been trailing each other's Twitter account for as long as I remember. He has never shown his face, but a mere glimpse of his half-naked display picture conjures one's fantasy of inviting him to bed. He has this penchant for revealing too much - when being overwhelmed by the trappings of lust. While I don't mind catching him uploading pictures of his family jewels, I find such moments intriguing. I never fail to inform the one who has genuine hots for him - Ternie.

Our conversations tend to dwell on the mundane and ordinary. Questions that begin with "kamusta na?" and "gawa mo?" receive a one-word reply. It is in those moments of revelation - his job hunting frustration, the boredom of doing nothing at home, and the isolation of lacking real-life gay friends that I found him endearing. For this reason, Ric never became an object of masturbation.

He was more of a brother to me.

So when we are put in a situation where we are to make everyone believe we are a couple, the act was organic. It didn't require ice breakers or encountered pauses of awkwardness for the chemistry is there. Despite him being an A-lister, to me we are co-equals. Who cares if dozen others find him a good catch? He is mine for a day, and I belong to him.

I wouldn't deny the times I tipped overboard. "I love you's" were said without putting meaning to the magic words. At times, I was a tease. "tabihan kita sa bed ha?" which he gamely replied. "uu gusto ko yun." raising eyebrows across our shared social spheres. The tease didn't go beyond the confines of Twitter. We resumed the cheesy banter the next day with the same passion we had, when Alistair forced us to be virtual partners.

For all the game's silliness, there were times I had to make conscious reminders that it was all but a charade. A ruse to measure our commitment to real-life relationships. Ric was so into it, that I had to step up, lest be seen as someone neglecting the virtual partner. He had me by the neck. I won't deny the pull of his gravity.

Time continues to clock our remaining hours, and every milestone of that day of my life was reported to my buddy. On Twitter, Ric was told of the time I woke up, went to the gym, and arrived home. The trivial details like the food I gobbled, the stuff I bought for my nephews, and the reason for sleeping late the night before reached his eyes as well. Never in recent memory did I open my life to one person, and I felt assured sharing the details with him.

"Must it be love?" I chuckled while traipsing along the breakwater. "Or maybe a part of me still longs to belong to the right person." I stopped to snap a photo of the bay. I would return later at dusk to capture the famed sunset to dedicate the picture to Ric.

The game of make-believe would eventually blur the lines of truth and fiction. Alistair even posted a tweet - a comment about the apparent seriousness we put into the game. I would receive congratulatory marks on direct message. Even Beej (Panda) sent an SMS. 

"Ikaw ang talk of town." I scratched my head. "Kabog mo pa si Kris Aquino."

"So di kayo?"

"Hindi." Insert smiley face there.

At the end of the day, I had to make the virtual, one day relationship work partly to make up for Ric's effort. I'm used to acting roles and pretending my affections that it doesn't matter whether I get something from the simulation. 

But looking back, one thing I can never deny is that he was in my thoughts the whole time. Observers will talk about our crazy antics for weeks to come. But for me, it was a social experiment that left me soul searching after the digital ties have been severed.

To be sure, it was an exercise in artificiality. Feelings must be purged after our time has come. But as the final minutes came to a close, there lies a sliver of humanity mourning for the dissolution. The return to reality.

"Behind the masquerade, you're an awesome lover." I almost sent as a tweet.

"Swerte ng magiging boyfriend mo."

As Ric readied himself to sleep, I quietly reverted my Twitter profile back to what it was. "Ric M.O." had once again become "JM," and "Taken Kunware" was replaced by the all-fitting maxim best describing me.

"Wake up, I'm just a dream."

Instaboylet 1.0

Agua De Abril

Out in the driveway I stood
and raised my arms into the red sky.
A day after sensing its arrival
the first droplets of rain has fallen.

Temperatures in the Philippine capital continued to rise Thursday afternoon, with the mercury registering at 36.2 degrees celsius, the hottest in Metro Manila so far this year.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) recorded the temperature at 3 p.m. but an observation officer said it might still go up in the next hour.

Three days ago, the temperature climbed to 36.1 C, then the hottest for the year. Thursday's maximum temperature is close to breaching last year's record of 36.6 C.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Instaboylet 2.0 (First Part)

When Alistair Lee mused how fun it would be to have a game on Twitter where you can choose your boyfriend every day, I posted a tweet saying, "you start and we will follow."

It was a typical banter that needed not to be taken seriously. However, Ric said he would join. XJ, who was reading our timeline found the game "fun." He even had a name for it. "Virtual Jowa-Jowaan." There were two others who expressed their intention to participate and before the night was over, Alistair's idea was finally conceived.

The rules are simple. The "taya" will choose his virtual partner from among the participants. They have to play lovers on the social media website for a day. After their time is up, the guy who was chosen will have his turn to pick a new partner. The game ends after each player gets his turn, and the love team of the week is chosen.

Participants are to ask questions and throw scenarios that will put the couple off balance. Questions like, "what did you 'cook' for your baby for breakfast?" or "what are your terms of endearment?" are strongly encouraged. The success of the game depends on how believable the relationships are. Fun kicks off when others on our common timeline start asking, "Are they for real or what?"

After much prodding, Alistair took the reigns, and chose his virtual boyfriend. To my surprise, he chose XJ. I was expecting him to pick Ric, since I've been playing matchmaker to the two guys for quite some time. While the game was replete with cheesiness at the beginning (it showed Alistair's caring side), it proved to be a disappointment as one seems to be more "committed" than the other.

"When it's my turn," I told Alistair. "I'll show you how the game is played."

After 24 hours, XJ and Alistair's coupling was over. I even thought the game would end with them with the languid reception it recieved. When Alistair insisted that it's our turn - Ric and I - hesitation and pointing fingers would have cut the game prematurely. The two others no longer appear interested, and we cannot simply choose someone who's not part of the game. It was when the game leader suggested that we should be the couples that a resolution was found.

We raised no opposition.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Revelations and Lamentations

"Dapat ikaw yun. Hahaha."

"Ikaw alin?"

"Ahaahha may ni-favorite ka kasi. Hahha."

I was on the verge of not replying. His text message stated the obvious. He had resurrected an issue I have been evading since January. A collateral I am still about to answer without the cover up.

"Hmpft. sinusuportahan nga kita eh."

"Hahahhh tseh!!! Hahahahaha."

There is hollowness between his words. Even a tinge of sarcasm. I sense there is a problem, a heartache begging to be purged. 

Are you okay kuya?

"Psssst... wag ka na magtanong. Halikan kita jan eh. Hahahaha."

"Sa hands lang ha?"

"Hands paakyat ng lips. Hahahaha."

Inebriation loosens one's tongue - a lesson learned from hosting binge nights with friends. Had I been a tease - like I've been these past few weeks, I wouldn't have second thoughts biting his lip. 

I was the one provoked. 

But knowing he has a partner, and they are facing rocky episodes that come with confronting past issues: the hang-ups and the unfinished business with exes and flings, I had to keep steady. 

"Did you know I fell for you? Hahaha."

"I know."

"But I'm not your type kasi hahaha."

"What makes you say?"

"Eh all of a sudden you stopped. Pero I know you're not okay. I should know."

"I was afraid you might get hurt because of me."

"I know what you feel. I had to keep my distance because I am holding back."

"Every day after that, lagi ko iniisip how long before I stop building walls around my heart."

How can I forget?

He paid a visit at the hospital when my nephew was very sick. He helped me cart the bags to the private room upstairs just hours after the baby's confinement. I even introduced him to my sister, and my sister warmed to his presence. Had I allowed him to linger, to let him know me better, he would have met my mom too.

But he came at a time when the horrors of break up was beginning to catch up. Seeing the ex a few weeks before exposed the wounds I thought had already healed. The intimate ties with the Weatherman has been demoted to a beneficial friendship, and the voice of resistance to anyone who will bind me to a union has grown louder.

It would raise a howl every time I begin to think of another. 

His rushed affections alarmed me, and like my approach to everyone who cross the line, he had to be put in place and I, keep my distance.

"turns out, andaling pairalin ng pait. Madaling gawing bato ang puso."

Unspoken feelings found its way into the open. Propped by alcohol, and frustrations of failed unions, the revelations might be our way of saying that ours wasn't a lost enterprise. It lays dormant or maybe, our ties need refinement. What I didn't tell is that had he been a little more assuring at a time when my nephew's condition made me feel helpless, the fortified walls I built around me might have crumbled, and the lustful thoughts I had, might have grown into something more romantic. Permanent. But there were reasons for leaving the details unsaid, and for declining the invitation for a drink when I knew he needed company.

For when I have troubles dealing with my own baggage; of how not to run away when romantic endeavors become complicated; and until I learn to undo my disastrous experiments, I have no right to sit across the table and listen to someone whose heart I got broken.

I have sinned too many that I may not find atonement.

Are you happy now? 

Maling question


Still your stalker. Still dreaming of one day you write something about me sa blog mo.

We left things unresolved, but promised to talk once he makes peace with his lover. It was getting late and I needed to be at work at six the next morning. As for the things he confessed, it got me thinking: What if I have given him a chance?

What would our lives be?

"Wake up, I'm just a dream." In silence, I lamented.

At the back of my head, he deserves a better narrative.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Lesbian Driver

How she came to our home is already lost to memory. A relative of a maid perhaps; someone, who offered to serve our house in exchange for help to finish her studies. I no longer remember her first post, where she learned to drive, and the reason for receiving such promotion. All I know is that we offered education assistance - the same arrangement we had with her cousin, before she decided to drive my sister and my mother to school.

Our engagement is often limited to small talks, and seldom do I notice her presence. It is for this reason I don't know a lot about her - how she bravely stepped on the gas and cross waist-deep waters to rescue stranded loved ones; how she pursued learning the inner workings of our Toyota, so she knows what to do every time the car breaks down; and how she defied stereotypes and prove that a woman can drive cars.

Better than most men.

She served the house without demanding for a raise. There was even a time when her wage was months delayed because my father can't afford her pay, and she didn't complain. After years of dedication - she would become my mother's trusted feet. It was her mastery of the steering wheel that enabled the matriarch to travel the city with little to worry.

The months would turn to years and years to more than a decade. We have seen her ups and downs, the ladies who broke her heart, her defiance to my father's verbal assaults, the couple of times she had to spend a night in the hospital because of her habit of not eating on time, the violent fights with another maid, the dogs she raised, and perhaps, even the times of contemplation - asking where her life is heading. She had ambition, a dream we cannot carry on with her and it is this vision that prodded her to send an application for work abroad last year.

To drive for someone else.

Her decision came at a time when we were beginning to make plans for her future. Her Philhealth membership was set up, her social security contribution can be done in a year. But we arrived at the juncture too late. She had made up her mind. 

Six months later, her work visa was approved.

News of her imminent departure was met with ambivalence and muted resignation. My sister and I have long embraced impermanence and that she would sooner or later leave, given her professional credentials. My mom hoped she would change her mind, or her work would not push through. But I reminded her in one of our heart-to-heart talks that we cannot stand in the way of a person's aspiration. We must support her no matter how difficult her absence will be.

A crash course was done so that one person at home knows how to maintain the car.

"Ganito binubuksan ang hood." She pulled a lever across the driver's seat to release the lock. She then lifted the sheet of metal covering the car engine.

"Dito nilalagay ang engine oil." She said while pointing at a valve. "Pinapalitan siya bago ang annual registration."

With reluctance, I started embracing the inevitable: that there's no choice but to become her successor. Had I recognized this sooner, the transition would have been less abrupt. But like my mother, my heart was hoping a driver replacement would soon be found. That I wouldn't have to go through a purging - to face a mistaken hubris that caused my decision to never hold a steering wheel again.

In a week, she would bid farewell without the dramatics often associated with departures. There was no send-off party or tears shed for a leaving family member. My sister simply roused me from sleep to say goodbye. That's all. What I failed to say upfront however, I conveyed in a text message. 

"Ate Mary, thank you sa lahat lahat ng kabutihan mo sa amin. Magtagumpay ka sana sa iyong bagong paglalakbay. Ingat ka lagi. Nandito lang kami. Mamimiss kita."

Message sent.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Movie Hangout

Of the pastimes you can count me out, it is to watch a movie alone. Not because I don't see its entertainment value, or the virtues exhorted in films. But because of sheer laziness and the refusal to be seen in places where group activity takes place. What I can get online and watch at home - in the comforts of my secluded corner - I will never think twice of downloading through torrent applications. Not only can it save me cash for other spending, I can always rape the playback button for scenes I would love to watch over again.

This practical and third-world approach once lead me to the dingy alleys of Quiapo, at a time when bootleg DVDs sell like hotcakes. For P50 pesos, a moviephile can get a clear-copy movie with a fancy disc cover. Older movies in VCD format are even sold at bargain prices. Pirated movies are so commonplace that some stalls even cater to niche markets. There were so many films and TV series to see that the challenge for a collector is to find time to watch his acquisitions before new films appear on display.

This weasel habit was overturned when I met a significant other who enjoys watching movies. He loves films so much that going to the theaters became our bonding activity. Because of him, I've learned to consult critics like the late Roger Ebert. The reviews he wrote served as guide when watching Hollywood flicks.

It was also because of the Other that my eyes learned to love independent films. Together with a common friend, we never missed an attendance at the yearly Cinemalaya Film Festival. For the first time, I was able to indulge myself on films whose stories and characters left me spellbound, if not gasping for the choice of resolutions once the film credits rolled.

I remember.

For when the significant other and I walked our separate ways, I stopped going to theaters to watch movies. The old habit returned, but since the Quiapo underground no longer operates like it used to during its golden age, I stopped watching films altogether. There were exceptions, of course, like when I returned to the movie house to see the re-run of MNL143, or when I invited the Weatherman to see The Hobbit with me.

But in all the days after the Other, never will I feel that kind of rush; or see that sparkle in my eye, or that faint smile on my face when I see a trailer on YouTube. I used to let good films pass, so why would the present be different? Besides, there are better ways to spend my rest days; and only few appreciates the movies I would like to see.

But I said 'Yes' to his invitation

I would later confess to my movie buddy how Oz: The Great and Powerful touched me in ways no words can perfectly capture. It must be the dystopian feel of Emerald City, or the desolate landscape of Oz. It might be the sublime dissonance of the characters and their failure to endear the viewers. Perhaps, it was the hollow narrative that struck a chord, thus my heart sinks every time I look back and contemplate the story ending.

Or maybe, after scratching the surface, the emptiness springs not from the film itself, but from dormant memories of forgotten days. I would draw sadness from the bittersweet feelings of having to see a movie and be reminded of how things were, when I always looked forward to going to a movie theater with the Other.

It was how he became part of my story.

Yet, as the past continues to resurface, I would still look back and remember watching Oz, not for the story or characters, but because the hours spent watching it with Another afforded a preview: a taste of how it is to be with someone and enjoy a moment of peace.

It doesn't matter if the companion finds out, but the movie hang out with him would always be remembered not because of the event itself, but because of all the people who came so far, I saw a glimpse of home when I sat by his side.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Falling Into Obsolescence

2:10 am
Inside a cab

I am tempted to make a detour at O-Bar after drinking with Garppp, Karl Martin and XJ. It's a Friday morning, and some party goers can't wait for the weekend to be seen at the bar, and on the dance floor. But then, there's a growing feeling within that clubbing is no longer my thing. My mind is tired of it, my body no longer aches to twist and grind itself to the beat of the sound. 

I'm tipsy. Perhaps, getting some sleep is a better choice.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I called the shots, the revelers gathered. It was one of those binges where the party extends late until mid-morning. I went home after the sleep over. Don't speculate what happened. I will never tell. All I confess is finding epiphany at the risk of losing a friend. Maybe it was meant to be, subconsciously. I engineered to make it happen. Probably to answer some unspoken questions and affirm, at long last, our place in the sun.

But who am I to pre-empt tomorrow? 

As the story goes, my companion dropped me off near Medical City, where I'd cross the street and ride a G-Liner going home. It was a sunny weekend, and most of the people I came across had either visited a friend at the hospital, or were rushing to find a shade. It was safe to say I've encountered a few souls along the way, but my eyes were not fixed on strangers. I was scaling the depths of my blotched virtues. 

It took some time for the bus to arrive and gazing upon the hospital's plant box, and its vast swathes of yerba buena - sprawling beyond the confines of the earth - I was tempted to pull some stems to take home. After the winged critters learned the gastronomic delights of my Basils and Lemon Balm, I've stopped returning to the Manila Seedling Bank to buy new herbs. 

I have waged a protracted battle against the birds and I'm stuck along the trenches.

I poked a finger-sized hole on one of the flower pots the moment I arrived home, and unceremoniously planted the herb without ever thinking if it would thrive on barren soil. The wandering jews, whose fleshy stems had been cut for the pruning had already grown roots. They can easily take away the nutrients the yerba buena needs for growth.

As expected, the herb's leaves wilted and fell off.

The yerba buena was forgotten and life went on with its twists and turns. At the window, where the foliage becomes a fodder for wildlife, the herbs are forced to go through a wicked cycle of wilting before getting watered again. The fragrant mints died out for reasons beyond my knowledge, and below their charred remains, new sprouts have turned the lifeless plastic container into a verdant nursery.

It is when my nephew decides to cool down in his inflatable tub that I bother to take a second look at the ground where I planted the yerba buena weeks ago. Along with the wandering jews, and some bandit weeds that came from nowhere, are the unmistakable evergreen leaves of the herb I picked outside the hospital.

Ribbed and tongue-shaped, the yerba buena struggles to hold ground. Its stubbornness reminds you that in life sown with weeds, the choice is to die out or grow - by spreading and overrunning the very weeds of soil, whose nutrients belong to you, and whose presence belittle the lofty idea behind your purpose.