Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Great Neutralizer

Pinagmamasdan ko pa rin ang iyong liwanag na yumayapos sa lupa
at pikit-matang dumadalangin:

Na sana

Sa pagsikat ng araw at muling pagkagat ng dilim,
tanglaw mo pa rin ang patuloy na gagabay sa akin.

November 8, 2012

In some alternate present, today would have been a celebration of my first anniversary with someone.

My partner would have been the guy who first brought me to a museum. He would have been the one I kissed under a Balete Tree near my workplace; the one I introduced to my relatives when I paid a visit to my father's grave; he would be the one who gets to sleep in my bed, say "hello" to my nephews, and eat in my plate without my mother raising too many suspicions about us. 

He is known at home by his first name, and in a way, is seen as the only guy associated with me.

However, the bonds were not strong enough to hold me in place. We were saying "I love you's" yet we never had commitments. He was there during my birthday, I was with him last Christmas. He gave a present to my younger nephew when I invited him to his first party, I was there beside him when he slept over and had a terrible cough. I took care of him by wrapping him in my blanket and hugging him tight. And yet, despite these common triumphs and struggles, I was still searching for someone else. I would say to friends that I was just waiting for him for clarity, but because nobody made the first move, I didn't pay attention to his presence. I was looking for reasons not to take him seriously, until a time came when he told me that he was giving up.

That he was letting me go.

It was the first time I felt a sense of loss, not only because he was my friend, but because we were intimate to each other. He was the one I could think of every time I needed someone beside me. Being a true-blue Manila Boy, every picture I take of the city was a nod to him. We could talk and finish each others' sentences, listen to the same mellow music played on Jam 88.3's A Different Sunday, and watch documentaries on GMA 7. If I had been attached to other men after him, it was because somehow, they have semblances.

The traits he possess and the passions that drive him are the qualities I look for when searching for the Other. 

But he, never really left. And we are still in contact even to this day. No longer we would go out like we used to, and no longer we would exchange messages like we did. But at times, when the urge to express one's deepest longing is strong enough to break barriers, he ends up next to me, the way it has been the first time I crossed the line.

The Weatherman has always been in love with galleons

"Itigil na natin ito." He once quipped during our pillow talk.

"Alin?" I felt his arms wrap tightly around my shoulders. I was waiting for him to answer, he gave an awkward smile.

"Puwede naman tayo magkita ng walang nangyayari ah." I pressed his face against my chest. I didn't want to let go.

"Nagkakasala ako."

Much as I hate to admit, but the consummated encounters put so much strain in his beliefs. The reason he had to give up is because of the religious calling he chose to lead. That night, I gave my word that I would avoid becoming the cause of his sins. I promised to treat him with respect, and never lead him to temptation. But before we sealed the deal (with another make out kiss), I confessed that I still think of him as the one I shouldn't have let go.

Hindi mo ba ramdam sa mga yakap ko na parang ayaw kong bumitaw? Na para bang hanggang ngayon, ang turing ko kapag magkasama tayo ay parang tayo? Hindi ako maka-usad kasi laging nakatatak sa akin kung paano kita pinabayaan. Sa mga panahong kailangan mo ako at wala akong inatupag kung hindi lumingon sa iba. Pinagbabayaran ko pa rin ang mga pagkakamali ko. Naroon ang karma na patuloy ang bulusok sa akin. At kung sakali man na matagpuan mo ang sarili mo na nakaunan sa aking braso, ito lang ang alam kong paraan para makabawi sa iyo.

Some days I still wonder if we could bring back the old times. The days when I would surprise him by showing up at his workplace, or he would buy me food that we would share together. I wonder, had he stayed a little longer; granted me more time to mourn the break up, or even told me defiantly that he wouldn't let go, would we end up becoming lovers?

For as we lead parallel lives, and entrenched in our own protracted pursuits, there is a sense of regret in what we have become: he, an emotional sponge I call every time I wish to forget. Me, the one he goes to every time there is a need to feel...

...his human impulse.

It's a cycle, I couldn't let go. One that hinders me from drifting too far, to look for happiness elsewhere. But when you are reduced to nothing and in a full-scale retreat, or you wanted to feel better not with someone you do not share any connection, don't you think of the first person who let you live.

Don't you still look forward to holding the hands of the one who has been there, for the longest plunge of your roller-coaster life?