The other night, I was at Time In Manila. The underground nightclub that plays seldom-heard Electronic Dance Music has been a place of refuge since the early days of singlehood. It is a straight playground. Meaning, I have to stay down-low and avoid exchanging stares with other guys, lest I court trouble when there should be none. Pimps selling wares ranging from bodies to pills are everywhere, and if not for the lesbian DJs spinning at the booth, I won't drag myself on a Thursday morning when I could always return to Bed when Shoturdays at the Casa are not called.
Now you ask, who am I with? The answer is none. I did invite a couple of friends but who would go out and party at the middle of the week? And besides, I don't regard myself as a good host. So off I went to the club and stuck it out - alone - until my friends played their set at 3 in the morning. It has been this way ever since, and often, the person who take me to euphoric heights is Jap Nishi and he has work now.
Besides, he's another story.
I recall this "me-time at the middle of the week" for two reasons. First is that after putting a stop to all my romantic ventures last October, the idea of going out with a new guy, and labeling it as a date has become a cause of panic spells. Either I spent so much energy winning the hearts of minds of the "special ones" before, that I got tired of it now, or I set the bar too high that I ended up not searching at all. The impression of that impenetrability, that seeming aloofness is affirmed every time I go out, and while loneliness seems to catch up from time to time, the distance I have put between me and everyone remains strong.
Second reason - and the more essential - is that growing alarm; that disturbing vibe when one of the kindred appears to be everywhere, and yet, no one really notices his presence. I do not know if there's persistence in his attempts at connection, or he is aware that he is slowly drifting out of the rings. But when whispers voice out their perception and you get to read him "asking to join" different circles with "lukewarm" responses, there's a part of you screaming - for him to step back a little and see the sprawling social ties with eyes looking at a sentient and conscious organism.
And that organism seldom looks at non-conformists like us.
Because I used to be in his shoes, and I still remember the pains of conforming; of confiding to a best friend in college not to leave me behind when he found his circle; of finding my place in the hierarchy of other packs when that best friend decided to give me up. And while my struggles in blending - with Odders, PExers, and Encantos - paid off, the scars remained, leaving me surrounded with people - in the clubs, or drinking binges - and yet breathing like I have a world of my own. I have never forgotten. And at times I am forced to make my own night outs - because I am terrified of gatecrashing other's merriment, I make it a point to return home confident, that "the island can support its needs."
For when time comes I find a companion. Someone, whose world I would make orbit, there is certainty that this solitude would cease to exist and I would find myself tidally locked into someone's life. So for now, until I can afford to exercise my sovereignty and watch others forge ties with different results, I will embrace my loneliness like a friend.
And take pride in that journey wherever destination it takes.