Saturday, December 25, 2004

Sex and City and Me

I was never a loyal fan of Sex and the City. I liked it when it came out and I never missed an episode. After the first few seasons, it started getting old. Sex, sex, sex. I only began watching it again on its last season.

During my disenchantment, friends would ask if I saw the latest episode. No, I wasn't able to. Then they'd tell me about it.

I liked the clothes, the shoes, the restaurants they went to. And New York City.

It was always my dream to end up in New York City. During college, I had this dream of studying in New York, maybe painting in the School for Visual Arts, or Journalism in Columbia, or Film in NYU. I did send in my applications, but was rejected in all of them. Sayang. I was planning to shave my head, the moment I stepped onto the streets of Manhattan.

Did you know that New York City is one of the few places where it is easy to shoot a movie? They actually set up a city agency that supports filmmakers who want to shoot scenes on the streets of New York.

I just caught the HBO special on the ending of Sex in the City, hyping up the last two episodes which will be shown on Tuesday, 8:00 PM.

One thing is true: they have been around for a while. Six years. Late nineties. That was a good time for me as well. I wasn't thirty then, and nowhere near it. I was young, with a Black Russian in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I had great friends, great time, and I was a complete mess inside.

Things were just starting then, it seemed. Like the Internet, which was a baby compared to what it is now.

And Sex in the City was just a show about women who talked about sex a lot. It was interesting and exciting, until the whining and the men began to repeat themselves. It was only later, in the last two seasons, when things began to end, that it became interesting again.

Forever is a fantasy. Endings, which can lead to beginnings, is the reality.

I am reminded again of this tonight.

As the old scenes from the TV show flashed, as the cast and crew gave their praises and goodbyes, it is only after so many years that the show has gathered its significance.

If it ended in a year or two, it would have meant absolutely nothing. That it lasted longer that it should have, in TV time, allowed it to transcend its origins. They believed, the actors, the writers, the crew, they are all convinced that they were part of something big.

And I envy them for that.

How do I become part of something big? Did they know this when they started? Perhaps not. It is only after, I remind myself.

Perhaps, years from now, I will realize that I was never part of anything outside of myself. Years and year from now. Only then.

Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Remember What We Were Supposed To Be

I fought with my best friend tonight.

Should I even write about this? A few paragraphs is better than finishing off a pack of Marlboro Lights. We were in this bar in Greenbelt and she started talking about this guy she's dating. That was fine, but the guy really rubs me the wrong way. I couldn't really sympathize with her giddiness.

If you read this--hey--then I'm sorry. God, this is so showbiz.

To make a long story short and bearable, we stopped talking, finished our smokes and drinks and said goodbye to each other. She had a car, and I had a taxi cab waiting for me.

I didn't want to go home yet so I told the driver to bring me to Rockwell. I went to a bar there and downed a White Russian and proceeded to Fully Booked. I had to take my mind off things. Afterwards I went out of the mall and walked to Starbucks.

My phone buzzed in my handbag. A text message:

M sori

It was so easy to reply then, but part of me didn't want to. There was so much I wanted to say and it won't fit in a text message or make sense through a phone call. I had to be face to face with her, my best friend, with my facial expression and my hand gestures and arm-waving.

And it's not just about the guy. It's not about the guy at all.

It's just that I want so much more from our friendship, like the way we used dream about when we were in high school. All those promises and dreams of being friends forever. I've seen it happen. One by one, our barkada disappeared behind a wall, getting married, getting pregnant, becoming super moms, with house loans and car payments and children's parties and family trips to Splash Island.

We used to dream about living in a big house somewhere, remember? An old house with a friendly ghost and a dozen rooms. And we would take in stray cats and stray dogs and friends who have nowhere else to stay. We would have our own business: a sari-sari store and cafe and bookstore downstairs, from a converted garage; our own fashion line, including accessories and shoes; art classes every weekend, for kids; a mushroom farm beneath our house. And more.

And you were supposed to be a photographer, remember? And not an account manager?

And our husbands would live with us and love us and our kids would grown up together in the same house. And we would be buried in our own backyard, beneath a big mango tree. As angels, we will watch our kids grow up, watch them make the same mistakes we did. Watch them get hurt and cry and laugh and be amazed at the world.

Remember all that?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday Evening Walk with Slight Misadventure

After the last mass at Greenbelt, I took a walk.

I had a small knapsack with me, swinging on my left shoulder. It was heavier than usual, because I bought some books at Powerbooks and I had the idea of bringing a flask of home-brewed coffee.

The priest discussed marriage for some reason. I listen to sermons indirectly, as if through a reflection. I zone out and focus on the general direction of the altar, and I let my mind wander. I justify this as divinely inspired daydreaming. I am in a holy place, after all, in a holy ceremony.

I don't like the idea of marriage anymore.

When I was young, I imagined I would be married with kids by the time I was 24, because it had seemed to be a very old age to be. Then by the time college came, marriage just seemed so crazy. There so much to do. I wanted a career. I wanted to have sex with boys. And girls. I wanted to travel. I wanted to shave my head. I wanted to screw up badly and redeem myself. I couldn't imagine taking care of anyone else.

My best friend in college had a solution: get married in Las Vegas and get divorced right after, just to get it over with.

This idea was recently made real by Britney Spears, but years ago, it was also (apparently) done by the parents in Family Ties. One episode showed how the kids discovered that the parent were previously married. It turns out that they were previously married to each other. They got married early, got divorced, then found each other again.

Well, our idea was to get married and get it over with, so that I can just say to everyone (Dad, Mom, everyone) that I tried it and it didn't work.

Another great way to get married then get widowed early. That is more tragic and would draw sympathy, unlike the reaction for a Las Vegas divorce. But wishing to be widowed was risky business.

I thought about these things during mass, all the way up to the end of mass, and up until my evening walk. When I stopped and looked around, I was by the Filipinas Heritage Library. How did I get here?

Oh, well, where do I go next? What's open on a Sunday night? Maybe Jupiter. How about Rockwell?

The evening was warm and clear. No chance of rain. And it was nice to have trees above me. I always wished that Makati would have a huge park, a real one, not the fake parks it has now. Parks with big open fields where I can lie down during cloudy days and listen to my iPod. Where I can play Frisbee with my gang.

When I reached the corner of Paseo and Buendia, I bumped (crashed) into someone.

Sorry! I said, holding my chest. Ow.

He was running. It was a guy I assumed. Or a big girl.

Tangna. I cursed. No one saw it. On the sidewalk, I noticed a small book. It looked like a Bible. I picked it up. It felt like one.

The guy must have dropped it.

I went and tried to follow the mystery man to return the book. He turned the corner into Dela Costa. When I got there, he was gone. Maybe he went to Ministop, so off I went. Not there. I peeked into Figaro. Nope. Oh, well.

I ordered some coffee jelly--hold the ice cream--and sat down. Hmm, I need a smoke, but no cigs.

I picked up and opened the book. It was in French. Something about Camus. Not a Bible after all. There was something scribbled on the inside of the front cover:

Et quand vous trouvez ceci, vous commencerez à vous trouver.

Back home, I translated it, and realized that I forgot to drink the coffee in the flask in my bag.

Monday, November 29, 2004

My Tank Top Girl

There was this girl with long, wavy hair. Her face was kind and she wore a stunning, tight tank top, slightly see-through, revealing a dark bra. She was beautiful.

She had a booth at the Ateneo bazaar yesterday, selling shirts and handbags.

I couldn't resist seeing her up close, so I took a look at the stuff she was selling. I took my time, asking questions slowly, like dunking a tea bag into my cupful of hot water one lazy afternoon. Do you make these? Pause. Look at a bag. Do you have any other designs? Pause. Pretend to be mulling over something. How much if I buy five bags? Pause. Change topic. Do you have a store? Pause. Then I slip a personal question. Are you an Atenean? Pause. Do you have a mirror? I want to see how this bag looks. Pause. Can I see that bag down there, by the chair?

She turned around, looking for where I was pointing.

Her hair moved slowly, swinging like a mist of rain. Her body flexed and her shirt shifted, revealing the skin above the waist of her jeans.

You look familiar, she said to me, handing me the bag.

I know, I exclaimed. You remind me of a friend. You could be her sister.

At that moment, we were officially acquaintances. Her cell phone rang and she answered it. Excuse me, she said, turning her eyes away. I took her in, head to toe. Perfect. I wonder how it feels to be with her.

There you are!--a voice from behind me.

It was my date for the day. I was trying to shake him off, because I wanted to look around. So many pretty girls here.

I'm not yet done, I said in the girliest voice I can make. I gave him a peck and squeezed his hand. Can you please go around for a few more minutes while I shop?

He agreed and wandered off. I'm so mean. Poor boy. I needed a ride to Ateneo from Makati, and back, of course. I may have to kiss him tonight, maybe even wrestle a bit. Nothing more. He's a nice boy, but no tingles, you see.

Unlike now.

Sorry about that, she said. Oh, no problem, I said. Is your sister P---?

Yes, she is, she said. Her eyes lighted up, confirming a connection.

But usually, that's as far as it goes. We may become good friends, trading kwentos about boyfriends and dates and clothes and families and magazine articles. It's hard to find women who are looking for women.

I don't like hanging out in dyke clubs, because they're all so aggressive and smelly, with all that cigarette smoke and beer. I prefer bi groups. At least they're kinda normal.

This girl in front of me feels like a girl. I feel like a girl. Women are so lovely. This is what straight women will never understand. It is like returning to that mirror stage in our life, where the world is part and parcel of yourself. Being a bi, a lesbian, allows me to indulge that. As I touch a woman's body, it's as if I'm touching myself. And it all is like that.

Say hi to her for me, I said, nearing my closing statements. Then I took a dare--

Um, I'm going to look for something to eat. Do you want to join me?

For a moment, I saw that look in her eyes. That awkwardness of being surprised, hiya, and confusion. Then it changed quickly.

She turned to her partner--I'll just take a break, ok? Her partner nodded and smiled.

Ok, let's go, she said. Let's get a drink first.

Yes, yes, yes, I said inside. In my head, I imagined my date getting slightly pissed at having to look for me. Happily, my new friend and I joined the milling bazaar crowd. Damn the world--I smiled.

Monday, November 22, 2004

My First Digital Camera

I decided on my first subject: feet.

Mainly people's feet. I've taken a dozen photos of my own feet, at various times of the day. I even have some close-ups of my toes. Then over the weekend, I started sneaking in shots of other people's feet.

I didn't want to be obvious, so I turned off the flash on my cute white Canon Ixus i and held it like a wallet or cigarette pack. Then I put my jacket on my arm, partially covering the camera.

After an hour at Glorietta, I concluded that it was easier to just sit down and let people pass and stop by, then click. Usual problems include: wrong focusing and moving subjects.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Getting There, To That Place

It's like throwing away old food in the refrigerator, food that I saved and hoped to eat one night but never did. It's the space that appears and the air and light that circulates.

I feel I can breathe again, for some reason.

For the past few months, I resisted being neat and clean, because I was lazy and tired, but mainly because I was following a thread of hope: I had hoped I was being led to a realization, a rare insight.

Quietly, in bits, I have been getting my insight. A few key pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle. I am so excited to see how it looks like.

Back in college, I nursed an ambition to become a writer. I rationalized that I had to be egotistic, to never doubt myself. It didn't work. It doesn't work that I forced the feeling, and the will, and the confidence. These things, I am slowly realizing, cannot be forced.

Everyday, you have to decide to be a writer. This is so far from true.

Nowadays, to get a glimpse of this new horizon before, I simply have to pause and listen to my thoughts. It's as simple as turning a street corner or reaching for a glass of water.

And it's not just in writing. It's also in everything else, especially errands and housework.

There it is. I am moving my hand. I am not judging myself, or forcing myself.

I am waiting for the moment where I can sit down and whip up a draft of a novel or short story. I look forward to letting my mind explore itself as I document the words that come out.

I still do want to be writer. An artist too, and everything creative. Maybe this is the time for me. Maybe this is the time. Maybe I am arriving to where I should be.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Like a Kitchen Knife

How long can I pretend to be someone else? To keep on hiding like this.

It all depends on a red wheelbarrow, and white chickens. On James Bond and Vin Diesel and Julie Delpy. On the rain and garbage truck. On the cat crossing from building to building. On the piece of plastic surfing on the wind between buses.

All these words blanket me, like a nest, protecting me from the elements, from scrutiny, criticism, and intimacy. But I don't want to be known, to anyone nor to the world.

For the longest time, I've known I had the skill for words, writing. I was afraid to write because I had nothing to write about. These past few years, I was forced to use writing as therapy, as self-excavation, as exorcism. I learned I can wield writing, like a kitchen knife.

Cut, dig, carve, drop accidentally, throw: let me tell you stories unlike any other.

So there.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My First Cuddle Party

I went to a cuddle party last Sunday. The rules are simple: wear sleeping clothes, like pajamas, no sex, kissing allowed but no tongue, and cuddle all afternoon.

I was invited by a friend. She just came back from New York a few months ago, where she experienced her first cuddle party, which had the same rules. It's strictly by invitation and you pay 1,000 PHP to participate, which covers the food and facilities.

As far as she knows, this is the first cuddle party in Metro Manila. At least, of this kind anyway. She was holding in her Makati condo.

I didn't know what to expect. I had visions of my high school soiree, with boys on one side of the gym and us girls on the other, and this huge basketball court in between. When I got there at quarter to seven (it was scheduled to start at 7:00 AM), there were already a handful. About three girls and two boys, plus my friend and her boyfriend. They invited ten people, and all confirmed, just to see how it goes.

No one under twenty-five years old. This is their own rule, not a New York rule. They have this theory that being a quarter of a century old means something. They oldest person they invited was 39 years old.

I was introduced to the group. It wasn't so bad. They were already in their pajamas and everyone looked so comfy. They each gave me a hug, it was part of it, just to break the ice, so to speak. I went to a guest room to change clothes.

By 7:00 AM, we were nearly complete. One guy was missing. We were all told beforehand that late people will be turned away and invited to the next party. This will be strictly implemented: they had to build trust within the group, based on a strict agreement on the rules.

Again, they ran through the rules. Anyone who breaks any of the rules will be asked to leave and not be invited again. The goal is to establish boundaries and intimacy.

And then they told us to begin.

Go ahead, hold each other.

My friend and her boyfriend approached us and started steering us toward each other, guiding us to the floor of the living room, covered with rugs and pillows and sheets, like a giant, endless bed.

Instinctively, I approached the girl next to me, about my age. I opened my arms and looked at her eyes. She agreed, and we hugged. I didn't know what to feel. It was scary and comforting, painful even. We fell to the floor and never let go.

We chatted a little. Hi. What's your name. What do you do. Then we just hugged. Her breath smelled good, minty, like mine. You had to brush your teeth and use mouthwash: that was one of the smaller rules. Bad hygiene is disrespectful.

After a few minutes, we quieted down, and I closed my eyes.

Bit by bit. I remembered all hugs and touches and holds and nearness throughout my life. The good ones, the bad ones. I remembered the violence.

I felt a breath on me, then a voice: you're crying.

I opened my eyes. My hug-mate was looking straight into my eyes. Grabe ano? she said. Want a glass of water? I nodded.

We let go and she stood up to get water. I looked around and the room was littered with clumps of people. I was in the middle. We looked like a litter of new-born puppies. We were so cute. It must have been the soft morning light and the pastel colors of the room.

Only then did I realize there was music, softly playing in the background.

She came back with the water and I drank it gratefully. She wiped the tear lines on my face with her thumb, then she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Come, she said, let's join the others. And we did.

The cuddle party lasted all afternoon, until four o'clock. We were all shooed away, gently of course, even lovingly, to resume our regular lives. We were all invited to next month's party. Tell your close friends about it, they said.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

When the Night Has Come

I like this: sitting at the back of the room, watching people listen as someone talks in front of them, and I'm not expected to do anything, except observe.

Like an angel. Or a ghost.

How would it really feel like, to go through all these days without being seen or noticed, without going hungry or sleepy, without feeling anything, not even loneliness. Only a bemused detachment.

How would it feel to hear secrets all the time? To see people in unguarded moments, doing what they do when no one is looking. To be with a group but not be part of it. To be able to go anywhere, anytime. To lose the thrill of tresspass and the chance of being found out.

To be there, but not really.

It will be like a permanent Zen meditation, the longest prayer in the world. Watching people talk without listening. Watching a piece of paper as it lifts slowly from the corkboard, because of the airconditioning. Hearing the most distant sound of the world, as well as the unusual music of a dozen keyboards tapping. The rustle, the scratch, the moan, the ever-silent sigh.

I will be able to close my eyes for an entire day, feeling the wind on my skin, the sunlight on my eyelids, the tiny little creatures on my skin and hair, my clothes, my age-old pains hiding in my bones. The shifting earth, the long distant tremors from earthquakes on the other side of the world. The pea at the bottom of a pile of mattresses.

And the world will open up, with all its sights, sounds, and sensations. And it will be a million languages and experiences. And I will cry and begin talking to the world, instead of talking to myself.

Time will disappear and the world will become small like before. Life would become one big, endless journey: a pilgrimage, a long hike. And I will carry everything in my heart.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Get Go, Weirdo, Hairdo, Your Body

I am distracted, and I can't hide it. I'm bored out of my mind and I really hate it.

The never-ending bullshit that swirls around me, like an ipo-ipo, a tiny twister, irritating me, trying to suck me into its skinny ass. My frustration and anger level is very high. I want to lash out and hit something, some living thing, a tree, a dog, some pork meat.

Buildings, light, walls, shadows, broken glass, asphalt road, pebbles, rubber shoes, rats, texture of the city. I am running like hell, away from myself.

I want it all to stop and leave me alone. I want to change my brain and mind and insides and be someone else. I want to be wherever I am not. Where I can see the horizon all around, the clear sky, and hear nothing but the breaking surf or a falling tree.

I really, really, really want something else for myself. Maybe a bookstore in Canada. Will I like it in Canada?

I made her cry the other day. I want to throw out so many things from my condo. I want to strangle my neighbor. I am holding on to and cursing a rope, slipping off my hand. I should let go and let the chip fall where it may.

A thud. I want a thud.

Kiss me. Kick me. Do something. I want to run around the city like a plane looking for parking. I want to ride the MRT at twice its speed. I want to swing from all the tall buildings. I want to step on all the heads of everone in the massive crowd. I want shotguns and pellets and high heels.

I want to throw a cat outside the window.

I want to break out, don't stop to ask. Try to make it last. I want to find a way down the alleys and byways and highways and the fields and cats and the antelopes. Where everything is made of leather and bones and decaying leaves.

I want to squish the fat, green caterpillar with my aching, bare foot.

Who should I blame? Who can I slap in the face? Kick in the groin? Whose head deserves a baseball bat? This damn country is falling apart and we are all frogs slowly boiling in this fucking cauldron.

You, you, you. I hate all your indifference. Let's all die, except for me. I am so damned angry. I don't care to make sense or make excuses. I am about to explode.

Hey, you, guy looking at me with your fucking eye. Don't wink, don't offer me a drink. I will connect my elbow to your chest, and slam it with all my might. Don't touch my breast. See this ring? With this ring I will scratch thine lovely, boy-toy face.

Do me, do me a big favor, and get out of my way. Get out of my hair. Let me enjoy my margarita in peace.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

On Their Way Back From

I have a headache. I am bothered. Wild boys. You never close your eyes.

The days are passing by so quickly, like letters and newspaper slipping under the door. Like cold cuts being sliced, accurately, consistently. Swish, swish, slash.

I was at Powerbooks the other night and I found myself watching people. Cute guys, cute girls, weaving through the fiction shelves. When I am stressed, I think of sex.

I haven't read any novels for quite some time. Back in college, I decided to spend a lot of time understanding the short story form. Mainly a practical decision: it was easier to read and store than novels. So I collected the annual Best American Short Stories. I wanted to collect the Philippine version, but the closest thing was the Palanca compilations--which was published erratically.

Now, there is a deluge of novels.

For a time, there was a lot of memoirs and confession novel. About rape, child abuse, violence, trauma, psychological problems. As a reaction, one guy came out with a novel about his tediously normal childhood.

If I had confidence (or talent) as writer back then, it would have been fashionable to write about my unhappy/happy childhood, the roots of my current distemper, distraction, distaste.

Luckily, with my limited budget (because of an overblown credit card debt), I enjoy reading the blurbs of novels. Pictures of the author is an extra thrill. If the book is interesting enough, I even try to read a few pages, always starting with the last page. And sometimes, while I kneel for the lower shelves, my eye goes of the page and catches a patch of skin, nape, elbow, thigh, of the girl across me.

I love browsing through books.

I've always complained to myself that I don't have anything to write about. Write what you know, they admonish, all these published authors teaching in the Ateneo. But I hate what I know, what I've been through. All I ever had was anger and confusion and denial. How can I write and go around the very core of what I'm looking for.

Myself, my heart, my next step.

I miss all the friends I've made, especially the ones I pushed away. In my mind, I decided that they all want to leave me alone, let me be. In my mind, at the very back, I wanted them to save me, pull me out. Time gave out, years ago. I am now on my own, avoiding self-destruction at every turn. I have friends, some good ones, but I am supremely afraid of hoping anymore. God will save me, if I am lucky.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Legs, Legs, Legs Mo Ay Nakakasilaw

Zhang Ziyi's defiant lips, they burn a hole in the movie screen, in my mind. Those glassy eyes. I love her when she's angry. I love her, up there, on the screen.

After her fame from Crouching Tiger, she went on a rampage with those credit card commercials and that Jackie Chan movie. She is a tea cup, taking in whatever role she plays. She has no value for me outside those beautiful kung-fu movies.

In House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu), she finally completes the romantic destiny she started in Crouching Tiger. The romance there was just an anecdote, a piece of trivia, that we all wished could have been the central story. Everyone loves a love story.

As Mei, she had two men fighting for her. I would have fought for her too. Zhang Ziyi is so beautiful.

But I don't like her toothy smile.

Long ago, when I started working, I had this cute Chinese officemate. She wasn't a headturner but she was so nice, and she was beautiful when she smiled. We went shopping together a lot and became fast friends. We both loved movies.

One Saturday afternoon, after a coffee date, I invited her up to my condo. It was a great, cloudy, cool afternoon. It was unusually bright in my room that time. We sat in my queen-sized bed and I shared my drawings with her. We ended up lying beside each other. In the distance, from somewhere, the sound of a bird.

It was a romantic moment. She was my friend, perhaps even my best friend then, and I haven't told her that I was bi.

I was so scared to look at her eyes. Her chinky, honest eyes.

But I did and I didn't do anything. What happened next was totally unexpected--I suddenly felt extremely protected and comfortable. I held her hand and put my head on her arm. I closed my eyes.

I miss her so much: have a happy birthday, you.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Hopelessly Devoted To

Displaced, lost, homeless, surviving. This is my latest realization about myself.

It all seems to be coming together. I have admitted on and off to feeling lost, and to having no home, and--more recently--to feeling like I'm just surviving. But tonight, I forced myself to admit that I am lost.

Lost is my theme, my pattern, my central metaphor. Lost is who I am. I am lost. I have no reference. I am here but I don't know where here is. It made sense, makes sense. But not just lost.

My eldest sister, my most favorite sister, left home when I was young. She moved to Manila for college, then worked as a programmer, and managed to get transferred to Singapore. She is now in the States, working for a pharmaceutical company.

Then in third year high school, my father sent me to Manila to live with my aunt. I finished my high school away from my parents.

A month before I graduated from college, my mother died.

Holding that fake diploma in my hand, standing before my batchmates, I squinted and looked into the crowd. My mother should have been here. Instead, I see my two sisters with their husbands. I didn't invite my father. I realized at that moment that I didn't have a home to go back to.

My eldest sister went back to the States and my other sister went back to their house in Laguna. I moved out of our house and stayed in a ladies dorm.

Nearly a decade later, I'm here in this Makati condo, with a view of the urban wasteland. A distant water tower is my constant moon.

All these years, I've dreamed of doing something else, of being something, of finding myself, my true calling. I've been looking for the secret of my life. Was I an artist? A painter? A scuptor? A writer? A filmmaker? Or am I nothing but another credit card holder, paying the monthly minimums?

I am a copywriter! A trying hard graphic designer!

When I was young, I read a lot: Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock, Enid Blyton, 1970s issues of Seventeen, Collier's Encyclopedia, Liwayway, Hiwaga. Just like my mother. I also drew and painted. I played the electric organ (Yamaha) and the guitar--but sucked at both. I wrote for the school paper. I did a couple of school plays and one for the church. I wanted to be an architect.

Somewhere along the way, I lost it. I lost the drive, the sense, the purpose. And I got lost.

This is my truth.

I am here, lost here. I have no home to go back to, no home to hope for, wish for or remember. I have no family to care for me. I am never where I should be. And I am fighting for my life.

Lost. This is neither good nor bad. It's just how it is now. I can't change it or change how things have been. All I can do is accept it and embrace it. This is my mark, my difference, my uniqueness. This is my damn fucking world, how I see things--my vision.

The road, the dirt road. The shade. The rain. The strangers that pass me by. The unreliable memories. These are all I have. And my wits and guts and my instinct for survival. How will it turn out? What will I do?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Out Of Nothing At All

I miss making love.

It has been months since that last real one. He had this very small farm in Tagaytay, somewhere after the palengke. It had rows and rows of Italian eggplant which they supply to restaurants in Makati. We met exactly a year before.

After turning off the main highway, you have to pass through several subdivisions. The road gets smaller then bumpier, until you reach their gate. Once inside, if it was around five o'clock, you are greeted by a great red sky. The view of the sunset is breathtaking.

And infinitely romantic.

After you settle down in this small shed, you notice the cool breeze. From there, you can watch the farm slope down the side of the hill. And beyond that, the great land of Cavite and Laguna. I have always loved the feeling of the wind in between my legs. (I almost always wear a skirt.)

A chilled bottle of champange pops out of nowhere, and there is chitchat. I take out my Marlboro Lights and he offers a me a light. How obvious, and I enjoy it. We kiss, drink, puff, talk, and rub each other. Foreplay until the mosquitos start biting.

Down the slope, he says, we have a small house.

In the dying light, we tumble down the rows of eggplants. He is holding my hand. He is such a nice date, for a man. I remain surprised. I also date women, more often now, but some guys still catch me off-guard and I let myself go with the flow.

The small house is a rest house, with basic everything. It reminds me of the condo I had before at Citiland. Bed, kitchenette, bathroom, aircon. The bed has a thin styrofoam cushion. While naked, he recites a sonnet which he memorized. Cute. It is his first time to have sex.

I still remember the musty, dirty smell of the room fighting with the laundry soap smell of the new sheets. The hum of the aircon, the kuliglig, the distant bark of dogs. The musk of his sweaty, 23-year old body.

When we came out later, heady, rested, intimate, with slightly crumpled shirts, we were greeted by the full moon. We went up safely, guided by the unusual brightness.

He drove me home, the moon following us.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Watching Trains Go By

I don't want to be like this. I don't to be angry, but there seems to be nothing else for me. Complacency and indifference is even worse. And giving up the the worst thing to do.

I'm in debt, and I've been in debt for a while. I've been living hand-to-mount, never being able to save anything, for anything. And all my sins are catching up with me.

Not sins, really, but plain ignorance. I never knew what to do with money except spend it. I never really had to worry about where it came from or whether there will be money tomorrow. I grew up thinking that I will never have to worry: my parents could always bail me out.

But now, they're gone. Dead since 1995.

All I have are two sisters in the US. They're married to Americans. I don't tell them anything about my life.

They used to write to me a lot. I had stacks of letters from them before, when I was still in high school. But I never wrote back. Then the letters stopped coming.

When I got my first email account years ago, maybe 1997, I tried to make them get email accounts too. They resisted for years. Now that they do, I feel like I have nothing to say to them.

Bahala na. Live your own lives.

This is the thing: my stress is making me doubly sad. It is so hard to smile nowadays. I don't want to see a psychiatrist again. This blog will have to do, for now.

Hot Summer Nights

Jesusmaryjoseph--I am so bitchy today. I feeling like biting someone's head off. I couldn't sleep last night. Rather, I didn't want to sleep because I didn't want to wake up in the morning feeling bad.

Everything seems to be falling apart.

First it was the remote control, now the TV is freaking out. I was watching Jay Leno last night and the image disappeared. It had sound, but no pictures. I felt like i was in the Land of the Lost, living in a cave, running away from the Tyronnausarus Rex, and having no TV.

It's like a giant radio. Or a noisy neighbor.

Then this morning, I woke up to the rumbling of my ancient air conditioner. The sound was so scary, I had to turn it off. I dread that it's dying too. That everything around me will simply stop.

I have no money to fix anything. I wish all these things would just heal themselves, like wilting plants. No aircon: I want to cry.

Anal Fixation

I have a light pinkish stain and not the "bright red stain" that all these medical articles speak of. It can be an anal fissure, instead of hemorrhoids. They're kind of similar, but not really.

Either way, the message is the same: I have to take care of my asshole.

Take fiber. No meat, oily food, and cheese. No caffeine. Avoid stress. Don't sit to much. Don't traumatize it; don't force the shit to come out. Wash it gently. And remember that you don't want it to get worse or to happen again: you don't want surgery.

Damn--I'm learning too much about my anus and rectum. I don't want to talk about it anymore. If you do, go visit the Anal Fissure Self Help Page.

Sigh. I don't a doctor spreading my butt cheeks and poking an anoscope inside me. God almighty.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Toilet Humor

A couple of days ago, as I was wiping my myself after using the toilet, I looked at the toilet paper and saw a red stain. It wasn't my menstruation.

There was blood in my rectum.

It's hard enough to spell, it's even harder to admit that I might have hemorrhoids (don't foget the letter H). My rectum has been painful on and off for a month or so. I thought it would go away. I thought I just cut myself with the razor or something.

A quick google and there it is. I'm dreadfully right. I have it and the best treatment for now is fiber supplements and lots of water, for month, until symptoms disappear. And sit on the toilet for less than five minutes: don't strain it.

Why did it happen in the first place? I have two suspects, both leading to a strained asshole. First, I've had a lot of forced, weird, long bowel movements. I try to get everything out, and all these little bits come down. I try hard each time. Second, I read in the john. Newspapers, books, magazines, junkmail. I even write in my journal. If there was a TV around--I can't imagine.

"Taking a dump" should only take five minutes max. I average 15 minutes. When rushing, ten minutes. When playing with myself, a bit longer.

But the best part of now is this: I have a minor, low-quality, no-alarm hemorrhoids (one M, two Rs). I don't need to see a doctor yet or get an operation to cut up my butthole.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Cherry On Top

I went to the Greenbelt chapel and sat in the back row for half an hour. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I told God to absorb all the fucking stress in my body. I imagined it lifting up into the sunlit air, like vapor, like the Holy Spirit. I imagined Joan of Arc.

Behind my eyes, in my small mind, I entertained the sounds of distant cars varooming, the chatter of mallrats, the hum of the evil CBD. I thanked God for letting me go on this far. I thanked God for whatever kindnesses I have received. I thanked God for helping me survive an abortion and an abusive relationship. God, a chance, a break.

Pretty please.

When I opened my eyes, the world looked the same. The stress was still there. Perhaps I'm praying for the wrong things.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Night Falls in Makati

Years and years ago, during my worst and harrowing relationship, I actually split into two separate selves. The pathetic, self-pitying one, and the angry, frustrated one. I had long arguments with myself, playing both personalities. And then one day, I realized there was a third self, listening and watching the other two selves go at each other. I was mediating between me and myself.

I got out of that relationship and let my festering sores heal under the midday sun.

But now, this blog, I am splitting again, like a cat caught under the thick, evil tires of a speeding dump truck. I don't want to have to write here, secretly, separately, hoping for a different witness. People whom I do not know and who do not know me. Like too much blood in the brain, this is trephination.

I wish a could go to a beach, be naked, and let the salt water wash over me. What am I looking for? A saviour? A hidden door? Night falls in Makati.

Save Our Souls

My third post for the day. This is a bad sign.

Here's what you could do. Sit beside me and let's be quiet for a couple of hours. Let the afternoon join us and siya na ang magsalita.

Back in college, during Sundays, I would walk around the grassy fields of the Ateneo. My long, white skirt would fly up. No one would see me, in the middle of that field. I would feel the wind between my legs, the sharp grass and dry soil under my bare feet. My flats in my hands. When clouds would pass, I would lie down and disappear. Bugs would find me and think I am part of the landscape. I would write poetry in the sky.

I would be the luckiest girl in the world if rains fell.

Sometime this week, after work, I'll be taking the MRT to QC, carrying lots of cash. Pray that I don't get robbed. I hate this damned metropolis. Sana makasabay ko si Clark Kent.

You Are Watching HBO

I'm at work and I'm surfing for apartments in Canada. I wish I can move there. Maybe I can apply as a skilled immigrant. Will I be able to leave everything behind?

It would be a good escape to just cut off all ties to the Philippines, start over, and disappear, only to reappear as someone else. Right now, I am at work, but my mind is somewhere else.

I am still stressed about money. I borrowed some money from a friend and I'm paying her back today. I have to withdraw 13,000 pesos from my measly savings and give it to her. When will I give it? Sana next month na lang. After payday. When I can breathe.

I'm trying to do my work, but money bugs me, and I try to ignore it. I end up flying in the clouds. Often, when I am at home, alone in my room, I touched myself under the glow of HBO. An orgasm is like free, instant massage.

Last Night, San Pedro

I worked well into the night, last night, fixing our messy apartment. My shoulders have been stiff these past few weeks, and my lower back aches from the burden of tight budgets. So many bills to pay. I feel like I'm the Philippines, suffering from heavy debt payments.

Therefore, this blog.

As I steer my course and balance my budget, I feel I have little time for expressing doubt or anger. If you happen to find this blog and read it from time to time, then welcome to the world that I will rarely admit to, even to my closest friends, even to my lover.