Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

Rain and wind lashed at my windows, calling me.

I feel so old and so alone. Living on these mountains, I feel like the rest of my life is downhill. Unless, I stop time and stay up here, in the mists and clouds.

I had never hoped to end up like this.

When I was a small girl, I spent many afternoons playing by myself in our backyard. I'd dig up dirt, mud and pebbles tomake small houses and streets and streams. I'd climb our trees, santol, mango, lanzones, and crawl under shrubbery. I'd run around the house, around and around. I'd turn on the hose and put my thumb in the nozzle to make a spray in the sunlight, creating a small rainbow. I was utterly happy by myself.

Only because I felt loved, because I had a home, because I had nothing to worry about. Because I had no sad memories.

I celebrated my birthday last week with some friends. We had a picnic on my friend's backyard, just outside the city. We had a nice view and agreeable weather. It was great of them to make the effort. I had hoped to let the day pass by unnoticed.

I got a text message saying that one of my grade school barkada died of a heart attack. So young! I thought. I then wondered why I felt so old, if I also felt it was too early to die at my age. (Am I making sense?)

Rain and wind was still calling, so I stepped out onto the deck, into the rough weather. I was immediately drenched. I stayed outside for an hour, looking straight into the storm, shivering, cold.

What do you want from me?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Holding Her Glass Near Her Lips

She arrived with a bottle of Kahlua, as she had promised. We were going to have a Black Russian afternoon pajama party, just the two of us.

The day was nice and chilly, perfect for staying in. Skies were gray and rains came and went, whenever it felt like it. Even the weather was lazy. I had the radio on but at a low volume, just the right amount of background music.

"Pajamas?" I asked my young, new friend.

She smiled and raised her backpack. "Where can I change?"

I pointed to the guest bedroom.

She handed me the bottle. "Make the drinks."

I am still amazed at the efficiency of our conversation. We've been talking so much since we met, but I feel that we use so few words. At least, in general, in the sense that we don't chit-chat, don't waste words, don't fill the silence with chatter. We end up sharing so much more, stories, ideas, feelings, memories.

Great conversation is such a turn-on.

Later, we settled in the camel-back couch facing the bay window. She wore this big, big shirt and nothing much else. I told her that our conversations are so familiar, that it reminds me of my once-best-friend, the one I fell in love with long ago, when I was about her age.

"Are you falling for me?" she asked, holding her glass near her lips.

"That's what I mean," I said. "I love how we talk. I haven't had this in a long time. Too long."

"You didn't answer my question," she said.

"I know," I said and finished my drink. "Do you want another one?"

It was a lazy afternoon. She read my Calvin and Hobbes while massaging my feet, and I sketched her. I like drawing her cheeks, her delicate nose. It was a perfect afternoon.

News on the radio said that the weekend will bring more rain.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You're My Holiday

What do I do next? This morning started out well. I woke up well and early, had a healthy breakfast of strawberries, and took a long, hot shower. I even came.

I also spent some time looking out the window, a pre-dawn glowing Baguio landscape. The glass panes are cold to the touch, telling me how it might be if I step outside. Looking, gazing, staring out.

I've been waking up early because I've never done it before. I'm hoping to find what I haven't found in the other times of the day. Not late at night, not under the glaring sun.

Awake before everyone. Anticipating the coming light. Hoping for an epiphany to strike me down.

It's been a tough year. No tougher than previous years, but I am getting older. I seem to have less tolerance for pain now. I avoid it, don't look for it. Even memories, I've been tucking away painful memories.

My birthday is coming up next month and death seems to be nearer, yet so far away.

I met a wonderful person the other day. She's about a decade younger than me, only a kid. She has that spark and optimism that I wish I had, that I wish to absorb.

I was having lunch by myself at Cafe by the Ruins, and she asked if she could share my table. I couldn't say no, despite my desire to stay quiet. But she was so nice, so earnest, and, dare I say, so innocent. My quick lunch extended into three hours.

She's in Baguio with her family and decided to explore by herself.

I found her attractive, of course, so I managed to slip in some stories about my previous girlfriends. I waited for that look, that pause, which I find amusing, from people who suddenly realize they're talking to a lez (or bi, to be exact). Instead, there was nothing. She didn't react, or she managed to hide her reaction. Either way, we ended well and exchanged phone numbers, email addresses.

When we stepped out of the cafe, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and a quick hug. I like you, she said. You seem a bit sad, but I'd like to see you again.

We've been talking on the phone since then. But I wonder, what do I do next? I don't want to jump in again, but she is making it so easy. All I need is a friend right now, but I wouldn't mind kissing her all afternoon.

After years of seeking distractions, at this point in my life, I don't want anything to distract me. I'm trying, you see, to shake off all my burdens, to find a path, to find a life again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"This is going to hurt like hell"

Off and on, Sarah seems to be my only friend. That's so sad, making me doubly sad now. Hers songs are great and amazing, perfect for any moment. But when I feel really bad inside, her songs undeniably resonate.

When she whispers "good enough" and "hold on", she's cutting through all the layers and I believe her. She understands me, and I love her for that.

Perhaps all this is just conditioned reflex, associations established long ago, when she became the soundtrack to my depression years. I listened to her every night, crying and swaying in my dark studio apartment, in the middle of the city, six floors above the dirty streets, surrounded by much taller, ominous buildings. Through it all, she offered a metaphysical hug.

Each line she sings now reaches all the way back, a much-needed reminder that I can hope for better days.

In the back of my mind, I'm so thankful that she's still alive, which can only mean that all her words are still true. She's still making music, while living her own life, as wife, mother, and artist. I hope she lives a long, long life, as I'd rather die before she does.

For now, for this lonely moment, I cannot imagine a world without her.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Psychology of Defeat, Learned Helplessness

I have a new word floating around my head, dislodged from somewhere: defeat.

It's such a strange word. I always assumed it belonged in another world, of military metaphors, in sports, in combat. It's strange that it feels so appropriate, so right, so me.

I feel defeated.

Beaten down by life, the world, all my traumas, broken relationships, broken promises, deaths in the family, death of friendships. I am absolutely exhausted from hoping and waking up everyday.

I realize that I am here only by sheer force of will. I have no reason to be here, no reason to move forward, no where to go.

I have given up on love.

In my pocket, my secret pocket, I keep a small, small dream of escape, to another life, another chance at life.

I suspect I am on the verge of another depression. Oh, such a tiresome prospect. Depression won't save me anymore.

This, of course, is one big secret. My latest, grand secret of secrets. If you met me, you will never know this. I never let on. I will tell you, "Life is good" and mean it.

And that's the thing: despite me, despite my will, prayers, belief, desire--despite it all, I come down to this.

A heavy arrow embedded in my shoulder, embedded into the wall behind me, trapping me. A hail of arrows follow.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Therapeutic Properties of Google

My purging has come to an abrupt end, thanks to Google.

It turns out you fell in love with your best friend, like in the movies. I remember her, met her once when we were in a small cafe near her office, and she had something to give to you.

For the longest time, I didn't know with whom you ended up. I didn't know, I didn't know, I didn't know.

You have been best friends since forever, I knew that. You've been through a lot together, know everything about each other, literally and absolutely soulmates, perfect in every and any way for each other.

How in hell can I compete with that?

But the whole idea overwhelms me, overpowers me. Really, it feels right, it feels greater than nearly a decade of unrequited love, visits to a shrink, 50-peso Prozac pills, cutting, tears, screams muffled by old pillows, nights upon nights being alone, touching myself, Sarah McLachlan singing, imagining you with me, all the times we were together, in the past.

I shouldn't have googled your name. Google obliged and spitted out all your old blogs, with her, letters to her, pictures of you.

She was so familiar! And I remembered, like a finger touching a live, open electrical wire. It was a mistake! I wish I could take it all back, erase the past hour, erase the logs, the blogs, and return to my well-loved misery, to my pining for you, to my missing you.

I still miss you, dear one, my chipmunk, my hamster. You with your sharp mind and beautiful wit, your lovely face, shoulders, lips, thighs. Your laugh and smile, your cute frown, cute butt.

I miss all out all-night coversations over wine, many times being shooed out by the waiter at closing time. I miss all our letters, our email, all erased and burned away years ago, in a fit, when I realized that I couldn't have you, that I couldn't make you love me.

And now, it's all over. Or, at least, the beginning of it being over. This novel has turned its last page, and your life is where it should be, never ever with me.

For the longest time, I didn't know with whom you ended up. I didn't want to know.

I fell in love with you, loved you, and will always love you, until my next lifetime.

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Long-Distance Anything, Unable to Sleep

I can't sleep. I've been trying to sleep. I played with my clit a little, but it didn't help. Something's really bothering me, and I'm not sure what.

Earlier tonight, I had a long webcam conversation with my best friend. We had a thing before, but she's now in New York working as an interior designer. It's such a hot job, I envy her. But she really deserves it, because she's got an amazing talent. Recently, she was asked to submit designs for a range of houseware, throw pillows, table cloths, plates, vases, what not. She's hoping it gets approved. If it does, she promised to send me a set of everything.

She told me she missed me, so I told her I missed her.

We've talked almost every night this past week. For some reason, our schedules clicked, and she had time to burn.

Most nights she would be talking about her work, meeting with clients, her designs, her inspirations. It's an exciting life, something I would gladly have. But she told me that she feels her life is on hold, that she feels stuck.

I've heard this before.

It's not something she mentions a lot, but we talk about it at least every six months, almost on schedule. Again, I hold my sigh and ask the same question I always ask:

Is it because of us?

The same pause, then the same answer. Part of it, yes, she answers.

It ends there. Nothing much else to talk about. We had a thing years ago, but she had to leave for New York, to study, then stayed on to work. Her entire family is there.

I'm happy for her, and I'm happy we're best friends.

But it's such a burden to know that someone's life is on hold because of you. Because of me. It would have been easier if I didn't care. I do care, but please move on.

So, tonight, I told her that.

There were tears and silences, and lots of quotes from self-help books. The call ended well enough. For her.

For me, I did my part as a good friend. But I only realize now, in my lack of sleep, that this is another relationship that could have been more.

We were inseparable for a while, and even tried being together. She let me talk and blabber all day, everyday, and she always listened and looked at me googly-eyed. She matched my sexual appetite and we kissed and fondled each other almost everyday (I loved how she kissed my breasts) , whenever we were together. We always made love (fucked, she prefers) while listening to Mishka Adams. It was fun and easy , but I always felt she had more love for me, more need for me, than I could for her.

We never had to resolve that, because she had a plane to catch. No real ending, no good-bye, no drama. Just a promise to keep in touch, and to keep the love. As friends. That was over two years ago.

I don't like long-distance anything. That's my conclusion for now.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Let the Burning, Purging Begin

When I first met you, I imagined you in black underwear.

We were Freshmen, we had common friends, and you were all talking about clothes. And underwear.

I was introduced to your group. "All poets," my friend said. The idea of poetry and lingerie quickly got me excited. You said your name and gave a little wave, then you went right back into your rousing discussions. You laughed, and it sounded so familiar. Your eyes twinkled in the afternoon light.

I had a crush on you right away.

A few weeks later, we met again. A bunch of friends were supposed to go to Club Dredd (in Timog, I'm so old!) to catch a poetry reading. Everyone backed out, and there were two.

Fate doth conspire!

We took a cab, had a great night, and fell in love—oh, if that were true. In fact, the opposite happened.

That night, while sipping San Miguel and popping calamares, I looked at you in the middle of this dark, cool room, in the middle of all these strange artists and musicians, and I realized that you were out of my league. You were a real poet and you knew where you were going.

In your presence, I truly felt like a Freshman.

Luckily, I had three more years to be in the same world as you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Miss Nineteen Ninety-Seven

I miss you. I've been trying to write but nothing arrives. I know, I know that I just have to give time for it, to sit there and open up. I know all that, but I'm searching for something. Maybe I'm searching for you, for those lost, long nights that we talked and drank wine outside a darkened chapel. That scene haunts me. Walking across the car park, hugging you on the front steps, our countless dinners, that off-shoulder shirt you wore, revealing your smooth shoulder and emphasizing your young, slender neck. I wanted you, I was crazy for you. I realized that our deep discussions was like foreplay for me. I could have made love to you so many times. I miss that depth of sharing, the ideas and feelings. I never had that since. I regret that we didn't end up together, and I regret that I deleted all our emails. I was angry with you for the longest time, because I couldn't love you.

And now, only now, I realize that I've been literally so lost without you. And that all is lost, it's too late for anything, even for dreams and hopes and second chances.

All I have are memories and remembered fantasies. I know the idealized you, the lost you, the never-to-be-recovered you. And it is you that intrudes my thoughts when I write.

When I write, when I try to stir up my imagination, when I try to dip into the pool of creativity, I am always reminded by the exhilaration I felt when we were together. Here's another cliche: I was so alive when I was with you.

You, you, you. It's always been about you.

Now, I'm just stuck with my self, my sorry self and my reliable self-pity. The first few years were really bad, which contributed to my clinical depression. Nowadays, it just comes as an incessant dissatisfaction. A blah-ness in my daily life.

I never thought I'd still be alive at this age. I never planned for this.

They say that some writers write about the same thing over and over again, in different ways, in different works, in different times. I just might be one of those writers.

And you, yes, you.

You will probably never know this, but you were the one.

I was in love with you, and I loved you. I was truly, madly, deeply in love with you. And what did you say?

You said that you will invite me to your wedding.