There you are, you. I finally found you. The one I’ve been looking for my whole life, the one my heart yearns for every night. I never knew I’d find you there, sitting on a chair, looking at me as I push the door open. There you are, you. I finally found you.
In that moment, all I knew of you was your name - short, sweet, and easy to remember. But here I stand, looking back at you with a smile and an uncomfortable stance. My heart skipped a beat the moment my eyes landed on yours, a wonder of the world, you are.
I finally gather the energy to take one step, into the room you were in, with a couple more others. I wonder why it was you my eyes locked in on, maybe you were interesting, maybe you had a glow I’ve never seen before, but whatever the reason may be, I’ve never seen anyone like you.
‘Maya ka na punta, and2 pa tropa e. Kulitz ng kuya mo, ayaw umuwi. Ttxt kta pag oks na. love u bhe.’
Heto na naman tayo, pahirapan para magkita. Ilang oras na naman ba akong maghihintay para makasama kita? Para mahagkan, mahawakan ang iyong mga kamay, mayakap, at marinig ang iyong boses.
Ako nga pala si Julius, 14 years old, laking skwater, laking Pasay, laking Tramo, at isang dakilang tambay. Marami na akong napag daanan, muntik masaksak, naka-saksak, nambugbog, binugbog, namakla, nagpa-chupa, chumupa, nag rugby, nag yosi, uminom, nakulong, at kung anu-ano pa.
Sa angas kong ‘to, hindi ko aakalaing titiklop ako, maiinlab sabi nga nila. At sa dinami dami ng tao sa mundo, sa kabarkada pa ng utol ko, si Romeo.
‘Wag kna magalit bhe, saglit na lang 2. Papauwiin ko na din sila. Gus2 na kta makita. :)’
Nakilala ko si Romeo noong isang taon, birthday ni kuya. Kabarkada’t kaklase daw niya. Hindi ko naman siya trip noong una, mas gusto ko kaibigan nilang si Jenny na malaki ang suso, kahit maitim at puro libag, malaki pa din ang suso. Niyaya ako ni kuya sa inuman, gin, tubig at red horse lang. Hindi ako masyadong nakainom kasi ako ang inuutusan ni kuya na bumili ng mga pulutan. Hanggang sa naki-ihi si Romeo sa kubeta, lasing na siya, at doon nag simula ang lahat.
Halos gabi-gabi kaming magkatext, kamustahan, gaguhan, kwentuhan, hanggang sa palihim na kaming nagkikita sa Libertad tapos pupunta kami sa kanila, doon na ako nagpapalipas ng gabi at minsan inuumaga na ng uwi.
‘Magbihis kana, punta kana d2 after 15 mins. Aalis na 2ng mga 2, sbi ko di ako pwede lumabas.’
Hindi alam ni kuya ang nangyayari samin ni Romeo, panigurado bugbog ang abot ko. Alam ko sa sarili kong hindi ako bakla, lumaki ako lalake, astig. Pero kakaiba ang naramdaman ko sa kanya, kung pagiging bakla nga ‘to, edi bakla, wala na akong pakialam sa sasabihin ng ibang tao. Ang importante, masaya ako, kami ni Romeo, masaya kami sa aming mundo.
‘Pumasok ka nlng. Bukas yung pinto, hihiga muna ko. Gcngin mo ako pag nakatulog ako’
Halos mag 6 months na kami, hindi kami perpekto tulad ng ibang mag karelasyon. Sa tuwing nag-aaway kami, laging may sigawan, suntukan, selosan, murahan, at batuhan. Pero hindi ibig sabihin nun ay hindi namin mahal ang isa’t-isa. Nagkataon lang na pareho kaming sanggano, pareho kaming pisikal, at parehong astig. Kahit ganon ang relasyon namin, alam kong ito ay totoo.
Mahal na mahal ko si Romeo.
Malamang nakatulog na naman yun, hindi na ako pinansin, malapit naman na ako, papasok na lang ako at tatabi sa kanya, gusto ko na din mag pahinga…
‘Naalimpungatan ako, asan kna?
‘Huy! San kna?’
‘Reply nman diyan!’
‘Tutuloy ka pb? Kung hndi na sasara ko na pin2’
TANG INA! HINDI PALA AKO UNLI! Naghanap ako ng malapit na tindahan, kahit mga magbabalut tinanong ko kung may tinda silang load, naghanap na din ako ng 7-11 at Ministop, wala talaga.
‘Kinakabahan ako, asan kb? Lalabas ako para hanapin ka. Hintayin kta sa kanto’
Hindi na ako sumagot, gugulatin ko na lang siya sa kanto, malamang siya yung nasa may poste.
AY PUTANG INA! ROMEO! TANG INA! SINONG GUMAWA SAYO NITO?
Sa sobrang galit ko, hindi ko na din namalayang ang nakatusok na icepick din sa tagiliran ko…
I want to slow dance in the middle of the street as if the night belonged to no one but us. Have my hands on your waist and let me gaze into your eyes as I start to formulate a million different words to describe such a night. The music in which will direct our movements will be our heartbeat. Listen. Isn’t such symphony beautiful to the ears? Let us own this night because foreign souls won’t be able to taint such a moment. Let us wander to a place beyond this and dance through our dreams. Let us.
I want to walk into a coffee shop and start a conversation with a stranger. Document their past and write them into my heart because such knowledge should never be forgotten. It will now rest in my soul, as it has in theirs. To be able to hear first account stories of forgotten history would be absolutely grand. Tell me about your ancestors and what you’ve seen. Let me see it, too. Let me live it. Allow me to treasure your confessions and carry them with me as they become a part of my memories. I might forget names but faces never escape my mind. Let me.
I want to twirl around on the beach and fall back onto the sand, sinking deep into the earth and letting yourself go. I watch as the grains of infinite hopes set themselves onto my skin and cling onto my strands of hair. Rest my back onto their ripples as many of those before me have done so. Let me assure them that I am not here to settle my presence then leave and forget about them. I will not abuse such privileges. I hope you don’t mind if I steal a vile full and take it home with me. I mean no harm, I just wanted to take something with me so I could remember. I don’t want to forget. Let me store you amongst the others. Make friends with them because they are your siblings from different locations, made up of different colors, texture and history. Let the union of such beauty become one of my most prized display in my household. Let me.
I want to sit around a campfire and exchange stories of our pasts. Let’s watch as the fire burns ever so passionately in the middle of our circle as we feel our hearts warming up to such great company. We will bond and break down every wall that has been built throughout the years of lessons learned because not even the fire will separate us. We could make some smores. Two crackers of laughter, a piece of chocolaty secrets and one fluffy marshmallow of smiles. Let us devour such delicacy and in a moment as beautiful as this, our presence will fill the night with the stars from within our eyes in which will transfer out into the sky. Let us.
I want to fall in love. I want to experience first-hand what it is like to love a person with every fiber in my mind, body, and soul. I want to see this bewildering love-type thing that everyone speaks of. I want to understand to which degree I will do so and the potent of such emotion. I want to have a taste of how it will feel when and if I lose it. I want to replace my front-row ticket memories by playing the field. I want to know that I am capable of doing so and that love is possible for me. Flip my mind as if you are about to turn a skeptic into a believer. Let me feel. Let me.
I look at you and think: can I even afford to blink? Look at you all beautiful and wonderful to look at. We sat one morning. The sky was filled with the flight of birds that highlight the width of a cloud shaped like your nose. Who knows I could retain your smell. You’re like a spell. I still look at you and wonder why we’re not together. You bizarre little blue star. I believe I live just to see you cross my path and just like that.
I love you, and I’ll always love you, so much so that sometimes it scares me, but I don’t need to tell you that because you know. I know you feel the same. I’m here to watch over you and protect you, I’ll be the place you hide away from the world in, the one place you feel safe and sound, I’ll lend you every ounce of my strength when you need it, I’ll wipe away the tears from your face and exchange them for a smile, a laugh. I love you, you mean everything to me and it hurts when you’re not okay, although I’m always here, right beside you with a hand to hold. Here, to let you know everything will be okay and even if it isn’t I’m here to weather to storm alongside you.
I’ve seen and been through a great deal of things in my life. From each, I have come to consume a great deal of knowledge. I have learned that some things you will see can be truly haunting and terrifying. They can stalk your dreams and get you while you sleep. There are things that you can experience that will cut you deeply. They will make you bleed, and no matter what those wounds do to you, they never seem to completely heal. Instead they bear a reminder of what you’ve seen and been through. They appear as scars that blemish otherwise perfect skin, as a mark of resilience, as a mark of a fight won or a mark of a battle lost. Either way they become forever sown into the depths of your being.
For a many number of years I often wondered if there ever was a way to forget, to move on and leave the past where it belongs. And it sounds almost cliched, what I’m about to say, that is. But it’s weird because it’s really simple. There isn’t a way to forget, because those experiences are what make you who you are, but there is something that can soothe the pain of it all. And as cliched as it sounds, it’s love. Love. I guess it’s in its simplicity, the thing which makes it so beautiful. You can’t forget the past, you can’t forget the pain but love can wrap around those wounds like a bandaid. And while it masks the wounds from view, love works to heal them. And it may not do completely. That’s probably too much to ask. But love has a way of washing you with a beautiful calm, a serene peace. Over the last month I’ve started to heal from my past. And honestly, cliched or not, it’s her love that makes it so. I’ve never felt so free of my past. I have never felt so different. Like a completely new incarnation of myself. I’ve never been so happy. So I thank love, and her, for loving me the way she does.
Writing these poems hurts in all the places it shouldn’t.
Please. Don’t pick at your scabs to see if you can find a story underneath. Red continents line your knees and all of our stories begin the same, with “I was drunk and fell on the sidewalk and cracked open my skin and bled a memoir.”
Leave those stones unturned. Save them for another poor soul who doesn’t know that this world means killing yourself to prove that you’re a phoenix,
Because it’s one a.m. now and I’m coughing up a bloody poem into tissue paper. With my head over the toilet bowl I’m choking out regurgitated aches. I feel my heart beating beneath my fingernails and by three a.m. I’ll have given myself open heart surgery by the glow of my computer screen.
It is a lesson in gravity, or the sudden seeming absence of it, whenever he is close to me.
It is also a lesson in anatomy, the oddness of such phenomenon: how I experience flight, when I am not even a bird, when I am but a human incapable of growing out a wing from the margin of my spine.
He is a spectacular subject matter in the study of physics — the theory of relativity, the relativity of time and space. With him, the entire idea of a plane of time cross-hatched with a plane of space suddenly vanishes from each of their absurd existence. A mile is not a mile when the molecules of his sweat are intact on the premises of my skin.
You have the words in you to change the world, you have a heart that screams louder than thunder. You have everything I have ever searched for. To me you are perfect down to the last strand of hair that is sown into the fabric of you.
I’ve lost you before and that hurt me. Somehow you found your way back to me and now I love you more than I ever fathomed that I could, now I know a happiness I never knew existed. Now I know how effortless and easy it is to be yours. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m terrified of losing you again. That’s why this time I’m playing for keeps. This time I want it to be forever. This time I’ve come to learn that my heart beats only for you.
It’s the same feeling as going to the drugstore and watching a boy in a university sweatshirt buy a box of heart-shaped chocolates and a 30 of coors light.
Scoffing, you stare at the caramels you’re holding in line and think of the casual dates you’ll go on tomorrow, think of the boys you’ll hold hands with and the ones who you know you won’t.
You put on the heels that make you look five years older and run into the liquor store to see the guy with green eyes who looks at you like you’re someone more than a seventeen-year-old on a saturday night buying svedka for her friends, and you wonder, once more, if it’s so wrong to give the ones who like you a chance.
He’ll ask you things about your world and you’ll say no when you mean yes. You’ll tell him that you’re in your third year of university and that you major in English, and you realize how easy it is to become someone that you only are in wish-lists.
“It was nice seeing you,” he’ll say, slipping in how he majors in business, and he’ll pass you your change and let his hand brush up against yours, and you’ll wonder what it’d be like to kiss a twenty-five year old who thinks that you’re twenty-two.
Before you leave you’ll want to ask him for coffee this Wednesday, not because you’re lonely but because you want to see how quickly you can make someone stop looking at you as if you were beautiful, to see if he’ll ever look at you as if you were just another seventeen-year old buying vodka on a saturday night.
But instead you give him a smile that you save only for strangers and bed talk and wonder how easy it’d be to become the person that he wishes you were,
and how easy it’d be to become the person that you wish you could be.
The apartment was darks from the outside. Looked like James wasn’t here yet.
I slowly rotated the knob and pushed the door to open. I was about to open the lights when somebody spoke.
“No, not yet.”
It was James.
“Hey what’s this all about?” I asked a bit confused.
“Don’t open the lights yet.” James said “Close your eyes first.”
“Wh..What’s all this?” I said stuttering a bit.
Even if I couldn’t see him, I knew he was smirking.
“Basta, trust me.”
And so I did. I closed my eyes. I sensed that room illuminated a bit.
Then I felt James guiding me to walk forward a bit.
“Okay, you may now open your eyes.” James said
I slowly opened my eyes.
And there on top of the gigantic box where our Orocan container was stored before, was a lighted candle.
At first, I couldn’t figure out what was happening since my eyes were still adjusting from the darkness. I stepped forward to see what was placed on the box aside from the lighted candle. There was single rose and a plate of pancit canton. Placed near the plate was a pink post it.
Happy 6th monthsary A. Sorry for this. You know I don’t cook.
I love you!
Cue the waterworks.
Tears began cascading my eyes. I, myself, was surprised how easily I cried.
“Oh, oh. Sorry if you didn’t like it.” James began hugging me. “I did try to cook a while ago. A fancy chicken dish I downloaded from the internet. But I think I produced charcoal more than something edible. That’s why I closed the lights before you came inside. I don’t want you to see the mess I made in our kitchen.”
He then cupped my face with his hands and stared into my eyes.
“I’m sorry if I disappointed you. Nasunog kase eh.” James pouted like a little kid who just lost his favourite toy. “I know you deserve more than this lame pancit canton.”
James the pulled my arm and started to walk towards the door.
“Come on, let’s have dinner outside.” He said obviously trying to salvage what he though was a disaster.
“No.” I said still tearing up. I grabbed James’ both hands and gave him a tight hug. “This is perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
I sat down and forked some pancit canton.
“This is the best pancit canton ever!” I smiled as I still cry and chewed at the same time.
“Really?” James said. His face lighted up as if he just invented the cure for AIDS.
I nodded still smiling.
The truth was, it actually tasted a bit soggy like he over boiled the noodles or something. He also wasn’t able to dissolve the flavouring powder properly. I could still feel it in my mouth.
But I really don’t care. This was definitely the best pancit canton I ever tasted! No five star food can compare to this!
“Happy monthsary Babe.” James said “I love you.”
I smiled and gave him a kiss on the lips.
“Takaw mo!” James teased me as he saw me eating the noodles like a hungry wolf.
I just smiled and stuck my tongue out.
At that moment, in the company of James only being lit by a single candle and eating the best pancit canton in the planet, I knew I made the right choice.
As I walked towards our apartment, I suddenly remembered the things that matter to me Pre relationship with James.
Like Intarmed, my family, my friends.
If I wanted, it would’ve been easy for me to just stay in the metropolis and not be away from everything close to me.
I could be coming home to my parents’ house and pig out my Mom’s to die for food instead of ordering fast food every fucking day or digesting my daily dose of MSG no thanks to the good old pancit canton. I won’t worry about electricity, water and cable bills. All I need to worry were my exams or some stupid project I need to pass a day from today. Plus, this would be the first time I’ll be separated from my parents.
I could be hanging out in some Starbucks with Nicole, Dawn and Doug laughing until our lungs exploded instead of walking in a really huge campus with a hundred different faceless people that I don’t care a shit about.
I could be walking the hallways of UP Manila with my head up high knowing that I was one of the lucky ones who got in the Intarmed program. Sure I will be pulling my brains out and will probably commit suicide because of stress but I’m positive a smile will be painted on my face knowing that I’ve dreamt about this opportunity for as long as I could remember. Instead, I’m in some stinky laboratory with leaky pipeline trying to extract essential oils from lemon grass and orange peelings. Don’t get me wrong, I love chemistry but Intarmed was an aspiration that almost turned into a reality.
Sometimes I wonder why I gave up everything just to be with him.
But I don’t need to be a rocket scientist nor do I see the need to consult some famous expert to derive the answer.
It’s because I love him.
There’s no other way of explaining it.
People told me before that you do crazy things for love. I used to be one of those who would smile funny and blurt out some sarcastic remark.
“My life’s version would be: boy meets girl, boy thinks he love girl, boy and girl becomes a couple, boy meets another boy, boy makes out with the other boy and realizes he’s gay, boy sort of dumps girl, boy and another boy gives it a shot.”—Adam Chua, 'And This Is Why It's Worth It' (First Love)
“And so I did. I began applying her red lipstick on my tiny lips, pouting at times to check if it followed the contour of my lips. I would rub her coloured palate on my eyes and cheeks. I would spray my body with her perfume just so I could smell like vanilla and scented flowers just like her. Once I was made up, I grabbed her robe and began prancing all over the room imagining the images I just saw in the film ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I remembered being confused as to whether I would be Belle or the Beast.”—Adam Chua, 'Bakla' (First Love)
“And I have to admit that yes, I am. But who can blame me? I maybe really good in physics and calculus, can deliver a really rocking impromptu speech and even explain the Le Chatelier’s Principle any given day but courting a girl doesn’t have a formula to follow. I mean, I’m so used to theories, formulas, procedures and all that academic nonsense. No matter how hard to contemplate, in love, x doesn’t always equal to y.”—Adam Chua, "Boy Torpe" (First Love)
All I want right now is some warmth. It’s been cold the whole year round, and no fire has surfaced ever since you left. I keep wondering when will the fire start again, burning every desire to be with you, yet the warmth is not the same without you here.
Small movements in the air particles bring chills deep into my bones, that piercing pain spreads throughout my whole body as if I bathed in needles. There is no snow, but there is a significant amount of ice floating around invisibly, keeping the temperature low.
All I want right now is some warmth. Please, I beg of you to give me some warmth. Hold me again and let me feel the fire that ince kept both of us alive. Please, I beg of you give me some warmth. Look into my eyes and promise me that there will be wood to burn.
Throughout history comets have been known to inspire humankind. They have been a shining beacon in the sky which can inspire hope and love. They have been the light when all else was dark, they have I’m sure given humankind belief and strength and been the light that has guided the way to something of sheer greatness.
I’m one of a few in the world lucky enough to know what the inspiration of a comet can be like, I have seen one soar across the night sky, and set it ablaze with light, but more than that it’s hope, it’s inspiration, belief, strength. I am even luckier that I have my own comet, and she does not rest in the sky, but rather she takes a human form.
In the few short years I’ve known her, I have realized the magnitude of her grace, her astonishing beauty, her unmatched smarts and the sheer desire to fulfill her dreams. The way she loves, and how she touches everything that is graced by her presence. Those qualities are what make me sure that someday she will excel to unearthly heights. I doubt she knows it yet and wouldn’t admit it, but I’ll be there for the day I get to say, “I told you so”.
Her qualities are what inspire me to be something greater than I am, that I know I can someday be. It’s is her belief in me, when I do not believe in myself that makes me stand so tall. It is her radiance that lights my path to desires of greatness and it is her friendship that makes me strong and resistant to whatever comes my way. Most of all it is her love, it’s the way she loves me that will ultimately see that I reach greatness, and when I do… I want nothing more than for her to be standing right next to me. So I am thankful for my comet because she gives me light in an otherwise dark world.
I’m sorry if I wasn’t the star fit to complete your constellation. I wonder if I’ll ever be anything close to being the remedy to your incompleteness. I’m sorry if there’s nothing left for me to show. I know there’s nothing left for us no time no space nothing. I’m sorry if I wasn’t made for you. It’s my fault, I know.
When you had your heart broken, it feels as though you cannot concentrate on anything at all. All you want to do is curl up on that side of the couch and waste your life away by watching every chick-flicks you have in your disk drive (it doesn’t even matter if you perceived it as corny before), eat chips (that you despise before), and cry even if you’re watching a funny guy like Adam Sandler (your fictional rah-rah boy). Baths? Who needs a bath? You can die alone and stinking in that boxers and thread-bare shirt you had on for days with your hair all over the place. It feels as though no amount of talk with your girlfriends can make you feel better, and no amount of Kleenex could ever wipe away all the tears you want to shed. You can go acting like a lunatic for days and no one will tell you to stop until you, yourself, get tired of the same shit you do everyday.
You’d try to make sense out of what happened. You’d try to analyze things over and over again until it drives you mad. You get sad, you get weird. You shut all things and people and wallow in misery by yourself. You give up the things you used to do. You’d feel so much and react so little. There will be days when all you want to consume is a frigging cigarette, while there are days you’d think you’re going to be put in one circle of hell for being a glutton. (So much for the literally shit you had to go through to graduate. You see my point for having no sense at all?) And still, not even the taste of your favorite chocolate (Meiji Black) can make you feel better.
You go to work, you hang out in book stores or coffee shops and walk on your street with your mind wandering elsewhere, then you get hit by a frigging jeepney (how very third world). Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt as much as the hurt you’re feeling. What is a broken limb compared to your broken heart, riiiiiiggggght?
And then, when you’re sick to your stomach about what you’re doing with yourself, you’d try to rise from the dead. You’d shriek, “Screw you all!” and try to live another day. You’d hit the gym, you’d enroll to a class you’ve been dying to take for years (Hello, Architecture!), you’d try to resurrect whatever passion you still have left. And, just for the heck of it, you reconnect with friends. Man, only then you’d realize what you’ve been missing.
This is an honest anecdote of one girl who had been to that deep shit and wake up earlier today and realized it’s February. It is love month. And as shallow as it sounds, it is also a heart birthing. The time when you realize that life shouldn’t stop even though you have considered stopping it before. The time when you realize you really have to take a grip of yourself and control your life by choosing your priorities.
Just a little bit stronger, just a little bit wiser, and you’ll see that there are lessons in heartbreak, too. Now, set foot on that road, say hello to the world, and get a fucking tattoo.
“You know the reason why a lot of relationships fail? It’s because people tend to romanticize things. They want to make themselves believe that love can be expressed through fairytale-like aspirations and other fucked up concepts that Disney and his band of fucked up friends invented. But you want to know the truth Adam?” Bullet faced me looking more serious now. “All you need to do is to say things straight up. No flowery bullshit. No fucking fairytale dreams. Keep it real.”—Bullet, "Ignoratio Elenchi" (When Boy Meets Boy)
At first I was embarrassed to dance in an empty parking lot but he held both my hands and started swaying me.
I smiled and just followed James’ lead.
We were dancing like two drunk guys completely uninhibited and carefree. James was laughing as he moved his hips and swayed his arms to the air. We were having the time of our life. At that moment, I realized that I don’t need fancy clothes or the most romantic place to feel I belong and feel happy. Just dancing in this dark and empty parking lot with some cheesy dance track blasting on the radio and only his car’s headlights to light the place, it all made sense.
I felt alive and more importantly, I felt happy.
I wasn’t pretending anymore. I wasn’t fooling anyone, especially myself.
I was just myself.
“I love you Adam.” James said as he hugged me while we continued to dance.
I stared at James’ eyes and smiled.
“I love you too James.” I replied. “Never break my heart, okay?”
James smirked. “Never.”
“Pinky promise?” I asked as I raised my right arm.
James smiled even more before intertwining his pinky with mine.
“Oh you so need to watch Miss Universe tsk, tsk.” Philip said implying how stupid of us to not watch a show that clearly objectifies the entire female population. “Lalo ka na!” Philip said pointing at me. “Ang tunay na bading umaabsent pag Miss Universe!”—Philip, “The Grinder, The Cow, The Old Flame” (When Boy Meets Boy)