Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not your ideal brother Part 1. (The hardest thing I had to write)

Febfuary 27, 2007 - My parents and I went to his classroom -the grade school principal holding my hand.  It was nice to hear his classmates greet us, “Good morning, Mr and Mrs. ______. Good morning Ate Linzy.” I mustered the strength to return a smile.  It’s his 12th birthday. My parents and I are here to give the Jollibee blow out he promised his classmates.

They have been greeting each other, happy birthday since this morning.” His class adviser said.

It’s been five years but thinking about it still gives a heaviness on my chest, lumps on my throat and tears I can’t fight back. It was probably not a good idea to write this in the office.

I really don’t remember much from that day. I’ve actually just realized I don’t remember much of him at all. I’m really sorry and very ashamed. I just can’t help but cry and feel pain at the mention of his name. The only memories I have of him are of the few moments before and after his pictures that are on display in our house, the day he was born, and the day he was taken away from us.

Five years ago I didn’t have to think twice when people ask me how many siblings I have. I didn’t have to fake a smile when they say “Wow, 5 girls! Wala man lang kayong boy? Kawawa naman Papa mo, wala man lang siyang kasakasama at wala man lang magdadala ng apelyido niya. ” 

You know the cheesy line broken-hearted-trying-hard-not-to-be-bitter people say?  It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I hate that line. I hate it. If it was really better to have loved and lost you, why is it so painful to remember our happy times? Why do my eyes swell whenever I remember the morning of February 27, 1995 when our father woke me up smiling like I’ve never seen him do and asked me, “Sinong may baby brother?” His happiness was so contagious, I spent the whole day bragging to my second grade class that after having 3 sisters, I finally have a baby brother.  I would feed him, change his smelly diapers, and put him to sleep on my chest.

Not having a heartwarming story of how we bonded as he grew up makes me sad. It’s not that we don’t have any. A lot happened with those 12 years he was here. Our parents had another baby girl and we moved to 8 different houses. We went from Luzon to Mindanao and back. Not having a story makes me sad but at least I can pull myself together during conversations with him as the topic. Which is a good thing because I don’t know how to do a headstand like Hua Zhi Lei to prevent the tears from falling. 

I really shouldn't have written this in the office. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not your ideal Valentine Argument

     Valentine's day is once again 'round the corner, Facebook keeps reminding me about it. I don't have anything against it but it's just so confusing sometimes. It's a relative-biased holiday and it's not even a real one! I have to work and not get the extra holiday pay.

     Everything was far more simple as a child. You write notes on heart-shaped red cartolina cut-outs and hand it out to everyone because your teacher doesn't want anyone to not receive any. I'd also wake up really early and glance out the window because I heard someone say that the first person you see on Valentine's would be your Valentine. For many years, Manong Taho was mine.

     Come to think of it, Valentine's day is a holiday that creates social division within people - either you have a special someone or you don't. Either your relationship with special someone is mutual or not and if it's not either you choose to have a single's night out with your equally independent and empowered friends or you succumb to the emoness singing "Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead." while looking out the window. 

     It is also the only holiday that can be different for everyone each year - you may love it this year and hate it the other. There is absolutely no routine to it. For Christmas, you put up a tree. For New years, you light fireworks. For Holy week, you visit churches and do the stations of the cross (or go to Boracay). Nothing about Valentines day can be repeated year after year. As a personal example, let me retrace what I have been up to on February 14 this last few years.

  • 2011 - I forced John to have dinner with me and we had a few drinks. At the stroke of midnight I left him at the bar with his friends and went off to work. 
  • 2010 - I forced John to come by my house no matter how late they would get back from a 4 day stay Pagudpud. He arrived before midnight and brought me these delicious strawberries from Baguio.

  • 2009 -  I celebrated my first anniversary with Kurt. (My friends would remember him as "yung bata". He was 4 years younger.) For our anniversary, I forced him to go to our house. We ate tikoy and he did some card tricks for my younger sister. We broke up 1 month after. 
  • 2008 - I broke up with Bam the day before. The long distance thing just wasn't working out and Kurt was just closer. So Kurt and I became a couple over the phone because it turns out I don't have very good logic skills. A long distance relationship that's 2 hours away IS NOT better than one that is 4 hours away. 
  • 2007 - Oh, I was still with the cowboy. Only thing I remember is at one point, I had a 4 foot - python around my neck.
    So 5 years worth of Valentines and nothing exceptional. Not one that was spent alone either. John laughs at the people who make such a fuss out of this day and questions the origin of this tradition. He doesn't like the idea of spending for flowers or chocolates because society dictates that you have to. He reasons that it would be so much sweeter to give flowers on an ordinary day than go with the bandwagon on Valentines day. I really understand where his coming from and I wanted to concede but I couldn't stop the words as they came out to reveal how I really felt, "Eh, ayaw kong ma-OP!"(I dont want to feel left out!)


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not your ideal night

                                                       * Through the window as I rode the bus home

I came home to an empty apartment. Reheated the dinuguan I was craving for from a week ago. I ate it with the chicken skin and chicharong bituka I bought on the way home. I hate eating alone. I used to not eat, just because there wasn't anyone to eat with.

I lit a cigarette and prepared to watch the remaining 8 episodes of the second season of Friends. At least I'll have Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey with me tonight.

5 episodes in and I receive a text from Jason telling me to meet him at Metrowalk. I didn't really feel like going. My bed didn't want me to leave it. I still changed clothes, brushed my teeth, said goodbye to Friends and shut down my laptop.

Jason and I spent 3 hours talking. When you've known each other for more than a decade, 3 hours and a bucket of beer just isn't enough. Your stories have no particular order of either importance or chronology. They become intertwined, you lose track of the main topic, and sometimes they don't even get finished.

"Remember that time when I fell in love with you?", I asked him.

"Not really." He answered.

"Ugh I hate you. Me neither."

"I remember two things though. First was you said you love how I would hold your hand every time we cross the street."

"Yeah, that was nice. John just scolds me. Hey, Look where your going. Atleast sometimes he'd push me out of the way of a car. "

"Second was you loved how when we watched a horror movie, I was holding on to you."

"Is that all?" 

"Yep, pretty much."

"I remember I wrote our story once in my old phone. You know the communicator. It was qwerty."

"I remember the phone but I had no idea you wrote our story."

"See, i think that was the beauty of writing. You'll have something to look back to even when memories fail you. Damn repressed memories. I think I'll start writing again. I'll write about everything, even things that seem painful at the time. Someday, when the pain is gone, it would still be nice to look back with appreciation for who you were then."

After we paid for our drinks and food, I walked Jason to Obar where he'll meet his other friends. He asked me to go with him. I gracefully declined. As nice as the evening was. John was waiting for me to get home. I said goodbye to my gay best-friend and promised that we'll do this again soon.

When I got home. I called John, told him I had fun but I missed him. I kept telling him I love him over and over and in different tones. I fell asleep with the phone in my ear. John's presence- the warmest blanket and fluffiest pillow.

So, what's your ideal night?