Sorry

Sorry is such a sad word. I have no idea whether this post can still change how things are as of the moment or where they will lead, probably it won’t. Every minute I check my phone and see that I am not receiving any reply I have been dying to receive, the hope wanes, the void widens, the possibility more real.

It’s that singular mistake I shall forever regret, of allowing that moment of weakness overcome my resolve to be a changed man and put everything back to where they were. Thinking that what we have shared was enough to rein in my latent vicious self, I lamely attempted stepping on to something I should not have ventured into, and for that I am where I am now. Right in the middle of utter wretchedness. If only I could undo things, I’d go back to that moment and would not do what I did. But things done cannot be undone. I am faced with my lack of strong argument to back my claims, but I guess there is nothing I can do to defend my case as defending it only entangles me further. Although admitting my mistake liberates me, nevertheless it meant a possible end to something. And that pain this end will definitely result in is bound to be unbearable.

I shall wait for that point that will determine the next course  to take, where this shall take us both. As to where things lie this time, I cannot exactly say. I guess this is how souls caught in limbo feel. Gosh, even this obsolete metaphor fails to capture the feeling of uncertainty, pain, hollowness, lack of a clear sense of direction I feel right now.

I am genuinely sorry.

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On being 27

To you whom I can only address in the second person:

You have repeatedly told me that turning 27 bothers you the least, that it runs short of being extraordinary, that 27 is nothing but an unimposing figure, a fact of non-import that does not require you to stop for a moment and bring you to a stupor of introspection. Although I did not completely believe you, was a bit unconvinced, I sensed you were sincere, and so I just stared at your face nodding, gave you a slight kiss, and said ‘good night, babe’. Now that that day is close, tomorrow to be exact, I’d like to dedicate this post in my hardly-updated blog to you who have been the cause of my happiness these past days, weeks, and months.

I would never attempt to assume that I know you more than anyone, what is a six-and-a-half-month of being together, anyway? But allow me, in my most humble of ways, write a little about someone who is quite unknown to me, but whom I am desperately trying to know and make sense of: you.

We talked about this the other night, how writing for you is thinking first then scribbling your ideas down on a piece of paper or typing them on your computer, while for the less methodical me, allowing the act of writing on a piece of paper or my computer shape my actual thoughts. You love planning, I thrive in spontaneity. Your place is as organized as mine is chaotic. But other than these, we seem to agree on almost anything but one more thing: the right amount of sugar in our coffee.  (You have finally mastered my timpla, and this I think is very sweet.)

I was joking with you the last time how our age difference would have now widened to two years and how this will lead into something as scary as what the restless youth of the 90s referred to as generation gap. But I was kidding of course. I am so lucky to find in you somebody who can comprehend even the subtlest of my nuances, who knows exactly how to make me laugh, who knows how to appreciate what I do without having to say it, who’s of my age.

What does being 27 entail?

To you, nothing it seems. I saw in you how you have maintained that crucial balance of everything by not letting your work and all the stresses that go with it pin you down, make you bitter, or curse the world. That maturity does not mean murdering that little kid in you.

You’re that little oasis of happiness I look forward to being in at the end of every long working day. I look up to you, and I’d like you to know that I want to look at life the same way you do now when I reach this age.

Thank you for so many things, babe. Happy birthday.

Paths

Last Monday, I saw her again after eight long years, right in the middle of a morning train rush to work. My last glimpse of her, she was my seatmate in our fourth year, was during our high school graduation in 2003, crying, like all high school students do when it dawns on them that the road from this point on radically diverges and that they’re bound not to see each other ever again.

I was standing, holding the still-warm metal handrail when I heard a woman say my name, ‘Fev’, a couple of times. The timbre of the voice did not register. Nobody calls me Fev anymore except those people whom I spent with most of my childhood and teenage years. Seeing her after many years brought back memories of the better times  in the province. We were classmates in fifth grade when she, along with a handful of her classmates, were distributed among the 13 other sections in grade five after their class adviser died of cancer in the middle of the school year. They were from section 6. She performed really well in class, did even better in subjects like Filipino and Civics than my section 1 classmates. She silently made her way  and consistently maintained her good grades. She remained my classmate from then until our last year in high school. I learned from former classmates that she studied Fish Technology at Mindanao State University in General Santos City then moved to Laguna after graduation and eventually to Manila. We planned to meet once or twice when we began working but it never materialized.

I looked to her direction, she was seated between two old men. She seemed to have aged well beyond 25. I saw gray hairs peeking through her coarse crown. “Kamusta na ka, Fev?” It took me a while to recognize her. I simply blurted “Janice!” We did not talk as she hurriedly got off at Ortigas station. She was carrying a tote bag that dwarfed her small frame but this did not keep her from ambling confidently and joining the crowd scurrying out of the station, and getting lost in the plethora of strangers.

People indeed pass us by in a matter of seconds to say ‘hi’, or if we’re lucky, minutes, and for some of us who are not very fortunate, without us even realizing it. Our paths, though at some point may fortuitously converge, remind us that whatever we have now is ephemeral, that however we wanted to chat and catch up with a high school classmate we have not seen for almost a decade, we all must proceed with our own journey and just be hopeful that in the next train ride we can ‘stop and talk a while’, says a line in a famous commercial for coffee in the 90s.

Seth

And because I got nothing to write here today, I’m posting in lieu a photo of my brother’s kid, Seth, who’s the object of everyone’s attention in my family. The little boy is suffering from all the ills imaginable that go with being adorable.

A proclivity for the mundane

One is often left to wonder what has become of our world today. We are all parts of a system that goads us to look at the ‘bigger picture’ but often we end up nitpicking about the most banausic of topics and non-issue. Most of the time, our nonchalance in the face of most events occurring before us is rivaled only by our passion for the least germane aspects of the issue at hand. What is worse is that more often than not, the issues we chose to get ourselves involved in are those that matter to no one, not even to us, but which we chose to get involved in still because in this age not being a part of a fight, not being a member of an advocacy group, not being driven by something, not having an opinion on something are tantamount to letting go to waste the freedom we are supposed to be enjoying, for not doing so is an unforgivable ingratitude.

And so we’ll fill any space imaginable with all the refuse our minds happen to contain. The internet has become an open dump site for all the trash we cannot afford to bleed into our reality, but, as is inevitable, this bloody business we are a part of is hemorrhaging freely into the material world, all for the sake of the ‘freedom (of speech)’ which we all feel we’re entitled to. It’s not whether what we say is inspired by some noble motive or that it’s a product of careful thinking, the more pressing question for us is whether we have something to say right at this moment. And there is where the peril lies.

This is how we cope with the gnawing insignificance the world is making all of us feel, but which none of us will whole-heartedly admit; this is a very human response to something as dehumanizing as living in this point of our present. It is perfectly human.

When we’re confronted with the uncertain, we talk endlessly, in gibberish, to drown any suspicion that this reality is a mirage. And so, to remind us of our corporeality, we talk, using a language only we can decipher. And the others, yes, they’re our conspirators. Of course, they also talk using a language, theirs, but certainly not our language. And, we talk, mimetically. What is interesting, however, is that there is a semblance of comprehension, a constructed reality existing in a vacuum, a phantasm perhaps, deluding us into thinking that communication has occurred when in fact what has only transpired is a useless exchange of meaningless but intelligent-sounding, grammatically correct, syntactically appropriate arrangement of words we all refer to as our opinion. Verbalizing this is the be-all and end-all of talk. After all, this is a time of unbridled liberty, where one man’s rubbish is as significant and as worthy of our precious little time as the other man’s puke.

Dropped

I have been reading blogs of people my age, that is, those between 20-29, some by my really good friends, but most by strangers; some, those who have not been weaned from their consuming naivete, wrote posts celebrating this point of their lives as if it is a to-be-concluded-soon fête when nothing is definite except its indefiniteness; some, those who think that things have got to be taken seriously, took it too seriously, exhausting themselves along the way while still referring to this choice they have made logical, intelligent, an exercise in scheming prioritization, and themselves individuals worthy to be described mature; and some, those who do not think this point is worth reflecting upon, live a life enslaved, chasing the wind.

Should I go back to this moment one day when I have already accumulated experience enough to allow me to see things in hindsight, I would say that I had a great 20s, lived it like how I deem it appropriately lived. Interesting how the word ‘great’ can by itself capture and summarize succinctly a decade of an uphill climb, insecurity, small victories, epic failures, love lost and gained and so much more.

I plan to drop one of my MA subjects, the one on Asian Regionalism, because I found out very late that my hands are beyond full. Finishing it till the end of the semester means a lackluster performance in class or a tombstone six feet above my horizontally positioned body. I cannot afford both. After careful contemplation, I think that giving up on a battle (especially if it is not a major one, only a skirmish parading as war) does not make me less of a soldier. As a matter of fact, it allows me to strategize better my position in the fronts of more important wars I wage. So off I go to UP this time to sign my first ever dropping slip in grad school, but will have to check first if the dropping period has not yet lapsed. If it has, I guess I am left with no choice but to arm myself and accomplish all the requirements of the course; if I am right in time, then I’ll thank high heavens for giving me this chance to rest a bit and focus more on my supposed non-negotiables.

Kalahating taon (half of a year)

After more than a half-year, I am still as madly (if not more madly) in love (enamored perhaps) with babe as the first time I saw that fluttering soul in black at a hotel in Ortigas more than six months ago. It occurred to me that calling it ‘6th monthsary (cringing while typing this)’ relegates our union into something of little significance; this may lead you into thinking that I am appropriating too much weight on something as young and as unproven as ours by describing the length ‘kalahating taon‘ instead of the more neutral ‘six months’, probably I am. What makes being in love one of the greatest byproducts of human evolution, though, is the blindness it bestows upon smitten individuals, a beautiful kind of blindness that allows them to see the hidden that is more breath-taking than the corporeal, and the dementia that skews their perception of time and temporality.

The half-year feels like we’ve only spent less than a week together; the fleetingness of the bedtime conversations, dinners, or the precious silence between us while we look at each other’s face makes us look forward to the next time we’ll be seeing each other again.

And the world becomes merely incidental.