Friday, April 6, 2012


It was in the year 2005, I was a thin and frail twink on his first day on the production floor when I saw this brave chick clattering her fingers on her workstation keyboard. She was fine, with long swaying hair and smooth brown skin. She caught my gay aura wit her strong personality, and I thought she was going to be my supervisor, to my dismay, the michellin looking guy beside her was my supervisor to be. Not bad I thought, he's kind of cute in a way and he looks daddyish. At that moment as I was looking at her, she looks at me with a strong stare, and the first words I heard from her was "bakla ka ba?" (are you gay?) and I shockingly said yes. Then she said "tara yosi tayo" (c'mon let's smoke). We were inseparable from then on.

I met her at work, her friend was my supervisor, 'though I constantly wished that she was my supervisor then. I don't know, I was just attracted to her in a way. Our professional relationship blossomed into a closeness that friends have, until I became her gay best friend. Time came when she introduced me to her family, I love her entire household and her family was one big chaotically controlled jumble of characters. A normal family I never had, and they treated me as one of theirs. When Angel and I broke up, she welcomed me in her home, adopted me like a baby of her own, and I've always wanted to be treated like one. She became my manager at work, but we draw a fine line between friends and subordinates when at work, I was fearful of her at the office, my nerves shake during meetings and when she demands things from me, simply because she didn't treat me like a friend at work. After office hours, we were back to normal again, we were like schizophrenics on a high during those days, living in one house, working in one office, and being in one team altogether is one crazy chaotic business, but we managed to get through all of those without any effort.

I remember one time when I become so depressed that I started to lose weight so much that I look almost like Karen Carepenter in her last days, she bought groceries and started cooking meals for me to stuff me back to a healthy weight. She took great care of me when we were still working together, she bought me food everyday, and she always wait for me to go home during my date nights, like a mother waiting for a kid to go home from his first date. I remember the night when I was so drunk and crying over this guy who dumped me. I couldn't even stand up in front of Club Government, I was crying and puking on the curb along Makati avenue. She was at work and she cancelled her meetings just to pick me up and send me home. On a separate occasion, I was so drunk I blacked out, she bathed me herself and I found myself in dry and clean clothes the next day.

She took care of me when I was hospitalized because of some wild reaction to Nevirapine (A first line Anti-Retroviral Drug), she spent nights in the hospital just to make sure I was okay, I was deeply touched when her entire family went to visit me in the hospital, just like when a dear a family member was sick. She was at my side until I recovered and did not need any help anymore. Although she would still visit me on some days and her dad would visit me every single day. Angel saw how she valued me as her friend, Aubrey saw how Angel still loves me, and I saw how blessed I am to have them in my life.

We had our arguments, we had our major quarrels, just like usual friends do. Our love for each other made us rekindle our lost friendship once more. Then I knew that she just doesn't want me to go away, because she loves me so much that she was possessive as a friend, I knew that the hard way.

Aubrey and her family is the family I never had and I've always wanted. She is the girl I've always needed and I was her baby until she has her own.

Our love for each other is a true testimony that love between friends do conquer everything; distance, quarrels, misunderstandings, and of boys and men. Men will come and they may go, but true friends stay and never go.

You will always be my one and only, my love. Aubrey.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Little King (part 2): Nomads

With four boxes and just one piece of appliance to carry with them, King and his mom found themselves in a small house in Montalban, Rizal. King already accepted the fact that his real father will not be seen anymore and that they have to live a new life now. The house was small, with no bedrooms and no running water. King learned to use the water pump or pozo to fetch water. He also learned how to raise roosters for cockfighting because his step father was into it. During spare time,  he would go to their neighbor's house to watch television, like what he did in Calamba; he watched T.V. peeking through the neighbor's window. He later found out that his mom was pregnant, he's going to be a big brother soon.

The headlines on the newspaper was of former President Ferdinand Marcos' death when King was asked to sell some cheap polvoron for them to get by. He didn't have any choice because his mom was already pregnant. So he carried the polvoron bags in a bigger plastic bag and walked across the town to sell it He went from house to house, corner to corner asking people if they would want to buy some, saying his mom is pregnant and they needed money, he was able to sell a few pieces. It became a routine, until one day he passed by a bakery, and the breads and pastries looked very tempting to him. He wanted to buy some, but he couldn't because the little money he earned from selling polvoron will be used to buy them dinner for that day. For a few pieces of coins they can have fried eggs and cheap rice for dinner or perhaps a piece or two of dried fish (tuyo) for him and his mom to share. King's attention was caught by the pristine mamon cake, it looked so delicious and wonderful that he wanted to buy it right then and there; he said to himself that it has been a long time since he ate a cake, so long that he forgot how it tastes like; but he thought of their dinner and went on to sell the polvoron goods. When King got home, he told his mom what he wanted for his birthday, all he asked was a piece of mamon cake. Which his mom got for him on the day of his birthday, and he was very happy.

They transferred to another apartment but in another municipality; San Mateo, Rizal. The apartment has no running water, but instead of fetching water to a water pump, King would go to the nearby neighbor to fetch water from a faucet. King was getting older, he was already seven years old at that time and just like many kids, it was time to go to school. Unlike other kids, King was poor, his family was poor that his mom couldn't even send him to a public school. Instead, his mom would borrow used books and collected used and printed bond papers to be used as notebooks. King would erase all the answers and notes on each page of the books, one by one until it doesn't have any traces of answers on them. His mom spent an hour or two a day to teach him school lessons, but just the very basic; like reading, writing, and mathematics. His stool was an empty can of Skyflakes and his table was a tall biscuit can, the one that most people see and buy in bus stations. So when King is hungry during lesson time, he can conveniently put down his papers and books on the floor and open his tin can table to get some biscuits for snacks. If King was not selling polvoron, or studying, or fetching water, he and his mom would read local comics, rented for 50 centavos per comic. Dennis was born, King is now a big brother. So during his spare time, aside from reading comics, he would help his mom take care of his baby brother.

They needed to transfer to another apartment again, so they did, and it was just a tricycle ride away from their old place. At their new place, King stopped selling polvoron, instead he started to sell puto (a local white rice cake, small and white with cheese on top) and he uses a bilao to sell them. They needed more money and King has to work for it, peddling his goods in a wider area than before.

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Little King (part 1): Transitioning

There was once a little boy named King. Born from a well off family, and an only child. He was simply living a normal childhood at the age of five, with toys so many that his neighbor kids envy and clothes that only worn by the wealthy. His skin was as smooth as a newborn's, a sign that he was a well sheltered boy. King, always get what he wants, new toys, and the most expensive ones too. He enjoys traveling at a very young age and by army helicopters courtesy of his wealthy and powerful uncle and by commercial planes when nothing was available. He was a bright and talented little boy who belonged to a clan of the rich and politically influential in the southern islands.

For some circumstances, King's mom met a guy, a someone, named Donald. Who lives in a slum area in a spot alongside a street called Lantana, in a place called Cubao. King and his mom would often go there for some reason unknown to him. He was shocked by what he saw the first time he went there. He saw people living in rooms that seemed to him that were like cardboard boxes but actually they have plywood for walls and doors. They find their way through a maze of wet and slippery alleyways and as he looked up to the sky, he saw nothing but the jumbled electric wires and wet clothes hanging from above. There were people shouting, shirtless drunk men at every bend and tiny stores selling cheap goods at every alleyway they go. That was his first sight of poverty.

One day, King's mom packed their bags and told him they were leaving and that his dad is not coming home anymore, which was at that time working abroad as an engineer. He has subtle and faint memories of his dad, he couldn't even remember his face. The next thing he knew was that they were in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in someone else's house.

King and his mom moved in with a huge family of 10 in a big apartment in Sta. Rosa. They had a little grocery store on the ground floor and the rooms were at the second floor. The owners of the apartment were so nice to them, specially to him. When the owners of the apartment would scold their kids, he would be treated so nicely that their own kids hated him. He felt bad and started feeling left out, so he thought he should help out  with manning the store and taking care of the deliveries of the bottled soft drinks to nearby houses and sari-sari stores. He learned to bike at age five, but with a side car. He was so good with it that he can drive it nearly on it's side for a few meters before he needs to have the sidecar back down on the ground or else he would be out of balance. He was happy, and he adapted quickly to his new environment.

King saw his mom packing their bags again one hot summer night, and they moved to their own place, a somewhat bigger one in Calamba, Laguna. He and his mom had nothing but a few bags of clothes, a Sony colored T.V., a portable water heater and a foldable table with them. He still remembers his blue Mighty Kid rubber shoes; those were the last items of their former wealth. Most of the time, King would just watch T.V. and he liked Michael Jackson so much that he memorized almost every dance step his idol does and sing to every one of his songs. King loves to sing and dance, and his number one fan was his mom.

King and his mom were packing their bags again, they are moving to another house after just  a few months in the big house they just settled in, and they barely settled at all. The next place was still somewhere in Calamba, just a tricycle ride away was their new home. The new place was just as big, with kid neighbors and he remembers seeing a big palayok on top of a cement pillar in the middle of a plaza a few walks away from their new home. He remembers an old house, which he knew later on was Jose Rizal's ancestral house just almost across the plaza with the palayok. Although the house that they just moved in was bigger, it was not any nicer, it was old and it creaks, with cracks on the wooden floors as well as on the walls, the windows were made of old style framed windows with capiz shells, just like the one in very old Hispanic houses, it has high ceilings and big rooms. One has to go through a small, long and dark alleyway just to go to the main road and back to the house. There was a very big and old santol tree a few meters outside their rented house whose wide branches extends beyond the rooftop and gives shade during a hot noon. Their colored T.V. was gone and was replaced by a small portable AM/FM radio without even a cassette player. King has his own room although it was empty except for a small box bought from the nearby market to store his clothes and for a weaved mat (banig) for him to sleep on, he has a small pillow and red checkered blanket. It was the night of his birthday, Donald gave him a blue toy robot and his mom introduced Donald as his new father.

Donald was dark and bald, big and fat, so fat that his neck was almost non-existent; with tattoos all over his body and scars of what seemed to be bullet wounds patched across the skin of his arms and thighs. He has a big black-eye that never went away on his left eye. Donald smoked a lot, menthol was his choice of cigarettes and he would wear only his sando and briefs whenever he's around. He would disappear for months and would only stay at their place for a few days, then disappear again. King never spoke a word to Donald, not even a mere "hi" or "how are you?". Whenever Donald was around, King would just stay in his big and dark empty room. He started to wonder where his real father was.

When King started to ask his mom where his father was, his mom would reply that he is never coming back and that Donald is now his new dad. King was furious, but he never showed it to his mom. One night, Donald was in their house, smoking his usual stick of menthol cigarette by the window, he asked his mom "I want my daddy, my real daddy, where is he?". His mom replied that Donald was his new dad and his dad left them for good, King replied in a young little boy's high tone of voice "I want my daddy back, Donald is not my dad, he is just some jerk in his underwear with a big belly!"; Donald slapped him on his face so hard he fell to the creaky wooden floors. King cried out loud, saying "I want my daddy back, I want my daddy back!"as tears fell down his reddish face. His mom picked him up, embracing him, comforting him like a baby; saying that his dad is away and he has a new dad now. King sobbed quietly while his arms was around his mom's neck, whimpering "daddy daddy, where are you?", and he fell asleep on his mother's arms with his head quietly on her shoulders.

During days when Donald was not around, was King at his happiest. He would play outside with the other kids and watch Shaider through the neighbor's window. King would peek through a huge window with twisted iron grills and held on to them as he enjoys Shaider defeat the mignons of Puma Ley Ar.

The santol tree was bearing fruits and his kid neighbors would climb the tree and pick some. There he had a taste of his first santol fruit. King was didn't like the taste of the meat, but he loved the juicy, cottony soft seeds it, with its sour taste with a hint of sweetness. The rainy season came, King loves the water. He loves the water so much that he always liked to bathe in the rain if it is hard enough. One day, while he was bathing in the rain his right slipper broke, so one of his older guy neighbor friend did, was to make him a boat out of his broken slipper, a few wires for the fence of the boat and a little piece of plastic for the sail, King was very happy. The rain gave me a strange comfort.

It was Fiesta time in Calamba and there was a perya (fair) in the town Plaza. King and his mom happily checked out what was there to see in the town fair, it was a warm evening and his eyes caught the attention of the three colored cubes with a different color in each side of each cube, it was called the color game. People would bet on a table with squares of different colors that are also in the cubes; the cubes are placed atop a briefcase like case held by a length of wood, when the wood is released, and the cubes fall, the color on top of the cubes is the winning color. King's mom gave him a few coins, and he bet on a few colors he fancied, luckily he won every bet he made, doubling at each bet. He and his mom bought rice cakes that night from the money he won. With a few more money to spare from his winnings, he had his first ferris wheel ride.

His mom told him they are moving to a new place. So they were packing their bags again, this time, the bags were replaced with boxes for their clothes and with such very few stuff left, they had only 4 boxes of belongings plus an electric fan which he was asked to carry.

to be continued...

The Stranger's Hand

We touched hands as lovers do

Even for a brief moment,

I was very close to you.

No one can steal that event

They can only stare and look

Our fingers discreetly hooked,

and clinging to our pockets,

hoping, pretending, no one...

Notices, not a glimpse of the quick bond.

Even for a quick moment,

until this very moment.

I can still feel the roughness,

and the comforting clasp of,

your thin, brown, wide, and warm hand.

I quickly took a glimpse of,

the one weaving his fingers,

to my shaking little hand.

I saw the face of a boy.

Whtih a striking dirty face,

with pretty, big, sparkling eyes.

Train stopped and opened its doors.

Then you let go of my hand,

as gently when you held it.

And right there you walked away.

You did not say any word,

Not even another glance,

Not even a single clue.

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.4

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ang Huling Yakap

Freshmen tayo noon, unang araw ng klase, nakita kitang nakaupo sa bandang likod ng classroom malapit sa malalaking bintana na tanaw ang isang malaking mall na kilalang tambayan ng mag estudyante ng kolehiyo natin. Ang ganda ng bagsak ng liwanag sa iyong mukhang nakadungaw sa labas, suplado ka 'nun, at wala kang kinakausap. Naisip ko na parang kilala kita noon pa, kaya ako ay lumapit sa kinaroroonan mo at tinanung ko kung may nakaupo na sa tabi mo. Nagpakilala ako at tayo ay nag-usap, napagalaman natin sa isa't isa na magka-eskuwela pala tayo noong highschool, ngunit lumipat ka ng paaralan kaya hindi kita nakilala. Hanggang first year highschool lamang pala tayo naging magka-eskwela. Nagpakilala ako, at nagpakilala ka, gandang ganda ako sa pangalan mo. Simula noong araw na iyon ay hindi na halos tayo nagkakahiwalay sa loob ng kolehiyo.

Sa walong subjects ko, anim doon ay kaklase kita. Parati akong late sa unang subject natin sa umaga, at sa tuwing darating ako sa klase ay may naka-reserba nang upuan para sa akin na nasa palaging kaliwa mo. Magkatabi tayo sa lahat ng subjects na magkaklase tayo, ako ay palaging nasa kaliwa mo, hindi ko alam kung bakit. Naalala ko pa ngang nagkokopyahan pa tayo ng tuwing may quiz.

Naging malapit tayo sa isa't isa, at tayo ay naging mag-best-friends pa, at alam ng lahat iyon. Pinagdadala mo pa ako minsan ng baon at ganun din ako sa iyo kapag may dala akong pagkain. Lahat ng bagay ay share tayo. Tuwing walang professor ay hindi tayo magkandaugaga sa kakadaldalan na tila walang pakialam sa iba nating kaklase. Hindi ko pa nga nakakalimutan na palagi mong sinasabi sa akin na kamukhang kamukha ko ang isang sikat na Ice Hockey player sa Canada.

Dumating ang panahong gabi-gabi ay nagtetext ka ng good-night at tuwing umaga ay may good-morning akong matatanggap sa text. Gusto ko yun bigyan ng malisya, pero ayoko, dahil mag-best-friends nga tayo, normal lang naman iyon yata kahit sa magkaibigang lalake. Ang alam ko noong mga panahong iyon ay may girlfriend ka, dahil may litrato kayo ng girlfriend mo sa binder mo; ang ganda ganda nga niya, at ang saya-saya niyo sa larawang iyon. Nakaipit ang litrato niyong dalawa sa cover ng binder mo.

Matatapos na ang isang trimester, malapit na ang final exams 'nun, at wala tayong professor kaya pumunta tayong dalawa sa malapit na mall para magpalipas ng oras habang naghihintay ng susunod na klase. Hindi ko na halos maalala kung paano mo sinabing hindi mo girlfriend ang nasa larawang nakaipit sa binder mo, at bigla mo akong inakbayan. Iba ang pakiramdam ko 'nun sa iyo, may malisya na, at hindi ko alam kung bakit at kung ano, pero... Parang binuksan mo ang isang pinto ng iyong pagkatao sa akin noong araw na 'iyon. Walang pasok ng ilang araw, hindi ka nagparamdam sa akin ng Sabado at Linggo. Nagtetext ko sa iyo, ngunit hindi ka nagrereply, tinatawagan ko ang cellphone mo, pero hindi mo rin sinasagot.

Dumating ang araw ng pagsusulit. Late na naman ako, at walang nakaupo sa tabi mo, andun pa rin ang reserbang upuan, ngunit hindi mo ako kinibo hanggang sa mag-uwian na. Laking pagtataka ko kung anu ba ang nagawa ko sa iyo? Pero hindi mo na ako kinakausap.

Araw na ng kuhanan ng class cards. Habang ako ay nakatayo at nagtetext sa gitna ng corridor at hindi magkanda-ugaga ang mga kaeskwela natin sa kakakuha ng class cards nila sa iba't ibang classrooms, ay bigla mo akong niyakap ng mahigpit, at sobrang tagal. Ang bango mo, na-miss ko ang amoy mo. Nilapit mo ang iyong mukha sa aking kanang tenga at bumulong ka ng "sorry". Tinaggal mo ang iyong kamay sa pagkakayakap sa akin at bigla kang tumalikod. Wala akong nasabi, hindi ako makagalaw noong mga sandaling iyon; hanggang sa naglaho ka sa dami ng mga tao sa paligid natin. Iyon na pala ang una at huling yakap na mararanasan ko mula sa iyo.

Sampung taong ang nagdaan at ikaw ay nagparamdam sa Facebook gamit ang ibang pangalan, isang alias. Hindi kita maalala, hanggang nung sinabi mo ang pangalan ng isang Ice Hockey player, at nung ni-search ko iyon sa Google, ay kamukha ko. Ikaw ang nawawala kong best friend nung college. Nagbalik ang mga alaala ko sa iyo, ang mga alaala natin. Medyo matagal din tayong nag-usap at nagkamustahan, matagal ka na palang nasa ibang bansa at sabi mo pa nga ay nagka-boyfriend ka pa. Single ka noong mga panahong iyon, kaya laking tuwa ko, kasi single din ako. Hindi na ako nagtanung kung anu ang namagitan sa ating dalawa noong nasa kolehiyo pa tayo, hindi ko na rin tinanung ang pagkatao mo. Nabuhay ulit ang kumunikasyon nating dalawa, at araw-araw tayong nag-uusap sa Facebook. Palagi kitang inaabanagan na naka-online, at palagi tayong nag-uusap. Hanggang sa naging busy ako at ganun ka rin, nawalan tayo ulit ng kumunikasyon. Makalipas ng ilang buwang hindi pag-uusap ay sinubukan kong hanapin ka ulit sa Facebook, na gamit ang tunay mong pangalan. Kinasal ka na pala, at may mga anak na.