I was tidying up my ipod playlists when I came upon a set of 80s and 90s songs. I played a couple of upbeat tunes as I begrudgingly started cleaning my bathroom. Each verse triggered random memories of my grade school years, and I caught the beginnings of a smile in my reflection as my chest warmed.
Life was much simpler then. Friendships were forged over things like tex, jolens, gumamela bubbles, and bazooka joe comic strips. Neighbors played tumbang preso, patintero and piko on the streets at night. (Isama na rin natin ang jackstone at chinese garter para sa mga maagang namulat.) And there was no trace of malice when we showed our "birds" to each other especially during circumcision season. What can be more innocent than calling wannabe cocks "birds"?
A few more songs into the playlist re-awakened the familiar angst I felt during my teen years. Friendships became more of relationships involving deeper consciousness and stronger attachments. I went to an all-boys school and inexperience had me confuse friendship and sex with love (to be honest, I'm still confused haha). Yes, this was the period of sexual awakenings. We would brag about our heterosexual exploits with each other, explore beerhouses and massage parlors in Quezon Avenue together, while secretly wondering when you will have the chance to jack off again with the more adventurous lot.
Then the senti songs started playing, and a feeling of panic swept over me. I don't know how to describe it but I get the same feeling when I get into an elevator and it stops midway between floors. These songs take me back to the years of my first relationships. Extremely wonderful memories which are still difficult to reminisce as I would still physically feel the pain of these losses in my chest and abdomen. I could not breathe, so I left the cramped bathroom while struggling with my ipod controls to dispel the pain.
I am in a loving relationship, and I could not be happier. But there are still times when I feel I am stuck midway, with fears from past hurts limiting my future happiness. Club music finally started playing from the small speakers, and I moved wildly with the rhythm to shed the lingering depression. I gradually felt better, hopeful that the time will come when I can listen and smile through my 80/90s playlist.
photo credit: toteroclan.unlimitboard.com, reverseshot.com