Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hollister


Hubby and I went to Hollister to do some shopping. For me, the shop was a feast for the senses. It was nicely decorated, the lighting was muted, the music suited my taste, everything smelled nice, and gorgeous guys greeted everyone with "Hey, what's up?" It looked like an upscale sauna minus, well, the sauna. And the sex.

My partner complained the whole time. It's too dark. You can't see the clothes and how they look on you. It's too crowded. He's very much a guy when it comes to shopping. His points were valid but I was already too excited to listen. I pointed out several bear types that i suspected were gay couples, and that convinced him to stay a while longer.

I quickly grabbed whatever I could and headed to the fitting rooms. I was delighted that I was a medium size again for the first time in years, and in the insufficient lighting, I thought i looked no different to the modelesque sales men. I rang up quite a hefty bill but was pleased with my purchases.

As hubby was too busy ogling at the cute couples, he didn't get a chance to see the clothes on me in the fitting room. In any case, they don't allow pairs in the same cubicle, hmmm... When we got home, I excitedly tried each item and paraded in front of him.

Under normal lighting, i didn't look as hot as the Hollister employees. I should have listened when Hubby told me more than just a few times that clothes should fit me and not the other way around. I pouted in disappointment and started fidgeting with the tight sleeves and torso.

My better half knew how much i was looking forward to buying the shirts, so he remarked how the cut and color hid my girth while emphasizing my arms and chest. His encouragement brought me back to the tasteful decor, muted lighting, hip music, and fragrant environment. With a slight nod of my head and the thickest American accent I could muster, I gave it a go.

"Hey, what's up?"


photo from fashionsnap.com

Saturday, December 10, 2011

9 Degrees


Gumapang papalapit ang taglamig nang di ko namamalayan. At bigla na lang hinubad ng ngayon ang init ng kahapon. Kasabay ng pagbagsak ng nahilang kumot sa sahig ang pag-alsa ng aking balahibo, sa pagpigil nito sa pagsingaw ng taglay kong init. Hanggang sa magsimula akong manginig, mangatal.

Nagsumiksik ako sa lugar na kaniyang nilisan. At nilasap ang init ng anino na kaniyang iniwan. Nang pati ang natirang ligamgam ay naglaho, napilitan na akong bumangon. Tinawid ko ang dilim ng aming sala, tahimik na inawitan ang sarili nang masupil ang kumakalat na kaba.

Inabutan ko siyang pinagmamasdan sa ang aming pictures sa computer. Mahigpit na akap mula sa likod kasabay ng maiksing "sorry", at magkasama na kaming bumalik sa kama. Ibinalot ko ang kumot sa aming dalawa nang napakahigpit. At mahimbing kaming nakatulog kasabay ng paglaho ng lamig.

photo from nman.com

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yuletide Bubble


"I can't believe it's December already," a colleague of mine in the US mentioned in one of our online meetings. "I can't wait for Christmas."

That was the first time it hit me. Well, you don't really feel the Christmas spirit here in China. They have started putting up Christmas decor in the malls in recent years, but it is not yet ingrained in the local culture. The 25th is not even a public holiday.

I was thinking of flying with my partner to Manila. But I'm newly employed and not entitled to any leaves yet. And typical of OFWs, with the ridiculous fares, I'd rather send the money back home. Don't I just sound perfect for Coke's OFW ad that's gone viral?

So i guess I'll be stuck here, working my ass off, as everyone elsewhere celebrate with yuletide cheer.

Quite a number of friends from Manila are in town though for a short trip. Having had their fill of Chinese fare the past days, we opted to go for Spanish. We feasted on paella, callos, cochinillo, flan, and the latest news on Piolo, KC, Mo and Rhian in between swigs of San Miguel.

A Filipino band came on stage and started playing Christmas carols. In the midst of friends, noche buena fare and the festive mood, I felt that Christmas has finally arrived in China.

photo from tumblr.com

Saturday, November 26, 2011

0 to 95


We stepped through the door and looked around for something to hold on to. We were in a section where there were no posts or handle bars, so we just tried to stand firm. The train sped away, accelerating from 0 to 95 km/hr in a matter of seconds. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the rush.

The tracks at certain intervals were uneven. We'd both get jolted, but then he'd grab my shirt from behind and keep me from toppling over. We'd laugh over my clumsiness, before it was my turn to save his ass. I'd hold on to his shoulder and smile. He'd understand and clasp my hand tightly in his mind.

I looked at my husband. He tries too hard not to show what he feels when we're out in public. Yet his eyes betray the same emotions in mine. It wasn't always an easy ride. And we only had each other to hold on to. But from months 0 to 95, we have always laughed together.

He closed his eyes and enjoyed the rush of the cool wind. I immediately closed mine. And under cover of imagined isolation, I put my hand tightly around his.

photo from shgay.com

Siwang


Dati nang blocked ang Blogger site dito sa China. Hindi rin pwedeng ma-access dito ang seansdirtylaundry.blogspot.com at ang mga sinusubaybayan kong blogs. Buti na lang ay may nabuksan dating back door via HK ang aking asawa.

Pero sampung araw na mula nang naisara ang dating siwang kung saan ako'y sumisilip. Hanggang ngayon, di ko pa rin makita and mga blog na aking binibisita. Sumubok rin akong mag-post by e-mail kahit na di ko alam kung kakagat ito't mababasa.

Para kang nagsusulat nang walang tinta. O kaya'y nagkukuwento nang di naririnig ang sarili mong tinig. Kahit na ang sinabi mo siguro'y may kabuluhan, ang pakiramdam mo'y wala rin itong katuturan. At eto ang isa ko na namang pagpukol sa kawalan.

photo from tumblr.com



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Back Door


I turned the tap on and the tub began to fill with warm water. I sat naked on the toilet seat, as the bathroom filled up with steam. I went in front of the mirror, placed a finger on the misted glass, and started writing. After scribbling what I had in mind, I finished up by signing my name.

I climbed into the tub, and soaked in its warmth. And after the day's worries have been washed away, I dried myself and returned to the mirror. On the glass, were more words. Thoughts other than mine. From the heart-warming to the heart-wrenching. From the cryptic to the nonsensical.

But the mirror has been bricked up for a week now, and all I could see is the great firewall of China. A short message on a sheet, which I folded as I remembered. I cracked the window open and sent the paper airplane off. And away it flew, circling the walls, before it was lifted by the winds. 

Did it reach its destination? If someone's reading this, then I guess it has.

photo from tumblr.com


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Labo Ba


Pumasa naman ako sa subject na Physics noon, kaya alam kong may kaayusan ang mga bagay sa mundo. Na kapag inihagis ko pataas ang hawak kong bagay, babagsak din ito pabalik sa lupa.

Ewan kung weird lang ako, pero iba dito ang pananaw ko. Sa akin, kapag may ibinato ka pataas, di talaga ito natitinag mula sa kaniyang kinalalagyan. Ikaw at pati na ang buong mundo ang siyang nalalaglag pababa.

Labo ba? Sige eto pa isa.

Kapag ang tangan mong bagay ay iyong binitiwan at bumagsak, Ang totoo niyan ay ito ang kumalas sa iyo. At imbis na ito ay malaglag, ang mundo ang siyang umangat hanggang lumapat ang sahig dito.

Weird ba? Iba rin kasi ang sitwasyon ko nung dating pinag-isipan ko ito.

Noon ay pilit kong sinasabi sa aking sarili na hindi ako ang ibinato't itinapon, kundi siya ang nalaglag. Na hindi ako ang binitawan, kundi ako ang kumalas. Na ang mundo ko'y umaaangat na, kaya ako nasubsob. Dahil kailangan ko noong maniwala na may kaayusan pa rin ang aking mundo.

photo from tumblr.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Riding With Me


One thing that I miss here in China is having a car. Public transportation is efficient enough to get me from here to there. But there are times when I just don't know where it is that I am headed.

Back home, when I'm on the road and everything is at a standstill, I merely swerve into an unknown side street. Or in those times when I'm alone and things got too quiet, i just buckle up and head off to nowhere in particular.

I used to enjoy driving late at night. I'd roll the windows down, and let the wind carry the day away. I'd also sing along to my driving music selection, feel good songs someone burned for me onto a couple of discs.

But I don't have a car here. Here, where I needed to roll the windows down and just breathe. Listen to upbeat songs just to feel happy. Take a quick detour when things ground to a halt. Escape when things were closing in.

It hasn't been an easy year for me. But I am grateful that through it all, 170 entries to date, each one of you decided to hop in, buckle up, and take that ride with me.

photo from here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Under His Thumbnail


It was dead, of that I was certain.

I saw how it was butchered. I cringed as it wailed in pain. And even more at the gurgling sound it made, as it drowned in its own blood. Life spilled and seeped into the earth, and it gradually faded. Then it just lay there, unmoving.

For good measure, the man with the bloodied hands came back with a hammer and hit it on its head. Neither one flinched. Then the hammer came down a second time. I inched closer after the man left and nudged it lightly with my foot. Not a twitch.

I knelt beside it and stared at its young and beautiful face. What a waste, I thought to myself. Only the shock of what I witnessed kept me from breaking down. A makeshift grave, a quick burial, I patted down even the memory of it beneath the fresh earth.

"Are you sure it's dead?" the man asked again, bringing me back to the present. Behind him, I thought I saw the ground shift. Something stirred, though imperceptibly, underneath. He reached out to touch my face, and I trembled at the sight of caked rust under his fingernails.

I shoved the man aside and threw myself on the ground. I plowed through the dirt with my bare hands until i found what I buried over a decade ago. I grabbed the closest piece of rock that i could find and started pounding. When I finally stopped, I couldn't see with all the dust I stirred up.

I stood up, dusted myself, and went back to the man who was still there, waiting for my response.

"Yes. It is dead."

photo from here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Black and White


I stepped back from the canvas and gave my latest work a once over. I went through a checklist of technicalities in my head. The perspective was accurate, the rendering even, the detailing spot on, and the correct balance of chiaroscuro was achieved.

As with the hundreds I toiled over day and night this week, it was rendered in black and white. The monochrome was clinical, factual, the way it should be. I dipped the brush one last time, signed my name in full, before sending the piece to whom it may concern with my best regards.

I haven't signed anything simply as Sean in a while. I looked at my hands, pale under fluorescent lighting, now tainted only with black and shades of gray. Before I was tempted to slice my ear off, I clocked out and just counted how much I made that day in my head.

photo from tumblr.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bitter


I hate Viber, the phone app. You can forget about privacy when you install it on your phone. It allows people you tried so hard to bury in your past to resurface and find you. Like this incoming call. I didn't know if I should pick up. I didn't want to be disrespectful, so I braced myself and said hello.

He was the first guy I ever moved in with. It was a huge step for me then. Not only was I about to start a life with someone, I also knew I was giving up on any hope of being straight. I'd still be in the closet but could finally close that confused chapter in my life. I told myself it was for him. For us.

But forever ended when he found someone else to spend it with. I thought I would never recover from the hurt, the bitterness, the anger. And yet there we were. Talking. Laughing. Enjoying the familiar conversation and playful banter. There were no apologies offered, but we parted as friends.

I stared at his name on my phone's screen, wondering why I didn't dredge up the past, demand an apology, and hold out on the friendship. I just couldn't. Perhaps even in the worst of break-ups, after the pain subsides, the bitterness passes, and the anger is spent, love is all there is you have left.

photo from here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shy Smiles


I unlocked the mailbox and took the stack of envelopes with me. I gave hubby his and started opening mine. The first one had a photo of a boy with a shy smile. "He's grown so quickly," I said to my partner and showed him the photo. He handed me a picture of another boy of the same age, and we both beamed with pride.

They are our children. Well, not exactly. We just help with the costs of their education. I'm not claiming we're good people who want to give these kids a chance. I'm just a corporate whore who remains a teacher at heart. Hubby has deep-seated issues with the lack of financial support from his dad in the past. Maybe this is our way of addressing personal frustrations.

I leafed through the rest of my mail. My bank statement confirmed that I have received my first salary. Having had no income in the past year, thoughts of a new jacket, desert boots and the iPhone 4s ran through my head. They lasted for only a fraction of a second though. I set aside some money for the future. And wrote a check for somebody else's.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chismosa


Nag-dinner kaming magkakaibigan and as usual, mga babae ang bumangka sa usapan. Siyempre, topic ng mga chismosa ang buhay ng may buhay. Asawa daw ni #1, may kinakasamang #2 na kaibigan din namin. Di nila maintindihan kung bakit sumama yung pangalawa at paano ito natanggap nung una.

Tahimik lang ako. Sobra na kasi sa opinyon. Mas marami pang nakahaing panghuhusga kaysa pagkain sa mesa. Pero di rin ako nakatiis na di bulabugin ang usapan ng mga laking madre. "Ano ang mali? Tanggap nilang tatlo ang sitwasyon. At sa huli, wala sa kanilang tatlo ang naiwang mag-isa."

Tulad ng inaasahan, ako na ang kinuyog ng mga self-righteous bitches. Sinimulan na nilang i-analyze ang aking buhay mula childhood. Mali ata ang strategy ko. Mas lalo tuloy umingay. Kaya't muli akong humirit, "Teka. Di ba last year, katulad niyo ring mag-isip si #1 and #2 sa mesang ito?"

At sa unang pagkakataon nang gabing iyon, kami namang mga lalake ang bumangka sa usapan.



photo from here

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lights


October 31, 2011

I want to write a blog entry that is brimming with positivity.

One that will, cheesy as it may sound, brighten someone's day. Or night. Make it radiant enough to inspire that person to share even the softest of its embers to another. Kindling the tiniest of flickers that can quickly turn ablaze. In turn sparking a chain of brilliance radiating from that single entry.

Then maybe even just a glimmer of such brightness would find its way back to me.

Before long I'll be floating in a sea of lights, much like today in this park. But even their radiance won't dispel all the shadows, much less those growing within me. And beyond the food, drink, music and festive mood, the smoke from the flames makes my eyes water. My chest starts to heave, and I steady myself against a slab of marble.

I flew in this weekend, and I am again... home. But for the first time in years, it doesn't feel like it.

photo from here

Friday, October 28, 2011

Urinal


Work's a bitch. It has kept me from writing and reading other blogs. Moving on...

Don't you just hate urinals? I mean, what is there to love? They force men to pee side by side - how do you unload with someone standing close to you? And with uncircumcised dicks around, the likelihood of one wetting your shoe is not remote. Oh and those automatic flushes? They're timed a few seconds too early - I always end up getting sprayed before I'm done.

In the office though, it's a different story. I love how they are strategically set up - when you enter the lavatory, you are immediately greeted by the sight of whoever's using one. The locals here prefer to stand at least a foot away from their target. And foreigners like myself? I just found out why the phrase "once you go black, you never go back" was coined.

I do bump into gorgeous guys once in a while. Too bad it's only outside the loo, as I always miss them. But this morning, a tall, blonde hunk chose to relieve himself beside me. Beautiful face, enchanting blue eyes, but it still took all of my willpower and more not to break eye contact and allow my stare to drift downwards as we chit-chatted.

I was still beating myself over what I missed and couldn't focus at work. I went to the pantry to kill time and decided to stake him out in the toilet soon. Thing is, I don't really feel the urge to pee that frequently.

"You're quite thirsty," someone commented. It was then that I realized that I have monopolized the cooler and was mid-way through my 5th glass of water.

photo from here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Did You Choose Me?


We were lying in bed, reading quietly. We probably looked like one of those boring old couples in a family-oriented film.Very un-hot.

"Why did you choose me?" my husband asked out of the blue.

"Ha? Whatever do you mean?" I answered, not really comprehending the context of the question. And yes, I hate that I can't get rid of that annoying 'Ha?' whenever I get surprised with a pop quiz.

"Well I'm not really the usual type you go for, and yet here we are."

Usual type? He must be referring to the likes of Won Bin, Takeshi Kaneshiro and other celebrities that I swoon over. But who doesn't, right?

"Besides, I'm not the affectionate type that clingy people like you look for," he continued as he chuckled. Clingy? He just had to slip that in.

"You could have chosen someone else. One who probably deserves you better," he finished.

I didn't know where he was headed with this. I wanted to say he's got it the other way around, but I'm usually not good at picking the right things to say. And he may think he is not a Won Bin, when for me, Won Bin could never be who he is to me.

I kept quiet and thought about what he just said. Do we really choose the ones we love? We may screen those we let into our lives, but do we have the same liberty with who we let into our hearts?

I took his hand, and my head found its usual spot on the crook of his shoulder. And beyond the silence, with my head and heart cradled where they have always fit perfectly, he understood everything that I wanted to say.

photo from here

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kachichas


Wala akong kasamang mag-lunch kanina. Mabilis kong inubos ang aking pagkain at gumala na lang sa loob ng shopping mall. Dahil depressing para sa akin ang paglamig ng panahon, nag-impulse buying na naman ako para maibsan ang lungkot.

Bitbit ang pinamili pabalik ng opisina, tinanong ako ng kasamahan kong tsismosa kung sale daw ba. Inamin kong napabili lang ako para maaliw. Natawa siya dahil gawain daw ng babae yun. Gusto kong sabunutan ang kaniyang uni-brow at kulutin ang kaniyang nguso.

Toxic uli ang araw na ito. Halos alas onse na ng gabi, pero may isa pa akong meeting. Said na ang aking lakas, pasensiya, at good vibes. Kaunti na lang ang naiwang tao kaya't binuksan ko ang mga pinamili at isinuot ang bagong sapatos. Kinunan ko ito sabay send ng MMS sa aking asawa.

Natawa lang siya at nang-alaska bago ako muling kinulit na kumain daw muna. Pumatak ang alas-onse, kailangan ko nang pumunta ng boardroom para sa meeting. Tumayo ako't humayo, suot ang aking bagong sapatos at ang panibagong sigla sa aking lakad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Empty Embrace


With trembling fingers, he traces an invisible outline. One that has faded with time. He smiles. And the edges of his eyes crinkle up, the lines betraying what he's endured even before the tears came. They flow freely, as if to wash away the loss, regret, and pain.

He holds on to what's left, burying his face in it. He breathes in deeply, trying to take in a scent that's long gone, realizing what lingers is only his own. He wraps his arms tightly around himself in an empty embrace. The cool autumn steps into winter's chill, the bare branches outside his window reach out imploringly to the darkening sky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random


Naunang nakatulog ang aking asawa sa tabi ko. Ikinabit ko ang earphones sa aking telepono, sabay pindot sa controls nito. Random itong pumili ng kanta. Isa mula sa grupong Safetysuit na ngayon ko lang narinig. Madalas na ganyan akong magpatugtog. Gusto ko kasi yung nasosorpresa.

Para antukin, binasa ko ang aking mga lumang blog entries. Wala ring flow mula una hanggang huli. Sabog. Parang ako. Kung ano lang ang maisip. Kung ano lang ang nangyari noong araw na iyon. O di kaya'y may biglang naalala mula sa aking nakaraan. Random shit ba.

Pero kung ipipila mo ang mga nangyari sa kanilang pagkakasunod, makikita mo ang nakatagong kaayusan sa kabila ng pagka-random.  Na ang aking mga karanasan, walang kwenta't makabuluhan, may kirot o kaligayahan, lahat ay inihanda ako sa pinakamalaking sorpresang darating nang di ko inaasahan.

May kalakasan nga lang itong humilik kung minsan.


(This is the song that randomly played on my phone.)

photo from here

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miguel



Hindi ko ugaling mag-delete ng contacts sa cellphone. Tamad talaga akong mag-update ng address book, kahit paso na ang ibang number. Kaya naman laking gulat ko nang makakuha ako ng text sa kaniya. College pa kasi nang kami'y huling nagkita.

"Miguel is now using Viber..." Ah ok, automatic notification lang pala.

First day of school nang kami'y nagkakilala. Isang unlikely friendship dahil napakatotoy niya, lumaking sheltered samantalang lahat ata ng bisyo't katarantaduhan ay nagawa ko na. Mula noon ay di na kami nagkahiwalay. Araw-araw magkasama, buong gabing magkausap.

Unti-unting lumaki ang aming barkada, pero si Jen ang naging pinakamalapit sa aming dalawa. Dahil sa mga naging problema ko sa bahay, sila ang kinilala kong tunay na pamilya. May mga gago nga lang na nagtatanong kung threesome daw ba ang aming setup.

Senior year nang ang dalawa'y nagsabing sila na. Nag-uumapaw ang aking saya para sa kanila. Walang nagbago sa amin, ngunit kusa akong lumayo. Kumalas upang magbigay space sa bago nilang pagsasama. Lagi na akong may excuse sa tuwing ako'y kinukumbida.

Ilang araw bago ang graduation nang sila ay mag-away. Umamin sa akin si Miguel, nangaliwa raw siya. Di ko mapigilan ang aking galit. Walang tigil ko siyang pinagmumura, at malamang ay nabugbog ko kung di ako napigilan ng iba. Natigil na lang ako sa tanong ng isa naming kabarkada.

"Bakit ka ba galit na galit? Cool ka lang pare dahil hindi naman ikaw ang niloko. Alam kong malapit ka kay Jen, pero nakakalimutan mo atang si Miguel ang best friend mo."

Tama nga ang aming kaibigan. Bakit ganun na lang ang aking galit? Hindi ba dapat ay nanatili akong objective at pareho silang inintindi at inalagaan? Hindi na kami nagkita matapos ang graduation. Saka ko na lang naintindihan ang nangyari, at naamin ito sa aking sarili.

Totoong hindi nga ako ang niloko. Ako lang ang umasa.

photo from here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When It Rains...


I woke up with a splitting headache this morning. I wanted to stay in, but being new to the job, I dragged myself out of bed and into the office. I got in earlier than usual, made myself coffee, and started to leisurely go through my e-mails, hoping that the rest of the day would be as quiet.

Then my phone rang. I picked it up and used the standard greeting... of my ex-employer, a competitor. I got away with a few odd stares from my neighbors, and for the entire day, I had to practice what to say in my head before I took any calls.

I was then dragged into useless meetings. With a pounding head, a cramped boardroom, and the way everyone skirted around the real issues, I was ready to vomit. I was sweating so badly that i swear i could smell my pits and damp leather shoes. I bet everyone in the room did.

I was ectatic when the clock hit 6, only to find out that I had to partipate in meetings with colleagues in another time zone. I was hungry and nauseous and all I could hear for the next hours was the rumbling in my stomach before I finally vomited into the nearest bin.

The last call finished late, and I ran downstairs to catch the last train. I sprinted to the nearest station only to see the shutters at the entrance slowly descend before finally shutting me out. I stood in the middle of the street, unwell and on the verge of exasperation.

Then, as if on cue, the rain started to pour.

photo from here

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mabenta


Katatapos lang ng mahabang public holiday dito, at simula kahapon ay may pasok na. Lahat ay nagtatrabaho ngayong weekend upang punuan ang nakaraang mga araw ng paglalamiyerda. Upang kumita, isinama ako ng ka-opisina sa isang kliyente at nagbakasakaling makakuha ng benta.

Mag-isa lang kaming hinarap ng kliyente. Babae. Late 40s na siguro. At sobrang accommodating. Nagpakilala kami, at tinanong niya ako kung dati na kaming nagkita. Ngayon lang kami nagkakilala, at biglang ang dami na niyang tanong tungkol sa aking background.

Habang naglalako ang aking kasama, panay ang pukol ng panakaw na sulyap sa akin ng aming kliyente. Makailang beses rin niya akong kinulit kung saan nga raw ba niya ako dating nakita. Baka raw sa TV. Nakabenta naman kami, kaya't masaya kaming bumalik sa opisina ng aking kasama.

At doon na ako tinukso ng ka-opisina. Mabenta at artistahin raw ang aking itsura sa mga kliyente, kaya't lagi na raw niya akong isasama. Okay, sana walang kumontra. Minsan lang may ganitong moment, kaya't pagbigyan na. Siyempre, pagka-uwi sa bahay ikinuwento ko agad sa aking asawa.

Hinawakan niya ang aking kamay bago seryosong nagsalita. "Sa Chinese tradition, ang typical na hanap nila ay ang makapagbibigay ng security sa buhay. Yung malusog dahil may kinakain. Mataas ang hairline dahil matalino. Malapad ang ilong dahil swerte," aniya sabay ngiti at kindat.

Hindi ako kumain ng dinner at breakfast. At bago umuwi, dadaan ako ng palengke para bumili ng sabila.

photo from here

Friday, October 7, 2011

Golden Week


We're at the tail-end of what they call the Golden Week here in China. From the 1st of October, we have a week's reprieve from work. We actually only get 3 days off, but the working days are rearranged so that the extra 4 days are compensated by working on weekends.

The long holiday spurs a mass migration of people across China. Migrant workers return to their families, while others travel within the country during this time. Given the stress wrought by an estimated 100 million travelers on public transport, we decided to stay put.

In hindsight, we should have just left, as the city was packed with tourists. As we braved the crowd (think EDSA Dos), I asked hubby this. Had it not been for that first time, did he think we would have met at all? But before he could answer, we got separated in the chaos.

Typical in China, I was constantly pushed by those around me. After a quarter of a lifetime here, I've learned to live with it and go with the flow. I was swept by the crowd a hundred meters and more. And after an eternity, the collective mass of bodies finally spat me out onto the sidewalk.

"Nice to see you here," said a familiar voice.

I rushed to his side and placed an arm around his shoulder, as we walked the rest of the way home together.


photo from here

Friday, September 30, 2011

Secret Obsession


I checked if my husband was looking before I discreetly called up the YouTube site on my screen. I typed a search filter, clicked on one of the links that appeared, and put my earbuds on.

He appeared on the screen. Handsome. Confident. Almost regal. Then he commenced with his speech. And I don't know if it was for the same reasons as before, but I was again in awe. Of my ex.

It's my dirty little secret, and I admit, it's quite bordering on obsession. Is this a form of cheating? I honestly don't know. What i do know is that in spite of this guilty pleasure, I don't love my husband less.

Some might say this is an excuse, but maybe I don't really need to analyze and justify what I still feel. Perhaps it is simply that love, even one that's all in the past, will always be beautiful to look at.

photo from here

Thursday, September 29, 2011

G-Men

click to animate gif

"Mukha kang may sakit. Mag-ahit ka bago tayo lumakad," utos ng aking asawa.

Nagbihis ako pero hindi ko pa rin tinanggal ang aking designer stubble. Naman! Weekends na nga lang ako pwedeng magpatubo nito mula nang magkatrabaho. Siyempre masama na naman ang tingin niya sa akin pagkalabas namin ng flat.

"O, bakit?" tanong ko sa kaniya.

"Tingnan mo nga sarili mo sa salamin," matipid niyang sagot. "Mukha kang pang G-Men."

Eh di tingin naman ako sa salamin habang nasa elevator. Makapal na ang aking bigote't balbas. Malaki ang initim ako sa kabibilad sa sikat ng araw. Masikip at maikli ang puting t-shirt na suot ko dahil sa kawalan ng exercise. Bakat ang aking utong dahil sa lamig ng panahon.

Sumakay kami ng train. Pinagmasdan ko ang mga tao sa paligid, at tama siya. Naiiba nga ako sa putla at kinis ng mga tagarito kaya't conscious na naman ang aking closetang asawa. At dahil mukha daw akong Japanese porn star, pinakitaan ko siya ng aking acting skills.

Habang nakatayo kami nang magkatapat, tinitigan ko siya ng malagkit. Malaswa. Bahagya kong kinagat ang aking labi. Umastang gusto ko siyang sunggaban at bigla na lang pupugin ng halik. Namula ang tenga ng loko. Pati mga katabi niya'y nakatingin. Nakangisi. Parang gustong sumali.

Lumapit ang aking asawa. Idinantay nito ang kaniyang palad sa aking dibdib. Napapikit ako.

"Baliktad ang t-shirt mo," ang sabi ng kumag sabay hila sa nakalabas na tag nito.

gif file from tumblr.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peter Holds On To His Tights


All of us were children once. We had toys - I still remember my favorite one. And we had our own little worlds. From a hidden one lit by a penlight under a blanket sky. To our dreams of never never land where children can fly and never grow up. But we did grow up. The toys disappeared. The blankets were washed. The penlight batteries ran out. And our young dreams were stripped of their innocence.

Slowly we became conscious of grown up things. Money. Career. Time. Responsibility. The same things that allow us to enjoy our grown up toys, live comfortably in this grown up world, and fulfill our grown up dreams. Toy, world, dream - blogging is all these to me, but now life is getting in the way. And the more I try to grow up, I find it all the more difficult not to let it go.

photo from here

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Useless Lump


On my first day at work last week, the office handed me a brick. A chunky paper weight. Well they said I can access my email account and do a hundred other things on-the-go with it. I don't exactly remember what, 'cause I kinda zoned out when I.T. started to speak in tongues.

As with the ones I had before my extended unemployment, I shoved the useless lump in my drawer and sealed its fate. Until it suddenly started ringing. It was our team's dragon lady of a secretary berating me for not having it on hand. I thought of denying it, but she was just behind me.

So here I am, trying to make sense of it. Slowly warming up to it, as I gradually learn which buttons to press. I somewhat understand it now, I know it will become useful in time. Because like me, it just needs to prove that it deserves having been given a second chance.

photo from here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Delivery



Saturday.

"Our cable subscription sucks. Chinese. More Chinese. Aaaaaand... still Chinese. Wait, this one looks Korean. Great. Dubbed and subbed in Chinese. For Confucius' sake! We have hundreds of channels, and I end up just quickly jumping from one to the other. If only these channels were boys..."

I was into one of my usual monologues. I honestly think I'm turning into a caricature of a mid-age housewife, sans the colorful duster, large hair curlers, and Swarovski crystal-embellished nail art. Hubby eventually tired of my bitching and kicked me out. I think he just wanted to watch China's answer to Mara Clara in peace.

I decided to go to one of my favorite streets, where the entire stretch is lined with local crafts. Armed with broken Chinese and Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko hand gestures, I was able to negotiate two large paintings, matching wooden frames, two huge stone statues, a delivery van, and two hunky guys to help me with my stash.

I walked into our apartment with the musclemen in tow. When they started to bring my valued purchases in, I had to help my husband pick his jaw up off the floor. I was so excited, I didn't know where best to place them. I had to ask the guys to move them around a few times. Also a great excuse for keeping the men there longer.

Sunday.

Hubby had a satellite dish installed.

photo from here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Phad Thai


"Takbo Sean! Tangina! Bilisan mo't magtago ka!" sigaw ko sa aking sarili.

Kumaripas ako palayo. Hinawi ko ang mga kamay na pilit na kumakapit sa akin. Kaliwa, deretso, kanan. Di ko alam kung saan ako susuot. Nagkubli ako sa dilim. Humihingal. Pakiramdam ko'y sasabog ang aking dibdib.

Malas! Gusto kong i-umpog ang ulo ko sa pader. Unang beses kong pumasok sa ganitong lugar. Nangibang bansa pa ako nang magkalakas loob. Pero hanggang dito'y meron pa ring nakakilala sa akin.

"Wag kang matakot. Sa atin-atin na lang ito," bulong ng aninong katabi ko.

Muntik na akong mapasigaw sa gulat. Buti na lang at napigilan kong magmura. At sa kapiranggot na natitira ko pang presence of mind, pilit ko pa ring itinuloy ang aking pagkukubli.

"Sawasdee krub," matipid kong sagot sa kaniya.

"Aw c'mon, Sean. Look around you. Tayong dalawa lang ang tuli rito. Anyway, see you back in the office," ang sabi niya bago siya lumayo. Dali-dali akong nagbihis at bumalik na sa hotel.

Wala namang nagbago sa pakikitungo namin sa isa't isa sa opisina. Tulad ko, nagtatago rin siya. Sikreto ko'y mismong sikreto rin niya.

- = o 0 o = -

"Alam mo ba kung sino ang nagladlad na sa Amerika?" tanong ng kaibigan kong babae sa dinner namin kaninang magkakabarkada. Nangilabot ako sa isinagot niyang pangalan.

Halos isang dekada na ang nakakaraan mula nang gabing iyon, ngunit bigla ko pa ring gustong kumaripas ng takbo at magtago sa dilim. Buti na lang dumating ang waitress at naputol ang usapan. Inilapag nito sa mesa ang inorder kong Phad Thai.

"Kop khun kha," ang wala sa sarili kong nasambit sa kaniya.

photo from here

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chi-Noy


The last time we were in Manila, I dragged my husband to the usual places. I had this mesmerized look on my face and blurted exclamations of wonder the whole time. I didn't even notice, until he said that for someone who grew up in Manila, I was acting too much like a tourist.

I was about to say that it has changed significantly from the last time we visited, which I then remembered was barely a month prior. Fine. I hailed a cab to Greenbelt. Maybe lunch would lift his mood. As we were combing through the line of restos, I kept on snapping our pics among the greenery.

"See? There you go again," he said.

Of all places, we ended up in Max's. Again. He ordered sinigang, crispy pata and extra rice. After the meal, we headed to Levi's, where he meticulously picked only the Philippine-made jeans. We then crossed to Landmark where he hoarded bottles of calamansi, Close Up, Rexona, and Tide.

As I now file the neglected photos from that trip, I find myself browsing through our pictures from years ago. We have aged since then, but that wasn't what caught my attention. The once distinct-looking boys (one Chinese, the other Pinoy) on the screen now look so much alike.

I smiled at one of the photos. Somewhere in between Landmark and Glorietta, the tourist and his local companion stood patiently in line for a cab. As to which one was which, now I couldn't really tell.

photo from here

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lazy Bus Ride


We've all heard it before. How one appreciates things more once they become less accessible, lost, or unattainable. Neighbors who've moved. Family and friends. An old flame. A suitor turned down, and now taken.

For me it's time. The hours that I took for granted in over a year as a sloth. I woke up late. Slept whenever I wanted. Enjoyed movies and telethons. Read. Blogged when I felt like it. Time didn't need to be managed. I had too much of it.

But now I'd find things to pass up on. Breakfast. The gym. Sleep. Just so I can fit in things that now matter more. TGIF and everyone's rushing to catch a quick train ride home. I walked to the bus stop instead. I wanted to indulge myself with a few more minutes, and be able to finish an entry in this lazy ride home.

photo from here

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Got Mooned


The Mid-Autumn festivities exploded over the long weekend. There were bright lanterns everywhere. Restaurants were full. Shops quickly ran out of fruit baskets. And people were in a celebratory mood.

Since the holiday is also known as the Mooncake Festival, countless boxes of this pastry were going around. It's one of the few Chinese sweets that I enjoy, and I was over the moon when a friend brought me special ones from a recent trip.

Let me share a few of these with you, albeit online. Cheeky, yet fitting, delicacies for the Moon Festival.



photos from boysky.com and the G.O.D. lifestyle store

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer's End


Yesterday felt like the last day of the school summer break. On one hand you feel excited. You pick out what you'll wear the next day and make sure that everything is ready. On the other hand, something gnaws at you. You worry unnecessarily and can't sleep as soundly.

And then today comes. The day you've been expecting. The same one you've been dreading. After all, what happens today can make or break you. You walk through the door, and you're finally in. Yet as the day advances, you realize you've never felt more out.

After a while, I decided to take a short break to escape the cold in the office. I stepped out of the building, and decided to draft this entry out here in the sun. Sweating in this suit. Trying to catch even just the tail end of the summer that I now so desperately miss.

photo from here

Monday, September 12, 2011

Escape


Today I walked. And walked. Then walked some more. Leisurely. Aimlessly. I didn't care about street names and directions. I thought maybe you don't really get lost if you don't have a destination.

I loved the warmth of the sun on my skin. The way it made my skin prickly before the beads of sweat came. And with the arrival of the mid-autumn and its festivities, the weather was slightly cooler. More pleasant.

I even welcomed the dust in the air and the smell of exhaust fumes from vehicles on the road. For like the sun and the cool breeze, their unseen choke has been a part of my days.

I stopped under a large tree, and steadied myself against it. I looked around. Listened. Inhaled the scents around me. Felt the rough bark against my hand. Committing what came to my senses to memory.

Tomorrow I will again be confined within the padded walls of a workstation, with its artificial lighting, air-conditioning, and the smooth feel of modular plastic. And so today I wanted to make sure I'll remember all this, for those times when I'll feel the need to escape.



photo from here

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Panda Invasion


I think they're called pandas, the eastern equivalent of bears. In a place that is overrun with either twinks or mid-age men who dress and look way beyond their years, they are an interesting sight. Beefy in their tight Abercrombie tees, they are about as cute and cuddly as, well, pandas.

I don't know where they're from. My guess is Taiwan. They speak the same language, but their accent and the way they carry themselves are both different. I have never seen so many of them together in one place. If this is an invasion, let me be the first to be tied up and taken away.

I tease my hubby. He's actually the one who's into them. Frustrated that I can't bulk up enough to meet his standards. Kidding. A number of them look our way. Good thing I am wearing a tight Hollister shirt. Fake nga lang, but it will do. I inhale deeply to add bulk to my torso and smile.

The hubby looks at me, playfully pokes my side, and laughs. Unable to control my giggling, I immediately start to deflate, as I watch the pack of pandas pass me by.


photos from here

Friday, September 9, 2011

Libreng Pangarap


Tumaya ako ng lotto. Yung equivalent nito sa bansang ito. Malabo mang mangyari, malay mo manalo. Hindi ko na kailangang pumasok sa bagong trabaho sa susunod na linggo. Pwede na kaming umuwing mag-asawa at sundin ang talagang gusto.

Dati akong guro sa isang pampublikong paaralan. Saglit lang naman. Hanggang inabutan ng responsibilidad at pangangailangan. Napadpad ng Makati bago dito nakipagsapalaran. Nakalimot sa unang bokasyon, dahil sa buhay na nakasanayan.

Mahirap magturo. Pero nang makilala ko ang aking mga alaga, mas mahirap palang matuto. Lalo na kung ikaw ay nagugutom. Kailangang tumulong kumita sa hapon. Bago matutukan ang gawaing bahay. At walang mapagtanungan sa di nakatapos mong magulang.

Kailangan mong tiyagain. Unti-unting pagsikapan. Hanggang makita mo ang kanilang kagalakan, na di lang dahil sa kanilang naintindihan. Kundi dahil na rin sa nakita nilang pagmamalaki ng kanilang tatay-tatayan.

photo from here

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gasgas


Gasgas nang mga linya. Katipo ng "where have you been all my life?" Di ba't nakakasuka? Pero diyan nagsimula ang lahat. Kasama ng ilang order ng lychee martini na nainom ng loka. Blame it on impaired judgement. Di nagtagal ay naging sila.

Umabot na rin sila nang mahigit sa isang taon. Isang taong madalas na magkagalit-bati. Isang taong ako ang binubulabog sa tuwing sila ay may problema. At heto na naman sila. Going strong pa rin sa takilya ang teleseryeng madrama.

Luhaan na namang tumawag ang bilat. Pagod na raw siya. Lagi na raw ginagabi ng uwi ang kaniyang kinakasama. Overtime sa trabaho, sumaglit sa pamilya, gimik ng barkada ang inirarason sa kaniya. Ano na raw ba ang gagawin niya.

Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako. Paano nga ba isalba ang pagsasamang nag-umpisa at patuloy na nabubuhay sa gasgas nang mga linya.

photo from here

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Enchanted Kingdom

click to animate gif

Medyo late na kaming nakarating na magkakaibigan. Masaya na ang mga tao sa loob, kaya't naisipan naming sumali kaagad at humabol sa kasiyahan. Mabagal sa umpisa. Unti-unti ang iyong pag-usad paakyat. Hindi mo mapapansin. Hangga't nasa itaas ka na pala.

At bigla ka na lang bubulusok. Lilipad. Habang lahat ng bagay, in slow motion. Bigla kang dadagsain ng sari-saring emosyon. Saya. Lungkot. Kilig. Takot. At pagdating sa puntong akala mo'y tapos na ito, muli na namang magsisimula ang lahat. Ipinikit ko ang aking mata at itinaas ang mga kamay.

Nang bumaba'y tagaktak na pala ang aking pawis. Basa mula ulong hanggang paa. Humihingal. Tumingala ako't pinagmasdan ang mga sumasayaw na ilaw. "Fireworks!" ang sabi ko sa barkada. Lahat kami'y napatulala nang nakangiti. Bakas sa mukha ang kasiyahan na dulot ng kapirasong E at K.



gif file from here

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Window Shopping


Sobra akong busy sa pagwi-window shopping. Sapatos sa Tod's, kurbata sa Hugo Boss, maong sa A|X, sport shirt sa Fred Perry. Malapit na kasing magtrabaho, may aasahan nang sweldo. Kaya walang ginawa kundi ang mangarap. Tingnan kung saan lulustayin ang perang di pa kinikita.

Araw araw din naman akong umuuwing walang bitbit. Nakukuntento na sa patingin-tingin. Mature na nga siguro ako. Di tulad dati na takaw tingin, bahala na bukas. Pagkadating ko sa tinitirahang building, nagkalat ang mga gamit sa ibaba. May naglilipat, at may mga movers na tumutulong.

Bumukas ang elevator. Mag-isang binuhat at ibinato ni kuya ang nakabalot na queen-sized mattress papasok ng elevator. Akala ko'y mababasag ang mga salamin sa loob. Ganun siya kalakas. Ganun din siya ka-maskulado. Dahil nakabalandra ang kama, isa na lang ang kasya sa loob. Pumasok ako.

Sumara ang pinto ng elevator. Pinagmasdan ko si kuya sa mga salamin. Wala siyang pang-itaas. Ang ganda ng katawan. Masarap haplusin mula dibdib pababa. Gusto kong pindutin ang emergency button at ibalibag ang hubad naming mga katawan sa bagong kama. Nang mabinyagan ba.

Biglang bumukas ang pinto ng elevator. Umibis ako at tumuloy sa flat naming mag-asawa. At tulad ng mga nakaraang araw, umuwi akong walang bitbit. Muling nakuntento na lamang sa patingin-tingin.

photo from here

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soiled Virgin


A fresh sheet. Immaculate in his whiteness. Evenly spaced lines streak his face. Hinting that he knows more than he lets on with that blank stare. He quivers, ever so slightly, at my touch. He beckons, yet holds himself back. What is his story?

He calls out to his prey, snugly cradled in my breast pocket. Its bold blue ink warmed by my chest. I can feel the virgin's longing. I take the innocent from its haven and gently place down my offering. He tastes. One drop. And it forever soils him.

He takes. And takes. The victim's life flows from its core and spills onto him. It fills his corners until the host is spent. A shell with a chewed out tip a shade lighter than the rest. As for him, he is indelibly changed. Raw and naked, beautiful in his ugliness, he splays himself out for all to see.

photo from here
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