Monday, February 21, 2011
The Color Of Our Collar
I just heard that a straight friend of mine is now in a domestic partnership. He's the deputy head of a firm, while she is/was a stripper. Do they have a future? Out of political correctness, I should say that one's social status shouldn't be an issue. I am not a skeptic, but I am concerned. He had a previous nervous breakdown due to a failed relationship and probably won't survive another one.
Is it truly possible for people from different worlds to sustain a long-term relationship? I was once a romantic. I used to believe that as long as two people were in love, it wouldn't matter if they came from different backgrounds. But oftentimes, things look better from afar.
I met Jeff in Starmall. He was moreno, cute, and had a nice smile. He was a merchandiser in a department store, and moonlighted as a real estate agent for a low-cost housing project in his free time. Typical story - we met, he invited me to dinner, and we fell for each other.
We always stayed in his boarding house in Sampaloc. We shared meals in the carinderias that flourished in the area. We would have drinks in places that looked more like sari-sari stores. It was a simple life, and we were happy. Until I started sharing more of myself, my life, with him.
One day he picked me up at work, and he quietly said he was not comfortable around people in ties or barongs. I quickly took mine off. I brought him to my flat, which was small and simply decorated, but had a spectacular view. He smiled as he looked out the window, but there was a sadness in his eyes. Even the sex was different. It felt stiff, cursory.
Something intangible was suddenly yet firmly wedged between us. For months I desperately tried to reach out and bridge the widening gap, but he wouldn't reach back. I didn't know the reason, until he said, "Sean, sorry pero may nakilala ako. Merchandiser din siya. Mas bagay kami sa isa't isa." (How I got back at him will be for another entry.)
I was heartbroken and blamed myself for what happened. But looking back, is it possible that the gap was there all along, and we simply chose to ignore it at first? I hope that my experience was only one of a few unfortunate ones, but can love really transcend differences between people? I don't know the answer, but for my friend and his partner, I wish that they will have more faith that it can.
photo credit : famewatcher.com