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


Dati nang blocked ang Blogger site dito sa China. Hindi rin pwedeng ma-access dito ang 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

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

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

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

Monday, November 7, 2011


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


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
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