1. You are emailing me random “good mornings” and “thank yous” and “have a nice days” and it is starting to slowly drive me insane. Our thread has stuck its big toe beyond the professional line and is inviting all the other toes to get in on it. Instead of telling you off for being too personal, I actively reply to your emails as if we were long-lost long-time friends-not-quite-lovers rediscovering each other’s warmth. You smile at me from far away, stare at me a few seconds longer than is acceptable, and I basically do everything you do to me, to you. We’re playing the same game, on uneven playing grounds.
One major disadvantage I have: I am not married.
2. You tell me about your recent anxiety attacks and make no mention of the love I had for you just a few months ago. I give you life advice straight out of my ass.
3. You are, consistently:
a) bothering me while I am working, telling me that I deserve a break and that we should go for a smoke
b) providing me life advice about how I can go about my problems based on your working knowledge of things and life
c) constantly sharing your complaints, ideas, dreams, plans, experiences, opinions, and occasional lewd jokes and farts
d) tell me that I am not as worthless as I think I am, in a very roundabout manner
e) wait for me when I am not yet done with my work, and ask me if I will be taking the shuttle with you (which I shouldn’t really, but I do, every time you ask)
f) are ubiquitous in my life and are starting to seem like a long-lost phantom limb trying to reunite with my existence
g) keep telling me about these girls, and keep talking to me about this one girl, and I hate you for it for some reason I don’t understand
h) never answer me straight when I ask you why you do all these things for me
i) always, always look at me when you think I’m not looking
I slept in my underwear the whole day. I suppose there is no good reason for me to have to mention that, but I guess I just thought it would make me look good in retrospect, or make the situation more romantic (because y’know, people in the movies do that all the time). However, I do believe that when people like me—i.e. people who are usually self-conscious to the point of paranoia even in isolation—sleep in their underwear instead of the usual comfortable and sensible clothes, something probably went wrong somewhere.
I feel like I fell down some stairs and broke my back at some point in the day, but forgot. I’ve been sleeping on and off for almost 9 hours now, in 3-hour intervals, after having stayed up speaking to my friend and to myself the whole night. I haven’t drank or eaten anything since the night before, but when I got here—home—this morning all I wanted to do each time I slept and then woke up was sleep some more. I’m not even sure if I wanted to do that or if if it was only a biological need to do my body justice. I didn’t feel any kind of actual stomach-wrenching hunger, only the slight nagging thought of my food going to waste if I don’t eat it some time soon. I wasn’t thirsty; I only found that out when I brought my water bottle to my lips in the hopes of finding something I really wanted at that moment.
Longing and craving for something has long since been my jam. It’s my thing. I can’t go a day without it, as neither can any other self-loathing bastard full of insecurity raised in a community where ugliness isn’t optional but is still frowned upon anyway, like it was your fault. I always have to want something; it’s my way of feeling alive, because “to want is to be human,” to completely alter an old cliché. And so, this disorienting feeling of not wanting to do anything—and not wanting anything—with furious fervor is somehow another novel way in which I can die each day.
And I am tired of dying anew everyday, without even feeling alive in the first place.
I enrolled. Fixed my schedules, paid my fees. Went to class for the first time this semester.
After the last class of the day, I found that I’m not ready for this yet. It’s going to be really difficult this time, I can feel it.
That being said, I hung out with my classmates on the first couple days of class.
I’m the one in the green shirt & faded jeans + dirty black sneakers.
I went back home to Manila after.
I got my hair dyed red for some reason I’m not sure of. I also had it cut a bit shorter. I like it. I think it looks kinda awesome. And besides, my sister paid for it.
It’s her birthday in a couple of days too, so I guess I came home in time.
There’s a big storm over some parts of the country again. Signal no. 5 or something. I can’t even begin to think of things that would make this okay.
We have a new fish in the tank. It’s an aroana. We haven’t yet decided on the name. It seems to be afraid of me.
I just now found out that the girl I currently have a crush on and the girl I miraculously found on Facebook by sheer accident and had assumed to be my crush were apparently two different people altogether. I am perplexed, at the very least. On the other extreme, I am crying about it because how the actual fuck could I have mistaken one person for another? And why does that other girl look so much like that girl that I actually like? And why, why, why is she also in our school?? Or is she really?? Was she just added to the campus branch group randomly? Who the hell is she?? The questions make my head swim!!
This girl I had mistaken—let’s call her F—isn’t really a girl anymore; a few Google searches (yes I’m that hardcore) revealed that she had graduated from UP a decade(!) ago, and that she is an accomplished person, and travels the globe on a regular basis. I never found out which campus she graduated from, though. She did have pictures of herself posted, and I did view them, and I was more than 70% positive it was the girl I was chasing around the campus. Yes, that’s how much the likeness was. I went on telling my friends about my discovery: about the miracle of me finding her without a clue of who she was, about how rich and high and mighty she was, and how insignificant I am as compared to her being, and how my mix CD might as well be given to an elephant. I continued to pine, however. Of course I did.
And then my friend told me that a friend of hers actually knew the girl I liked, and so this very helpful friend of mine asked for her name.. Imagine my shock when the name she gave was something else entirely. Of course I was skeptic; what the fuck man, I had already found her, what’re you doing going around telling me she has a different name? So when the internet came back on, I immediately went to look for this new name on Facebook—let’s call her B. The moment I saw her profile picture, I was overcome with panic, because that there was definitely her. 1000000000% per cent. No fucking doubt about it, not this time. I was so confused for a while that my brain actually stopped functioning and all I could do was stare dumbly at the monitor while emitting low frequency sounds from my gaping mouth. After a moment it evolved into a full-fledged scream, so much so that I had to bury my face in a pillow if I didn’t want the neighbours to think I was being assaulted.
Long things short, I panicked.
I panicked about how it could have been possible that I believed my own idea so easily, how these people looked so remarkably the same yet not quite exactly alike, how could I have mistaken them for each other, how a lot of evidence pointed to the earlier assumption that F was her, and how the lack of anything except the single concrete proof of B‘s unmistakable face toppled that earlier assumption down so easily. I panicked about how easily my senses could be deceived, and how long I could hold on to such a deception, and by my own hand, too.
The good news is, she’s not as distant—socially—as I had initially feared. She’s not a jetset traveller publishing her own magazines or swimming in fancy beaches. She really is just a student, like me. Only I think she’s about to graduate this year, and she’s sort of a member of the student body or something. That makes her still a far cry from the teenage dirtbag I can only dream she is, and that I actually am.
But at least now, I am a little more determined to give her the tape and just run with whatever happens, or won’t happen. Earlier today I had the perfect chance to do it, but I fucking pussied out because I wasn’t expecting to meet her coming up those stairs as I was going down, and my heart kind of stopped and I think I actually staggered back when she made brief eye contact with me—twice. I felt my knees turn to jelly; I was mute for a few minutes. The pathwalk was empty, and it was only the three of us—my bestfriend, me, and her—that was there, and it was the best chance there could ever be to give it to her. It was only after a few minutes—and her having walked around the corner already—that I remembered I had the CD on my person, and that I could give it to her, and that I should because this situation couldn’t get any better. But like I said, she was already rounding the corner, and the next moment was gone. I couldn’t have chased her, and anyway, the other kids were starting to come up the stairs too. The moment had passed my pussiness by, and I regret it to this very minute.
I won’t pass up the next opportunity, though. I promise.
Ayoko nang bumalik ng Baguio. Ayoko nang makita ulit ang UPB ng siguro dalawang taon. Ayoko nang makakita ng mga mukha na kailangan kong ngitian at kausapin ng ilang oras. Ayoko nang bumiyahe ng madaling araw para makaabot sa isang klase kung saan makikipagkwentuhan lang sa’yo ang prof. Ayoko nang maghilamos ng malamig na tubig. Ayoko nang tumunganga ng ilang oras sa kwarto, iniisip kung paano ba nangyaring natambakan ako ng gagawin at naubusan ako ng utak (at pera). Ayoko nang gumising ng maaga para lang mawalan ng gana pumasok sa loob ng ilang minuto. Ayoko nang kabahan sa pagdilat kada umaga.
Ayoko nang magpanggap na gusto ko pa ang buhay kahit paulit-ulit lang ang lahat.
Post bilang pag-alala sa huling akyat ko pa-Baguio mula Manila ngayong semestre, at sa panahon ng matinding pag-aasam ng pahinga.
My dad got the old camcorder up and running again, after more than a decade of disuse. It wasn’t in top shape—most of the tapes had moldy ribbons—but most of it was clear enough to make the faces out. Mama, Papa, my sister & her boyfriend sat in the living room; my brother & his girlfriend joined us later on. My other sister was fast asleep, so she missed out on all the laughter and reminiscing. My parents were unconsciously playing a game of spotting old relatives and pointing out which ones have died, speaking up every so often to say “yan, patay na ‘yan” and laughing heartily afterwards. Birthdays and outings, Christmas and New Year celebrations, town fiestas and house blessings; we had tapes for almost all the occasions in our young lives. My sisters’, my brother’s, & my own face had been small, our smiles filled with tiny teeth, eyes bright & shining as we danced and made pa-cute, unembarrassed. My dad still had a full head of hair and a thick wad of bills in his pocket; my mom still had her 27-inch waistline. The whole family saw itself as it used to be: young, happy, and very much together. I suppose we still are all of those things, relatively.. But you know, things are never really the same after some time has gone by.