Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cheese Stick Pesto or Classic Pandesal

It was a little after 5 in the afternoon and the sky promises of rain; I'm worried. I reread the last sms you sent and grunted, the gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach is over-taking me and soon after a decision was made. I gathered my things, finished whatever I can and took note of the tasks that will have to wait till the next day. I calculated the time; if I leave at 6, I can reach your place a little after 8, I can go back to Manila 10 at the latest and still make it to our rehearsal that usually drag on till the wee hours of the night. I tried containing this unnamed feeling that started swelling in me after the decision was made. Whatever may happen, this will be the first time that I'll be seeing you properly after almost 5 months of absence. 

"Whatever happened to us?" 

I shoved down this thought somewhere deep in my unconscious, if I dwell on it I may not be able to control the shivering in my muscles and the mixture of panic and excitement that is about to burst out from my mouth. I try to limit the expectations, whatever mess we are both in won't be fixed with just one surprise visit. It won't be that easy and it will require you clarifying the murky waters of whatever it is going on between us, or not. 

"Deep breaths, into the nose and out of the mouth."

I repeated the exercise till it somehow calmed down the nerves before I left the office. It'll be a long bus ride and I can't exhaust myself by being frantic when I haven't even reached your place yet. I should stop imagining what the turn out of this impulsive decision too, it just messes my head. I try picturing you instead, base on your messages you'll be looking sick and pale, too hung-over with the nightly drinking sessions, that image somehow justified this entire thing.

"You don't have to do this you know, he pretty much brought this on himself." 

My built-in critic said these words so audibly I can almost see the movement of her lips, my own lips. I made a quick stop at a bakeshop and while deciding between cheese stick pesto and classic pandesal, her words kept on ringing in my head. "I'm doing this purely because of selfish reasons," the words escaped from my mouth without me realizing. The counter attendant eyed me suspiciously and smiling my most charming smile was all I could do fearing that she'll have thrown out. I paid and left immediately, bee-lining for the nearest provincial bus stop. A glance at my phone told me that it's 6:17pm, "you got time D, no worries," more pep-talk. I recalculated the time, I can still make it even with traffic and everything will be fine. 

I found myself standing inside a provincial bus for almost 2 hours, the whole ride lasting almost 3 hours. My backpack hanging in front of me while I am clutching the bread meant for you. The bus was as bright as the yellow sun, outstanding in the middle of Metro Manila's traffic infested road. My phone buzzed, it was you, wondering where I am and what I am doing. I tried hiding the smile and suppressed the warm feeling that filled me, I failed. I was very careful in trying not to drop any hint of my arrival. I subtly asked if you have any plans that night and didn't anticipate the elation that came from the knowledge that you'll be staying at home. Home. I imagine that little house you are staying in and how it feels so much like my home too because of you. You. With that word flickering images of us flooded me, just laying in bed, just talking, just together. They say that it is always the small things that get you, that kept you hooked for a long time. Those damned small things, they won't let me be. Even during ungodly hours, right before slumber overtakes my tired body I'll hear your voice in the dark and I'll feel the slightest sensation of your embrace, then and only then will I fall asleep, wishing for days gone by. Small kisses during dawn, the sound you make in your sleep, your smell after a long day; okay, memories are clearly not helping too, stop. 

The ride went on, upon hitting the 2 hour mark, my head started aching, you asked about that too. "You are babying me again, you must know what it does to me,"  I thought to myself in between annoying throbs of pain. I chastised myself for being hopeful again. Hope is that fount from whence misery abounds, someone brilliant once said and I ought to listen. "Just this one time and then I'll stop," another empty promise I made to myself. I know pretty well that if you could just take the first of the one hundred steps to get to me, I'll gladly take the remaining ninety-nine to be with you. I let out a sigh, too much for not hoping and keeping my expectations realistic. 

I was reeling with nervousness when I alighted the bus, the probabilities terrified me. What if you are just trolling me and you are out with your students again, or what if you'll see the whole gesture as a way of me trying to "buy" your affection like that one case with the siopao (that you didn't like), or what if you just take the food and medicine and just send me away. I stopped by a pharmacy and bought medicines for you, of course they'll be more effective if you'd find a way to wean yourself of your alcoholic thirst. Lost in thought I walked in front of the apartment where you are staying. Time check? 8:46pm, I am way off my intended schedule. I pounded on my phone and sent you a text, "Paistorbo saglit. Labas ka." I admit, I wanted it to be cute but instead you replied with a "Ha?" and so I had to state the obvious, "Nasa labas ako." I counted your footsteps by seconds 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi...I was about to finish the Mississippi of my 57th Mississippi when I heard your voice, so clear and crisp, and near. I wanted to cry. I'm so petty. Your nearness, it alone overwhelms me. I didn't even have to look up to glance at those eyes, I love those eyes, I know exactly how they are twinkling with the same blend of amusement and curiosity, and for a moment those eyes are twinkling because of me. And so without meeting those eyes I explained the sudden visit, the innocent intention and the planned return to Manila that same night. You laughed and invited me in. On the way to your room you said that the last bus bound for Manila leaves at 8 every night. It was 8:57pm then. I wasn't expecting that and it made sit on the bed with such force that made me bounce while you were just eyeing me. You laughed with the same musical tone I can only revisit in my sleep. I was panicking then, when you finally sat down, made me look at you  and said, "How about staying over for the night?"

Maybe some part of my brain melted or I melted all together. No audible reaction came out from me, while all the while the voice in my head was screaming.

"You are babying me again, you must know what it does to me," she repeated, speaking words that I recognize so well.

A conversation in my head started.

"What are you doing D?" 
"I dunno, but it's definitely stupid."
"So, what now?"
"I obviously didn't think this one through."



  1. Oh D. What is happening?

    I love the 1:99 metaphor. It's so spot on, I wish I had written it. Maybe he won't fuck up this time. Who knows? I wish you all the luck in the world. :)

    1. @citybuoy: This is not a spam, haha (I think my earlier post was deleted or something)

      Thank you for this opportunity Sir, one of my most revealing and elating writing experiences ever.

      Let's say he found another creative way to show how much of twat he can be. Hoping for the best still.

  2. let me print this first. problem when you are getting older. hahaha i'll be back. :D

  3. Your narrative made me uncomfortable. The raw, delectable way that you've taken us with; every anxiety, emotion, confusion, and thought. How the story was presented in situ, and in real time. I often struggle with capturing emotional volleys and contemplative struggles unto words. You have expounded, and bled for this much more.

    You've made me uncomfortable. And, I like the discomfort.

    1. Hello Red :) I'm sorry for burdening you with this *head down with penance*. If it's any consolation I had a scene in my head playing in loop when this was happening, it was set up as me beating myself senseless. I think my own discomfort won't go away, I may manage but it won't go away.

      Thanks for dropping by :)


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