Saturday, March 22, 2014


Lyndon was like a drug that I had become addicted to. All the signs were there: the sublime satisfaction of having him, followed by bouts of regret, followed by self-promises of reform, and followed by unsurprising relapses. A vicious cycle that saw no immediate ending. I won't deny  that it was the sex, oh yes it was the sex alright. But aside from the sex I wanted more; I was looking for the security of a relationship, of living together and having someone to depend on again. Could Lyndon give that to me? Would he? 

It wasn't even the weekend yet but I couldn't resist seeing him when he said that he was free for the night, my early work the next day be damned. That was one of the signs of an addiction, disrupting the ebb and flow of daily life in favor of a quick fix. So why don't I just say it and get it out of the way: Hi I'm Earl, and I'm a Lyndon addict.

There we were, sweaty and naked in bed after our usual tour of the apartment. The room was dark but the blinds were open, and though there was only a half-moon, the city itself had enough brightness to dimly light the room. I hadn't gotten my breath back yet and neither did he. As I lay there with him, I couldn't help but wonder how I had come to arrive at that moment with him. A year ago I was happy and content with my relationship, relishing in the quiet and calm of marital bliss, and yet here I was now, single and anxious, satisfying myself with a spare change of affection that Lyndon doled out.

While my head was busy with such wayward thoughts, Lyndon sat himself up and looked at me.

“I have to go,” he said.

“Aren't you spending the night?” I asked.

“I only wanted to see you for the last time.”

“What? Why?”

He left the bed and started gathering his clothes and then dressing up.

“I met someone and it's getting serious.”

He couldn't even look at me as he dressed.

“What's wrong with us?”

“You're not someone I can be serious with.”

 I wanted to ask why but I had a sneaking suspicion that I won't like the answer. I asked anyway.

“You're great, but you make me feel like you only like the sex.”

“But I do like you.”

“I can still be your friend.” 

“Yeah. Friends. I look forward to it,” I said sarcastically. 

“Anyway I have to go. I told him I was meeting you to end things.”

And end you did, I thought.


After work the next day, I asked Dan if we could meet up at our usual place. Shangri-La Mall was convenient for him because the FX to Antipolo was a walk away. No matter what day or time we went, the Starbucks there was always packed with people. We managed to get a seat inside and after the usual ceremony of waiting for our drinks and getting them, I told him what happened the night before. 

“Good riddance,” he said.

“But the sex!” I said.

“You can't live by sex alone. There's nothing between his ears. You'll get bored eventually.” 

“There's something. Not a lot. But it's something.”

“I'm not here to tell you what you want to hear. None of us will.”

“But it was so humiliating. The nerve of him to say I was only in it for the sex.”

“At least he's more self-aware than you are.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“I get it, you're lonely, and this is the quickest way to forget that you are, but it has to end eventually. It's been how many months and you're still not handling your break up very well.”

“I think I'm handling it just fine.”

“Come now.”

“Okay fine. I'm not. So what am I supposed to do?” 

“Don't you think you need to give relationships a rest first?”

“How would that help me?”

“It will give you time to work on yourself first. You need to grieve. You need to get your confidence back. You need to start living life by yourself first. You can't just jump from one relationship to the next. You have to give yourself space to breathe.”

“I don't want to feel alone.”

“It's the first step in the process to heal. You have to learn to love yourself again. And you're never going to be alone, you have us.” 

“But how about those times when I'm all by myself?”

“That's why you have to rediscover yourself. Find out what you like to enjoy doing and do that. You can't depend on other people for your happiness. Be happy with just yourself.”

“I'm not sure about this.”

“Trust me, you're better off doing this now rather than later.”


Later that night, I got to thinking about relationships, especially the ones we have with ourselves. Dan only had good advices to offer, but it was one thing to listen to them and another thing to follow them. Was he right to say that I should be taking time off from relationships for now? I realized that I was so afraid to be by myself that I kept going into compromising situations just to avoid it. What was I so afraid of? Could it be that I didn't want to find myself alone because I wasn't ready to see if I liked the self I would find? I had been in a relationship for so long that I didn't know what kind of person I am. So maybe Dan was right. I had to give relationships a rest for now and focus on myself. I had to get to know myself again, discover the joy in being alone. That way, when it's time to fall in love again, he would love me as much I love myself. And won't that be wonderful?

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Last week's post was no easy feat to complete. I began it in fits and starts, the writing encumbered and stalling whenever I attempted to write in my usual voice. It seemed to lack the necessary gravitas for the quick and tragic turn of events that I was to tell. So then that borrowed voice, and the post almost wrote itself. 

In the days that followed, Uno had to go back to his life as if tragedy had not struck him. Silly how the earth persists to turn on its own axis as it revolves around the sun, stalling for not one bit. I remember those days clearly, for though seven years had gone by since then, the past has an extraordinary clarity that only looking back can offer. 

It wasn't our Saturday together, but pressing matters had to be discussed and soon, and where else to go but in the familiar interiors of Kitchen in Greenbelt 3. We were prepared to go to Uno's house if need be, get him out of his room to come with us, but it was unnecessary, for he assured us that he was coming. 

None of us expected him to be so normal, so composed. Yet in the air of him something unhinged seemed to linger, floating and coalescing: dark, leaden circles that gave him heaviness of appearance. It fluttered and flitted as though pixie dust, but unlike pixie dust was of sinister nature. The three of us avoided each other's eyes as though our thoughts would pass between us by mere glance. 

The waiter descended upon us, brown menus in hand, and all of us were briefly afforded respite by our pretend perusal. Names of dishes were thrown into the air in the form of questions, waiting for each other's assent as though our orders were decided collectively. We lingered on our menus more than usual, each of us hesitant to begin the conversation we came to do. 

“Mike's going abroad,” Dan said.

We all looked towards Dan in utter surprise. Though I knew this was not the conversation we were expecting to start, I saw through the ruse. He was reestablishing an air of normalcy, going through the motions of what we had often done on these lunches, part priest's confessional, part psychiatrist's table. 

“It's an evasive tactic,” I said.

“That's what I thought,” Dan said.

“So he's going abroad instead of making a choice between going back to Davao and staying with you,” Adam said.

“It's a fair choice,” Uno said. 

“How exactly is it a fair choice?” I asked.

“He doesn't want to disappoint his mom by saying no and he doesn't want to disappoint Dan by saying yes to his mom,” Uno said.

“But that doesn't resolve anything,” Adam said.

“He's stalling for time,” I said. 

“And what did you think?” Uno asked.

“I don't like it. But it's better than the alternative,” Dan said.

“There is another solution,” Uno said.

“It's clear he isn't ready for that,” Dan said.

“He's nearly forty. He isn't exactly a teenager anymore,” Adam said.

“Not the point. You know how it is. She is still his mom,” Uno said. 

“I know. But it's still unfair,” Adam said. 

“Where is he exactly going?” I asked.

“Dubai,” Dan said. 

“Well this is it. You can finally be a housewife. And not just any housewife, but an OFW wife,” Adam said. 

“It sounds better than it is. I'd rather have him here,” Dan said. 

“But even if he's far away, at least he's all yours,” Adam said. 

May pinaghuhugutan,” I said. 

“You haven't smartened up yet?” Dan asked.

“Nope. And I'm not the only one,” Adam said.

They all looked at me. 

“And why does everyone assume that that's me?” I asked.

“Who else?” Dan asked. 

“Have you told them yet?” I asked Adam.

“I'm waiting for you to do the honors,” Adam said. 

“It's Adam's fault. He keeps pushing me to Lyndon,” I said. 

“Sweetie, you're not 12,” Dan said. 

“What exactly happened?” Uno asked.

“Don't tell me you told me so. I didn't delete Lyndon's number. And in a moment of weakness, I texted him,” I said. 

“Why do you keep doing this to yourself?” Dan asked.

“Because I don't know any better,” I said. “But that's not all. I let him do it without a condom.”

“And how did this happen?” Dan asked.

“I ran out and he didn't have any and it's been so long and we were caught up in the heat of the moment. But he didn't come inside,” I said. 

“Still,” Dan said. 

“It won't happen again,” I said.

“It better not,” Dan said. “Are you going to get tested?”

“Yes. But don't I have to wait six months?” I asked.

“Anytime between three to six,” Dan said.

“Would you come with me?” I asked Uno.

“Aris and I always had safe sex,” Uno said.

“Don't you want to be sure?” I asked.

“I'm sure. We were always safe. I didn't even have to ask. He made sure. But okay I'll come with you,” Uno said.

Mission accomplished. 


I wish I could say that what I said about what happened between Lyndon and I was merely a ruse to get Uno into taking the test. It wasn't. And I still didn't know about PEP then, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, and even if I did I didn't know if it was available here and how was I to get it. As I learned later it was too late anyway, because it had to start within 72 hours after a possible exposure. All that was left to do was to bid my time, and until then there was only hope. But more than my worry for myself, we all worried about Uno; the pneumonia that killed Aris was too sudden and debilitating to have been the sole reason for his death. Though none of us had articulated it, we all knew what it really was, and evidently, Uno did too, and though it was still three months from now, at least we had made him agree to take the test, despite his claim that they always played it safe. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Bellow and the Uproar

If only real life was a movie, full of good or bad omens that portent of triumphs or tragedies to come, then we could have a better handle of it. But in real life things happen senselessly, meaninglessly, disjointed and without narrative sense. One minute we walk along rose-lined pathways, trimmed and ordered, and the next our legs are caught in brambles and thorns, the roses themselves tinged a deeper red with drops of our own blood. 

Uno's last month at school was a cause for celebration in itself, with much industry his name was sure to belong to the candidates for graduation, a good omen for his eventual emancipation. Review classes for his licensure exam were to follow, and if his stars were allowing, prospects of a job will then proceed after his passing. Though these were trying times for him, his eyes were set firmly on his prize: of love consummated, the worth of the wait fulfilled. There were no heroes in his love story with Aris, no great trials surpassed, no labors fulfilled, except the trial and labor of time itself: the agony of the waiting, the slow ticking of days, of self-conscious time moving at a snail's pace, embarrassed to be observed.  

Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy. But in the absence of heroes, why does tragedy persist? The false magnitude of my own troubles revealed itself in the face of Uno's real adversity. On an afternoon like any other afternoon, a regular and ordinary Thursday that augured no misfortune, a day that should not have much consequence on the rest of his days, dusty, yes, but stark and sunny, cloudless as a tourist's wish on his beach holiday, Uno's life was upturned, the rest of his days irrevocably changed: Aris died of pneumonia. 

We took turns to be with Uno at the wake. I was with him Thursday night, Adam sat in my place Friday morning, Dan took Adam's place in the evening of the same day, and all three of us were with him by Saturday afternoon in time for the next day's memorial service. Uno never saw Aris again, not even his lifeless body, for when he received the news of his death the remains had already been cremated, transferred to an urn too small and insignificant to have contained the sum of Aris's self. None of us broached the subject of the cause of his death though all of us knew what it really was. In asking we would inadvertently surface the fear we were trying to bury, that Uno may be tethered to the same fate now. We agreed amongst ourselves that there was the right time to ask but not now. Not as he grieved for love lost, for time lost, for opportunities to be with his love squandered to follow the senseless whim of his parents. We all knew what he was thinking beneath the veneer of his stoic stare towards the urn, that if he only knew that Aris's time on earth was short, he would have taken full advantage of it, the wishes of his parents be damned. 

Aris's parents were accommodating. They knew Uno, knew him for who he was in their son's life. They wanted to have him sit in the front pew with them and the rest of their family. But even in his great distress Uno's grace was unparalleled. He chose to sit in the back pew, away from the prying eyes of distant relatives and acquaintances who came to the wake to pay their perfunctory respects, the question of who he was never voiced. But on their offer to have him rest and sleep and bathe on the family's quarters he acquiesced, but only reluctantly, on purely practical reasons that the transit between Las Pinas and Araneta Avenue was too great a distance to be done every day. 

The bellow and the uproar of his heart and soul were all contained within. For except for silent tears that trickled down his cheeks that he quickly wiped away as soon as they came, we heard nothing from him. He only spoke when spoken to, and only for such inconsequential matters as saying no to offers of refreshments or saying thanks for the paper plates of food we offered him. He wouldn't have eaten if we hadn't insisted, and if not for our constant vigilance he would have spent all his time sitting there in his own grief, too incapacitated to do anything. We had never seen him this helplessly composed, keeping it together but falling apart at the same time. 

The gilded columbarium shone from the overhead lights, sparkling wherever the light hit. We were all given flowers, white roses whose thorns had been trimmed from the stem, and in a single ordered pile we were to place the roses on the floor in front of the niche that kept the urn. As the roses grew in pile the people thinned, and at last, only the four of us, and Aris's parents remained. Then the niche was closed, the roses were gathered, and the parents too walked away, and Uno's body crumbled from the weight of his grief, kneeling as if in prayer, one hand on the floor supporting his weight, and the other on the square, gilded door of Aris's niche, the urn locked away forever. The finality of Aris's death descending on him heavy like an anvil. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


It was another Friday night and all the girls were indisposed. For such a small city overflowing with people, why was it that I was alone in my apartment and not in some restaurant or cafe having a fantastic time with a date? Where were the single gay guys? Were we all in our house clothes, staring blankly at our walls as we all wondered what to make of the time that stretched emptily before us? I never knew that singlehood was such hard work. How did other single gay guys like me fill their time? I had no new DVD to watch, no new TV series to follow, not even a laptop to use to go online: nothing to cover up the fact of my aloneness. All I had was my cellphone, forlorn and dejected on my empty computer table, taunting me with its silence. 

Uno had urged me to delete Lyndon's number after that day four weeks ago when he intruded on my date with his friend Nico. I should say I did but I didn't. He was still on my phonebook, along with Nico who at this point may never talk to me again after what I did to him, along with Jacob who walked out on me on our first date, along with my ex-boyfriend Alex who thankfully had not bothered me again after our post-breakup sex a month ago that freshened old wounds. I was beginning to notice a behavioral pattern: it seemed that I really had trouble letting go, whether it was contact numbers or the men themselves. Was it hope that kept me holding on, or was it merely stubborn refusal to do so? Was there really a difference? And will it take time for me to learn it?

I walked towards my phone even if I knew that what I was about to do was a bad idea.  In movies and television shows I watch, not much story happened if no one was making a mistake or was facing a problem, and my problem was who to text. Alex to say I still love him? Jacob to say I was over my ex and maybe we could date now? Nico to say I was sorry and could we start over? Or Lyndon just to say hi? I wouldn't have this story today if I hadn't at that moment made a mistake with my choice: I texted Lyndon. 

I regretted my decision as soon as I saw the sent notification. I didn't know what was going to make me feel worse, if he ignored my text or if he answered. If he didn't respond then Nico was truly right that I will never hear from Lyndon again, which meant that all he did was use me. But if he responded, I could already hear the judgment in the voices of my friends Uno and Dan who would tell me that this was a bad idea. At least I knew Adam would back me up, but that wasn't exactly reassuring, because when did Adam make good decisions? My only escape was that Lyndon was at work and his phone was in his locker. But no such luck.

“Hello yourself,” he replied.

“You haven't texted,” I replied.

“Neither did you.”

“Are you working tonight?”

“No I just woke up, why?”

“If you're not doing anything...”

“I'll do you?”


“You have food?”

“No. Get take out on your way over.”

“Give me an hour.”


I met Adam for dinner the next day. Between spoonfuls of gising-gising and crispy tilapia, he was telling me about the weird date he had yesterday. 

“He was really into S&M,” he said.

“Like how?”

“I tied him up and I was slapping him and choking him.”

“Oh wow. What did you use to tie him with?”

“He brought it himself.”

“And how old is this guy?”


“And he's already into that?”

“Wait there's more.”

“More than violence and getting tied up?”

“Yeah. When we were done he asked me to pee on him.”

“On the bed?”

“No, in the bathroom.”

“I'm almost afraid to ask where.”

“At first it was only on his chest. But then he aimed it on his face.”

“Did he open his mouth?”

“Nope. Would've been hot if he did.”

“Ewwwww, no! So then what?”

“So then we took a bath together, and then he left.”

“Are you going to see him again?”

“Why not. I had fun. And besides, at least he's safe with me. I'm not going to take advantage of him.”

“Take advantage?”

“I won't overdo it.”

“I see. So it's an act of public service.”

“You know me, I'm nothing except charitable. So how about you?”

“No I'm not charitable.”

“Gaga. I mean what did you do yesterday?”

“Lyndon slept over.”

“So.... He's back.”

“I texted him.”


“And he left the house with me earlier.”

“See that's just another form of S&M you know.”

“No I don't know.”

“You know he's going to hurt you. And yet you still texted him. That's masochistic.”

“What if he won't?”

“Do you really think so?”

“No, I don't know that for sure. Aren't you a masochist yourself? With Fred I mean.”

“I never said I wasn't.”

“I thought you were going to be supportive.”

“But you don't know the rules to this game you're playing.”

“Well I may just have to learn it by experience.”

“You could, yeah. But look where that got me.”

“That doesn't sound reassuring.”

“Who said I was?”


Later that night, I got to thinking about what Adam said. Was I really a masochist? Why was it that even though I knew that Lyndon was not good for me I still went ahead and reconnected with him. I've made rational decisions before, decisions that made sense and that benefited me in a good way. So what was it then about Lyndon that made a masochist out of me? For all my rationality, for all my intelligence, why did I, in the last few months, keep making decisions that were bad for me. What was it about love, and sex, and relationships, that had suddenly made me stupid? And was this going to be permanent? 

Saturday, February 22, 2014


No matter how many other restaurants we tried, no matter how much we varied our monthly lunch routine, we always, always, always, went back to Kitchen at Greenbelt 3, and each time we went, we always ordered the same food from their menu. It was a good metaphor for my friendship with these three girls; no matter how many other people we met, we could always rely on each other for comfort and support. 

“Has Mike decided?” I asked.

“I haven't asked,” Dan said.

“You know you have to ask soon, right?” Adam asked.

“I'm not ready to hear the answer,” Dan said. 

“I'm sure he'll choose you,” Uno said.

“At least one of us is sure,” Dan said.

“Talk to him. He may not have an answer yet but maybe you two can come up with one together,” I said.

“I don't want to come between him and his mom,” Dan said.

“You're not. His mom is the one coming between you and his son,” Adam said.

“You won't be a victim if you don't let yourself be,” I said. 

“It's my fault I didn't pressure him years ago to tell his Mom about us,” Dan said.

“You did what you thought was best. And at some level you must have sensed that he wasn't ready,” Uno said. 

“No one can ever be truly ready for that. Look at Fred and where that got him,” Adam said.

“You still haven't broken up with him?” Dan asked.

“He already said he loves him,” Uno said.

“That's not reason enough to keep holding on though,” I said.

“Then why are you still holding on?” Adam asked.

“Foul! But I'm actually starting to let go. I did a general cleaning last night and threw out the odds and ends that he left: his disposable razors, an old toothbrush, a nearly empty bottle of his shampoo, an old oversized t-shirt of his that I wear at home, those McCormick spices he bought that we never use, his GQ magazines,” I said. 

“That's a big step,” Uno said.

“What brought this about?” Dan asked.

“Anger. That after he dropped by weeks ago and we had sex, I never heard from him again,” I said.

“I told you what that sex was,” Adam said.

“And of course you were right. You, of all people, know what it meant. But what I couldn't dispose of were our photos on my laptop,” I said. 

“You don't have to delete it. Why don't you put it all in a folder, zip it, delete the folder and keep the zip file, and then forget about it,” Uno said.

“Do you still keep the cards and letters from Aris?” I asked. 

“He has no reason to get rid of it,” Dan said.

“Do you think he's your one great love?” I asked.

“I do. And I believe he's still waiting for me,” Uno said.

“How about you guys?” I asked Dan and Adam.

“I don't think about things like that. But Mike's someone I'd like to grow old with,” Dan said.

“Fred's different from everyone else I've met,” Adam said. 

“What if we only get one chance and Alex was mine and I'm going to spend the rest of my life looking back?” I asked. 

“You won't. Either Alex will come to his senses and you will get back together or you will meet someone else better than him and you'll just know,” Uno said. 

“We can't plan for everything in our future. So for the ones that we can't, all we can do is to take it a day at a time,” Dan said. 

“I told you guys, I'll know it when it's time to let go,” Adam said. 

“What is it about him?” Dan asked.

“I feel this certainty with him that I've never felt with anyone else,” Adam said.

“Well for someone who has sex with random guys so much, you're still a romantic at heart,” Uno said. 


I didn't get home until after dinner. After lunch we all went to see a movie, and then we walked to 6750 building beside Shangri-La Hotel to have coffee afterwards. When we finished our drinks  we walked Adam to a taxi bay because he was meeting someone for dinner and sex. Dan said he had to go too and we walked him to the MRT at Ayala before Uno and I roamed around the mall to gain our appetites back in time for dinner. 

When I got home the doorknob was busted and though the door was closed it was unlocked. I went in, my heart in my throat, and found the apartment as I left it, except that my camera and my laptop, both of which were on my computer table, were missing. I immediately called Dan.

“I've been robbed,” I said.

“What? How? What was taken?” Dan asked.

“Just my camera and laptop. The doorknob was dismantled,” I said.

“Didn't you have a deadbolt lock?” he asked.

 “I must have forgotten to lock it,” I said.

“File a police blotter,” Dan said.

“I don't want to deal with the police,” I said. 

“So what are you going to do?” Dan asked.

“Get it fixed tomorrow, and then add another lock,” I said.

“Are you okay? It's late, I can't get to you but do you want me to call Adam so he could sleepover?” Dan asked.

“No, I'll be fine. I have a chain lock and a deadbolt so no one's coming in,” I said. 

“You sure you don't want to go to the police?” Dan asked.

“What good will it do? They may even be accomplices. Anyway, I gotta go,” I said. 

“Take care okay?” Dan said.


Logically, the camera and the laptop were the two most convenient gadgets to steal inside my apartment. The television and the refrigerator were too heavy and conspicuous, while the electric fan was worth too little to be bothered with. But I couldn't help but think that the universe was sending me a message as well. After all, the camera still had many pictures of Alex and I before the breakup, and the laptop had all our pictures from all the trips we had taken together and from all the special occasions we celebrated with his family and mine. Was the universe offering me a clean slate? Was the robbery its way of saying that I should move on, and that if I didn't have the strength to do it by myself then it was helping me do so? But whether losing the camera and the laptop had meaning or was meaningless didn't matter anymore. What mattered was that those pictures and the gadgets that stored them were gone now, the choice was already made for me. But even with them gone, the choice whether to hold on to the past or to move forward from here was still a decision I had to make myself. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


“And then the line went dead,” I said.

“Did you try to call or text any of them?” Adam asked.

“I think he's better off not texting Lyndon,” Uno said.

“No, I haven't. And I think it's too late with Nico,” I said.

“And Lyndon?” Adam asked.

“Stop pushing him to Lyndon,” Uno said.

“But the sex is great. It's hard to find someone good in bed nowadays. Trust me, I know,” Adam said.

“I don't doubt it,” Uno said.

It was Valentine's Day, and rather than suffer through the indignity of all the hearts and cupids and incarnadine bursts and lovers giddy with joy that plagued the Metro, I suggested we stay home, cook dinner, and watch a slasher movie. At least in slasher movies, the killer would surely decapitate anyone caught having sex, which exactly mirrored my feelings towards them. Should I feel bad that I felt thankful that Uno and Adam were as lovelorn as I was and were therefore available companions to my grief? How annoying must I have been while Alex and I were still together, rubbing it in their faces how happy and contented I was while Uno was single and Adam was involved with a married man he couldn't exactly call his? But at least I need not worry that they were offended because they were not that kind of friend. I was sure they were happy for me, and I was also happy myself to have them. And now that we all found ourselves single at the same time, we had each other for company on this night of nights. 

“Are we allowed to bring up Fred?” I asked.

“Was it obvious I didn't want to talk about him?” Adam asked.

“You seem kind of talked out,” Uno said. 

“I knew what I got myself into. I deserve what happened,” Adam said. 

“No do not demonize yourself. It's Fred's fault he's too afraid to come out of the closet,” I said. 

“He wanted children,” Adam said.

“Or so he thinks. Because that's what society tells him is expected of him,” I said. 

“Are we really better off? Look at us. We're all out of the closet. So why are we alone? At least he has his wife and kids,” Adam said.

“We're alone but we're not lonely,” Uno said.

“And don't you remember how lonely it felt to keep who we are a secret? Why did you think Fred hooked up with you? Because he couldn't stand to keep the secret all to himself,” I said. 

“So he's just using me to make him feel good about himself?” Adam asked.

“I meant that at least with you he can be himself,” I said. 

“I remember wishing I were dead when mom discovered those letters from Aris. But then they talked to me and set some ground rules for me, and I just felt so relieved. I didn't even realize how much I dreaded disappointing them if they find out because I'm the only boy, but then after they did and I did feel that they were disappointed, it was not as bad as I feared it to be,” Uno said. 

“Falling in love with Fred wasn't your greatest moment, but then again, it's not like we can really fault you for it,” I said. 

“Right. Love is love,” Uno said.

“And Anna Dizon is Anna Dizon,” Adam and I said at the same time.

We were in my bed, eating from a large bag of Chippy in front of us and drinking from our glasses of softdrinks by the bedside table, while we watched a voluptuous babe with huge implants get chased by a masked figure. After some lull in the conversation, Adam spoke again.

“I can't leave him.”

“We know,” Uno said. 

“Charlotte says it takes half the time of the relationship to get over a guy,” I said. 

“Then Carrie you are fucked,” Adam said.

“I thought I was Charlotte,” I said.

“No, Uno is Charlotte,” Adam said.

“And Adam is Samantha,” Uno said.

“Yeah. Samantha and proud of it,” Adam said. 

“But Samantha never falls in love,” I said. 

“Adam is Samantha and Carrie combined,” Uno said.

“So Dan's Miranda?” I asked.

“A plus-sized Miranda,” Adam said. 

“But if that's true then I need at least two years to get over him?” I asked.

“That's too long. You'll be over him as soon as you find someone new,” Adam said.

“Take as long as you need. That formula is oversimplifying it,” Uno said. 

“I don't want to get over him yet,” I said. 

“I told you,” Adam said.

“What did you tell him?” I asked.

“That you told me you don't want to move on,” Adam said. 

“If getting older means getting more stubborn, I want none of it,” Uno said.

“You'll be fine,” I said.

“I'm kidding. I can't wait to leave school,” Uno said.

“Have you heard from Aris? How do you know he's still waiting?” Adam asked.

“No I haven't. And I don't. But think of the alternative. It's better to hope,” Uno said. 

“Then you'll be disappointed if he didn't,” Adam said. 

“I'll deal with the disappointment if it comes. But at least right now, with hope, I don't spend my days worrying,” Uno said. 

“How do you do it?” I asked.

“As soon as the thought occurs, I recognize it, and then I let it go,” Uno said.

“You make it sound simple,” Adam said.

“Practice,” Uno said. 

“When did you get so wise?” I asked.

“Maybe I just have good teachers,” Uno said. 


As lovers gave each other flowers and chocolates across Metro Manila, there we were, three single gay men trying to make sense of our single lives, singling out golden nuggets of lessons from our disjointed and fractured lives. There is no right answer it seems, no single solution that would unravel the intricacies of love for us. We have to do the unraveling ourselves, and maybe in the process we would end up with a more tangled life, but for as long as we are alive we have the chance to unravel it all out, and with our friends by our side, we never have to do the unraveling alone. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Last week's fiasco with Alex where I realized that I wasn't ready to let go of him just yet didn't stop me from continuing to date Nico and Lyndon. As a recently single gay man in this city teeming with all sorts of gay men, what else was there for me to do except to keep dating in the hopes of eventually forgetting about my ex. It wasn't the most rational of decisions I admit, but when we're heartbroken and horny at the same time, we're not exactly capable of thinking rationally, am I right? So if dating Nico and Lyndon stopped me from thinking about Alex too much, then at least that solved the problem for a while. Until of course those moments when I would find myself alone and I start thinking of him again. 

Because Nico lived in Pasay and Lyndon lived in Mandaluyong, dates with Nico were usually spent at the recently opened SM Mall of Asia, and dates with Lyndon were spent at Shangri-La Mall. That was my solution to prevent them from ever bumping into me while I'm on a date with the other. Of course the more ideal solution was full disclosure. Because Lyndon knew I was dating Nico, it was only fair to let Nico know that I was dating Lyndon too. But that wasn't a conversation that was easy to bring up, and honestly, I wasn't ready to face Nico's reaction yet if I told him. 

With both Nico and Lyndon asking me out on a date at the same time this week, I decided to go with Nico because I didn't want the memory of Alex on my skin to be replaced by that of Lyndon's. I wasn't ready for that yet. But what I should have known was that Lyndon was stubborn, and what he wanted, he made sure he got. By now, he knew which mall Nico and I always went to, and as Nico and I sat down for coffee, there he was coming towards us.

“Hi guys,” Lyndon said.

“Oh hey, are you with someone?” Nico asked.

“I was supposed to meet someone. But he canceled on me,” Lyndon said.

“I didn't know anyone ever did that you. You remember Earl?” Nico asked.

“Yeah, from the party right?” Lyndon asked.

“Yeah, hi,” I said as we shook hands.

“I'm not bothering you am I?” Lyndon asked.

“No, it's okay. I feel bad about your date. How about you join us? We're going to see a movie later,” Nico said.

“No, I can't do that. You guys are on a date. I'm just gonna go home. I was only picking up coffee before I go when I saw you guys,” Lyndon said. 

“It's fine with me if it's fine with Earl,” Nico said.

“Is that okay Earl?” Lyndon asked.

“I guess,” I said. 

“So you guys have been seeing each other a while huh,” Lyndon said.

“We do, don't we?” Nico said looking at me. 

“Anything special this Valentine's Day?” Lyndon asked. 

“I'm not off until the 17th,” Nico said.

“That's too bad. Are you guys exclusively dating?” Lyndon asked.

“We are. Right Earl?” Nico asked.

“I won't mind if you date other guys,” I said. 

“Do you?” Lyndon asked Nico.

“I'm happy with just Earl here,” Nico said. 

If I could only kick Lyndon under the table without Nico noticing I would have immediately done so. He was really being a jerk, but there was nothing I could do about it than go along with the situation. I decided to step back from the conversation and let them do the talking. After we left the coffee shop, as Lyndon was buying the tickets for the movie for the three of us, Nico pulled me back out of Lyndon's earshot. 

“Hey, I'm sorry. I just feel bad that his date cancelled on him,” Nico said.

“No, don't worry about it,” I said.

“But you're being awfully quiet. It's not like you,” he said.

“I just don't know Lyndon that well,” I said.

“Are you sure it's not because I asked him to come with us?” he asked.

“No. It's fine really. It's actually sweet of you to do so,” I said.

“I'll make it up to you next time okay,” he said. 

“No you don't have to. Really it's fine,” I said.

“But I want to,” he said. 

If I could just disappear right then and there from the shame and the guilt, I would have.

Inside the cinema, Nico sat between Lyndon and me, which was what I had hoped would happen. But a few trailers short before the movie started, Lyndon made an excuse that he didn't like where he was sitting so then he transferred beside me. When the lights finally dimmed, as Nico and I held hands, Lyndon started to brush his leg against mine. When I moved my leg away, he started to brush his arm on my arm. And when it got especially dark, he sought my free hand and pressed it against his hard on. I slowly withdrew my hand without directing attention to myself. Nothing more than that happened, and after the movie we all walked towards the taxi bay. 

“Why don't you share a cab with us since we're all going the same way?” Nico asked.

“I'll leave you two alone. It's bad enough that I spoiled your date,” Lyndon said.

“Don't be silly. Just drop me off at Pasay Rotonda and you can drop Earl off at Evangelista and the cab's all yours,” Nico said. 

“I don't think Earl wants to,” Lyndon said.

“No, it's fine. Let's do that,” I said.

After Nico got off the cab, Lyndon put his arm around my waist. 

“Now wasn't that fun?” he whispered in my ear.

“What the hell's wrong with you? How could you do that to Nico?” I asked.

“Well how could you?” he asked. 

“I didn't do anything,” I said.

“Exactly,” he said. 

Kuya U turn tayo sa ilalim ng Magallanes interchange. Sa Evangelista na kami pareho bababa,” he said to the driver. 

“No,” I said and moved away from him. 

He moved closer to me and I felt his hand slide across my waist and down to my behind. 

“I get hornier when you resist me,” he said as he squeezed me. 

“Please don't do this. I feel guilty enough as it is,” I said. 

“What he doesn't know won't hurt him. And I'm sure you're not telling,” he said and then he kissed me on the neck. His other hand went to my crotch and he began to touch me. I did nothing to resist him further. 

Thankfully, the elevator was full. But sadly, the hallway was deserted, so as I unlocked the door to my apartment he stood behind me and he pressed his hardness against my butt. 

My phone rang as we kissed in the living room. 

“It's Nico, I have to get this,”  I said.

“Give it to me,” he said, and then he turned the phone off. 

I turned the phone back on as soon as he left, and not a few seconds later, it rang again.

“Is he gone?” Nico asked.

“I'm sorry,” I said.

“You just failed the Lyndon test,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“That's his thing. He gets off on stealing boyfriends,” he said.

“Then why did you let him come with us?” I asked.

“Honestly? I thought you'd be different,” he said.

“I'm sorry,” I said.

“It's not entirely your fault. And besides, look at him, who could resist him right?” he asked. 

“You deserve better than me,” I said.

“Are you going to see him again? No, don't answer that, now that he's had you, he's going to just stay away anyway,” he said. 

“I'm really sorry,” I said.

“So am I,” he said.

And then the line went dead.