Friday, 12 am.
It's the same tired excuse you give your sister: "May bibilhin lang ako sa 7/11."
You change clothes, run out of the house, and start walking.
You pass by the same streets, make the same turns, and when you get there, it's the same old routine.
You leave your ID, you pay up, and head to the bar for a beer.
You wander the dimly-lit hallways. Everyone alternates from predator to prey.
In an instant, the darkness gives life to random hands groping your frame.
And before the night is over, sweat is not the only fluid expelled and exchanged.
You clean up and leave without a single word spoken.
The somber glow of streetlamps guide you back home.
Unmindful of the cold, streetkids sleep on the pavement.
And you, fully clothed and able, feel a similar freeze in your heart.
In the past 6 months since my first long-term relationship ended, I remember having encounters with 21 men on 16 different occasions... "remember" being the operative word.
Straight from the office, you took what would turn out to be the longest trip of your life.
You boarded a bus to follow your friends for a vacation up North. Without sleep for almost a month, that night was no exception. Everything was a blur minus your broken heart whose adamant pounding was accentuated by the dismal lights dotting the highway.
You were the last passenger to get off the bus. You waited by the town arc until an elderly man picked you up with his motorbike. You took your spot behind him when all of a sudden he asked, "Gay ka rin ba?" At that point you didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Amidst the rolling rice fields, you managed a half-hearted smile.
He dropped you off at a certain house. Inside were your friends, laughing their hearts out over breakfast. You opened the door and headed straight to where the voices were coming from. You dropped your bags.
"Ang-payat mo! Ano bang ginagawa mo sa sarili mo?!"
You sat down and cried. Soon enough, you were'nt the only one crying.
"Huwag mo na intindihin iyon. Magsasaya tayo ngayon ok?"
You slyly nodded. And in your ever-awkward, ever-inappropriate manner blurted out...
"May meaning pa rin ba ang sex na walang love?"