Thursday, December 23

It is what remains...

They say that today is a world of intangibles. The things that we don't see are the drivers of our progress. Knowledge, resourcefulness, innovation... stuff that we can't really see nor hold but nonetheless change our lives.

But then, there's nothing really new about valuing things we can't physically grasp. As the Fox told the Little Prince, "It is only through the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." And in spite of the fast-paced beating of our daily lives, one essential intangible remains. Its power is timeless and its beauty continues to inspire.

Amid the cheering of the Holidays, a TV bit caught my attention, a human interest story to be shown in one of the local networks. It was about a kid suffering from physical deformities that left his growth stunted. In it, the kid, teary-eyed, tells his mother, "Huwag kang mawawalan ng pag-asa ha?"

Hope. When all else is lost, it is what remains.

I'm sure each of us has gone through some form of difficulty this year. Be they finances, family problems or matters of the heart, at some point, we might have felt as if we're running on empty with nothing more to give. But then we pushed on. And in trying to make sense of our difficulties, holding on proves invaluable in seeing through our hardships.

So here's to dark moments and better days! For in the kaleidescope and see-saw of life, even if we lose everything, one thing must remain... hope.

Merry Christmas to the many beautiful people that blessed my life this year... and that includes you!

=)

Wednesday, December 8

Teach Me

I never thought teaching would be this difficult. Every meeting is a practical mine of self-doubt.

Am I making sense?
Am I being credible?
Are these kids following me?
What are they saying behind my back?

More than finding time to prepare my lectures, it's looking the part and making myself professor-ly that's difficult. Minus 6 or 7 years, my students are the same age as I. And that's not exactly a different generation. Being more or less in touch with how they think, I am all the more reminded of how ruthless students can be to professors they don't like. Seriously, that's what's stressing me out.

And just recently, I had this "incident" when after attending an earlier orientation, one of my classes dissed me and missed my session. Save for a handful, most of them decided to skip my class... when they were in fact already in school! I saw them! I attended the same orientation for crying out loud! And to add insult to injury, they were pleading all sorts of excuses to extend the submission of a one-page paper I assigned last week. Geez, come on! It's a one-page paper!

I'd like to think that I'm very straightforward with my students. What you see is what you get. These are my requirements and these are my expectations. And I seriously doubt if I'm a terror professor.

I guess that's it. I'm torn between treating these guys as adults who can make informed decisions and treating them as kids who need to be trained and disciplined. But then I made a firm resolution early on that I WILL NOT BE A BABYSITTER!

It's kinda frustrating and I thank God that he made me a little clueless and dense by nature. I'm not really devastated by this recent power struggle. If at all, it made me think of maximizing my arsenal to drive home a point. And for graduating kids, I guess there's nothing more potent than their final grades. But if so, then why did they wage this "war" to begin with? Shouldn't they be bowing before me and throwing themselves at my feet?

Oh well, at least I get to exercise my patience and better judgment. I have no intentions of throwing a fit to express my frustration. In fact, I've made a mental note of how I should act if and when this power struggle escalates into an actual confrontation:



Dramatic pause 1.

Ask, "Ano'ng problema natin?"

Dramatic pause 2.

Ask, "Bakit niyo ako binabastos?"

Dramatic pause 3 followed by an even more dramatic bow.

Darc raises his head and says:

"Class dismissed."

If I find nobody moving - and I do hope they find themselves stunned and off-balanced - Darc says:

"Get the hell out of this classroom... now!" in a raised but not shouting voice.



'Di ba? I may be frustrated and seething in anger... but I vow to at least do it in style.

Good luck naman talaga!

Wednesday, November 17

Of Plates, Loans and Shoes

He reminisced how through a stormy night, he hurdled fallen trees and braved the rains just so he could beg for a can of sardines from the sari-sari store. Young as he was back then, he knew that times were difficult for his family... they've always been. Besides, he knew how it was to sacrifice. He remembered how his older brother "borrowed" the coins he kept in his piggy bank. And how helpless he seemed as he shed a tear or two, alone in the corner.

He says he struggled through college, juggled long walks to school with the careful preparations of his plates. He can't afford a repeat. He didn't have the money to buy extra sheets of paper. No wonder he didn't finish. A year before graduation, he dropped. He had to find work.

*****

She later found out that keeping a family was difficult. She already had three kids and try hard as she did, her husband's wage wasn't enough to make ends meet. One day, she went to her mother and asked for help. A sister sent some money from abroad and she earnestly wished that part of it could be loaned to her. But then her mother said no, vehemently said no.

She went home teary eyed... and her second son had no choice but to watch her as she sobbed in silence.

*****

He woke up early that day. He had a school competition to join. Being in second grade, that was one of the rare instances the spotlight was on him. Problem was, his shoes were giving up. He put on his white polo jacket and his blue shorts. He had on his white socks... and a pair of shoes with a pair of detached soles flapping back with his every step.

Having taped together shoes wasn't that bad... all the more reason to have the spotlight on him. At least now, he'd still be able to join the program. Unlike last time when his parents couldn't afford the printed shirt for a school dance... and he had no choice but to watch everyone else's bags as he cried and looked over the hallway.

Saturday, November 6

i AM in love with a cyber-celebrity

My laptop's still on top of my faux wood table... and yes, I'm still my cyberloafing self.

A year has passed since I professed.
A year of stories written.
A year of stories read.

A year of humbling opportunities to meet some who live my vicarious life.

It was a bittersweet journey of letting go and holding on. I learned, unlearned and relearned. Cliche as it may seem, I am still under construction... after throwing things away just to take in more complications.

Through this space I was able to cross paths with wonderful writers who, I'm glad to have found out to be even more wonderful persons. I am blessed by you and I am honored by your time.

Now where to Darc Diarist, where to?

I mark this day.
I mark this time.

For the one who fell in love... IS now in love.



Wednesday, October 20

Limos

A great part of me wishes that I could find a boyfriend who makes me feel as if I'm the only one who matters. Yes, it's selfish. Yes, it's irrational. But when you've always felt as if you're the least of priorities, that self-centered desire becomes all the more enticing. I mean I don't think I'm high maintenance and I don't think I'm demanding. Maybe that's it, I don't demand. That's why I can get moved to last. Everybody can never get cancelled... everybody except me.

My heartbreak story made me resolve to no longer ask for pittance. Ayoko na manlimos ng oras at panahon... simply because there's nothing more genuine than love that's freely given, time freely given.

No haggling.
No bargaining.
No arm-twisting.
No choices to be made between you and someone else...

Simply because you are the obvious choice.

But then on the flipside, why should my time depend on someone else's? If I can get cancelled and moved around just like that, then it only means that I should have a greater hand in determining how I spend my time. Breaking free from being a loser starts with deciding that I matter and that MY TIME rests on MY HANDS.

And for that, my birthday weekend is now officially booked. I expect gifts ha! Lol. I kid, I kid. There's no better present than your presence. Hallmark much? Haha :P

Weekend has arrived
Everybody's trying to find something to get into
My friends wanna go out
But I can't cancel my plans

Got a date with my baby
He's taking me out so I'm gonna catch up with you
Some other day, gotta go
Can't make him wait tonight

Have to make sure I'm looking hot
'Cause we're going to our favorite spot
'Til the morning we're gonna rock
Boy, you knock me up, yeah

My baby, doesn't matter what's going on or who's around us
All I see is you
Right now they're playing our song, the dance floor is ours
All I see is you

The DJ's got me feeling like I did
When I first met you
And there's nothing that can break us apart in two
All I see is you

- All I See, Kylie Minogue

Monday, October 18

The O-Soap

I don't have Ad Sense nor am I a Nuffnang member so this is an honest to goodness rave about a surprise of a product.

I love Oilatum!

I got hold of a sample a week or two ago and I immediately fell in love with it. Talk about vanity! Lol. Aside from drying up the bumps on my face in just a matter of two or three washes, what I love most about Oilatum is that I feel super clean after using it. It's like having a protective film over my skin! Yes, to me (n.b. my OC self), that is it's biggest selling point. And mind you, it's not the dried up squeaky clean feeling you get with ordinary soap. It's like a breathable plastic layer that makes you feel super uber really clean. Did I mention that it makes you feel super clean? Haha.

Basta! I love Oilatum. I wish it rains Oilatum, that way, I'll save up on vanity expenses. Lol. It's quite pricey by my standards at P150 a bar. But given that I don't have any other skin routine in line, it's worth definitely outweighs its cost.



Yey, to my first non-emo, non-sense, vanity-related post. Haha :P

Tuesday, September 28

Swan

While waiting with colleagues at the hotel lobby, I saw a familiar face, a former college classmate. I actually stared at her and she stared back. After a couple of long-drawn seconds, she still wasn't reacting and at that point, I started doubting if I was staring at someone I know. Yes, I know it's rude to stare and I won't think of doing that to a stranger in a million years! She was a couple of steps away when finally her eyebrows gave out a semi-puzzled look and her lips quievered in a half-jesting smile. Finally, she recognized who I was!

After some small talk and a little urging from her for me to enroll in the same gym she was heading to, we exchanged numbers and said our "See yahs!" Not soon after, while treading the traffic trap that is EDSA, I received a message on my phone that said: "U look good!"

That made me smile. I guess I'm ageing well. This bodes well for the ugly duckling. I guess I do have a future after all! :)

Sunday, September 19

Temporal

Almost midnight and it was still raining. I had taken three steps from the cab, midway to our gate when a man, probably in his forties, stopped me. Admittedly, I was a bit shaken which he might have noticed given his rather unusual greeting.

"Hindi po ako masamang tao. Kailangan ko lang ng tulong."

His mother, a sampaguita vendor, was stabbed in front of a 7/11 store a couple of blocks from our place. He had solicited assistance from the Mayor for the funeral arrangements but still had to raise a couple of hundred for the undertaker's fee. He was fumbling over some sheets of paper: death certificate, a written "SOA" from the public cemetery and some more I didn't really bother to look into. He was trying to convince me of the veracity of his claim, trying to differentiate himself from the typical street fraud we've come to know.

And then teary-eyed, with a cracking voice, he suddenly pleaded, "Kung gusto niyo ho luluhod pa ako dito, tulungan niyo lang ako."

*****

Day in and day out, I struggle with the fact that I need to make something out of myself. I look around and see the things I lack, materially and otherwise. I guess it's a question of security... and it doesn't really help if at this age, I have nothing to show: zero savings, a thankless job and a general non-direction. And I often come to a point when I ask a series of why's: Why am I in this rut? Why can't I find that one big break? Why can't I provide for my family? Why is everyone else moving forward while I, I am left behind?

I've talked to a friend about this. I ranted, "Am I being materialistic?" To which he replied, of course not; having enough money gives you a sense of security. Again, it's about security. Security... why are you so hard to pin down? And there you have it, yet another why?!

I don't really want to go on rambling. After all, what I'm feeling is just a formless general sentiment. It's one part wanting, it's one part sadness, it's one part frustration over things material and otherwise.

*****

"Hindi na ho kailangan. Pagpasenyahan niyo na ho ito." I handed the guy a fifty-perso bill, not much but it was all I could spare. Everyone struggles and I'm still at a better place, much more blessed than a lot of people out there. I know this but then making peace with it is an all-together different matter.

I know I should know better... but I can't help it.

Wednesday, September 8

Happy Child

Executive session meant getting booted out of the board room and finding myself sandwiched between the Executive Assistant and another staff.

"Alam mo malungkot pa rin si Betty," said the Ex-A.

Her pain was palpable. Betty, her teenage daughter, just got her heart broken.

"Sabi ni Dom ok lang raw iyon. She'll learn from it. Alam ko naman iyon pero mahirap din pala talaga. Biruin mo antagal mong inalagaan tapos ganun-ganun na lang. Sana maging happy child na siya ulit soon."

She had a hopeful tone during that conversation but her eyes betrayed her... much like Nanay's eyes that morning when I unexpectedly hugged her while she was busy poring over the stove, heating some water for breakfast.

In a home where sweet nothings and I-love-yous were never the norm, how Nanay stared at me that morning when it was still dark outside and we were the only souls awake in the house, left an awkward sense of assurance in me. I rediscovered how silence can be an ally, how stillness conveys the promise of being there.

But the sadness in her eyes will haunt me for a long time. Nanay felt my pain, perhaps far more than I could imagine.

Thursday, August 26

Please don't cry...

I tried to fight for you...
























... with fists closed.

I'm sorry.









*With apologies to the Geek.

Evolving Darc

When I was a kid, I thought invisibility was such an awesome superpower. In a way, anonymity gave you freedom. After all, the most potent things are often those unseen.


Psst, kung magiging superhero ka, sino gusto mo maging?


And then I grew up a bit. I envied Storm. If I had her powers then everyday will be sunshine. No overcast horizons, no gushing winds to trip me off. I yearned for predictability, stability that made you feel secure. I feared no sudden drizzle. No sudden storms to cloud my day.


Ako dati si Superman para makalipad. Pero sawa na ako kay SuperMan, BatMan, gusto ko ngayon...


Weathering quite a handful, you grow up a little bit more. And then you realize that to take flight equates to taking risks. And the most heroic thing you could possibly do is to live for another, to risk for another.


I'm YourMan, KailanMan, NaMan!*










*Texts from a stranger :)

Monday, August 23

Of Maternal Instincts and Missosologists

I don't know if it's an offshoot of being OC but somehow, I've got a strong maternal bone in me. I always clean up things, check on what's wrong and make sure that everyone's ok and everything's in order. For instance, during our surf trip a while back, our assigned driver-friend had the colds and after dinner, just when I was about to finish cleaning up our table, I yelled from across the room: "Hoy, may vitamins ka ba?!" And without waiting for an answer, I took out a small ziplock from my bag, went to him and handed over a pill. Yes, I keep extra supplies of vitamins during out-of-town trips in case someone other than me needs them. Yes, nanay na nanay ako.

But then it doesn't stop there. Back in college, I used to head a student org and was often called kuya by the younger ones. Heck, even frat guys called me kuya. At the beginning, I was totally weirded out but then I came to terms with the fact that yep Darc, you're older, you are kuya.

Last Thursday, as I was walking along Mendiola on my way to St. Jude, I saw someone waving at me from a distance. Being the four-eyed blind guy that I am, it took me some time to recognize that these were my kids from college. I really don't know why but there's a certain warmth when these kids receive me. It's as if I'm someone they look up to... that or they just find me nakakaaliw. Perhaps it's because I don't take myself seriously but then they do. Lol. And when they ask how I'm doing, it's more than the usual pleasantries, I can feel the sincerity, the deep concern we really have for each other. I'm not touchy feely but when it comes to them, a hug and a kiss comes naturally. A hug and a kiss... notwithstanding that they are girls. Eeek, suicide. Lol.

*****

I'm one with Soltero* when he echoed Rajo Laurel saying that pageants are the gay world's Super Bowl, World Cup, NBA Finals all rolled into one. I remember jumping up and down the living room as I watched Miriam Quiambao slug it out through to the finals. Haha, slug it out, boxing much? Well, yeah, I guess it really is the ultimate gay sport. But some of us really take this pageant business to a whole new level.

One time, two of my friends and I were having dinner right after our St. Jude visit when pageant talk suddenly surfaced. My, my... my friends really are pageant hobbyists. I have a vague idea of who the previous winners are but really, I have to hand it to them. Much like Mugen's friend, they know by heart all the winners from every Miss Universe edition. And not only that, they know who the finalists are! Country, complete names and all! When they started spitting out names of Latinas and enumerating the country's that got called first during semi-finals, I caught myself doing the tired old nod you give when you have absolutely no idea what people are talking about. This is pageant analysis at its uber ultimate hard core!

Hay, I wish I too was a missosologist. Lol :P

*Dear Soltero, where is your Miss Universe/pageantry post?! I can no longer find it. Bow. Ikaw ha. Lol.

Monday, August 16

Aja

Find the resolve to fight it.
Do not weigh. Do not keep score.
Open your hands.
To stories told before you crashed in.
Green-eyed.
It's useless, you know it is.
Shake it off.
And enjoy the blessing that is now.

I think we've been here before
I recognize this place
I've seen the marks of confusion
Wipe out a single sign of grace
And I don't want to play anymore
Not when the stakes are so high
So before we circle round once more
I'm gonna lay down,
Lay down my pride

Let it go, let it be
Don't waste all your emotion on this
Tit-for-tat machine
Let it go, let it be
Let it go

I turn on the TV
And it screams out at me
Nothing seems to have changed
Since the start of Adam and Eve
So we're waiting for the sky to fall
And we're buying brand new toys
But before we circle round once more
Can we lay down
Just lay down this pride

Let it go, let it be
Don't waste all your emotion on this
Tit-for-tat machine
Let it go, let it be
Let it go
Don't go wasting your emotions
No one wins if we keep score
Let it go, let it be
Let it go


Let It Go, Corinne May

Monday, August 2

Waltz to the Words

I wanted to dance in front of the mirror. But when the song played, I found my arms around your waist... swaying to an imaginary waltz. Only to find out that only I could hear the music and your silhouette was but a mere pillow.

At least I smiled. And it was the most spontaneous smile I've had in a while.

I hate you... I've never missed someone this much :)

What did you say?
I know I saw you singing
But my ears won't stop ringing
Long enough to hear
Those sweet words
What did you say?

End of the day
The hour hand has spun
But before the night is done
I just have to hear
Those sweet words
Spoken like a melody

All your love
Is a lost balloon
Rising up through the afternoon
'Til it could fit on the head of a pin
Come on in
Did you have a hard time sleeping?
Cuz the heavy moon was keeping
Me awake, and all I know is
I'm just glad to
See you again

See my love
Like a lost balloon
Rising up
Through the afternoon, and
Then you appeared

What did you say?
I know what you were singing
But my ears won't stop ringing
Long enough to hear
Those sweet words
And your simple melody

I just have to hear
Those sweet words
Spoken like a melody

I just want to hear
Those sweet words

- Those Sweet Words, Norah Jones

Thursday, July 29

Transit Thoughts

I was drenched in rain, onboard an FX taxi that found itself sliding down the EDSA-Shaw flyover, when I thought of Paolo Coelho's Eleven Minutes and how he said that we often intertwine love with pain when the former brings only wonderful things, beautiful moments.

At that point, I remembered one of our retreat facilitators last March. Sharing her own life journey as she told us to embrace and own our stories, she mentioned how God blessed her to fall in love again after a failed relationship a couple of years before.

That got me thinking, maybe that's why we equate love with pain, because we see it as an entitlement rather than as a blessing. When you feel entitled to receive love and experience it, you find yourself terribly frustrated when you don't have it. When you lose love, you feel devastated. As you wait for love, you wrestle with impatience.

In my heart of hearts, I want to believe this. That love is a blessing and not an entitlement. That way, you get to treasure every waking moment with that special someone... because he is a gift, not something you've earned and can earn again. That way, you forget to account for things that he does or fails to do... simply because you feel no need to.

I know this is way easier said than done. And once you've known pain or have come to know love through pain, relationships can easily turn from enjoying that gift to sustaining it. And then love does become a battlefield. You end up scarred yet again... bleeding, fighting, gasping to survive.

Perhaps nothing really is permament in our mortal lives. Everything is temporary... even love may be fleeting. But in spite of this, if you see love as a blessing, then as I always say, the pain may be no less real, but at the very least you're left with something to hold on to. That the love you were gifted with may have found its way back to the One above but that in His time, in His infinite wisdom and goodness, another blessing of the same skin might be yours.

To you, remember this, I take you as a blessing. Only through that can I tide the lingering pain, the pain of finding ourselves in no less than perfect circumstances. Because I choose to see the wonderful gift that you are... my flaws, your flaws and all.

“Pain and suffering are used to justify the only thing that should bring only joy: love.” - Paolo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Tuesday, July 27

Guardian Meets the Cybercelebrity

It's kind of reassuring to have a blog guardian, someone who keeps you grounded, who knows how you are in person way before you started pouring your heart out in an online journal. To a certain extent, my blog guardian keeps me in line, trying his very best (in spite of my hard-headedness) to steer me from diving into unwieldy situations as I meet people on this side of the web. Of course, he's never successful and I can only imagine his frustration - and amusement - as he tells me, "Hay, Darc, the things you get yourself into...."

Over the weekend, my blog guardian met two of my cybercelebrities whom I've come to consider as offline friends as well. Actually, as he put it, I chaperoned since he and his other "guardian" friends read one of them religiously. In fact, cybercelebrity 1 is the only blogger he reads and yep, he's a fan boy.

So we were having lunch: they were talking, I was making kulit. Then the conversation touched on how the online-offline gap was bridged, how it was possible to create real friendships out of the connections we make on this virtual space. Being a noob on these affairs, I listened in to cybercelebrity 1's thoughts: "I try to communicate with them... of course, only if they want to." Flimsy connections do need constant work, I thought.

Some more talk on choosing who to befriend and who remain mere acquaintances and then, I can't exactly remember how or why, blog guardian said: "I wasn't really that worried. I knew that somehow, it's the good people who'd gravitate toward Darc and his story."

My heart blushed. Guardian thinks I attract nice people. And that could only mean one thing: you, co-cyberpilgrims, are nice and the connection we have is something borne out of your desire to connect with someone with a good heart. Hehe. So much for being fluffy and sugary and sweet. Sorry, I can't help it :P

Wednesday, July 21

Seriously?

There's something surreal about finding your way out of the mall after a last full show. Dim hallways with store signages crafting pockets of light. Going down several flights of escalators with the occasional security guard tracing where you're going. And then crossing the exit to find a light drizzle, a cool breeze as you pull over your hoodie and brave the midnight streets.

The jeepney suddenly stopped. A cab did the same a couple of seconds before us. We rushed to the other lane, passed by the cab to find a red box-type Toyota who did a counterflow. Weird. We were just beside a flyover. How could he possibly think of doing a counterflow? Or better yet, how in the world did he do it? Even weirder was how nonchalant the box-type's driver was. An old Chinese guy, probably in his 60's, platinum hair and all. He was sitting upright. No trace of worries in his face, clueless that he was actually in the wrong lane.

Wrong lane.

Not a minute has passed since that scene when all of a sudden, we found ourselves in front of a cement-mixer truck, parked perpendicular to the street.

Seriously now!

And upon reaching home, as I clasped the lever to open our gate, a stray cat jumped on me from the dark then slyly walked away.

It was Tuesday night... make that Wednesday "morning."

And now I'm at work, typing away, waiting for this laptop's screen to turn blue and restart on its own for the nth time. I pause and ask, how did I get here again?

Monday, July 19

Block

Have you ever felt that you had so much to write but the right words just don't come to you? That's how I feel right now. It's the feeling you can't put a finger on. It's vague yet strangely familiar. The elephant in the room, big enough to stomp on you yet still it goes unnoticed... you go to great lengths to leave it unnoticed.

And then you ramble, offering a hodge-podge of sentiments, hoping that it could pass up for some pseudo-philosophical musing. But then did you really want it to be some intellectual preach-athon when you started to write just to let it all out, let all of you out?

Well i guess I'm just scared... scared to admit that for the first time, I want something I could never have. I want to hold on to you, erase everything you've been through, erase every doubt and confusion so that what would be left is me, just me.

Scared and selfish. Way to go Darc... way to go....

Tuesday, July 13

Five for Fighting

I.

I met Leslie March of this year, during the retreat. She’s about my age, very smart and quite outgoing. You could tell from the twangs in her speech that she studied in one of those exclusive schools down south. Leslie joined the retreat to find herself. She was in a seven year relationship, engaged and about to get married. They were the perfect couple. Everyone thought so… except Leslie. I asked her why she decided to end things with her “perfect” boyfriend. She said that things just didn’t feel right: “You know the feeling of staying in the relationship, working things out… just to make it work? But then at the very start you already felt that no matter how perfect he was or the situation seemed, there was a little voice in me that said this wasn’t right, this wasn’t it?” I asked her if she had any regrets about the whole matter. “If there’s anything I regret, it’s not that I let go. Quite the opposite, I regret wasting seven years of my life forcing things when I knew, somehow, that this wasn’t it.”

II.

Jay has been my friend for the longest time. We met during grade school. Among my closest friends, Jay was able to maintain the longest relationship: five years with a boyfriend we’ve come to love as well. They went their separate ways about three or four months ago. To us friends, they were the closest example of a serious, long-term relationship for people like us. Jay seems happy now, especially with his new guy who I think understands his work and his time. Time. That was the root of Jay and his ex’s frequent misunderstandings. And now, Jay is free to spend that with his partner, in their just-begun relationship.

III.

Mimi was my boss in the bank before. She’s probably in her forties with two boys in college and a cute three-year old daughter. I was already months in my job when I heard from the grapevine that Mimi got separated from her husband after more than 20 years of being together. And her getting pregnant with their daughter was not enough to save their marriage. Worse, her husband thinks that he’s not the little girl’s father.

IV.

Lisa holds a similar story. She’s one of the bosses in the other department. But I guess fortunately for her, things ended earlier. She now raises solo her five-year old son. Perhaps that’s why I often see Mimi and Lisa take their lunch together. They see something familiar, an honest connection.

V.

And then there’s former officemate Bing. She’s in her mid-30s with a son in grade school. She used to live together with her son’s father until they officially tied the knot a couple of years back. I remember us researchers playing truant just to get to the city hall and act as witnesses to their legal vows. Recently, we got confused. Bing has been posting pictures online of “monthsary” celebrations… but the guy with her isn’t the same guy we remember seeing before. I guess Bing has moved on. And it seems that her son’s just as happy as her… even with his new daddy.

To you, I honestly don’t think that I’m the best person to ask about relationships. And so I offer you stories I know. I hold no judgment. I seek not to sway you nor convince you. Perhaps you’d find comfort knowing that there are stories out there that escaped the happy-ever-after we all dream about. Perhaps you’d find reaffirmation knowing that there are people out there who had the balls to decide like you did… even if it hurt, even if they too got hurt. But know also that there are those who keep on fighting, who hold on in spite of the hardships, who try to make it work because the love that they have outweigh the troubles and confusion they cross paths with. There are just too many stories to tell and I guess it’s about realizing where you really stand in the story you’ve come to weave.

I wish you good luck and I pray that you be well.

PS: Thank you for your kind words. I still have to come to terms with me being “amazing” as you say I am. I appreciate it, for real.

Tuesday, July 6

Of Listening and Reading

Crying in the office is now my official pastime.

As you all know by now, I'm probably one of the biggest cyberloafers out there. And so I was poring over YouTube, listening to songs, watching videos: Unsent by Alanis Morissette, then Not As We still by Alanis, followed by Do What You Have to Do by Sarah McLachlan. You get the drift, it's emo redux version God knows what.

And then I clicked on I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan. Beautiful song, right? But what got me was one of the comments:

Alexias030692 (6 days ago)

I'm a 12yr old boy and my big sis who is 20yrs old left early this morning to the airport to fight the war in Iraq ='( I couldn't sleep last night 'cause I was so devistated so I went into her room and woke her up. I couldn't take it anymore and started crying in her arms. She held me and rocked me gently and softly sung me this song until I finally fell asleep. So now whenever I hear this song, I think of her and see her face =) I know she'll be back home soon. I love you, 'big sissy'!!

Cue. Tears. Now.

I know, I'm such a cry baby. But isn't it amazing how music anchors emotions and how each of us could feel what someone we don't even know feels? Regardless of where you live, who you are or what you do, there is an unseen thread that binds us. There's a divine weaver that allows us to tap into that collective experience, that collective pool of emotions that to my mind reminds us of how it's really like to be human, hardships and all.

Pretty much how I feel when I bloghop from one post to another. It's the mirrored self, the mirrored experience. And it's about finding that thread of solidarity that someone out there feels much the same way you do... and then suddenly, things are not as bad as they seem :)

Sunday, July 4

The Poet

Of chapters unwritten
Of memories to be made
Of standing by
As the heart poured out
Its fears and its joys
Its pains and its hopes
And the unending understanding
Of goodness beyond comprehension
That only someone as true
Only someone as genuine
Could possibly give

The lyricist that you are
Your silent presence was perhaps by far
The most lucid interval I could possibly hope for
For in it was comforting assurance
Of a steady hand to prop up an injured soul
Selfless arms to embrace a fragile heart

My secret keeper

I am honored by your friendship
I am humbled by your kindness
And in this chaos of a life
You are my inspiration
That even if I bleed
I could still give
That despite the hurt
I could still heal

This spartan offer pales in comparison to your genius
A genius made manifest not only by your words
But more so, by the goodness of your heart
Happy birthday to the sweetest Geek.

:)

Friday, June 25

Relativity

Every morning I see an old lady squatting near our rented place, slicing vegetables and packing them up. I figured she must've been an ambulant vendor selling her goods around the neighborhood, going door to door offering her ready-to-cook meals. Later, I found out from Nanay that the old lady was actually from Pasig and that she'd bring her wares of fish, meat and vegetables from that end of the metro to our side here in Mandaluyong. The pre-sliced vegetables were actually partnered with a bag of noodles. It was a lomi or pansit set that one could cook without the hassle of peeling and dicing the ingredients.

Manang was enterprising, I thought. But beyond being impressed, quite oddly, I felt a tinge of sadness and shame. Here's an old lady trying to make ends meet, already up and about in the wee hours of the morning while I was still sulking in my bed doing my emo overload.

Not that my pain goes away by seeing someone suffering a heavier cross. Far from it, I don't entirely believe in looking at others' plight to make you feel better. I guess, at best, moments like this push you to count the blessings you've been enjoying so far. And by looking at what you have - devoid of any semblance of comparison or relative satisfaction - you get to hang on a little bit longer.

The pain remains but then you find reasons to hang on.

Wednesday, June 23

Pangarap

Salamat sa pagtupad ng isang pangarap. Saglit man, ramdam ko na tunay. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, naramdaman kong may nagmahal sa akin nang lubusan at totoo. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, nagmahal ako nang lubusan at totoo.

Maraming bagay ang hindi ko makakalimutan. Mga sandaling nakatatak na sa pagkatao ko. Mga sandaling kailanman ay hindi mabubura ng panahon.

Sa bawat yakap at halik na pinagsaluhan natin, sana'y maalala mo na may isang taong nakabantay sa iyo, naghihintay, nangungulila, nalulumbay.

Gusto kitang ipaglaban ngunit kahit ang pagkakataon ay tutol.

Iwaksi ko man nang pilit, patuloy pa ring ginigising ng puso ko ang pag-aasam na sana balang araw, magkasama pa rin tayo. Sa kailaliman ng gabi, kaagapay ng pagtulog na sa ngayo'y ako'y nilisan, ikaw ang iniisip ko, ikaw ang nasa puso ko.

Kailangan kong maging matatag, gayon din ikaw. Kahit pa hindi ko alam kung papaano, pipilitin kong subukan. Naliligaw man ang puso ko, ang isip ko, ang pagkatao ko, pipilitin kong subukan.

Mahal na mahal kita. Sobra sobra... higit pa sa alam mo.

Tuesday, June 22

22 May 2010

I bought a couple of herbs probably a week or two ago and I noticed that my water mints quickly turned yellow and wilted. One by one the leaves fell. With even the slightest tap, they flew down from the stalks to kiss the ground.

But then, this morning I noticed, they were actually getting taller. And the nodes from which the wilted leaves fell sprouted baby roots that now try to anchor itself to the soil.

I guess some dying really needs to take place for some growth. Some wilting needs to take place in order to grow some roots and be taller.

*****

And that pinch in my heart almost took over this morning. Singing God Blessed the Broken Road while walking uphill toward the office, my eyes again welled up.

Courage and faith, Darc.

You gotta have courage to push on in spite of the hurt.
You gotta have faith that this broken road you again found yourself in will someday lead straight to your Northern Star.

I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. God has placed me here for a reason. I've lifted my pain to Him and His will shall restore my heart. I claim His healing. And I know that someday, in His time, I shall be at peace.

*****

Back in fourth grade, our class adviser gave out cards to remember her by. I know that God works through people and that that card I received was meant for me. I've had the blessed opportunity to meet some of you beyond the confines of this space, and this prayer will probably explain to you why I am who I am.

I've been saying this prayer since I was a little kid and everytime I find myself in states such as this, I hold on to the promise that I must be a good person... or at least try to be like Him.

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life: in disappointments, in the thoughtfulness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden nor embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable, that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less noble for having been a fellow-traveller in our journey toward eternal life.

As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper, from time to time, a word of love to You. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity. Amen.


Monday, June 21

The Science of Pascal

The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of...

But I need to.
I have to.
For you and your future...

Of which I will never be a part of.

Saving Private Darc

Alright, I admit. I'm a little OC. Take note: just a little tiny wee bit OC. I guess that's why I survived working for the military. I love the order, the clear line of command, the authority and expectations.

However, while the OC in me finds comfort in the structured environment, to say that my work life then was monotonous isn't exactly true.

Tried traversing EDSA from Santolan to the Intercon in 15 minutes during rush hour?

I did... and it wasn't exactly fun.

The boss had a speaking engagement and I was finalizing his presentation when all of a sudden, my supervisor told me that I'd be riding with the boss in his van. Cool, I thought! But that was until they opened the van's door.

Security escorts, some of them in full battle gear with armalites and what have you inside. And I was supposed to sandwich myself between them?!

Good God! I told myself, what if we got ambushed? I didn't want to be headline news for a sniper job gone wrong!

And that whole security shuffle didn't end there.

Ever had company outings? Of course you probably had. But then, ever had company outings with a small group of rangers with M16s and the works patrolling the beach just in case a band of rebels decide to drop by?! Sounds like a fun party right?

And the most intense ride I probably had was when we did some consultations in Quezon. Yep, NPA country here I come! Beautifully packed in a van of armalites... again, just in case the heaven's decided that I'd look awesome in an ambush scene.

*****

If you happen to see soldiers around, you can determine their rank by looking at their uniform...

2 triangles = Second Lieutenant
3 triangles = Captain
1 sun = Major
2 suns = Lieutenant Colonel
3 suns = Colonel
1 star = Brigadier General
2 stars = Major General
3 stars = Lieutenant General
4 stars = General

From what I know, the 4-star General rank is reserved for the Chief of Staff.

And then, if you find yourself going around the country, here's the area commands:

NOLCOM (Norther Luzon)
SOLCOM (Souther Luzon)
NCRCOM (NCR)
WESCOM (Palawan)
CENTCOM (Visayas)
EASTMINCOM (Eastern Mindanao)
WESMINCOM (Western Mindanao)

Previously EASTMINCOM and WESMINCOM were joined together as the SOUTHCOM. But then for "strategic" reasons, they divided it up since the security situation in Mindanao wasn't uniform across the region. It's for greater focus, I guess.

And for what are these useless trivia?

In case you get stuck at a checkpoint, you might find it useful to do some impromptu skit and act as if you knew someone from the military. I think approaching security forces with a tad bit of familiarity creates some kind of rapport especially during heightened alerts.

Or if not, do as I do. When I board cabs and feel as if manong driver's unnecessarily snaking around the metro or if he's giving me an attitude, I'd pick up my phone and pretend to have received a call from some military officer and talk about military office stuff, drop a name or two and act is if I should've been where I was supposed to be hours ago.

Kinda works for me. From a scowl upon boarding to a "thank you sir" upon reaching your drop off point, the pseudo-phone conversation often drives home the point.

And the point is?

I'm schizo. Sue me!

:p

Thursday, June 17

Cracking Dawn

The sky was struggling to find light when I arrived at his dorm. In my right hand was a java frap as he told me to bring, in my heart a weary pounding of anticipation.

We talked... or better yet, I talked. No. I pleaded.

And then I cried, unmindful of the slowly awakening morning, unmindful of the watchful eyes that saw mine well up.

We moved to the oval as joggers and families bustled into the place. Again, I teared up while all he did was... stare.

And just as the heaven's planned, I was a joke to him and an amusement to all.

I stood up, crumpled my jacket and walked away... hitting every lamp post as I took in the stares of a morning I shall remember.

Yes friend, I did cry in public... more than you know, more than I try to forget.

Thursday, June 10

Mistaken Identity

I've been mistaken for a medrep twice.

Once, while waiting outside my doctor's clinic, an elderly woman asked me, "Mahirap ba ang buhay ng medrep?"

Um, how should I know?!

Of course I kept that to myself.

Another time, the clinic staff asked me if I was to present something.

Present what?! Present my symptoms?!

With a shy smile, the other staff corrected her, "Patient iyan huy!"

What's with me looking like a medrep? Is this my true calling?

But then just this morning, as I boarded a cab going to UP, manong driver asked me if I was to drop off at the College of Law.

Atty. Darc?

Hmmmm....

And there goes a non-sense post. Hahahaha :P

Wednesday, June 2

Let Me Generalize

Sometimes I wish I was straight... because girls like me more than boys.

I seek your indulgence. Let me generalize.

Boys like the tough bad boys. They like them rough and hard. Girls, meanwhile, like the nerdy soft-spoken kid. They like the goody-two-shoes nice guy. And don't even get me started with ladies 30 years and older. Seems that my market really is moms and their ilk.

Back in college, one of my classmates showed her Chinese mom my picture and when she told her mom that I was kinda treading the he/she divide, all her mom could say was, "Sayang naman." And then there's this one time when we had our org's Christmas party in one of our member's house somewhere along EDSA, she went to the kitchen to check on some of the food and when she came back she had a grin on her face. With a slight chuckle, she reported to everyone that her mom told her that her friends from school were kinda gwapo, especially the one with glasses. "Um, ok." That was all I was able to say. And then just recently, when I had a sleepover with college blockmates, our host's older sister who already had a family of her own, apparently told him a familiar line: "Gwapo pala mga kaklase mo eh," to which my girl classmate quickly replied, "Ate, iyong isa po dun hindi papayag na gwapo siya; maganda po!"

Seriously, I need to re-assess my options and how I position myself. The product is more "sellable" to the she-side of the market. A re-branding might be in order.

On a different note, I'm kinda tired of being a push-over. I keep on telling myself that petty things affect petty minds but then people don't seem to get that idea. They often pay attention to those who make a whole lot of noise. But then empty drums bang the loudest. So I guess another re-branding is in order. Machiavelli says it's better to be feared than to be loved. Times like this, I feel that for me to get what I want, for me to have things my way, I need to act a little tougher. I'm kinda tired of thinking that, hey maybe she's got things bothering her today that's why she's abrasive, I'll take the high road and take on the flak. But then nice guys finish last. I'm tired of finishing last.

Monday, May 31

Sit In

3 days without sleep and my body wasn't about to give up.

I trooped to his Monday morning class upon his request. He wanted to "assess" how he really felt about me and about his student. I knew I had a ticket to absent myself from work. Sunday was graduation and I thought the bosses would understand my supposed drunken state, perhaps from the revelry... only it never was.

I sat at the back, anxious, waiting for the firestorm to come... and come it did. His nonchalance was cutting, his remarks biting. It's as if I threw myself into the proverbial lion's pit, the chewed up crumbs of my ego to be spat out in front of all his students to see.

"If the outermost electron gets excited, it almost always jumps to the nearest atom. Remember class, you don't always see red. You don't always see red!"

Given that his personal life was an open book to his students, the chuckles from his class with every joke that alluded to my unwelcome presence surfaced a lump in my throat. I was choking. And a good hour of keeping a brave front was only too much to handle.

I raised my hand.

"Sir, ano ba kasing excitement ang hinahanap niyang electrons na iyan?"

The class turned their heads to the back and stared at me.

A few more attempts at a territory he has already mastered, with jabs at entropy and how people should always try to piece things together, I stopped, taking in the silence that now conquered the air.

"See you next meeting class."

The crowd dispersed... and that was it.

*****

Looking back at the mess I was in then, I can't help but ask why I always find myself as one of the options, just that: an option. I know I can never impose what I want on another but then, I can't help but think, no, I can't help but wish that somehow, for once, I become the choice. No comparisons, no weighing around, no assessing how I measure up against another. Just me, only me.

*****

I checked an email account I haven't touched for so long. A couple hundreds of unread messages to sift through, browse, and delete.

Sometime February of this year, a message from him.

"I know you owe me no favors but can I see you... before things change... please?"

Funny how casual I felt reading that plea. Off the cuff, I replied a good luck and a wish that things are good with him.

"It's almost a year," he answered.

I felt no desire to reply back. Although I wanted to correct him. It's been a year since things really ended but two years since that fateful summer. A summer that saw me lose myself, a summer that scarred me and broke me, a summer that took my soul to places I never knew I'd reach.

Maybe I'm still broken, an irreparable chink in how I see my own worth, the scar of being just one of the options that still haunts me until today.

But then it's been two years. And time's balm has been a crutch that propped me up to push on. A sigh offset by an affirmation, that there's nowhere I'd rather be than in this, my broken road.

Thursday, May 6

G'nyt

It was already around midnight. I was onboard a cab on my way home after having dinner with friends. At the intersection of Makati Ave. and Buendia, we stopped beside another cab, in it was, I suppose, a couple: two guys, both good looking. One of them opened the cab's right-side door, called out a streetkid and handed over a brown bag.

Sweet, I thought, how two nice guys seemed to have found each other.

Back to where I was, the space beside me remained empty... and all I was able to do was to text you a rather simple message, "G'nyt."

Monday, April 26

Popcorn Fields

Can thoughts be called random if they spring to consciousness because of recent events? Popcorn fields ask why.

They ask why I draw circles on someone else's hands when our fingers intertwine.
They ask why I always end up being second best.
They ask why I keep wanting something I could could never have.
They ask why I keep hoping.
They ask why I fall.

Friend, thank you for shedding a tear for me. The accomplice that you are, I find comfort in your sympathy and understanding. That you know how it feels to keep on wishing for something that can never be. That indeed, the pool we dived into may be but an ephemeral fantasy... swimming in it, only to rise to reality.

And the serendipity of that song playing on that exact morning still teases me, as if to re-affirm that everything does happen for a reason and that I am where I should be.

Waiting for your call
I'm sick
Call, I'm angry
Call, I'm desperate for your voice
I'm listening to the song we used to sing
In the car, do you remember
Butterfly, Early Summer
It's playing on repeat
Just like when we would meet

I was born to tell you I love you
And I am torn to do what I have to... to make you mine
Stay with me tonight

Stripped and polished
I am new
I am fresh
I am feeling so ambitious
You and me
Flesh to flesh
Because every breath that you will take
While you are sitting next to me
Will bring life into my deepest hopes
What's your fantasy?

I was born to tell you I love you
And I am torn to do what I have to... to make you mine
Stay with me tonight

And I'm tired of being all alone
And this solitary moment makes me want to come back home
(I know everything you wanted isn't anything you have)

I was born to tell you I love you
And I am torn to do what I have to... to make you mine
Stay with me tonight

I was born to tell you I love you
And I am torn to do what I have to... to make you mine
Stay with me tonight
(I know everything you wanted isn't anything you have)

- Your Call, Second Hand Serenade





Image from:
http://www.valetparkingheathrow.co.uk/images/heathrow-parking-airplane.jpg

Wednesday, April 21

Heartbreak 101: Lesson #4

I am mustering the audacity to write down my rule book - lessons on heartbreak that must be considered before taking second, third, fourth, fifth or nth chances. Why? For catharsis and for the benefit of those in la la la land who are shackled by hopes - hopes that things will get better that's why you hold on and you continue to take chances. I recognize the bitterness so there's no need to point that one out. Chances are these rules are applicable only to those who choose to believe them. After all, to romanticize is one of humanity's greatest follies.

Lesson #1: The Glass Jar Principle
Lesson #2: The Law of Worth and Risks
Lesson #3: The Matter Theory
Lesson #4: The Fallacy of Advice


Things are easier said than done and often, people find it difficult to practice what they preach.

Case in point?

Me, myself, and I.

Bottomline? People can appear - nay - try to be strong... but if it hurts, it hurts.

Next lesson: On hiatus...

- My Facebook Note, 16 June 2009

Tuesday, April 20

Heartbreak 101: Lesson #3

I am mustering the audacity to write down my rule book - lessons on heartbreak that must be considered before taking second, third, fourth, fifth or nth chances. Why? For catharsis and for the benefit of those in la la la land who are shackled by hopes - hopes that things will get better that's why you hold on and you continue to take chances. I recognize the bitterness so there's no need to point that one out. Chances are these rules are applicable only to those who choose to believe them. After all, to romanticize is one of humanity's greatest follies.

Lesson #1: The Glass Jar Principle
Lesson #2: The Law of Worth and Risks
Lesson #3: The Matter Theory


The Matter Theory is a rather simple proposition:

"If it occupies space in your mind and heart, then it matters."

In a relationship, how often have you found yourself brushing aside the supposedly "petty" things that bother you? You have that nagging feeling that something's wrong but you ignore it simply because you can't put a finger on it. You know something's wrong and things aren't working out but you don't know exactly why. And this vagueness pushes you to think that perhaps it's not really a problem. After all, what you can't define can't possibly be a major problem, right?

Guess again.

A concern need not take a definite shape before it wreaks havoc in your relationship. In fact, these vague clouds are more potent, far more dangerous. Like an acid poured onto your mind and heart, it accumulates and takes the form that you wish. The anxieties corrode your relationship to the point that vulnerabilities surface and these weak spots eventually give in.

Left unchecked, these potholes of what once were vague questions, could spell the end of your relationship.

Bottomline? Do not put out fires, seek out the sparks that light them.

Next lesson: The Fallacy of Advice

- My Facebook Note, 11 June 2009

Monday, April 19

Heartbreak 101: Lesson #2

I am mustering the audacity to write down my rule book - lessons on heartbreak that must be considered before taking second, third, fourth, fifth or nth chances. Why? For catharsis and for the benefit of those in la la la land who are shackled by hopes - hopes that things will get better that's why you hold on and you continue to take chances. I recognize the bitterness so there's no need to point that one out. Chances are these rules are applicable only to those who choose to believe them. After all, to romanticize is one of humanity's greatest follies.

Lesson #1: The Glass Jar Principle
Lesson #2: The Law of Worth and Risks


If a third party presents itself, which would you rather choose: that both you and your partner sort out the mess together or have him conceal everything to you until such time that he has cleared his mind and made a final decision?

The romantic answer is to sort out things together. After all, it was the two of you who entered the relationship; ergo, the responsibility of fixing things - even if it's a third party you're partner is going gaga over - falls on both your shoulders. Unfortunately, only the strong is able to go through this romantic choice unscathed.

If your partner goes out on an adventure to explore and makes an excuse that such will be for the better - a stronger relationship that will withstand future temptations, I suggest you re-assess. If he can't resist the current temptation, what assurance do you have that he will be able to resist those that are yet to come? Besides, him going on a supposed journey to enlightenment equates to him saying to your face:

"I'm going on a field trip. This might ruin our relationship but I'm taking it anyway. It's worth the risk. You are worth risking."

Bottomline? If he loves you, he'd know that you're not worth risking.

Next lesson: The Matter Theory

- My Facebook Note, 10 June 2009

Friday, April 16

Heartbreak 101: Lesson #1

I am mustering the audacity to write down my rule book - lessons on heartbreak that must be considered before taking second, third, fourth, fifth or nth chances. Why? For catharsis and for the benefit of those in la la la land who are shackled by hopes - hopes that things will get better that's why you hold on and you continue to take chances. I recognize the bitterness so there's no need to point that one out. Chances are these rules are applicable only to those who choose to believe them. After all, to romanticize is one of humanity's greatest follies.

And so we proceed with Lesson #1: The Glass Jar Principle

The Glass Jar Principle is the age-old dictum on fixing broken relationships: even if you piece things back together, the fault lines that glue them will forever haunt you. They are testaments to the infidelity, to the hurt, to the betrayal. The Glass Jar Principle is otherwise known as the Spectre of the Past. Past critical junctures are ghosts that will knock at your door everytime an argument or misunderstanding arises. Fact is, once the glass jar is shattered, your sense of security is also likely shattered. Hence, you contiue to find assurance that if not assuaged, will be toxic to your "renewed" relationship. The pain and insecurity will continually pound at you to the point that you'd rather be alone than stay in the relationship: after a period of time, the hurt of being alone will equalize the hurt of being together.

Bottom line? Take time to heal before taking second chances, or better yet, if you can't stand the insecurity, then don't take second chances at all.

Next lesson: The Law of Worth and Risks

- My Facebook Note, 10 June 2009

Sunday, April 11

My Place

I'm in good terms with my other ex. Just recently, he started texting me more often than usual, trying to catch up on how I've been doing lately. He's on training to be a medrep and bragged that he topped his class. Honestly, I wasn't that surprised, he's quite a package really: looks, smarts and a good dose of charm. I asked him where he'd be assigned. He said the Metro although he really wanted to get a provincial post. He told me he wanted to try his hand on an independent life. I dittoed him on that, told him that I was itching to move out of my parents' watchful eyes. And then he replied:

"Kapag stable na ako, ligawan kita ulit. Live-in tayo."

Kids and their jokes. Dreamy but then again, not quite meant to be.

On other news, Adele's been singing how I feel these days...

I've made up my mind, don't need to think it over
If I'm wrong I am right, don't need to look no further
This ain't lust, I know this is love

But if I tell the world, I'll never say enough
'Cause it was not said to you
And that's exactly what I need to do if I'd end up with you

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?

I build myself up and fly around in circles
Wait then as my heart drops and my back begins to tingle
Finally could this be it?

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep on chasing pavements
Should I just keep on chasing pavements?

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?

- Chasing Pavements, Adele

Thursday, April 8

Promise

Sunset at Chapel on the Hill.
A few friends and family.
A string quartet playing "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal."
A soprano singing, "Ikaw lamang ang aking iibigin... magpakailanman."

Simple rites.
Simple words.

"I do."
"I love you."

I believe in magic.
I believe it will happen in my lifetime.

Sand on our feet.
Faint twinkles.
Peach sky.
The sea in rhythmic crash.
And a hand to hold.

I found my dream guy.

Glasses framing his chinky eyes.
Soft-spoken.
Gentle mannered.
He speaks of the goodness in people.
And in him I see hope.

Intellectual but with a heart.
A ready smile.
Unassuming.
Humble. Simple.
And bar none, sincere.

Sir, I want him to be much like you.
Because I know, I'd be safe.
I'd be at peace.
I'd be true.

Wednesday, April 7

Reading Cards

When you’re heartbroken, you tend to do lots of things. I for one just go all out and join whatever misadventure friends and even acquaintances plan. I spread myself and take up whatever’s on my plate. It’s kinda fun really. I get to step out of my comfort zone and veer away from my boxed up boring self. It helps that you’ve got different sets of friends too. More friends mean more things to do. And the novelty of places, people, and events – to a large part – balm the pangs that nibble on one’s heart.

Law school friends helped me a lot during those spaced-out moments. They’ve been very accommodating to the point that I got to crash their org meetings and social events. I was the unofficial “bisita” of Malcolm Hall. I was the odd one out who felt comfortable acting lawyerly around would-be lawyers.

One afternoon, a friend introduced me to a new law school acquaintance who knew how to read tarot cards. Of course, being the “makulit” guy that I was, I insisted that she practice on me. I picked out three cards from her stack, one of which pierced through what I was going through.

It was the card for my past: betrayal.

She asked if someone recently betrayed me. I smiled. My friend answered with conviction… “Yes, he had been.”

*****

“Ang tulay, paulit-ulit na dadaanan.”

Yet another nugget that tugged my heart during the recent retreat. Taking the sunny side of things, I’d say yes, people will wear you out, erode you, test how long you could hold up and support them. But then, in times like these, I just have to say, the bridge also gets tired… tired of the same things happening to him over and over again. And when an unexpected load rattles him to the point of breaking, just when he thought he was again ready to trust, yet another brick is added to his steadily building walls.

A friend and I recently talked about my tendency to give up easily. After the first heartbreak, I’ve been in only one relationship. And that lasted for barely a month. I decided not to work things out, take one step closer to shutting out people for good. After all, I thought, nothing will ever work out anyway. Been there, done that… and still, I ended up in heartbreak. What’s the point of laying your cards on the table when the same heartbreak will bite your ass in the end? Vulnerability is overrated… maybe, relationships too.

You, you, and you will remain nameless. Some may know the untold stories but now, I decide to bury the hatchet.

And yes Anonymous, at this juncture of my journey, I’m giving in to the cynics who scoffed and rolled their eyes at this stupid, silly thing I’ve been throwing myself into.

Yes, I reaffirm.

In this space… romance is doomed to fail before it even starts.

Slash My Wrist

I remember how dazed I was the first few weeks after I finally called it quits with the first ex. Waking up with nothing to look forward to. Floating from sleep to work, unmindful of whether I might get killed by the speeding cars as I walk to the office. Come to think of it, at that time, somehow, I knew I wished for it. For me to get hit by some random car. For me to suffer some freak accident. For things to just end.

At that time, it was ok for everything to stop... just. like. that.

*****

It was the second day of the retreat and we were told to remain silent throughout the activities. No good mornings, no thank yous. Just silence. Our only respite was the customary sharegroup right after each lecture and testimonial. Surprisingly, I found myself intently listening to my newfound friends, comrades who by God's hands found themselves asking my very questions at that particular juncture in their lives.

"What was she thinking right before she jumped?" Paula shared. She narrated how one of her friends took her own life. How a security guard manning their building saw her idling time on the rooftop. How the moment after, she took that jump and willed everything to stop.

"Was she sad? Was she hurting? Were her thoughts a blank? Or maybe she was enjoying the view?" Twisted, but suddenly I recognized that calm of taking in the view. Looking into the sunset and then bidding the world goodbye. She could have been stronger, I thought. What if she held on a little longer? What if?

And then I remembered the testimonial earlier that morning: "The pleasure of taking my own life was far greater than the pain of living the next moment."

At that very instance, I took out my pen and scribbled a thank you. Thank you Lord for not letting me sink that low. For holding on to me a little longer.

Otherwise, I won't be where I'm at today.

Monday, April 5

Because...

... ‘twas just a simple admiration from the start,
How words were weaved like a work of art,
A painting of a part, a faceless canvass,
Like a sculpted form of gold and brass.

Then you get curious, like a smitten cat,
You’d want to meet, and have a little chat
Thin or fat, over coffee or tea,
You’d get to realise, there’s more to see.

Though the cybercelebrity,
is just like you and me,

But weirdly, a soft smile, a touch of skin,
Can make you go gaga, and drown on gin,
“Fuck it!” you mutter, “I’ll love you nonetheless”
“Pero ampotah,” fate is such a mess.

For the end, is such a humorous bend.

In the end, you can only be friends
In the end, your heart you’ll have to mend.

Ampotah diba? :P


- Toilet Thoughts

*****

... voyeurism is ingrained in my psyche. The capacity to generate images of longing and desire in the comfort, safety, and anonymity of this digitized delusion. I fell in love, for there is little to do but fall.

With the same fervor as real life ardor, replete with every emotionality, obsession and infatuation it entails, but devoid of the risks of vulnerability, rejection and confrontation. I fell in love because cyber-consciousness affords me to.

Because here, in this world of online exploitation we inhabit, he cannot stop me. Deter me. Prevent me. From fully actualizing the longings I possess. Consuming and clandestine. This is why.


- Red the Mod

*****

And since everyone wants the moleskin, I decided to go Solomonic and tear it in the middle for Toilet Thoughts and Red the Mod to share. But then giving up the other half of the volant - which I initially wanted to keep - seemed a better option.

And that left the SWI GC disowned and to date, still unowned.

Cheers to Travailer, Moi, Mark, Dabo, Iurico, Ewik, Galen, and Anonymous! :)

Tuesday, March 30

XP 101

Let's do a list shall we?

I fell in love with a cybercelebrity because...

*****

Best answer wins:

Slimmers World GC (P1,500 worth of Services)
Terms and conditions:
1. Strictly for new guests only.
2. Must be presented with another valid ID upon redemption.
3. Advance booking required.
4. Non-refundable, non-transferable, not covertible to cash.
5. Erasures and tampering will render GC invalid.
6. Lost GC will not be replaced.
7. May be availed only at SWI Pasay Road.
8. SWI will not be liable for any injury, etc.
9. Valid unitl 15 April 2010 only.

I'll be throwing in a dark blue moleskin volant (13x21cm) too for a runner up answer.

I just need to dispose of the GC since it's about to expire already plus I don't know but I find the moleskin too expensive for me to write on, so I guess it's better for someone else to have it.

Have as many answers as you want.
Drop them at the comments section.
Let's close this silly thing by Friday, 2 April 2010.

And if nobody leaves a comment, then yeah Jepoy, you could have the freebies... again. Hehe :P

Thursday, March 25

Pause

I'm no stranger to that feeling but I'd have to admit, it doesn't come to me often. It's my fault really. When I meet someone I'm comfortable with, I tend to go overboard and act as if everything I do is ok and as always... it's not.

For someone who prides himself with being deliberate, prim and proper, getting called on for something offensive to another is a major major screw up. Think star pre-schooler committing his first offense and getting a major beating from his teacher in front of the class. Imagine the disappointment...

Worse, I was at a loss for excuses. I was at a loss for words. Fact is it was simply... my fault.

You learn a little each day.

You learn to reign in.

And pause.

Monday, March 22

Questions

I fell in love with a cybercelebrity.
You, have you fallen in love with a cybercelebrity?
And will you fall... again?


*****

You and I Both
Jason Mraz

Was it you who spoke the words that things would happen
But not to me
Oh things are gonna happen naturally
Oh taking your advice I'm looking on the bright side
And balancing the whole thing
But often times those words get tangled up in lines
And the bright lights turn to night
Until the dawn it brings
Another day to sing about the magic that was you and me

Cause you and I both loved
What you and I spoke of
And others just read of
Others only read of the love, the love that I love.

See I'm all about them words
Over numbers, unencumbered numbered words
Hundreds of pages, pages, pages forwards
More words then I had ever heard and I feel so alive

You and I, you and I
Not so little you and I anymore
And with this silence brings a moral story
More importantly evolving is the glory of a boy

Cause you and I both loved
What you and I spoke of
And others just dream of
And if you could see me now
Well I'm almost finally out of
I'm finally out of
Finally deedeedeedee
Well I'm almost finally, finally
Well I'm free, oh, I'm free

And it's okay if you have go away
Oh just remember the telephone works both ways
And if I never ever hear them ring
If nothing else I'll think the bells inside
Have finally found you someone else and that's okay
Cause I'll remember everything you sang

Cause you and I both loved what you and I spoke of
and others just read of and if you could see now
well I'm almost finally out of.
I'm finally out of, finally, deedeeededede
Well I'm almost finally, finally, finally out of words.

Friday, March 19

One Look

I like my head shaved... I get weird comments though.

One time, when I dropped by a friend's office, he told me that I looked like someone he saw on a billboard in EDSA. I probably gave him the biggest smile of my life thinking that I looked like a poster boy for an ad. Turns out, it was a Pinoy band. I asked what band but then he was not familiar with current local artists.

"Basta iyong nasa may Ortigas."

Then one of his officemates answered.

"Ah Kwajn."

I look like Marc Abaya? Hmmm, pwede na rin.

So I went home and spilled my new-found "fame" over dinner.

"Kamukha ko raw si Marc Abaya?"

My sister gave a hearty laugh.

"Kuya, one look... and I'm mesmerized by your eyes..."

And laugh more, she did.

"Ang-landi naman ni Marc Abaya 'pag ganun."

Then Nanay, out of nowhere...

"Ok lang... panget naman kaya iyon."

Salamat ha, Nanay ba talaga kita?!

Haist... family.

:)

Wednesday, March 17

Dear John

I have a dream-catcher hanging on my cubicle’s wall. Black threads weaving through each other. Each juncture tied by a knot. Everything enclosed in one wooden circle. How one point of that circle connects to another is a narrative of organized chaos. No clear line can be traced, only detours and ties.

Ties.

I fancy that the threads in my dream-catcher were once flimsy. That at one point they were rolled up in a tube. Perhaps let loose, they wandered aimlessly. But then, in that circle, as they overlap and create asymmetries, their sinuous nature fades. They support each other. They make themselves sturdy. And what becomes is a pattern of connections, borne of unexpected twists that now… catch dreams.

In this cobweb of a life, I am happy to have met you, to have listened to your story, to have learned from you. My weekend retreat taught me to own my story and that story includes finding you. Yep, you are about to leave. Our days are already numbered. It pains me that we met you a little too late but I know that that pain pales in comparison to what your Siopao must be feeling right now.

True love casts out all fears.

Fear not John. Find comfort in the love that your friends have for you, in the love that your Siopao shares with you, in the love that He selflessly gives you.

Everything happens for a reason. Everything has its time. For now, our season is that of parting but as we tread through this juncture and trace our stories, know that the tie we made shall support you and keep you sturdy… it shall support us, keep us sturdy.

Friend, keep courage, keep faith. I choke as I write this but know that we are behind you. Go ahead… and catch your dreams!

Monday, March 15

Written

I thought it was rather auspicious, the Friday rain. There's something about the sudden rush of coolness, how everything seems so clean after a downpour. I've had vivid memories, strong emotions attached to wet pavements and the stillness after. Sunshine struggles through gloom yet the transition is not abrupt. It is the same solace I felt back in highschool when I was up forty feet in the air, traversing a tightrope with a stranger. Up in the mountains, the wind rushing through, our harness - our lifeline - being held by strangers down below. I climbed the pole without hesitation, but when I was about to let go, just when I was about to slide through, my heart pounded. The first step, indeed was the most difficult to take.

*****

Max Lucado wrote You Are Special. It's about small wooden people called Wemmicks carved by a woodworker named Eli. All they did was give each other stickers. The good ones got gold stars, the others got gray dots. One of the unfortunate ones who never got a gold sticker was Punchinello. He thought he was ugly... well everyone thought he was. Then one day he met Lucia, a Wemmick without a sticker. Punchinello asked her how come she didn't have any stickers. Lucia told him that she saw Eli everyday and that he too should go up the hill and meet him.

Punchinello did what he was told. At first he got scared of the hammers, the chisels, and the other tools that Eli used. His wood might get scratched. He might get broken. He thought of turning back... until he heard Eli call him. They talked. And then Punchinello asked, "Why don't the stickers stay on her?" Eli replied, "Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them."

That was my turning point.

The stickers only stick if you let them.

*****

Saturday night I tossed my letter into the bonfire and watched the flames swallow my words.

I forgive you for hurting me.
I forgive you for reminding me of the pain.
I forgive you for dragging me down.

And as I let go of my stickers, I forgive you, Darc.

*****

So many realizations, so many affirmations. Owning my story meant owning my pain. And the confusion fades with acceptance. That I'm meant to be where I am. That I'm supposed to meet you. And that everything happens for a reason.

That is my story. And it continues to unfold.

There's no reason not to love.
There's no reason not to risk.

I may be broken... but I am not defeated.

Wednesday, March 10

Love Story

Boy meets Girl.
Boy falls in love.
Girl thinks Boy is too sissy for her.
After all, she's too headstrong and decided.
Girl gets a boyfriend.
Boy gets a girlfriend.
Girl splits up with the boyfriend.
Boy moves to Australia.
He splits up with the girlfriend.
Girl moves to Korea.
Five years passed.
They remain close friends.

Outside looking in, I saw how their spirits fit.
Same interests, same viewpoints... same emotions.
And then a facebook update:

Girl is in a relationship with Boy.

D: i knew before pa na you'd end up together
D: kayo lang nakakasakay sa trip ng isa't isa
B: i think that's a polite way of saying na "may sarili kayong mundo."
D: well
D: may sarili kayong mundo
D: there.
D: hahahaha
D: seryoso ba to?
B: hinde. joke lang.
D: weh?
B: lol
B: why are u asking kung seryoso ba to?
B: no, isa lang itong social project
D: lol
B: hmm.. it's not something we planned.
B: i guess it's always been there for the past 5 years or so.
D: so it is true!
D: this made my week
D: i am sooooooooo happy
B: pero hindi nga, totoo naman ito.
D: hay, i die
D: i faint
B: and i like how we've gotten into this stage
B: parang it's the most natural thing to do
B: alam mo yun. and people were commenting "finally" a lot. when i think about it, parang ganun nga sya, "finally."
D: i faint
D: i die
B: you fainted and died enough for multiple parallel universes already Darc.
D: i know
D: that's how happy i am


It's the most natural thing to do... finally.

Monday, March 8

Initiation

"Shoo! Shoo!"

Friend roused from his sleep.

"Shoo! Shoo!"

I stood up and asked him what the problem was.

"Ay sorry Darc. Akala ko aso."

I was too dazed to laugh. Apparently he thought I was some askal eating up our food stash. Well, I can't really blame him. I was slumped in the darkness embracing our red cooler. My silhouette could have been that of any random critter scouting the stretch of the shore.

But no, I wasn't doing another emo moment. I didn't sleep in our tent because I was desperately waiting for my tummy to throw up a cocktail of beer, vodka, tequila, and what have you. Yet again, I was drunk. I'm not really a beer drinker but being the sole stranger in that group, I tried my best to accommodate. Later did I know that beer doesn't really mix well with tequila. And no, even if it tastes just like Hi-C, The Bar is not a chaser!

It was a fun trip. I finally saw the place and though a lot of people set up camp that weekend, the company I was with was priceless. Friend's officemates had a sudden urge to go to the beach. And I tagged along. It was a good mix of boys, girls, couples, and of course, us. Everyone was game. Everyone was fun. And what happens when happy people get their hands on alcohol? Everyone gets wasted of course!

Midway through the drinking spree, I already felt my face numb up. And when alcohol gets the best of me, I have a tendency to chat everyone up like a Povedan-Assumptionista hybrid. English mode on. It was crazy funny. We were mocking each other, making fun of ourselves. Officemate 1 wasn't very comfortable conversing in English but as with most gay guys, any "liability" becomes an asset by poking fun at it. Siyempre nakipag-sabayan siya. But then, it just had to happen.

Officemate 1 took a shot. He was about to answer me back: "What do you...." And then all of a sudden, even before he finished that sentence, he passed out! Like a robot that got unplugged, his tequila shot seeped out of his mouth, he shut his eyes, and shut down. The boys picked him up from the sand. Checked his pulse and told me, "Ok lang Darc, talagang ganiyan iyan."

Then everyone started getting rowdy. Someone suddenly called for bodyshots.

"Sa utong! Sa utong!"

Of course I joined in.

"Sa utong! Sa utong!"

And then I wondered why all eyes were on me. I stopped clapping. Then everyone started teasing the guy beside me. I learned that he was a relatively new hire. Tall, quite cute, and rugged. Earlier that day, we had a "moment" as another officemate quipped. I assisted him while preparing afternoon snacks and there was a little touching and brushing... of hands. Then when we took group pictures with the sunset as backdrop, he sat beside me. He again sat beside me during dinner and throughout the drinking session.

"Sa utong! Sa utong!" everyone teased.

And then out of nowhere, his voice: "Sige na nga, para matapos na tayo."

*****

I had snippets of sleep while hugging the red cooler. The morning after, I felt queasy with a bad headache to boot. I had fun but I don't think I'd go anywhere near alcohol anytime soon.

Here's to new places to get drunk in, new memories to enjoy, and new people to laugh with! Kampai!!!

Friday, March 5

Look Back!

I regret one thing: not looking back.

They re-ordered the sequence so that I'd be the last to enter the quadrangle. The air smelled of summer and the century-old cobblestones made the the already scenic afternoon even more romantic. The marker at the entrance said that in one of the rooms surrounding the open space, the revolution's secret was confessed. It used to be a seminary. And that day, I was to end a calling.

The march began and as us kids went in, flashes tried to capture that juncture in our personal histories. I remember clutching a folder with some notes in it. Some ramblings for the customary time alloted for the last one to enter the grounds. I was one of the few kids with a corsage pinned on our clothes. From the rows you could see the drama kids from the school play. Ribbons tied the orchids on our chests. It was a thoughtful surprise from our director who became a kuya and a friend.

The rites went on. And the sun set as each kid went up the stage. By the time my classmates were called, yellow light filled the old space. Soft and sleepy... it was a peaceful glow. Most were already tired, even more were starving. Perhaps that's why when the last name was called, the unexpected cheer made me want to cry. Applause and a couple of hoots. The best thing was, it was unsolicited, given freely.

When I got back to my seat, after passing through familiar faces that I almost didn't recognize because of their smiles, a friend told me, "Congrats friend, we did a standing ovation."

And then it hit me, I didn't look back.

I should've looked back.

*****

To them who stood with and by me that day, and to you who reads this, I am humbled. No words will measure up to the generous time you freely give for this space. I am indebted to you and I don't know if it will suffice but yeah, with all the sincerity I could possibly muster...

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 3

Dare pala ulit ha. Libre mo ko kape! lol

Give me 3 months. I'll be dead serious in working out.

Tuesday, March 2

Power D

The second act opened with a parade dance.

A couple of guys cartwheeled from stage left.
I was in a group of three. We entered doing a chaines.
Centerstage. A couple of battement kicks, plies.
Land in an arabesque.
I couldn't do a pirouette if my life depended on it.
A couple of jumps.
A couple of lifts.
An eight-count free for all. What to do?!
Go front right and do a solo rond de jambe, of course.
Lights fade.
Exit.

*****

My grades dipped when I was in fourth year highschool because I decided to join the school play. But it was all worth it. No, I didn't enjoy drama... I loved dance. The director had a little problem with us though. Our sissy bodies didn't go well with the de-kanto choreography that previous school plays had. Turned out we were too graceful for the very butch theatre moves he was used to. And so he had no choice but have us do... jazz.

How ironic can you get? An all-boys school mounting a school play with sissy boys doing jazz... and a select group of 14 had a crash course on ballet. Yep, I was in that 14. I did ballet. And then they ask how I turned out gay?

Go figure.

:)

Monday, March 1

A Me Redux

Depression makes you transparent.

I've always been smug before the break up. I was stoic. I never wore my heart on my sleeve. I rarely cried. That night when I finally figured out everything, that the week of silence was more than a need for space, I broke down in front of my friends. I just sat there, crying. Taken aback, all they were able to say was, "Parang hindi si Darc."

It was my first. And with it came new realizations. Sadness was true, so was heart break. I remember telling a straight friend, "Jim, totoo pala iyong heartbroken. Literally, something's wrong with my heart."

What's interesting about sadness is once you know it, it becomes easy for you to access it. It lingers. It becomes a part of who you are. I was slumped in Pagudpud, watching the waves, unmindful of the heat, my thoughts a blank. Friend's boyfriend sat beside me and said, "Darc, it will pass. But know that things will change. You will change."

I've changed. I now know sadness.

*****

John, I've told you this, I envy you. I envy how chance weaved your story. You told me to ask for it, just as you did. Believe me, I wasn't joking when I told you guys that once, that was my nightly prayer. "Lord, I know I have so much love to give. Please bring me that someone I could share life with and who would take me as I take him." An erstwhile Starbucks planner stood witness to how I asked. I asked John, I really did.

But more than that, I envy you because you're still capable of loving. First and last, that's something worth holding on to. I tried to hold on but then I slipped. The hurt pulled me down. The second, third, fourth chances was too much for my spirit to take.

I think I'm damaged.

At the back of my mind, I still want my happy ending. But I'm too scared to go out there and risk myself yet again. I still want my happy ending. But I'm too weak to pursue.

*****

For the past couple of days, I've been going over old files, old letters, old mementos. Poring over some pictures, I noticed a yellow sheet with my name on top of it. It was my mom's writing. Her reply to my letter a couple of years before. I told her that in spite of everything I've gone through, I'd still give him another chance.

"Masakit para sa amin ang gagawin mo. Para bang hindi ko makaya o matanggap na makikipag-balikan ka pa sa kaniya."

I tried my best to brush aside the fact that I was hurting Nanay. I pushed on... and it was never worth it.

*****

I guess it's just me coming to terms with who I've become. And yes Nanay, Darc is at it again. I'm giving away another chance... this time for myself. Hopefully, it will be worth it.

*****

Salamat, Jepoy, John, at Moi.

Tuesday, February 23

Missing Lyrics

Time for you to go out, go out into the world.
Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.
One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer.
You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home...

Time for you to go back to the places you will be from.
This room won't be open 'til your brothers or your sisters come.
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits...

I hope you have found a friend.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Yeah, I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home...

Time for you to go back to the places you will be from...

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home...

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...

-Semisonic