screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Story of "Us" (Part 2)

Our unique bond started when we went out to Tagaytay years ago. I think I've already mentioned it in this blog, but it was really just a simple story. Boy meets girl. Girl hates boy at first, but after spending time with each other, falls in love with him eventually, in a very teenager-flick kinda way. Girl goes away, though, because career was much more important at that time. Boy gets broken hearted, and eventually was found by another girl who takes care of him and, eventually again, fell in love with him. Main girl, while away, realizes that there's nothing in the world more special that being with this boy. Girl goes home. Girl gets brokenhearted. Girl goes away again. Girl meets boy again later on. They get together, something clicked. You know the rest of the story...

Friends need not worry of our situation, as I think it is very well managed by both of us. You see, although we see (or we've seen) each other a lot lately, we always end up being reminded of where we are and where we stand relative to each other. As for me, I love him, with all my heart- I won't do anything that would hurt him. Even if that means not having him for the rest of my life, and enduring whatever feelings that come with it.

Indeed, ours is a relationship that we need to keep a secret. A big one. He has a family whom he loves so much, even I couldn't get through it. I have a life and a career to take care of, and settling down, specially with him, is not an option.

But why do we stick to each other even as circumstances always keep us apart? What makes us click whenever we are together? What makes the unique friendship last amidst all opposing conditions?

I don't know, actually. What I only know is that fate draws us together whenever we need each other. Indeed, the concept of "soulmates" really is a difficult thing to explain.

Or maybe it's just that I've been all around the world, and I never found a boy who's more affectionate, caring and sincere more than him. This is the type who never plays games. He tells or shows through obvious means what he feels, and never fails to make it felt too deeply. His are the sweetest kisses of which taking advantage is never felt. In his arms is the safest place in the world I could find. Whenever he lays his hands on me, specially to provide comfort in times of despair and depression, his touch never fails to tell that things will be alright, and it usually does. His are the eyes that never tell lies. He can avoid the truth, but never wills it to, specially if it is to hurt somebody. His is a heart that never willed to hurt anyone. Never. I've seen him carry the burdens of others just to alleviate their worries. He will do anything, sacrifice anything, just to make his loved ones happy and safe. And I was fortunate enough to be part of it. And never had I came over it. Memories of him stay inside, even if he's not aware of it. His kindness has affected my life more than anyone could in this world. And he knows this. I told him never to believe that he's never affected anyone in any way, even if others would make him feel like so. These are the reasons why I return to him every once in a while. His fortress of solitude, somehow damaged now- it's what my free soul yearns for whenever I'm hurt by the world, and it never fails to give me strength, to give me peace.

And so I tried to show him this peace, this calm sunrise after the dreaded storm that he somehow lost after the ordeals that was laid upon his life for a couple of months. Failure has beaten this man down to his knees, and as someone who he inspired for so long, it was my greatest happiness to return what is due him. It didn't matter who or what took him down. I was there to save him, in all means possible, even if it requires offering my all to him, even if I knew this bliss wouldn't last long.

I told him to forget about everything whenever we were together. And forgot we always did. I thought it was necessary. To emerge from the world and a life that somehow hurt you, you need to fly away from it sometimes. Although, again, flying away would mean flying back- completely forgetting everything and going away is never solution to our problems. It was a good thing that amidst all the craziness and careless things that we did during those short weekends, we always end up saying goodbye and returning to our lives not regretting anything that has ever happened. I really believe those days gave us the opportunity to make up for all the things that we've missed all these years. The chance to know what we could have been, and walk away from it smiling, keeping memories that were once just dreams, never part of reality.

(To be continued...)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Story of "Us"

I have to write this down, because it overwhelms me everytime I recall all the good things that happened to me last month and during the recent days. It was heaven.

I think I've already told everyone I know that I went straight to hell and went back and made it alive in the recent months. If it's possible for someone not to exist the whole month, then that would have been me last July. I was practically nowhere, unconscious in bed, almost not sure if every day would be the day I'd give off my last breath on this earth.

However, it is true that it is during these crucial times that you can prove who among all people you've encountered in your lifetime are the ones who care for you and love you. Well, at least after you've made it through and woke up, that is.

When I woke up, people who I've missed, people who are not most likely to be there on my suppposedly death-bed were there. Both my parents, who were estranged for the longest time, were there holding my hands like we're family once again. Friends and relatives who came all the way from the Philippines were there, too. All the people that I've missed, all these people who, after years of thinking where they've been, were there, waiting and praying for me to wake up. Sarah, Cesar, Uncle Danny, Tita Cyrene... even my long lost friend Cynthia who happened to be in California that time, they were all there praying for me, hoping God would still give me a new life. And when I did wake up, tears of joy are never enough to express what I felt. Yes, when I immersed from hell, it felt heaven.

Later I realized that it's all thanks to one guy who, even if he's not able to make it to where I was, made everything possible so that I'd be waking up in heaven. This guy, who I consider my best friend, who, after all these years of me finding where I would belong, made me feel that there's still a place left somewhere to come home to, worked so hard, even out of his way, just to make sure that people around me, people whom I love but lost for a very long time, would be there when I wake up or during the last days of my life.

Not only that, he had made an impossible thing possible. My dad and my mom are now talking, considering to get together and starting to talk about what life could be for them if they'll be together (since they're already getting old for the games that they've been playing for a very long time)... this guy made me feel something that I've missed since I was a young teenager, a feeling that I seem to have forgotten not until now... the feeling of being a daughter to my Dad and my Mom. And you could only imagine the immense joy that I feel everytime I see them together now. It makes me cry. It makes me remember days when I was still so young- happy innocent days with both of them.

I am so so very touched by the love that I felt that day when I opened my eyes for the first time after fighting death. I'm supposed to be condemned for having my life endangered for such stupid choices that I made before this predicament. I feel that I don't deserve the affection and kindness that I am receiving right now. But as I came out of the dark, there they were. There was I. There was him, smiling on the background, perhaps, and relieved that I was able to make it back. I am so so very grateful to the one who have made it all possible.

As soon as I was cleared by my doctor, I went back to celebrate my birthday with relatives, just so to make sure to them that I'm already fine and well. Actually, that was only an excuse- I really wanted to go home to see this guy, my best friend, and to personally thank him for all the love that he'd made me feel.

You know when you pray, you should ask for only small things. God usually grant small things. That day when I got home, I wished God that he'd grant me just more quality time with him. During my last visits, I only had a couple of hours for a good chat and gimmick with him. This time, I wished for more than that... I wished that we'd be together just as how we were back in college- not caring for anything else in the world but just me and him together.

As soon as I got out of the airplane and met him in the arrival area of the Centennial Airport, I was surprised with what I saw. I heard the usual "Kumusta, Kitkat", but this time it was said by a slightly weary-looking man, thinner than ever, with gloomy eyes that, as if, lost it's usual shine.

What happened to him? What happened to the young man who had always given me light in the midst of life's certainties just by thinking about how bright he sees life? What happened to the heart that I used to consider home?

The gladness that I felt seeing him again after a very long time swiftly shifted to sincere sadness. "What happened to you? What's wrong?" He didn't say a word about it, even after that day and the days after when we got certain chances to be together.

He is never healthier than before. Years ago, he could keep up with me when we tour Manila and places out of town together. This time, he preferred staying, sitting on one place, talking about life itself and how things had been before I went away last time. Socrates gets easily tired. I insisted on letting me know what has weakened my Superman. I thought it was me- while I was hospitalized, I know, by what my father had told me, how busy he got just to arrange all things needed if ever I pass away. I could imagine the emotional stress, not to mention physical, while doing that. How could someone endure that without one's heart being crushed? But it turned out that all the hassles I caused him wasn't part of it. He's not saying anything, but I know him, and I'd say he was keeping a broken heart from me. The loss of self-confidence and sense of hope, being not anymore excited for the next days to come, not anymore looking forward to the future, not anymore appreciating life as it is, just as how he used to be. I came home, and found him there where he fell- destroyed and barely breathing. Who did this to him? How could this person hurt him this much? One of the few strong elites of our hometown, the pride of Bulacan, my living fortress of solitude, my love- torn to pieces and left alone with strength and confidence slowly fading to darkness.

Though reluctant to tell me everything that had happened in the past month, he told me that it'd be much appreciated if I'd stay in the country for a while for he needed someone to lean on to, specially during a crisis that he chooses to keep to himself, no matter how huge it is and damaging it is to his whole being. He still can see himself through the pain he was going through, apparently. I tried my best to be there where I was truly needed, beside him. The prayer became my mission... all these years, he had become my stronghold when everything else fall in defeat and failure. I'd eventually go home no matter where I was, just to watch him go on with his happy life- which never failed to inspire me to go on, as well, no matter how difficult life could be. Now, it's my turn, and it's the least I can do for him whom I've loved and longed for so much for all these years. He needs a shoulder to cry on to- someone outside of his usual daily circle, as his daily life seems to be hurting him. I know he had to return to this life eventually, as this life, too, makes him complete and happy. However, I've learned in my dealings with my own struggles that life, no matter how happy it is, could be quite self-destructive sometimes. It would greatly help if you've got a stranger to come along and rescue you. Though a friend who had almost become a stranger, I'm glad that I've returned to his side with perfect timing.

The next days were filled with honest realizations, sad tears, stolen moments, and recurring deep intimacies that came so naturally. We went to places not new to us, places where our souls can find the most calm of sanctuaries- Baywalk as the sun sets on the horizon, under the shade of an acacia tree in the UP Sunken Garden, inside the Quezon Memorial Circle monument, in the penthouse of the Citiland Pasong Tamo, in the Antipolo church, in the Malolos Basilica, in his car on the road- and just talk about what life had been for me and for him in the past years. We somehow realized that we had a lot of catching up to do, still, even if we've been seeing each other every once in a while since 2005. Somehow, it felt good having him throw a genuine smile again while listening to how I tell about how life had been for me- my adventures and misadventures in Europe, meeting friends, old and new while I travel around the world, the story of how I built Wr@pped in Singapore, how I met my ex-boyfriend/manager who dumped me recently- basically my life while I was away from home. Day by day, we got closer together than we've ever been in the past- learning the fact that it was really better that we got separated from each other years ago, as this had let us grow as better people, though apart. Sharing our stories made us miss the times when we could have been together (as it could have been perfect that way) and appreciate where we've been though a world apart. The conversations deepened from seemingly endless laughing moments to both of us crying in each other's arms.

Oh for years I've thought of this only in dreams! And it made me feel so fulfilled inside... finally, I'm with the man closest to my heart, my soulmate- and although this part of our story would not end the way I want to, I know this is still helping both of us somehow. Somehow. Even though most of my friends say it isn't right. Even though the world never meant these couple of days to be.

We're not meant for each other, though it's as if we're made for each other. Yes- my special someone, my prince, my Superman, my fortress of solitude, is already a married man.

(To be continued...)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, My Tender Heart!

I spent my birthday with the most special person I know in the world. This makes me the happiest person alive that day. Our birthdays fall side by side on the October calendar. When we were still college students, we used to go spending this day together, depends on what specific day we'll decide on celebrating it. Some years passed by and we went on separate paths, but this year, I'm so blessed to have this chance of having our ways cross again, even if maybe it'll just be at this point in time.

We had good years together, and this special day seem to have given memories of those years a shine that will never last. I remember spending this day in 1998 with him in Sunken Garden. It was a picnic, so to speak. We had a 'kumot' laid on the grass, some sandwiches and Coke on a picnic basket (yes! He was able to get a vintage basket, so cute!). But what I always go back to are the conversations that we had. Retrospective. Poetic. Prophetic. The type of conversation that you would perhaps hear if you'd talk to a philosopher or a counselor. The topics we tackled are reserved for that day only.

Three years, and only once a year we try to answer one simple question: "Are you happy?"

This year, we were not on a picnic, we were not in UP Diliman's Sunken Garden, we were friends who finally had exclusive time together after so many years of being estranged. We were sitting on a bench in the Baywalk area in Manila, looking and appreciating the beauty of the sun that seemed to be slowly sinking on the horizon. After some time of what they would refer to as "kulitan", I was the one who first blurted out the yearly question.

To which he abruptly paused, laid back, looked at the sunset, and simply replied,


Looking at him staring at the sunset, I noticed a smile on his face but not the usual shine in his eyes. As if he is missing something in his life that he had somehow lost from the years that has gone by while we were away from each other.

"What's wrong?"

"Huh?... Nah. Nothing, Katie. It's just that it's been a long time since someone actually asked me that question."

"And why's that?"

"I don't know. Maybe because as you grow older, you'd notice the world where you once so yourself as great starts to not care if you're happy or not."

"Yah. I guess so. The world becomes jaded as you grow older. But that does not mean you'll have to throw away what makes you feel young, doesn't it?"

"I used to have that drive. I don't know... There's something in the coldness of this city that make people like us so obsolete."

I have been all around the world, in many great cities where realism is the only factor that drives people to go on. Indeed, cities have no hearts- places where real sincerity exist are so rare you'd surely keep it once found. But I've been in these places and was able to survive because on one thing that I have always believed in- that there's someone out there whose heart is so strong it will never be smitten. I may be always away from home, but I've always thought I can always count on and lean on a friend who possesses both a strong will and a pure heart.

So imagine how it broke my heart seeing his eyes without the usual shine. But it made me realize why he looked so worn out since the first time I saw him again.

"I always knew there's something wrong. Tell me. What's been hurting you all this time..."

He looked at me, still with the gloomy eyes and the faint smile, held my hand, and said, as if to desperately attempt to throw my attention away from the topic, "If in case you see Aladdin's lamp floating nearby, what would be the first wish you'd have in mind?"

"Let me think... Maybe I'd wish that days like this would never end. But I'd still wish for that red Porsche car that we saw hours ago in EDSA."

"Nah. I'd wish I could hear other people's thoughts."

"Then there would be no more keeping secrets. Imagine how dull life would be with that kind of power. Playing games, for instance, wouldn't be possible. And you very well know the Truth hurts most of the time."

"Yeah. I guess so. But it's better than be hurt because of lies. You see, that's what make this city so jaded. Most people here are into cruel games- people see being true as a liability. Letting out true feelings, your deepest thoughts, your dreams are seen as weaknesses. This is no place for idealists. Or maybe, I guess... I've always had a weak heart, after all."

"No. But really, those are things that you learn after finishing Philosophy, I assume."

"I now know why you were so hurt when you went out of the limelight, Katie. You thought you'd be able to go through all the mud-slinging and lies just by being true. Then, you decided to just keep quiet. Then, later, you just quit and went out, didn't you?"

"Yes. Somehow, a big part of me was destroyed when I realized John Lennon's world is really not possible once you go out in the real world. But, I always thought you'd be able to live through life without having that heart of yours being stirred and shaken..."

"Well, I guess my sweater isn't thick enough against the cold breeze."

"Let me buy and send you one, then, when I get back in Singapore."

That night when we took separate ways again, I saw a man with a heart healing from the hurt that he had gone through during the last couple of months. I was part of why he had gone weary- he got so worried for me while I was dying a couple of months ago. I know there are lots of other things he's carrying right now and I know there's a deeper cut somewhere that he's keeping from me, maybe something that he'd want to take care of alone, as he'd probably be thinking that's the best way to deal with it. Though I know having him spend so much time alone in the city would be too much for him, I see a stronger heart though at it's weakest state. And I admire the one who possesses it even more today- because at this crucial point in his life, he's still able to inspire me to go on. I hope I've done the same thing for him, too.

Happy Birthday, my dear Tender Heart... I will be away again, but I will be back as soon as I feel from out there that you need me no matter where I am, as you were for me always.