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Friday, May 25, 2012

A fake eulogy

The Lord lift His countenance upon you


“Who will air my side of the story, Deebs?” 

It’s as if it was only yesterday when I heard those words from him. Was it a plea? Was it really a question? What could it mean? Perhaps, forever I’ll never find out. 

To be sure, I offered myself. “Do you want me to do it?” He said, “no.” I understand now it's for the good. And I know he knew I prefer the sidelines, something I'd always be thankful he did respect.

So now I’d like to tell you about this person I’ve come to know. Let me begin with how he allegedly left. 

He left. He left without a word, a hint, not even a trace. Was he really gone? Alas, that is something you can choose for.  

Now I want to air his story. Once for all break my silence and offer my voice the way I do with my profession. I want to answer that plea of him, a guy so often misunderstood, that finally his side of the story be aired. I want to air his story. Maybe our story. But I can’t help but ask: was there ever a story? Maybe there is. But somehow, somewhere, the story was lost. Maybe not at all. 

It might appear cruel, but truth is no, it is not. Because somehow, somewhere, something or someone really have died. He might come back sooner than you could’ve waited for or lamentably, maybe it’s time we accept the blinding truth he never will. 

I believe it was Miguel Syjuco who said we should aspire nothing in this life but freedom for everything that is good springs from it. That’s why we should allow ourselves break loose from the binds of mortality. Release each other from deception, from loneliness and even from the demons we ourselves created. 

As for me, I’d like to believe that one day, there was a person who came to my door, asking who am I. I let him in because he seemed lonely. We talked and shared each other stories. About the damning political state of this sorry nation, blurred civil statuses and whether Kobe Bryant is a real crocodile or not. There was a question that I was not able to give answer to despite his insistence. I never gave an answer. Regrettably, I never told him what he needed, what he always wanted to know. 

I would love to air, not just his side of the story, but his story. But it’s hard. It’s hard not being able to. Perhaps in my silence, if one tries hard to listen, someone will finally learn of the story that once and for all, the entire burden shall be lifted from me.

Not all good stories are told. And I will not be so arrogant to claim I know the whole truth. But in the seeming end of this narrative, maybe I just like to say a few. This will not bring clarity or freedom to those who aspire for it, but in the attempt, maybe and I hope it’ll be the start. For now I’ll just wait for the reincarnation of truth. Or maybe a lie. Of a demon or a damning angel. Or maybe a fool. 

But still I have to ask: who will air my side of the story now? Perhaps, like you, no one will.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From Corona to Gaga


I was about to watch Lady Gaga’s concert for free as one of those media perks but then I almost didn’t make it because of my work. Remember what happened yesterday at the trial? After a stretch of four hours listening and taking down notes, writing in between scripts and article for online news, and the occasional banter with fellow journalists, I was too tired to even think of the concert. Ironic isn’t it? 

Then all the exits were blocked because of Corona’s so-called attempt to walkout. The heck! I was ready to sleep inside the gallery (beside my babycakes) that time and throw all the possibility of watching Motha Monstah. But Corona made it all good by the end. Or maybe Cuevas. Poor former Justice, unaware of his client’s dark scheme, he earned quite a number of boos from the watching crowd, even from the covering media. 

After everything was settled my boss told me to just leave them and run towards MOA Arena. I was already Tweeting about my problem of going to the concert venue as fast as possible when a former date volunteered to drive for me. T’was very cool of him. 

Only, I wasn’t able to use my “powers” to enter the patron part. I was almost late and my friends of course were almost late as well (we all work for the media industry). So we settled for the lower box part which is cool coz I really need to sit down for a while and have some rest. 

The moment Lady Gaga appeared, the whole arena exploded. 

I turned emotional thrice during the show. One is when she belted out "Born This Way." Yes, the anthem. I know there’s a whole giant vagina thing but I guess it started with her speech about setting yourself free. That if you feel oppressed, controlled by the many commands of this society, allow that moment to break loose and set yourself free. 

Second is with her song "Hair." She played the piano on this part while talking about the struggle to have her concert push thru here in the Philippines and the threat of entering Jakarta, the next stop for the Monster Ball Tour. The whole arena was quiet. Like soaking on every word she sings. I thought how being one’s self is very tough despite how simple it sounds. And like what the song says, I thought, I’ve had enough. 

Last is during the encore part, "The Edge of Glory." Here my friends and I danced arm-in-arm. I thought about how much they mean to me. And then a memory. A memory of this boy who left me just recently. I wanted to sing the song to him and tell him he need not feel lonely anymore, that I’m always here for him. Someone who accepts him despite the world telling me not to. I wonder if I’ll be given the chance again to tell him that. I regret that I never took the chance before. And then I danced once more to drown all the memories. 

It was a fun night. Evidence are my growling voice, sore throat and slight fever. When people started piling out of the venue, we heard shoutings. And then I saw Lady Gaga appeared at the right side of the stage and waved to the fans. 

I like Lady Gaga. I even Tweeted that Lady Gaga is God. I believe she is, but not in its most literal sense. We’re all God, after all. The music she creates empowers people. It makes people who are alone feel that they’re not. Her message is acceptance, tolerance, respect and love. Isn’t that the message of God? Or Jesus? How could that be equated to Satanism? I was covering the impeachment trial for almost 4 months now, and you know what? There I saw the works of Satan.

The giant vagina. 


After the show, I posed for a picture in this standee and 
all of a sudden guys with SLR cameras, some wearing production
ID's, started taking a picture of me to my horror. I dunno why. 
Anyway, you guys like my outfit? Haha. Red pants, suspenders
and a Captain America shirt or as my friends said:
"lakas maka-twink." There should be a black coat but
my friends asked me to remove it to reveal my "bubble butt."


With Tessa Prieto. 

Sidenotes:

Lady Gaga shouted: Where are my gay kids in the Philippines? To which I roared an eardrum-breaking "heeeeeeere!" People in front of me threw shameless stares. 

We were all hot for one of Gaga's dancers. They're all hot actually. Aren't they a treat? *grins*

We died when Lady Gaga began pumping in her motorcycle, grabbed the Philippine flag and slide in on from her motha-monstah-vagina to her face. Take that ex-Cong. Benny Abante. 

______
This is an unedited post. Apologies for the lapses. 
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Doc Keanu

The young Doc Keanu, April 2012


This is a story of a seven year old boy named Keanu. 

Keanu, at glance looks nothing but an ordinary boy. He smiles, move a lot, appears timid when approached by adults and talks about school and his future dreams like any other kid would do. He says he wants to be a doctor someday, to be able to heal people, help them become better, the usual. There was nothing really extraordinary about him. Except that in his very young age, he’s already fighting the toughest battle of his life. 

Since May 26, 2011, Keanu has been spending his days at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila. He was diagnosed having myelodysplastic syndrome, a disorder in which the cells in the bone marrow won’t function normally and so not enough normal blood cells are produced. Currently, he is dependent on regular blood transfusion and is undergoing several laboratory tests in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. But it’s not as easy it sounds. 

Bone marrow transplant costs around P4, 000, 000.00, a price Keanu’s family couldn’t pay instantly. Romana, his grandmother, would walk around numerous charitable institutions, even media networks seeking for help. She says the story of her boy spreads rapidly like fire. People began sharing even a hundred peso, touched by the story of a brave boy fighting his way to live. A retired UP professor gave her entire retirement benefits after hearing the story of Keanu on television. Behind the cam journalists gathering money for donation. Anonymous people depositing decent amount of money in Keanu’s account. “It’s a miracle,” she would say. 

I was shamelessly crying when Keanu began telling his story. He explained his illness like a grown-up man who understands all those medical terms I’m not even familiar with. Here is a boy experiencing all kinds of pain because of his condition yet no word of complain is drawn out. He knew there came a point when he almost died yet he talked about it as casually as sharing his life’s dream. His family won’t deny thinking of giving up. But Keanu talks of nothing but his desire to go back to school; a mark of an honor student that he really is. “Sana po gumaling na ‘ko para makabalik na ‘ko sa school,” he would often say. 

The first time I saw him, I wasn’t brave enough to approach him. Guilt consumed me. “Why him,” I asked many times locked inside the office’s restroom. How many times I wished I’d die? Twice in my life attempted suicide for stupid reasons. “Why him?” 

The second time, there was a certain amount of acceptance in me that I was finally able to approach him. I hugged him tight and told him, “alam ko matapang ka, magiging doctor ka right?” (“I know you’re a brave boy. You’ll be a doctor someday, right?”) He just smiled and nodded, pointed out to an abstract wall art with a metal human face and said “si e-Boy oh.” (Note: e-Boy is a fantasy character from local television; a robot) 

There was no doubt in my mind the day will come when the world will bear witness to a rise of a certain Dr. Keanu Ruiz Geronimo. One day, Keanu will be free from the binds of sickness, he will continue his study and earn more honors than he already have. He will live to become a handsome boy, a man whom an officemate said “maraming babaeng paiiyakin.” 

Right now the iron level in his blood is constantly monitored that Keanu is walking around with a certain device punctured through his arm for that sole purpose. Also there are few purple marks in his arms but he didn’t seem to mind them and goes on playing. One time, her grandmother recounted, nurses and people at PGH would greet him, recognizing the boy who appeared in TV in few occasions, and Keanu would joke “artista na ‘ko lola.” 

I know I’ve said this is a story about a boy named Keanu, but as I write this article, I noticed this is also my story, a story of every person braving the everyday hurdles of life fighting for freedom. That from here on, every whining in the state of my affairs is an affront to Keanu’s reality, and so I am duty bound to go further despite whatever petty things that might fall down the way. 

They say fairytales do not try tell children the dragons exist because kids already knew that. What those fairytales really try to tell those children is that no matter how big and powerful those monsters are, it’s no impossible task to overcome them. Now there is a boy named Keanu trying to teach this world that not only dragons can be slayed, it can also be ridden towards an uncertain future that only your spirited heart knows.

________

Author's note:


We are told that some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same. 

This is exactly what Keanu did for me. I know I’ve been frustrating over the state of my "personal affairs," a fact known to most of you and even my closest friends. I remember how a “brother” quoted this passage from Eat Pray Love – “DB, you have the capacity to someday love the whole world.” 

It’s true. Why obsessed on the idea of loving someone exclusively when maybe my fate is about loving the entire world? And so began a new phase of my mission and I’m starting now with the closests to my heart. 

Keanu needs our prayers. But not only that, he needs monetary donations. Any amount will do. I know we’re all dealing with our own personal economic battle so I have a proposal. Why don’t we gather all our donations, a hundred bucks, fifty pesos or ten pesos, if we gather them, it would be huge enough to help. As the song says “kahit na maliit basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” Yes?

Some of my friends already pledged their donations so I hope you guys won't fail me. But if you really can't, your prayers are enough. 

If you’re interested you can e-mail me thru desoleboy@yahoo.com. You can also reach me thru BBM and my mobile number. For now please avoid sending messages on my @desoleboy Twitter account as I haven't been using it lately and no plans of accessing it for the meantime. 

But if you want to direct your donations, here is Keanu's Metrobank account: 044-3-04457094-8

Also, please share his story. Not only for the purpose of generating donations, but hopefully, more people will be inspired the same way he did to me. You too, I hope. 

Many thanks and may God bless us all.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lolita

It's always darkest before the dawn, Batangas 2011

Let me close my eyes
and wait ‘till all these are gone
I won’t say a word
I won’t bother a soul

like before,
like the many other befores.

I’ll remember the songs
the pauses and the sharps
I’ll remember the dreams
the hues and the steeps
I’ll remember the poems
the measures and the rhymes
I’ll remember there’s me
never with you.

But tell me,
tell me Lolita,
when all these are gone
when all these are over
tell me when they’re done
so I’ll open my eyes once more
and that once again
I can convince this world I’m okay.

Although sometimes I think, what if, and I wish, I didn’t just open my eyes. 
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Monday, May 7, 2012

And I love her

DB and Bes, Long Beach, Mindoro Oriental

“I’m not being selfish, bes. I was just waiting for you to reach out. Somehow make an effort. You didn’t,” I blurted without looking at her directly. Instead, I focused my gaze on the rumbling cars and the many other vehicles coursing the howling street of Quezon City. 

“You of all people should understand. But you made up your mind. I’m tired of arguing. If that’s how you put it, then be it,” she just shrugged and continued with her coffee. 

When we parted ways that night, she bid me goodbye, but instead of saying anything, I just looked at her for a few seconds and went on without looking back. 

Truth was I really missed her. A lot. That was two days before the gang would traipse the road to Puerto Galera for some catching up and she won’t come with us. I never admitted this to her but I was very jealous of her colleagues at work. Her birthday passed. Mine too. Yet no words came for some blurred reason that goes with time, lack or maybe absence of communication and childishness. 

The morning of our trip to Puerto Galera, I was the first to arrive at the bus station. One of those irritating things about meeting my best friends. I’m from the farthest being from Bulacan and yet I always arrive first in every meet-up. 

So I was sitting uncomfortably in one of those wooden benches since I’m not used to wearing white shorts (it’s a guaranteed dirt magnet and I’m like a kid with ADHD). And then I saw her. I saw her walking towards my direction, smiling. 

It happened so fast I can’t remember how things just rolled in its proper places. Next thing I know we were sleeping in each other’s shoulders in a bus. We talked, we laughed, took some pictures together, munch some Growers, laugh with the rest of the gang…the usual. 

We have a different kind of relationship, Irish and me, mostly because of our weird attitudes. But we like to call them our own respective abnormalities. We’re no ordinary bestfriends. We don’t talk the way normal bestfriends would do. We don’t talk about our set of problems in each other’s face, we don’t discuss much our friendship. Mostly, it’s the dirtiest of the jokes that work, insults, breaking each other’s argument, countless debates. More insults. 

Saturday night last week, she’s about to go home to Batangas for his brother’s birthday when I texted her: “Bes, it happened again.” 

Then we were seated in our usual spot in this coffee shop. I didn’t recount to her how I was bleeding to death that night, or tell her how tired I am for failing over and over. Never did I rant of my frustrations, of this cursed fate bestowed upon me by some heathen god. Instead, we sat together. I cried beside her. She didn’t throw a glance on me as I do. She didn’t pat my back or offer any comforting words. She never did. And I never did for her. Seeing the other in tears is something indecent, unacceptable for the image we created of being tough and an indestructible warrior. But there at the corner of my eye, there I saw, tears falling on her lap in great silence. 

I walked her to the bus station, me talking about my plans for my coming birthday. Once there, we faced each other, I patted her shoulder and told her to take care. 

As I turn my back on her, as I face the growling mad street alone, I saw that it was crumbling before me. Like it was asking for some sort of help, yet no one is coming to its aid. It was heavy. It is dying. Yet for some reason, no one seems to care.
_________

Bes, 

God forbid you stumbling upon this shameful post, but when you do, please don't mention it. You know how it works. But I am sorry. Sorry for burdening you with my own pains. I know you already have quite a lot. And more than the pain I'm experiencing, it is the pain of seeing you and our friends in deep pain because of my sufferings. I'm sorry that you're all hurting when I'm hurting. 

By the way, I love you. 
 
Me.


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Friday, May 4, 2012

Watching popcorn movie alone



After weeks of people raving about The Avengers, I finally got the chance to catch it on the local screen. Problem is I couldn’t pull any of my friends to watch it with. So like the usual, I went on alone. 

I had my ticket reserved for 2:55 pm screening. I left ABS-CBN exactly 2:00 pm, hailed a cab and arrived at Trinoma exactly 2:15 pm. I remember I haven’t eaten anything since morning so I grabbed a burger somewhere and some iced coffee to go with it. 

When I entered the movie house and went on with my assigned seat, I frowned upon seeing I would be seated squeezed in the middle of a bunch of mushy couples. There was the usual pinch somewhere inside, but I didn’t bother and reminded myself I’m there to soak in the awesomeness of the film. 

The film didn’t start at 2:55 pm so there was plenty of time for the couple to do the usual thing. From the corner of my eye, I could see how the boys would throw some pecks on the cheek, on the neck and elsewhere in the face of their respective muses. 

The girls couldn’t be left behind. Their heads resting on their consort’s chest, hands trailing the masculine hair of the boys’ thigh while elbows rest somewhere beneath Adam’s red apple. 

I was half amused, half disgusted by the play of the scene. I told myself, if I ever I’ll have a partner someday, I would never allow a thing or two of what these couples are doing. 

And then it hit me. That word, “if.” 

The movie went on for the entire two hours and I really enjoyed every minute of it. Thor was amazing, also Hulk. I laughed at the Iron Man’s humor and was taught of a good life lesson out of Captain America. All in all good especially for kids like me. 

The lights went on once more. People started piling out; the couples too. They held hand, girls leaning over their boys, the boys walking in their strut that tells they have got the best looking girl in their arms. And off they left. 

I thought, somehow, this place is becoming more of a world for couples. Whenever I dine alone in a restaurant, whenever I take a stroll in a park alone, whenever I watch a popcorn movie alone, just like this, I get that same stare. That questioning stare which translates to “oh he’s alone.” There’s no questioning there. And more confusingly, I take them as a pressing statement. Something fixed. A fact. A conclusion. 

I realized how pathetic I am for thinking “what if.” There’s no “what if.” There are no “what ifs” for me. 

As I make my way out of the mall, the usual noise of the bustling crowd overwhelmed me. I remembered I have lots of things to finish so I thought I needed to go home fast. As I stepped out in the open parking lot, I didn’t immediately notice the mad pouring rain. I looked up at the swirling dark clouds high above and then I ran towards the van that would take me home to Bulacan. I handed a hundred peso bill to the driver. He asked: “Ilan ‘to, isa lang?” That moment, a memory kicked inside my mind. I chuckled. And then, I gave the obvious answer “Opo, isa lang ‘yan.”
 

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