Monday, September 30, 2013


The daughter of my mother's second cousin was brutally murdered. The perpetrator, her own husband. 

She was 46. She was hacked to death, stabbed from head to toe by the very same person who brought her in front of the altar more than 10 years ago. The very same man who swore, in front of God and His people, to love her, protect her until his last breath. Only, he took that last breath of her with his own hands, armed by a sharp blade and a drug that took over his soul. 

Her lifeless body was found in her own bed. After killing his wife, he tried escaping and went to the bus station in Cubao. But he told the police investigator he was bothered by his conscience. So he called his father-in-law and informed him of his crime. 

"Puntahan ninyo 'yung anak ninyo sa kwarto namin. Pinatay ko," he said. (I killed your daughter. Go find her in our room.)

So the father went to his daughter's house, and there he found her daughter's lifeless body lying in her own bed. He burst into tears, shouting curses, calling for his daughter's name again and again. He held her bloodied body, but when he tried lifting her, parts of the body almost collapsed, adding to the horror of the scene. The head dangled from the neck, threatening to detach itself. 

So he wrapped the body with a blanket, still calling for her name. He called his wife to inform her of what happened, and the rest became a blurry memory. 

A few hours after, her children of 10 and 8 will be found standing in front of her coffin. The older one would be heard saying, "mommy, tayo ka na diyan, gutom na ko." (Mommy, please get up. I'm hungry.) The kid's pleadings will forever remain unanswered. 

Their father, the suspect, told many excuses during interrogation. He said he found her wife wrapped around another man's arms. He said jealousy drove her to commit such crime. 

But the neighbors told a different story. They said she was a battered wife. Often, they heard shoutings; the husband, threatening. All of these were unknown to her parents. They said she was always a quiet girl, always smiling, encouraging. 

The suspect is now under custody of authorities. But not for long. Soon he will face immediate judgment. I heard it's already being arranged for our family doesn't take this matter lightly. I've known this dark side of the family since I was a kid, a truth that forever I shall carry, a strange thing that always brings me into deep contemplation. 

As I stared closely to those two kids standing in front of their mother's grave, as the dark clouds slowly emerged from the horizon, I remembered a familiar quote from this book I'm reading: "each of us is guilty before all and for all." I still don't know exactly what it means, but somehow, I know this is one of those moments Fyodor Dostoevsky was thinking.  

It was a murder of its own kind, but one that is not unheard of. It was one of those stories that I'm used to because of my job as a journalist. Only this time, it was something born, not out of interviews and police reports, but from the very core of my existence, a hint of blood throbbing in my veins connected to the very same blood that flowed generously on that fateful day that brought us here. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

That old gay guy in the sauna

There was always a sense of rush whenever I arrive in the gym. I'd go straight in the locker room, change clothes, do my routine, cool down a bit after, hit the sauna for a few minutes, shower and then off to my next schedule. 

But him, I always see him there. Most of the time inside the changing area, or in the sauna, or in the steam room. He would stand there in a corner pretending to watch the television, but if you look closer, you'll notice his eyes are always restless, waiting for something. Or looking. As boys and men strip to gear up for workout or office or school, his eyes roam the area. 

Always he wears that long white towel around his waist, emphasizing more his melon-like bulging stomach. His skin a little wrinkled. He's probably twice my age, possibly older than my father. He's bald. His face always connotes a sly smile, at some point evilish, always scheming. 

In those times that I passed by him, I noticed he was always catching my gaze. During the first few times, I would look at him straight in the eye with my infamous devilish stare which literally translates to "fuck off or I'll strangle your neck." But he didn't budge. Instead he just smiled and made me feel more awkward. So the next time, I found myself trying in all my might not to throw even a glance towards him. 

At one point, after finishing a tough workout, I went straight in the sauna to relax a bit before covering a basketball game. As I sat inside, I noticed I wasn't alone. He was there, sitting in that dank, dark corner again flashing that devilish smile of his. I tried ignoring him. I closed my eyes as I tried immersing myself in a far away thought. But I was unsuccessful. 

He moved and positioned himself closer to me. From that, I was already building a plan inside my head. I thought the moment he touch me, I will punch him in the face and drag his ass all the way to the reception area and report him. But he didn't do anything except from that point, he made annoying sounds using his mouth. Smacking his lips, rolling his tongue continuously - of course I knew what he was trying to convey for clearly I wasn't born yesterday.

When I opened my eyes and looked straight down at him, there's that smile of him again, his tongue gliding around his ugly lips disgustingly. 

It was too much for me. I tried my best restraining myself from being violent. Instead, I stood up. But before I could reach the door, I said "fuck you" in the coldest, hate-filled manner I could muster.

The following days, he was no longer trying to catch my gaze. But as I quietly observe I noticed a few things from other gym-goers. Some of the boys, whenever "old pervert guy" enters the sauna, would not hide their annoyance and would immediately leave. Some would even roll their eyes. 

I also saw him going after a guy but was blatantly rejected. One time, there were these two guys hitting at each other inside the sauna. And so I left to give them their well deserved privacy. Then came "old pervy guy" and in a snap, the two boys left the sauna room and head for the showers. But "old pervy guy" did not stop them. He followed them and stood there in front of the shower door breaking the "force field" between the two. But the most disgusting thing is when, at the corner of my eye, while I was changing clothes in the locker room, I caught him removing his towel, intentionally flashing his ---- that I can't even talk about. It was way worse than nightmare.

From then on, I looked at him like a vile creature. Someone who should just disappear so the world will be a happy place again. But then, pity. I don't know how to say it, but I kinda feel sorry for him. But again, that as another arrogant thing for me to say. 

I wonder, if he happens to be a young gorgeous looking guy, would he get the same treatment he's getting? Is he far from guys of my age getting blowjobs and handjobs inside the sauna or the steam room? And then for some reason, those question makes me sad. 

I still see him in the gym. And I still don't like him. But I don't know. There's something different that even up to now, I don't know what it is.

Yesterday, while changing inside this private changing stall in the locker room, I noticed a new vandal, in bold, saying: "DAPAT HINDI PINAPAYAGAN SA SAUNA/STEAM YUNG MATANDANG BAKLANG PANGET."

I never know what to make of it. But I thought, maybe it is true. That this world we're living in was never never kind. Hopefully I'm wrong. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Yet you are not here

You know those times when I have lots of things in my mind, ideas to write about, like poems and opinions or a melody perhaps. But when faced by a blank paper, or a blinking cursor in the computer monitor, the piano keys, they're all gone right on a snap. Actually no. There would be faint traces of them, staggering in all places yet I can't make sense of it anymore. And then in those moments of solitude, like those times when I'm on a ride on my way home before witching hour, they're back. Dancing before my very eyes like the flickering night lights of the city, inviting, conquering my images of unfeelingness towards a grand landscape of beauty.  

That's how you appear to me, my love. One moment you're there only to disappear by the next. But always, taking me beyond breathless desire, consuming all my senses until I don't know what to say anymore. Or what to do. Except to love you. 

If only I can bury my words in you, make you feel my music born within my fingers. But before I could, once again you are gone. And so once again, I wait for that horizon where your figure would appear with a hope that, maybe, if I wait long enough you'll never disappear again. 

"Yet you're not here" taken from  Nayyirah Waheed's "I wake to you everywhere, yet you are not here"

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