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Monday, February 24, 2014

There are worse things I could do

"Hey what's happening. Bakit di ka nagrereply?"

Five days before this text, for the first time, I ventured into the world of Grindr. But whether you believe me or not, hook-up is the farthest from my mind when I signed up for this, neither was the delusional intention of finding friends nor an acquiantance. On the contrary I was looking for an enemy. 

Sometimes when my mind wanders too far, like the hours before that instance, I thought about how it would feel being on the other end of the spectrum. I wondered how would I feel being a heartbreaker? But then I asked: how to be a heartbreaker?

From my experience it's easy. Get to know someone. Be the fairy-tale-fashioned guy everyone secretly dreams of. Tell him what exactly he wants to hear. After all, everyone is a little broken inside. Find your way through that crack and tickle that silent damsel in distress sulking in it. The moment he took the bait, then that's the time to disappear. From here on, there are options a heartbreaker can do: silently drifts away or pound more on that shattered heart of your victim. 

This was my plan five days ago. Why Grindr? Because believe it or not, fantacizing homos are flocking the harem in search of love in a seemingly hopeless place. Alas, thanks to romance pocket books this plot never goes out of trend. 

In an instant I found four candidates to my sojourn. I picked "Henry" because he seemed to be the most fragile of all. I sent him a picture of me tailored for the fishing: half-naked, my hands sliding down under my crotch revealing my smooth chest with, of course, my face almost unrecognizable. Contrary to this, he was hesitant in giving me his picture. He said he's chubby and not even average looking. 

It took a lot of convincing for him to give in to my request. I said that it doesn't matter how he looks like for I look into one's heart, not into one's face, that I'm not after hook-ups that I'm not looking for something temporal but for a gem that is eternal. And so he gave up. 

He was telling the truth. Henry is far from beauty. He is obviously overweight, pimple marks are all over his saggy face and he's sporting a long greasy hair. He used some filter, probably a 360 camera because he seemed to be glowing. It didn't make much of a difference to be honest. 

As the exchange of messages went on, I got a hint of his personality. He's timid, shy, and a bookworm. He loves comics and a graduate of engineering from one of the top universities of the country. We talked about Haruki Murakami's "Kafka On The Shore", incidentally a favorite of mine. He was fascinated by my passion for sports, one of my real traits I shared with him. He seemed interested. He asked me a lot about the technicalities of basketball and my opinion on the country's much awaited return to FIBA World Cup. 

I was starting to enjoy the conversation. He seemed smart and fun to be with. I also learned that he's a breadwinner and that he has three siblings. He told me his dreams. He told me how frustrated he is because he can't seem to find love and that no guy ever notices him. 

I couldn't explain what I felt when the conversation suddenly went there. And as I was staring at his picture, to my horror, I saw myself in it. 

I am that chubby guy with pimple marks all over his face. I am that guy with saggy face and greasy hair. I am that breadwinner, that timid and shy guy who's frustrated because no guy seems to care for how he feels. I was Henry - brokenhearted, a fantasizing homo still looking for love despite the seemingly endless charade of hopelessness. 

I immediately uninstalled Grindr from my phone. I removed the simcard I was using with my other phone where he used to send me morning greetings and meal reminders. 

Yes I feel guilt. Even worse, I feel stupid. I prayed hard, went to confession. The Sunday gospel about loving even those who have wronged us left me in tears.

Breaking Henry's heart will not give me the love I was looking for, I so realized. Maybe revenge was the thing I was seeking, I am not sure. But it's wrong for me to even think about hurting someone. Because whether the rejection I suffered from the previous men in my life were intentional or not, no one needs to suffer the same pain as I did. Nobody. 

Two days after I deleted the app, I inserted the simcard once again. There I read Henry's messages. Even out of frustration from my dead silence, a faint hint of care is still there. Before I finally throw away it away, I composed a message and sent it to him:

"Henry. The world is unkind and unfair to our likes. No guy may ever love you for what are you, but don't be like them. Never let failure extinguish the love you have in you. It's not you who have a problem, it's the world who has a problem. I am terribly sorry. Please take care of yourself."





Note: This is an unedited copy. Apologies if there are typos or wrong grammar. 
Title "There are worse things I could do" is from the musical "Grease" by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Letter to a superhero

My dear Superhero,

This is the first, and probably the last time, I shall name you and speak to you directly through this. It is in the reason that I already ran out of ways to reach you that I am writing this. You see, I've tried countless times, devising schemes to snatch your attention even for a teensiest ounce of time, but, still, I failed miserably. And despite my pre-conclusion that a difference is not of much, and that in the same way you repeatedly ignored me, this will suffer the same fate in your hands, one can always pray. And if so that by the end fate shall prove me right, then for my own indulgence please allow me to continue.

In William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", Orison, the romantic Duke of Illyria, fell lovesick for the beautiful Olivia. Now if you had the fortune of reading this comedy, please skip the part which revolves around the confusion on the characters' identity. My point being that Duke Orison fell in love. But Olivia, mourning the death of his brother and father, swore not to fall in love within seven years and so dismisses the duke's profession of love.

In the opening scene of Act 1, we hear Duke Orsino laments:

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:

Within a period of a year that I believe I came to know you, I guess I cannot count the number of times that you dismissed me. But then in the beginning of our fateful encounter, I can still remember how you confessed that you "like" me. Whatever that meant, I guess I'll never know. But that moment I took for a moment of bliss. Countless times I clinged to it, drawing hope that a fateful day would come and I will be blessed with the pleasure of being in your company.

But pray tell, until when a mortal shall wait? In a languor of melancholy, I indulge further into the depths of missery brought by your cold reception. I do this, like Duke Orison, believing that due to the excess of it all, I may grow sickened and this feeling I have for you may finally die and I will be at peace again.

And yet my own concocted potion, in the hopes of curing such obsession with you, in overloading myself with my patethic litle passions, draws me further, buries me deeper under your spell. The days of imaginings, of writing silent poems in honor of you went on. And so were you. "Without me, your world went on turning." Unlike Neruda, my love feeds on your neglect.

I told myself: if only he knows how much I can love him; if only he can get a feel of being buried in my arms; if only he can hear the music I've written for him. But I can't make you see, feel or hear. In fact, my dear superhero, and alas I admit this: I don't know how to love you.

I confess a pauper such as me can't take you to high places. Neither that I can promise you the stars and the moon, nor the ocean or any worldly treasures. I can never fit your portraiture of handsome and knew nothing about the language of love. What I can only promise, and this I say kneeling, is that I will never hurt you and forever I am devoutly in love with you.

Let your lips
be temple
of my
existence;
your eyes
the stars
I gaze
upon each night.
Let me
be your
night wind,
the silence
of your
rest.

But am I really so arrogant as to claim to be the key to your happiness? In darkness I wait for you the way dusk waits for dawn. But will this make you feel different? Perhaps it goes with the saying that one cannot give what one cannot possess. And it so happen, my dear superhero, that the things you desire are the things I am deprived of.

As those days went by, I saw the writings on the wall. Only I chose to ignore them, or have them twisted to suit my illusions of you.

Perhaps I can only love you from afar, never getting any nearer. Perhaps I can only watch you desire someone, love someone but me. I hope he writes you songs and poems, and serenade you again and again under the endless sky. With that I shall be the envious clouds, drifting afar, occassionally showering rains heavy with grief. "What does it matter that you did not know that I loved you? The night is shattered and you are not with me."

As closing, allow me to share here the closing song of this 1968 romantic musical film, an English translation of a French piece written by Jacques Charles and company, Mon Homme:

Oh my man I love him so
He'll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don't care
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright
Alright
What's the difference if I say?
I'll go away
When I know I'll come back
on my knees someday
For whatever my man is
I am his
Forevermore


Indeed, yours forever,

The Desole Boy

 

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