Pages

Monday, April 20, 2015

Reading for Litt1: OUT

OUT

MY COUSIN JESSIE TOLD ME THIS MORNING OVER THE PHONE WHEN I WAS DRAFTING MY SYLLABUS THAT HE HAS COME OUT TO HIS FAMILY A WEEK AGO. HE CONFESSED THAT HE’S NOW FEELING KIND OF NAKED HAVING THEM KNOW HIS LITTLE DARK SECRET, BUT IT SURE FEELS A LOT LIGHTER. I SAID IT MUST BE THE FREEDOM. HE SAID HE DOESN’T KNOW. BUT IT’S WEIRD THAT MY DAD HAS BEEN TALKING TO HIM UNUSUALLY FREQUENTLY LATELY ASKING HIM HOW HE’S DOING AND STUFF. FROM THE LOOK OF IT, JESSIE IS PERFECTLY FINE. IT’S NOT AS IF HE’S GONNA BE A MOTHER SOON, OR SOMETHING. I KNOW HIM FROM HEAD TO TOE. HE’S LIKE MY LITTLE BROTHER, THE MINIATURE VERSION OF MYSELF. I DON’T NEED TO GO THERE TO KNOW HE’S FINE. HIS BODY'S IN TOP SHAPE; HIS WIT, UNSCATHED. AND HE’S RICH AND GORGEOUS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG?

MEANWHILE, I KNOW MY PARENTS ARE COOKING SOMETHING UP. BUT I TRUST UNCLE RON ABOUT THIS MATTER. HE’S A DOCTOR. NOT LIKE MY FATHER ISN’T, BUT AT LEAST HE’S NOT AN OBSTETRICIAN. HE IS A CARDIOLOGIST. IT MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU ARE EXPOSED DOWN THERE; YOU BECOME BIASED, OR SO I CONCLUDED. BUT AUNT CECILIA, JUST LIKE MY MOTHER, SPENDS A LOT MORE TIME IN THE CHURCH AND ADOPTED COMMUNITIES THAN AT HOME. THEY SHARE COMMON LOGIC, AND SOMETIMES, THE LACK OF IT. ONE TIME, I HEARD IN THEIR PRAYER MEETING HELD AT HOME THAT THEY WERE OFFERING PRAYERS FOR PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE GONE ASTRAY FROM THE RIGHT PATH—THOSE WHOSE KIDS ARE TEENAGE MOTHERS, DRUG ADDICTS AND MEMBERS OF VIOLENT FRATERNITIES, CRIMINALS, AND GAYS. HALLELUJAH.

I REMEMBER WHEN I CAME OUT TO MY PARENTS MYSELF THREE YEARS AGO. IT CAME QUITE A SHOCK, BUT THEY DIDN’T DISOWN ME. WELL, ALMOST, BUT THANK GOD THEY DIDN’T. OF COURSE, IT’S INEVITABLE THAT THEY WERE UNSETTLED BY IT AT FIRST, BUT THEY ADJUSTED. THEY INTRODUCED ME TO THEIR COLLEAGUES’ DAUGHTERS, ALL BEAUTIFUL AND WELL-BRED, TO HOPEFULLY CHANGE MY DECISION, AS THOUGH I’D TRANSFORM MY ENTIRETY FOR A GIRL I HARDLY KNEW. I FELT LIKE ROYALTY HOLDING A BALL JUST SO I CAN FIND THE PRINCESS OF MY DREAMS. A PRINCE WHOSE PARENTS HAVE BECOME PIMPS. I’VE JOKED THEM ABOUT IT TO GIVE THEM A SUBTLE HINT BUT THEY JUST ANSWERED WITH SOUR FACES.

EVEN MY BROTHERS GOT INVOLVED IN THE SCHEME. THEY BROUGHT ME TO CABARETS AND HIGH-END BARS ALONG QUEZON AVENUE WHERE LADIES STRUT BARELY CLAD IN LACE AND LEATHER LIKE THE CAST OF MOULIN ROUGE IN THE OPENING NUMBER. THEY ENJOY THIS KIND OF FUN. I DON’T. MY BROTHERS ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED; THEY’RE NOT PIGS; THEY JUST HAVE A HIGHER LEVEL OF TESTOSTERONE. WE ACT THE SAME, DRESS THE SAME—WE ARE THE SAME. NO ONE CAN TELL ME APART FROM THE STRAIGHT GUYS IN THE METRO. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT, I AM NOT ATTRACTED TO WOMEN. I’M PRETTY SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT. THEY KNOW ME. THEY RESPECT THAT ABOUT ME. BUT THEY SAID THEY JUST FEAR FOR ME. THEY CONFESSED THEY HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT PEOPLE STONING ME TO DEATH BECAUSE I WAS OUT OF THE NORM. THEY FEARED WHAT RELATIVES WOULD THINK. THEY FEARED WHAT THEY’D SAY. BUT I TOLD THEM I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN TO ANYONE BECAUSE I DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. THEY NODDED. BUT THEY KNEW LIKE I KNEW THAT WHAT I WAS IN WASN’T AN EASY SITUATION.

ONE TIME, MOM KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AND SAID SHE WANTED TO TALK TO ME BEFORE GOING TO SANTUARIO SAN ANTONIO. SHE WAS DRESSED IN WHITE COMPLETE WITH A VEIL, WITH HER SILVER ROSARY ENTANGLED IN HER FRAGILE FINGERS. THAT MORNING, SHE ALMOST LOOKED LIKE SHE HAD A HALO.

“R, THAT’S A VERY BEAUTIFUL SHIRT YOU HAVE ON. IS THAT THE ONE JESSIE GAVE YOU LAST CHRISTMAS?” SAID MOM AS SHE SAT ON MY BED.

“THANKS MOM... CHRISTIAN GAVE THIS TO ME LAST SATURDAY. HE BOUGHT THIS IN SEOUL.” GOD, I SLIPPED.

SILENCE.

“SO, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I’M ABOUT TO GO TO CHURCH, I CAN DROP YOU OFF IF IT’S ON THE WAY.”

“I’M GOING TO ROCKWELL MOM, I’M MEETING UP WITH A FRIEND TODAY. BUT HE’S GONNA FETCH ME IN ABOUT TEN MINUTES.” I WAS TYING MY SHOES AND PUTTING ON MY FAVORITE PERFUME.

“DO YOU MIND TELLING ME WHO IT IS THIS TIME?” I KNEW WHAT MOM WAS DRIVING AT. AND I KNEW IT WOULD LEAD TO SOMETHING NOT VERY NICE.

“AS THOUGH I GO OUT WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE, MOM.” I ANSWERED WITH A LOW VOICE.

SILENCE.

SHE SIGHED. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SHE UTTERED BUT IT SOUNDED LATIN, AS THOUGH BLAMING HIGHER POWERS BECAUSE I WAS GOING ON A DATE.

“WITH CHRISTIAN... WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WRONG IN THE EYES OF GOD?”

“MOM, WE ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG. WE’RE JUST GONNA HANG OUT.”

“REINHARDT NAKPIL SANDEZ, I’M TELLING YOU NOW, YOU BETTER END THAT THING OR ELSE.” SUDDENLY SHE WAS SPEAKING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS WHILE I KEPT MY VOICE PROPERLY LOW.

“I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME, MOM. I’M NOT BRINGING HIM HERE, AM I? I DON’T EVEN LET HIM IN WHEN HE FETCHES ME, AND THAT KIND OF EMBARRASSES ME. HIS MOM IS NICE TO ME, SHE EVEN COOKS US DINNER.” I DIDN’T MEAN TO MAKE MOM’S DAY A MESS. IT WAS JUST THAT SHE WAS BECOMING SO UNFAIR. SHE COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP CHRISTIAN AND I HAVE IS NOT PURELY SEXUAL. SHE EVEN THOUGHT CHRISTIAN WAS LETTING ME SPEND FOR EVERYTHING WHEN WE GO OUT, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. I’M NOT LIKE MADAM AURING OR SOMETHING, AND I SWEAR I COULD MAKE A LIVING OUT OF MY LOOKS IF I WANTED TO. I’M NOT DESPERATE.

“NOUVEAU RICHE,” SHE UTTERED QUIETLY. “IT IS NOT AN ISSUE OF OTHER PARENTS TOLERATING THE SINFULNESS OF THEIR CHILDREN. IT’S ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ABERRANT LIFESTYLE, REINHARDT.” SHE WALKED OUT OF MY ROOM HOLDING HER CHEST, A GESTURE SHE ALWAYS DOES EVEN IF SHE DOESN’T REALLY HAVE A HEART PROBLEM OR ASTHMA.

IT LEFT ME STARING AT THE WALL FOR SOME TIME WHEN CHRISTIAN BEEPED. I HURRIED OUT AND GOT IN THE CAR.

“HAD A MISUNDERSTANDING WITH YOUR MOM?” HE NOTICED MOM DRIVING HER CAR OUT OF THE HOUSE WEARING SUNGLASSES EVEN IF IT WASN’T PARTICULARLY A SUNNY DAY.

“I DIDN’T MEAN TO. IT’S NOBODY’S FAULT.”

“WHY DON’T YOU MOVE TO MY PLACE? MAMÁ EXPRESSED YOU’RE WELCOME. I MENTIONED THAT YOU’VE BEEN HAVING PROBLEMS.”

I LOOKED AT HIM. HE SEEMED SERIOUS. “YOU KNOW IT’S NOT THAT EASY, CHRIS.”

“I DIDN’T SAY IT IS, BUT I DON’T WANT YOU LOOKING STRESSED. I JUST WANTED TO HELP.”

“TOO COMPLICATED. I DON’T THINK I CAN HANDLE THINGS LIKE THAT YET. I’M STILL DEPENDENT.”

“I CAN WORK THAT OUT. I’M SURE I CAN GET YOU TO FINISH MEDICINE LIKE YOUR DAD IF YOU WANT TO.” CHRISTIAN IS A JUNIOR EXECUTIVE IN THEIR FAMILY-OWNED CORPORATION. I HAD NO DOUBT THAT HE COULD, AND HE WAS QUITE SERIOUS ABOUT IT. BUT IT WAS NOT THAT SIMPLE. I WAS STUDYING AT LA SALLE, AND I WAS SPENDING A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY. IT WAS NOT REALLY WHAT I HAD IN MIND. I WANTED US TO BE ON EQUAL FOOTING.

“NOT THE BRIGHTEST IDEA.”

“OKAY.” CHRISTIAN LOOKED UP, AND SEEMED DISAPPOINTED FOR NOT TRUSTING HIM ABOUT MATTERS THAT SERIOUS JUST YET. BUT IT WASN’T THAT. REALLY.

SHORTLY AFTER THE CONVERSATION, CHRISTIAN AND I WERE ALREADY IN ROCKWELL. WE STROLLED AROUND THE MALL, WATCHED A MOVIE, AND THEN HE ASKED ME WHERE I WANTED TO EAT. I WAS CRAVING FOR SOMETHING ITALIAN. “WANNA TRY CIBO? MARGARITA FORES MIGHT BE THERE,” I EXCITEDLY SUGGESTED.
“HAVE YOU BEEN READING MAURICE ARCACHE ARTICLES AGAIN, NOUVEAU RICHE?” HE REPLIED WITH A TEASING GRIN THAT HID HIS CHINKY EYES, EXPOSING HIS PEARLY WHITES WITH SILVER BRACES.

I SMILED BACK. HE KNEW MY MOM WELL. HE SAID SHE WAS HIS TEACHER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE BACK WHEN MOM WAS STILL WITH THE ACADEME. DESPITE THE THINGS MY MOM HAS BEEN SAYING ABOUT HIM AND HIS FAMILY, HE STILL CLAIMS THAT SHE WAS THE COOLEST TEACHER EVER BECAUSE OF HER SOPHISTICATED STYLE AND ELEGANCE IN LANGUAGE COMPARING MOM TO SOPHIA LOREN. HE ALSO LAUGHED AT THE FACT THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PRONOUNCE THE FRENCH WORDS RIGHT BECAUSE OF HIS CHINESE ACCENT, NOT TO MENTION THAT HE WAS WEARING BRACES, WHICH HE SAID HE DIDN’T REALLY NEED. OUR CONVERSATION DURING THAT DINNER WAS SO MUCH FUN THAT WE BOTH FORGOT THE TIME.

WHEN WE WERE WALKING TO THE PARKING LOT, CHRISTIAN SAID HE WAS FEELING KIND OF WOOZY BECAUSE OF THE RED WINE WE HAD AT DINNER. HE SUGGESTED THAT I SPEND THE NIGHT AT HIS PLACE BECAUSE HE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO DRIVE ME HOME. IT WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME, AND HIS MOM WAS FINE WITH IT.

WE ENTERED INTO HIS ROOM AND HE LAY FLAT ON THE BED. I SUGGESTED THAT HE TAKE A BATH TO FEEL BETTER. HE INSISTED THAT I TAKE A BATH WITH HIM, LIKE IT WAS THE FIRST TIME. “DO I HAVE A CHOICE?” I GRINNED. THAT FLIRTATIOUS BASTARD.

***
“WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT?” SAID DAD. IT WAS NOT HIS USUAL VOICE. IT WAS LIKE THAT OF ZEUS’ WHEN MAD, AS THOUGH HE WAS GONNA THROW A THUNDERBOLT AT ME.

“AT CHRISTIAN’S, DAD. HE HELPED ME WITH THE STATISTICS PART OF MY THESIS. I CALLED UP MOM, SHE KNEW.” OF COURSE I HAD TO LIE. I’M A LITERATURE MAJOR. I READ LUPIN.

“I DON’T CARE IF YOU CALLED.” HE TOLD THE MAIDS TO GO TO THEIR QUARTERS. “DO YOU STILL HAVE SELF-RESPECT LEFT IN YOUR SYSTEM?” OH MY GOD. “IF YOU WON’T LISTEN TO US, YOU’D BETTER PACK UP AND LEAVE THIS HOUSE, YOUNG MAN. JUST BECAUSE YOU CONFESSED YOU’RE GAY, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN DO ALL YOU WANT IN SPITE OF OUR EVIDENT DISAPPROVAL!”

MY MOM LED ME TO MY ROOM. HER EYES LOOKED LIKE SHE HAD BEEN CRYING ALL NIGHT. SHE CLOSED THE DOOR AND HUSHED MY DAD TO CALM DOWN BEFORE HE SAID SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY HURTFUL. I SAT ON MY BED AND CONTEMPLATED. MAYBE DAD HAD A POINT. MAYBE I SHOULD STOP BEING MYSELF, AND BE WHAT THEY WANTED ME TO BE. BESIDES, PARENTS KNOW WHAT’S BEST. THERE WERE A LOT OF GIRLS I KNEW WHO WERE VERY VOCAL ABOUT LIKING ME. IN FACT, ALMOST ALL MY FEMALE FRIENDS, WHEN I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, WERE JUST A BUNCH OF PHONIES WHO WANTED TO GET INTO MY PANTS. WHAT IF I DID IT FOR THEIR SAKE, SO THAT ALL ARE HAPPY?

BUT I COULDN’T POSSIBLY DO THAT TO CHRISTIAN. I LOVE HIM. BESIDES, IT’S NOT ME TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN. I MEAN, SEX COULD BE GOOD, BUT IT’S NOT FLEXIBLE—I COULD NOT CHOOSE A ROLE; IT’S FIXED. IT’D BE A BORE, CHRISTIAN AND I ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN AS IT IS. BESIDES, WHY WOULD I CHOOSE BEING NORMAL OVER BEING HAPPY? WHAT IS NORMAL NOWADAYS ANYWAY?

WHEN I WENT OUT OF MY ROOM, MOM AND DAD WERE TALKING. THEY INVITED ME TO SIT WITH THEM TO DISCUSS THE MATTER.

“R, CAN’T YOU REALLY CHANGE YOUR MIND?” MOM BEGAN.

“SORRY. I SHOULD HAVE COME HOME LAST NIGHT. I KNOW IT DIDN’T LOOK GOOD.”

“IT’S NOT THAT. I’M TALKING ABOUT THE LIFE YOU ARE LIVING,” MOM SAID.

DAD WAS IN DEEP SILENCE. I TURNED TOWARD HIM.

“DAD, I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT. I’M YOUR SON, AND I AM BOUND TO FOLLOW HOUSE RULES. I WILL SEE TO IT THAT I COME HOME HOWEVER LATE AND HOWEVER IMPORTANT THE MATTER I’M ATTENDING TO IS. AND, I WILL ALSO LIMIT MY GOING OUT LATE, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT. BUT CHRISTIAN AND I…”

“YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, REINHARDT, WE ARE A CONSERVATIVE FAMILY. YOU MUST ACT ACCORDINGLY. YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR NAME, OUR NAME, NO MATTER WHAT. PEOPLE RESPECT US THAT WAY.”

“AND R, MY SON, IT’S NOT WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE,” MOM SAID WHILE HOLDING HER CHEST AGAIN, BUT I DIDN’T THINK SHE WAS FAKING IT THIS TIME. IT WAS DIFFERENT.

“MOM, DAD, I WANT TO OBEY YOU. I WANT TO PLEASE YOU, AND BE A GOOD SON LIKE I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN. BUT THIS TIME, IT’S ABOUT CHANGING MY ENTIRE LIFE, CHANGING MY ENTIRE IDENTITY. I DIDN’T CHOOSE TO BE LIKE THIS, BUT I ALREADY AM. AND LIKE ANYBODY ELSE, I JUST WISH TO BE HAPPY.”

MY DAD CLOSED HIS EYES. I HAD NEVER SEEN HIM CRY BEFORE, AND IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SEE HIM IN THAT SITUATION. HE HAS ALWAYS APPEARED STRONG, PRIM, COMPOSED. EVEN WHEN MY GRANDMOTHER DIED, HE DIDN’T CRY. PERHAPS THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME HE REALLY DID CRY. HE MUST HAVE LIVED BY THE SAYING BOYS DON’T CRY. HE MUSTERED ALL THE BROKEN PIECES OF HIMSELF AND FINALLY SPOKE. “IF YOU CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY AGAINST OUR HOPES, YOUR MOM’S AND MINE, YOU’D BETTER GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE.”

I HESITATINGLY TURNED TOWARD MY ROOM. MY MOM WAS CRYING. DAD, AFTER WIPING HIS TEARS WITH HIS PALM, STAYED SILENT STARING AT THE WALL. I WANTED TO TURN BACK. I WANTED TO EXPLAIN UNTIL THEY UNDERSTOOD ME. UNTIL THEY LISTENED TO ME. UNTIL THEY GOT WHAT I WAS SAYING. BUT WORDS FAILED ME. WHEN MY HEAD BOWED, I KNEW. I HAD TO LEAVE.

I PACKED MY CLOTHES, AND LEFT HOME THAT DAY. I WENT TO CHRISTIAN’S HOUSE. I KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. HIS MOM SAW ME HOLDING MY LUGGAGE WITH TEARS FALLING DOWN MY CHEEKS. SHE LET ME IN WITH ALMOST INSTANTLY REDDISH EYES. SHE HUGGED ME. SHE MUST HAVE HAD THE FEELING THAT IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN. SHE HUGGED ME REALLY TIGHT AND CRIED EVEN MORE, LIGHTLY UTTERING INAUDIBLE WORDS. I FELT HER TEARS RUN DOWN MY SHOULDER. I DIDN’T EXPECT IT. IT WAS ONLY THEN THAT I LEARNED CHRISTIAN’S MOM COULDN’T SPEAK. SHE CAN HEAR, BUT SHE WAS CONGENITALLY INCAPABLE OF SPEECH.

SILENCE REMINDED ME OF MOM. EVERYBODY WAS SO QUIET THAT DAY. I HAD NEVER APPRECIATED THE ABSENCE OF WORDS UNTIL THEN. CHRISTIAN DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING EITHER. HE JUST HELD MY HAND, AND CARRIED MY BAGS TO HIS ROOM.

ONE MORNING DURING BREAKFAST, MY MOM CALLED. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST A YEAR. I CHANGED MY MOBILE NUMBER, AND IT WAS STRANGE THAT SHE KNEW WHERE TO CALL ME. SHE ASKED ME HOW I WAS DOING. I SAID I WAS FINE. I TOLD HER CHRISTIAN’S FAMILY WAS TAKING CARE OF ME PRETTY WELL. AND THERE WAS, AGAIN, SILENCE. SHE SAID THEY WANT TO SEE ME. “ALL RIGHT MOM, GRADUATION DAY, DINNER,” I REPLIED.

AFTER THE INCIDENT WHEN MY DAD CIVILLY KICKED MY BUTT OUT OF THE HOUSE, I HAVEN’T BEEN TALKING TO HIM ANYMORE ASIDE FROM THE GENERIC, ALMOST ROBOTIC MORNING GREETINGS. MY MOM, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS COME TO TERMS WITH MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRISTIAN. SHE KNOWS SHE MISJUDGED HIM, AND SHE’S APOLOGETIC ABOUT IT, IMPLICITLY. THE FACT THAT NOT ALL SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS ARE GOING TO END UP LIKE OURS STANDS FIRMLY, HOWEVER. RELATIONSHIPS OF THIS NATURE STILL FACE AWFUL ODDS EVEN TODAY. AND IT GOT ME THINKING ABOUT JESSIE WHO IS JUST ABOUT TO LIVE THIS COMPLICATED LIFE.

JESSIE CALLED ME UP AGAIN PAST DINNERTIME; I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE A BATH. HE SOUNDED REALLY EXCITED. I ASKED WHY. HE TOLD ME HE WAS MEETING UP WITH THIS FRIEND AT HARD ROCK CAFÉ TONIGHT. HE MET HIM ON FRIENDSTER, AN ONLINE DATING SITE, AND THEY’D BEEN SENDING MESSAGES TO ONE ANOTHER FOR A MONTH NOW. I SAID BE SAFE. HE SAID IT’S NOTHING LIKE THAT. I ASKED HIM IF HE KNOWS WHAT TO EXPECT. HE SAID HE IS NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING; IT’S JUST A DATE. I ASKED HIM IF HE WOULD PAY. HE ANSWERED NO, ONLY FOR HIS FOOD IF HIS DATE WON’T OFFER TO PAY FOR HIS. I ASKED HIM IF HE’S READY. HE SAID YES. I SAID DON’T FALL IN LOVE. HE ANSWERED HE KNOWS BETTER THAN THAT. I SAID VERY WELL. I ASKED IF IT WAS HIS FIRST TIME. HE SAID YES. AND I SAID GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE NO GREEN APPLE ANYMORE, I’M SURPRISED. HE SAID OF COURSE, WITH DAD'S HELP. I DIDN'T KNOW IF I HEARD RIGHT SO I ASKED FURTHER. HE TOLD ME EVERYTHING: JESSIE SAID DAD HAS BEEN TALKING TO HIM QUITE A LOT LATELY. HE WANTS TO HELP JESSIE GET THROUGH ALL THE TROUBLES THAT I HAVE UNDERGONE ALONE BECAUSE HE SEES IN JESSIE HIS SON THAT HE WASN’T ABLE TO UNDERSTAND. HE ALSO MENTIONED HOW DAD RELATED HIS REGRETS AND SORRY FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN US; AND HOW HE’S LONGING TO BRING BACK THE TIMES WHEN EVERYTHING’S FINE BETWEEN HIM AND HIS YOUNGEST SON. JESSIE KEPT ON EXPLAINING, ELABORATING. I WAS SPEECHLESS; DUMBFOUNDED STARING AT MY DIRTY CLOSET. ARE YOU STILL THERE, HE SAID. MY HANDS WERE SHAKING, ALMOST NUMBED, COVERING THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE PHONE. I CLEARED MY THROAT STRUGGLING FOR A RESPONSE. I HAVE TO BE GETTING READY NOW HE SAID. OKAY, I FINALLY REPLIED. BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO SAY GOODBYE AND HUNG UP THE PHONE, MY TEARS BEGAN TO FALL.



4 comments:

  1. Hm,... An interesting read, sir. But I'm not really sure what to make of it. Hihi. Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into it...? :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you would like an alternative to casually flirting with girls and trying to find out the right thing to say...

    If you'd rather have women hit on YOU, instead of spending your nights prowling around in crowded pubs and nightclubs...

    Then I encourage you to watch this short video to learn a weird secret that has the power to get you your very own harem of hot women:

    FACEBOOK SEDUCTION SYSTEM!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Searching for the Best Dating Website? Join to find your perfect match.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Quantum Binary Signals

    Professional trading signals sent to your cell phone every day.

    Follow our signals NOW and gain up to 270% per day.

    ReplyDelete

Busy and stressed out? Take a break. Let's have coffee.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Reading for Litt1: OUT

OUT

MY COUSIN JESSIE TOLD ME THIS MORNING OVER THE PHONE WHEN I WAS DRAFTING MY SYLLABUS THAT HE HAS COME OUT TO HIS FAMILY A WEEK AGO. HE CONFESSED THAT HE’S NOW FEELING KIND OF NAKED HAVING THEM KNOW HIS LITTLE DARK SECRET, BUT IT SURE FEELS A LOT LIGHTER. I SAID IT MUST BE THE FREEDOM. HE SAID HE DOESN’T KNOW. BUT IT’S WEIRD THAT MY DAD HAS BEEN TALKING TO HIM UNUSUALLY FREQUENTLY LATELY ASKING HIM HOW HE’S DOING AND STUFF. FROM THE LOOK OF IT, JESSIE IS PERFECTLY FINE. IT’S NOT AS IF HE’S GONNA BE A MOTHER SOON, OR SOMETHING. I KNOW HIM FROM HEAD TO TOE. HE’S LIKE MY LITTLE BROTHER, THE MINIATURE VERSION OF MYSELF. I DON’T NEED TO GO THERE TO KNOW HE’S FINE. HIS BODY'S IN TOP SHAPE; HIS WIT, UNSCATHED. AND HE’S RICH AND GORGEOUS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG?

MEANWHILE, I KNOW MY PARENTS ARE COOKING SOMETHING UP. BUT I TRUST UNCLE RON ABOUT THIS MATTER. HE’S A DOCTOR. NOT LIKE MY FATHER ISN’T, BUT AT LEAST HE’S NOT AN OBSTETRICIAN. HE IS A CARDIOLOGIST. IT MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU ARE EXPOSED DOWN THERE; YOU BECOME BIASED, OR SO I CONCLUDED. BUT AUNT CECILIA, JUST LIKE MY MOTHER, SPENDS A LOT MORE TIME IN THE CHURCH AND ADOPTED COMMUNITIES THAN AT HOME. THEY SHARE COMMON LOGIC, AND SOMETIMES, THE LACK OF IT. ONE TIME, I HEARD IN THEIR PRAYER MEETING HELD AT HOME THAT THEY WERE OFFERING PRAYERS FOR PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE GONE ASTRAY FROM THE RIGHT PATH—THOSE WHOSE KIDS ARE TEENAGE MOTHERS, DRUG ADDICTS AND MEMBERS OF VIOLENT FRATERNITIES, CRIMINALS, AND GAYS. HALLELUJAH.

I REMEMBER WHEN I CAME OUT TO MY PARENTS MYSELF THREE YEARS AGO. IT CAME QUITE A SHOCK, BUT THEY DIDN’T DISOWN ME. WELL, ALMOST, BUT THANK GOD THEY DIDN’T. OF COURSE, IT’S INEVITABLE THAT THEY WERE UNSETTLED BY IT AT FIRST, BUT THEY ADJUSTED. THEY INTRODUCED ME TO THEIR COLLEAGUES’ DAUGHTERS, ALL BEAUTIFUL AND WELL-BRED, TO HOPEFULLY CHANGE MY DECISION, AS THOUGH I’D TRANSFORM MY ENTIRETY FOR A GIRL I HARDLY KNEW. I FELT LIKE ROYALTY HOLDING A BALL JUST SO I CAN FIND THE PRINCESS OF MY DREAMS. A PRINCE WHOSE PARENTS HAVE BECOME PIMPS. I’VE JOKED THEM ABOUT IT TO GIVE THEM A SUBTLE HINT BUT THEY JUST ANSWERED WITH SOUR FACES.

EVEN MY BROTHERS GOT INVOLVED IN THE SCHEME. THEY BROUGHT ME TO CABARETS AND HIGH-END BARS ALONG QUEZON AVENUE WHERE LADIES STRUT BARELY CLAD IN LACE AND LEATHER LIKE THE CAST OF MOULIN ROUGE IN THE OPENING NUMBER. THEY ENJOY THIS KIND OF FUN. I DON’T. MY BROTHERS ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED; THEY’RE NOT PIGS; THEY JUST HAVE A HIGHER LEVEL OF TESTOSTERONE. WE ACT THE SAME, DRESS THE SAME—WE ARE THE SAME. NO ONE CAN TELL ME APART FROM THE STRAIGHT GUYS IN THE METRO. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT, I AM NOT ATTRACTED TO WOMEN. I’M PRETTY SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT. THEY KNOW ME. THEY RESPECT THAT ABOUT ME. BUT THEY SAID THEY JUST FEAR FOR ME. THEY CONFESSED THEY HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT PEOPLE STONING ME TO DEATH BECAUSE I WAS OUT OF THE NORM. THEY FEARED WHAT RELATIVES WOULD THINK. THEY FEARED WHAT THEY’D SAY. BUT I TOLD THEM I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN TO ANYONE BECAUSE I DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. THEY NODDED. BUT THEY KNEW LIKE I KNEW THAT WHAT I WAS IN WASN’T AN EASY SITUATION.

ONE TIME, MOM KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AND SAID SHE WANTED TO TALK TO ME BEFORE GOING TO SANTUARIO SAN ANTONIO. SHE WAS DRESSED IN WHITE COMPLETE WITH A VEIL, WITH HER SILVER ROSARY ENTANGLED IN HER FRAGILE FINGERS. THAT MORNING, SHE ALMOST LOOKED LIKE SHE HAD A HALO.

“R, THAT’S A VERY BEAUTIFUL SHIRT YOU HAVE ON. IS THAT THE ONE JESSIE GAVE YOU LAST CHRISTMAS?” SAID MOM AS SHE SAT ON MY BED.

“THANKS MOM... CHRISTIAN GAVE THIS TO ME LAST SATURDAY. HE BOUGHT THIS IN SEOUL.” GOD, I SLIPPED.

SILENCE.

“SO, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I’M ABOUT TO GO TO CHURCH, I CAN DROP YOU OFF IF IT’S ON THE WAY.”

“I’M GOING TO ROCKWELL MOM, I’M MEETING UP WITH A FRIEND TODAY. BUT HE’S GONNA FETCH ME IN ABOUT TEN MINUTES.” I WAS TYING MY SHOES AND PUTTING ON MY FAVORITE PERFUME.

“DO YOU MIND TELLING ME WHO IT IS THIS TIME?” I KNEW WHAT MOM WAS DRIVING AT. AND I KNEW IT WOULD LEAD TO SOMETHING NOT VERY NICE.

“AS THOUGH I GO OUT WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE, MOM.” I ANSWERED WITH A LOW VOICE.

SILENCE.

SHE SIGHED. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SHE UTTERED BUT IT SOUNDED LATIN, AS THOUGH BLAMING HIGHER POWERS BECAUSE I WAS GOING ON A DATE.

“WITH CHRISTIAN... WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WRONG IN THE EYES OF GOD?”

“MOM, WE ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG. WE’RE JUST GONNA HANG OUT.”

“REINHARDT NAKPIL SANDEZ, I’M TELLING YOU NOW, YOU BETTER END THAT THING OR ELSE.” SUDDENLY SHE WAS SPEAKING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS WHILE I KEPT MY VOICE PROPERLY LOW.

“I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME, MOM. I’M NOT BRINGING HIM HERE, AM I? I DON’T EVEN LET HIM IN WHEN HE FETCHES ME, AND THAT KIND OF EMBARRASSES ME. HIS MOM IS NICE TO ME, SHE EVEN COOKS US DINNER.” I DIDN’T MEAN TO MAKE MOM’S DAY A MESS. IT WAS JUST THAT SHE WAS BECOMING SO UNFAIR. SHE COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP CHRISTIAN AND I HAVE IS NOT PURELY SEXUAL. SHE EVEN THOUGHT CHRISTIAN WAS LETTING ME SPEND FOR EVERYTHING WHEN WE GO OUT, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. I’M NOT LIKE MADAM AURING OR SOMETHING, AND I SWEAR I COULD MAKE A LIVING OUT OF MY LOOKS IF I WANTED TO. I’M NOT DESPERATE.

“NOUVEAU RICHE,” SHE UTTERED QUIETLY. “IT IS NOT AN ISSUE OF OTHER PARENTS TOLERATING THE SINFULNESS OF THEIR CHILDREN. IT’S ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ABERRANT LIFESTYLE, REINHARDT.” SHE WALKED OUT OF MY ROOM HOLDING HER CHEST, A GESTURE SHE ALWAYS DOES EVEN IF SHE DOESN’T REALLY HAVE A HEART PROBLEM OR ASTHMA.

IT LEFT ME STARING AT THE WALL FOR SOME TIME WHEN CHRISTIAN BEEPED. I HURRIED OUT AND GOT IN THE CAR.

“HAD A MISUNDERSTANDING WITH YOUR MOM?” HE NOTICED MOM DRIVING HER CAR OUT OF THE HOUSE WEARING SUNGLASSES EVEN IF IT WASN’T PARTICULARLY A SUNNY DAY.

“I DIDN’T MEAN TO. IT’S NOBODY’S FAULT.”

“WHY DON’T YOU MOVE TO MY PLACE? MAMÁ EXPRESSED YOU’RE WELCOME. I MENTIONED THAT YOU’VE BEEN HAVING PROBLEMS.”

I LOOKED AT HIM. HE SEEMED SERIOUS. “YOU KNOW IT’S NOT THAT EASY, CHRIS.”

“I DIDN’T SAY IT IS, BUT I DON’T WANT YOU LOOKING STRESSED. I JUST WANTED TO HELP.”

“TOO COMPLICATED. I DON’T THINK I CAN HANDLE THINGS LIKE THAT YET. I’M STILL DEPENDENT.”

“I CAN WORK THAT OUT. I’M SURE I CAN GET YOU TO FINISH MEDICINE LIKE YOUR DAD IF YOU WANT TO.” CHRISTIAN IS A JUNIOR EXECUTIVE IN THEIR FAMILY-OWNED CORPORATION. I HAD NO DOUBT THAT HE COULD, AND HE WAS QUITE SERIOUS ABOUT IT. BUT IT WAS NOT THAT SIMPLE. I WAS STUDYING AT LA SALLE, AND I WAS SPENDING A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY. IT WAS NOT REALLY WHAT I HAD IN MIND. I WANTED US TO BE ON EQUAL FOOTING.

“NOT THE BRIGHTEST IDEA.”

“OKAY.” CHRISTIAN LOOKED UP, AND SEEMED DISAPPOINTED FOR NOT TRUSTING HIM ABOUT MATTERS THAT SERIOUS JUST YET. BUT IT WASN’T THAT. REALLY.

SHORTLY AFTER THE CONVERSATION, CHRISTIAN AND I WERE ALREADY IN ROCKWELL. WE STROLLED AROUND THE MALL, WATCHED A MOVIE, AND THEN HE ASKED ME WHERE I WANTED TO EAT. I WAS CRAVING FOR SOMETHING ITALIAN. “WANNA TRY CIBO? MARGARITA FORES MIGHT BE THERE,” I EXCITEDLY SUGGESTED.
“HAVE YOU BEEN READING MAURICE ARCACHE ARTICLES AGAIN, NOUVEAU RICHE?” HE REPLIED WITH A TEASING GRIN THAT HID HIS CHINKY EYES, EXPOSING HIS PEARLY WHITES WITH SILVER BRACES.

I SMILED BACK. HE KNEW MY MOM WELL. HE SAID SHE WAS HIS TEACHER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE BACK WHEN MOM WAS STILL WITH THE ACADEME. DESPITE THE THINGS MY MOM HAS BEEN SAYING ABOUT HIM AND HIS FAMILY, HE STILL CLAIMS THAT SHE WAS THE COOLEST TEACHER EVER BECAUSE OF HER SOPHISTICATED STYLE AND ELEGANCE IN LANGUAGE COMPARING MOM TO SOPHIA LOREN. HE ALSO LAUGHED AT THE FACT THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PRONOUNCE THE FRENCH WORDS RIGHT BECAUSE OF HIS CHINESE ACCENT, NOT TO MENTION THAT HE WAS WEARING BRACES, WHICH HE SAID HE DIDN’T REALLY NEED. OUR CONVERSATION DURING THAT DINNER WAS SO MUCH FUN THAT WE BOTH FORGOT THE TIME.

WHEN WE WERE WALKING TO THE PARKING LOT, CHRISTIAN SAID HE WAS FEELING KIND OF WOOZY BECAUSE OF THE RED WINE WE HAD AT DINNER. HE SUGGESTED THAT I SPEND THE NIGHT AT HIS PLACE BECAUSE HE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO DRIVE ME HOME. IT WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME, AND HIS MOM WAS FINE WITH IT.

WE ENTERED INTO HIS ROOM AND HE LAY FLAT ON THE BED. I SUGGESTED THAT HE TAKE A BATH TO FEEL BETTER. HE INSISTED THAT I TAKE A BATH WITH HIM, LIKE IT WAS THE FIRST TIME. “DO I HAVE A CHOICE?” I GRINNED. THAT FLIRTATIOUS BASTARD.

***
“WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT?” SAID DAD. IT WAS NOT HIS USUAL VOICE. IT WAS LIKE THAT OF ZEUS’ WHEN MAD, AS THOUGH HE WAS GONNA THROW A THUNDERBOLT AT ME.

“AT CHRISTIAN’S, DAD. HE HELPED ME WITH THE STATISTICS PART OF MY THESIS. I CALLED UP MOM, SHE KNEW.” OF COURSE I HAD TO LIE. I’M A LITERATURE MAJOR. I READ LUPIN.

“I DON’T CARE IF YOU CALLED.” HE TOLD THE MAIDS TO GO TO THEIR QUARTERS. “DO YOU STILL HAVE SELF-RESPECT LEFT IN YOUR SYSTEM?” OH MY GOD. “IF YOU WON’T LISTEN TO US, YOU’D BETTER PACK UP AND LEAVE THIS HOUSE, YOUNG MAN. JUST BECAUSE YOU CONFESSED YOU’RE GAY, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN DO ALL YOU WANT IN SPITE OF OUR EVIDENT DISAPPROVAL!”

MY MOM LED ME TO MY ROOM. HER EYES LOOKED LIKE SHE HAD BEEN CRYING ALL NIGHT. SHE CLOSED THE DOOR AND HUSHED MY DAD TO CALM DOWN BEFORE HE SAID SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY HURTFUL. I SAT ON MY BED AND CONTEMPLATED. MAYBE DAD HAD A POINT. MAYBE I SHOULD STOP BEING MYSELF, AND BE WHAT THEY WANTED ME TO BE. BESIDES, PARENTS KNOW WHAT’S BEST. THERE WERE A LOT OF GIRLS I KNEW WHO WERE VERY VOCAL ABOUT LIKING ME. IN FACT, ALMOST ALL MY FEMALE FRIENDS, WHEN I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, WERE JUST A BUNCH OF PHONIES WHO WANTED TO GET INTO MY PANTS. WHAT IF I DID IT FOR THEIR SAKE, SO THAT ALL ARE HAPPY?

BUT I COULDN’T POSSIBLY DO THAT TO CHRISTIAN. I LOVE HIM. BESIDES, IT’S NOT ME TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN. I MEAN, SEX COULD BE GOOD, BUT IT’S NOT FLEXIBLE—I COULD NOT CHOOSE A ROLE; IT’S FIXED. IT’D BE A BORE, CHRISTIAN AND I ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN AS IT IS. BESIDES, WHY WOULD I CHOOSE BEING NORMAL OVER BEING HAPPY? WHAT IS NORMAL NOWADAYS ANYWAY?

WHEN I WENT OUT OF MY ROOM, MOM AND DAD WERE TALKING. THEY INVITED ME TO SIT WITH THEM TO DISCUSS THE MATTER.

“R, CAN’T YOU REALLY CHANGE YOUR MIND?” MOM BEGAN.

“SORRY. I SHOULD HAVE COME HOME LAST NIGHT. I KNOW IT DIDN’T LOOK GOOD.”

“IT’S NOT THAT. I’M TALKING ABOUT THE LIFE YOU ARE LIVING,” MOM SAID.

DAD WAS IN DEEP SILENCE. I TURNED TOWARD HIM.

“DAD, I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT. I’M YOUR SON, AND I AM BOUND TO FOLLOW HOUSE RULES. I WILL SEE TO IT THAT I COME HOME HOWEVER LATE AND HOWEVER IMPORTANT THE MATTER I’M ATTENDING TO IS. AND, I WILL ALSO LIMIT MY GOING OUT LATE, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT. BUT CHRISTIAN AND I…”

“YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, REINHARDT, WE ARE A CONSERVATIVE FAMILY. YOU MUST ACT ACCORDINGLY. YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR NAME, OUR NAME, NO MATTER WHAT. PEOPLE RESPECT US THAT WAY.”

“AND R, MY SON, IT’S NOT WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE,” MOM SAID WHILE HOLDING HER CHEST AGAIN, BUT I DIDN’T THINK SHE WAS FAKING IT THIS TIME. IT WAS DIFFERENT.

“MOM, DAD, I WANT TO OBEY YOU. I WANT TO PLEASE YOU, AND BE A GOOD SON LIKE I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN. BUT THIS TIME, IT’S ABOUT CHANGING MY ENTIRE LIFE, CHANGING MY ENTIRE IDENTITY. I DIDN’T CHOOSE TO BE LIKE THIS, BUT I ALREADY AM. AND LIKE ANYBODY ELSE, I JUST WISH TO BE HAPPY.”

MY DAD CLOSED HIS EYES. I HAD NEVER SEEN HIM CRY BEFORE, AND IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SEE HIM IN THAT SITUATION. HE HAS ALWAYS APPEARED STRONG, PRIM, COMPOSED. EVEN WHEN MY GRANDMOTHER DIED, HE DIDN’T CRY. PERHAPS THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME HE REALLY DID CRY. HE MUST HAVE LIVED BY THE SAYING BOYS DON’T CRY. HE MUSTERED ALL THE BROKEN PIECES OF HIMSELF AND FINALLY SPOKE. “IF YOU CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY AGAINST OUR HOPES, YOUR MOM’S AND MINE, YOU’D BETTER GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE.”

I HESITATINGLY TURNED TOWARD MY ROOM. MY MOM WAS CRYING. DAD, AFTER WIPING HIS TEARS WITH HIS PALM, STAYED SILENT STARING AT THE WALL. I WANTED TO TURN BACK. I WANTED TO EXPLAIN UNTIL THEY UNDERSTOOD ME. UNTIL THEY LISTENED TO ME. UNTIL THEY GOT WHAT I WAS SAYING. BUT WORDS FAILED ME. WHEN MY HEAD BOWED, I KNEW. I HAD TO LEAVE.

I PACKED MY CLOTHES, AND LEFT HOME THAT DAY. I WENT TO CHRISTIAN’S HOUSE. I KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. HIS MOM SAW ME HOLDING MY LUGGAGE WITH TEARS FALLING DOWN MY CHEEKS. SHE LET ME IN WITH ALMOST INSTANTLY REDDISH EYES. SHE HUGGED ME. SHE MUST HAVE HAD THE FEELING THAT IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN. SHE HUGGED ME REALLY TIGHT AND CRIED EVEN MORE, LIGHTLY UTTERING INAUDIBLE WORDS. I FELT HER TEARS RUN DOWN MY SHOULDER. I DIDN’T EXPECT IT. IT WAS ONLY THEN THAT I LEARNED CHRISTIAN’S MOM COULDN’T SPEAK. SHE CAN HEAR, BUT SHE WAS CONGENITALLY INCAPABLE OF SPEECH.

SILENCE REMINDED ME OF MOM. EVERYBODY WAS SO QUIET THAT DAY. I HAD NEVER APPRECIATED THE ABSENCE OF WORDS UNTIL THEN. CHRISTIAN DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING EITHER. HE JUST HELD MY HAND, AND CARRIED MY BAGS TO HIS ROOM.

ONE MORNING DURING BREAKFAST, MY MOM CALLED. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST A YEAR. I CHANGED MY MOBILE NUMBER, AND IT WAS STRANGE THAT SHE KNEW WHERE TO CALL ME. SHE ASKED ME HOW I WAS DOING. I SAID I WAS FINE. I TOLD HER CHRISTIAN’S FAMILY WAS TAKING CARE OF ME PRETTY WELL. AND THERE WAS, AGAIN, SILENCE. SHE SAID THEY WANT TO SEE ME. “ALL RIGHT MOM, GRADUATION DAY, DINNER,” I REPLIED.

AFTER THE INCIDENT WHEN MY DAD CIVILLY KICKED MY BUTT OUT OF THE HOUSE, I HAVEN’T BEEN TALKING TO HIM ANYMORE ASIDE FROM THE GENERIC, ALMOST ROBOTIC MORNING GREETINGS. MY MOM, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS COME TO TERMS WITH MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRISTIAN. SHE KNOWS SHE MISJUDGED HIM, AND SHE’S APOLOGETIC ABOUT IT, IMPLICITLY. THE FACT THAT NOT ALL SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS ARE GOING TO END UP LIKE OURS STANDS FIRMLY, HOWEVER. RELATIONSHIPS OF THIS NATURE STILL FACE AWFUL ODDS EVEN TODAY. AND IT GOT ME THINKING ABOUT JESSIE WHO IS JUST ABOUT TO LIVE THIS COMPLICATED LIFE.

JESSIE CALLED ME UP AGAIN PAST DINNERTIME; I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE A BATH. HE SOUNDED REALLY EXCITED. I ASKED WHY. HE TOLD ME HE WAS MEETING UP WITH THIS FRIEND AT HARD ROCK CAFÉ TONIGHT. HE MET HIM ON FRIENDSTER, AN ONLINE DATING SITE, AND THEY’D BEEN SENDING MESSAGES TO ONE ANOTHER FOR A MONTH NOW. I SAID BE SAFE. HE SAID IT’S NOTHING LIKE THAT. I ASKED HIM IF HE KNOWS WHAT TO EXPECT. HE SAID HE IS NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING; IT’S JUST A DATE. I ASKED HIM IF HE WOULD PAY. HE ANSWERED NO, ONLY FOR HIS FOOD IF HIS DATE WON’T OFFER TO PAY FOR HIS. I ASKED HIM IF HE’S READY. HE SAID YES. I SAID DON’T FALL IN LOVE. HE ANSWERED HE KNOWS BETTER THAN THAT. I SAID VERY WELL. I ASKED IF IT WAS HIS FIRST TIME. HE SAID YES. AND I SAID GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE NO GREEN APPLE ANYMORE, I’M SURPRISED. HE SAID OF COURSE, WITH DAD'S HELP. I DIDN'T KNOW IF I HEARD RIGHT SO I ASKED FURTHER. HE TOLD ME EVERYTHING: JESSIE SAID DAD HAS BEEN TALKING TO HIM QUITE A LOT LATELY. HE WANTS TO HELP JESSIE GET THROUGH ALL THE TROUBLES THAT I HAVE UNDERGONE ALONE BECAUSE HE SEES IN JESSIE HIS SON THAT HE WASN’T ABLE TO UNDERSTAND. HE ALSO MENTIONED HOW DAD RELATED HIS REGRETS AND SORRY FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN US; AND HOW HE’S LONGING TO BRING BACK THE TIMES WHEN EVERYTHING’S FINE BETWEEN HIM AND HIS YOUNGEST SON. JESSIE KEPT ON EXPLAINING, ELABORATING. I WAS SPEECHLESS; DUMBFOUNDED STARING AT MY DIRTY CLOSET. ARE YOU STILL THERE, HE SAID. MY HANDS WERE SHAKING, ALMOST NUMBED, COVERING THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE PHONE. I CLEARED MY THROAT STRUGGLING FOR A RESPONSE. I HAVE TO BE GETTING READY NOW HE SAID. OKAY, I FINALLY REPLIED. BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO SAY GOODBYE AND HUNG UP THE PHONE, MY TEARS BEGAN TO FALL.