Noun: dichotomy [dI’ko-tu-mee or di’ko-tu-mee]

  1. Being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses
  2. Branching repeatedly into two

Recently I got an invitation to attend a gathering of old high school friends. I was downhearted and forlorn, thinking how could I, at my current state of unemployment and almost nonexistent financial sources, bring myself to this take that bus ride and savor the camaraderie and joy of peole who I have come to love as I grow up.

It was very difficult for me.

Here I am,  getting all social with my Twitter and Facebook, and continually posting on my WordPress and Google+, and it has come to my attention that, for all  the reality of poverty, I seem to give off a seemingly well-off character trolling the interwebs constantly. Mainly because I choose to speak in English, with my writing and my so-called social presence online. The music I listen to, the videos I am often fond of posting on my timelines, gives off some sort of content and comfort one sees with the millions of people trying to look larger than life with their selfies and OOTD’s and foodie post. Though I am not prone to doing all these, sadly, I see the analogs.

Whenever I post a finished inked drawing, likes and exclamations of appreciation, to other people look like I have made it. Which is far, really far from the truth. For several months now, I have survived from dole outs and charity from friends. My family is better off within the warmth of the countryside and the people supporting them. I was abandoned by other people, too, though I couldn’t blame them for doing so. Sometimes, in the deep of the night when I feel I deserve something better, my thoughts turn to negative, with anger and rage at the people whom I fairly given my talent and skill and loyalty, only to be treated like rag, too dirty and worn to be of any use. They could be right you, know, in their twisted version of altruism.They have their reasons. But sometimes it rasps like P1330221sandpaper in my soul. But to dwell on it would be courting disaster so I am moving along.

I didn’t care to weigh myself, but I seem to be just a few pounds short of 80. I know I used to be a heavy 120++ and my clothes seem to hang like laundry on hangers.

I got a rousing compliment about my newfound drawing skills with pen,ink and brush.

My  rented room is just a few notches from being too unwholesome and downright  trashy, probably the best description is the setting for “Scorpio Nights”, but without the sex, just the weathered, broken down dwelling.

And the cat smells.

But online, some find it humorous that I comment on my cat housemates as if, it’s a regular thing, and not at all annoying.

So this invitation, try as I might, may not push through, and did not actually, because I have not the the means to do so. I declined without getting into the full details of my absence. If I tell people I only eat two meals a day, they would laugh and dismiss it as just one of my witty quips.

Which is true. The two meals a day, I mean. Most of the time, the only food I get in my system is accompanied by brandy  provided by my Mayor Street Preacher friends here in Makati, one of the few saving graces handed to me: a brother’s unflinching love, a best friend’s undying loyalty, a couple of friends who have gone out of their way to give me something more than what I asked. But there is one other saving grace that wants no part of me whatsoever and just up and went. I suffer in silence. I have never been ungrateful, but some peole tend to be impatient with the returns, given my circumstances. To hear them talk would sound like they don’t care. But they do.

People may talk of not caring what others think, but they do care about what peole think.

But things are looking up.

My gig with Mike is now on for 8 more weeks, with a new show requiring comics/drawing as the show intro in the offing, my komiks portrait seem to be gathering enough interest for people to actually ask about it, hopefully more want theirs too, and my own stories are getting fuller everyday – drawing and adding new aspects of the story by writing a bit more each day – has made me more determined to see this through. Very much like an MMA fighter who is losing with every round, but resolved to finish the whole bout.

For respect.

Now, a new invitation, this time from a bunch of hooligans I went out with, got mugged with, got stoned-faced drunk with in my youth and early adul life is calling. Do I make myself available?

Damn well, I will.

Solitude is something I have learned to live with since my childhood. But sometimes being with friends does wonders to my being. I could get some hard facts slapped in my face, the guys would probably berate me for being too scarce these years, and I may get a lot of flak from stories I haven’t told, but dammit, I miss mingling with real people, not some online community.

So come the 23rd of July, I will be taking the trip back to my hometown…

And I will enjoy myself.

Watching A Man Die

[I wrote this about 20 years ago. Felt like it was time to publish and get on with life]

I’m watching a man die

Everyday, I see this man die each time he wakes
up. Each sunrise should bring everyone of us joy
and hope. Instead, for him, it’s a struggle to
keep calm and check himself from losing grip on
reality. The thought is apalling. To think it’s
all because of this four letter word that keeps
the world going round, or so they say.

He bleeds.

He bleeds each time he sees her. It’s tearing
him apart inside. Sandpaper on his soul. It’s the
knowledge that he can never, ever hold her as
close as he wants her to be. It’s the truth that
he faces everyday that stabs him deep each time,
like a rusty blade, inching deeper, twisting as it
sinks deep. She is free, blooming and living life.
He cries. Tears rolling down, drops hot as
steaming water on burned flesh. Oh what pains must
one man endure to keep his love for this woman he
alone knows, will not be his. Not now. Not ever.

But the sadddest thing is, despite all that
hurt, all that pain. He loves her. Truly. Deeply.
He will do anything and everything in his flimsy
power to give her what she wants.Whatever makes
her happy. Even the man she chose to love, he will
love like a brother. He’s that twisted, scorched,
and stupid.

Amidst all that,he smiles. That what puzzles
me the most. He smiles, remembering all those
times he spent with her. Those memories he grabs
with whiteknuckle desperation. Those sweet
memories he intends to keep for the rest of his
life. And he knows it’s not right. It was a
mistake for others to see. It’s was not meant to
be. Even the age gap is enormous. And the set up
too complicated. He knows this love will bring
pain. And he has accepted it. And the separation
was the most painful thing he has felt so far.
Still this stupid fool smiles.

You’re a fool, I said. Poor fool.

Still, this man I have grown fond of,
smiles. Forget the pain, he said. It’s the
remembering that counts. He never forgets to
whisper “I Love You” whenever the opportunity
presents itself. Each smile she throws at him, a
miracle for his wounded pride. And it’s eating
him up. Tearing him to pieces. Crumbling his will
to live.

But he must continue living. For his children
that brings him unimaginable joy. And he must
live. For his wife.His wife who stuck through
thick and thin. She, whose bones are slowly withering and
wasting down her body.Who promised to love him and their
child. The poor soul who waits, and weeps for him.
The one who loves him like life itself.

How he managed to live two lives, is
something I will never understand.

Poor, dumb fool of a man.

He chooses to live in dilemma.

How long can you live like this? Always
yearning for that other love, the one who will
never comeback, the one who hurts you the most,
the one who hurts you still? Or will you choose to
turn around and look at the eyes of those three
souls who waits, who keeps you in their heart, no
matter what?

And he dies everytime.

I’m watching a man die.

Angry Again

Angry Again

Just the other day I was at a counter, a prepaid loading station
at the nearvy mall. This woman, I wouldn’t call her a lady, with
her pompous chin and a gaggle of brand-name paper bags,
jumped the queue and insisted on purchasing a prepaid card,
while I was still talking to the salesclerk. Didn’t say anything, but
it burned me.

How could somebody, apparently well-to-do and with good
education, act so crassly as to think it’s her right to be served
first? The clerk and I exchanged quizzical looks and let it go.

It’s like the day I was in Quiapo, and another woman, no.
certainly not a lady, asked me where is the direction going to a
Mercury Drug Store. I answered politely that she just missed it, it
was on the other side (we were traversing the underground
passage). What do you know? She, with her fat arms, and her
cane, in a loud voice ” Tange! Yung isang Mercury? (Stupid! The
other Mercury!).

I was stunned. I would have punched this behemoth of
redundant flesh, but I stayed myself. No use in hitting a woman,
an older one at that. I said nothing. I moved along.

It’s the same everywhere. people who looked like they got
education, good clothes, high paying jobs, who behave like
privileged royalties, pushing, swerving, talking loud on their
mobile phones, while the phone itself is in speaker-mode, sitting
in trains like they paid for three persons, walking in no apparent
direction, waking in the wrong direction, conversing in the
middle of a busy street. I begin to think these persons got
ripped-off with their education. It’s evident they didn’t learn
any good sense, much less civilized behavior. They ought to ask
for a refund.

Males are worse. Ever been cramped in line during MRT rush
hour and some dude with well combed hair, and smelling of
expensive perfume ( I can tell if it’s real perfume, fake ones
make make me dizzy) sweep you aside so he can be first while
muttering ” I’m gonna be late for work!”

Oh, yeah? You shouldn’t have gone out last night with your
drinking buddies! Not our fault you keep a lousy schedule. But
no, I didn’t say it out loud.

Scooters with loud exhaustr pipes and lowered frames infuriate
me. Drivers who don’t lower their headlights at night are a pain
in the butt. Movie critics who write reviews, but just
paraphrased from Premier Magazine. People who scoff at other
people for finishing everything on their plate at a food court,
saying it smacks of being “patay-gutom”. I mean, why the hell
not, I paid for it? I enjoy eating! I coulnd’t say the same for the
health buffs who lecture other people about their eating
habits, or the vegetarian who would crucify you if given the
chance. Banks with such beautiful catchphrases they could not
keep. Wannabes who think just because they had the money
and printed their crap comics, they should be treated as the
old-timers who are still struggling. Calling their so-called art
minimalist, line-drawing, and all sorts of mind-numbing labels to
justifytheir ineptitude, and jons a group so they can fool
themselves they are real artists.

And I could think of two worse kinfd of people: HR personnel and Vapers. Some of my friends work as HR people. But hell, these are the worst kind when it comes to asking applicants to go out of heir way and be on time at a particularinterview. And afterwards, these smug bitches won’t even spend a peso texcting or calling you that you, unfortunately didn’t get he job. Civility aside, wouldn’t if be more civil if yu can tell job hunters, hey, guy you just didn’t cut it for the slot. Vapers are worse! Their withdrawal from tobacco makes them arrogant and seem to think it’s their God given right to expel thick, pungent sweet vapors to someone’s face , just because their expensive vapes cost more than their average income per week. I loathe these people. Makes me wanna bitch slap them to their senses.

Someone I worked for recently called me an ungrateful, thick-
faced, no-good [insert all expletives you can think of] and I
think had my name on police blotter, or so I was told. This prick
can’t manage his office, cannot make an appointment on
time, pays too little and all that while I do everything in and out
of the office short of wearing a skirt. Hell no, keep your stinking
job, I’d rather starve (of which I am currently doing) than be
the whipping boy for a firm that has no direction.

I could be rude, crude, nasty and crass to other people.

But I won’t step to their level of arrogance.

Keep looking down on us.

Remember when you fall, we are there to see you drop.

Oh I forgot.

I could be as basty as I wannna be.

I dropped out of college.

I’m an unecucated scoundrel. What’s your excuse?