billie and jean

billie and jean 

it's been nine months since billie passed away, but the one-bedroom apartment that we have shared together remained alive with his memory. 
he was there wherever your eyes could reach and rest, the distance kept short by the memory of his rare, melancholic smiles; he was always sad. he was there in the shadow, perhaps hiding behind the silk curtains with little floral patterns, plotting about what to do with the past and how to solve the future; he was a mystery. he was there in the tiny kitchen, staring absent-mindedly at the crowded shelf right above the sink and the faucet mentally arranging with the precision of a general preparing to go into a battle the bottles of wine, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce. he hated the mess.
this morning, while i was cleaning the bathroom, a task i had been putting off since billie was buried, i found his favourite book in the laundry basket -- one hundred years of solitude. dirty white, almost brown, creased like an old maid’s …


“just as real events are forgotten, some that never were can be in our memories as if they happened.”  ― gabriel garcí­a márquez, memories of my melancholy whores.

ganoon pala talaga ang ala-ala. parang magnanakaw lamang. bigla na lang susulpot sa yong harapan at nanakawin ang iyong panahon ng pansamantala. ibabalik ka sa isang pahina ng iyong buhay na matagal mo ng ibinaon sa limot. na matagal mo ng pinunit, sinunog at pinalipad sa alapaap ang mga abo nito. upang wala ng bakas. wala ng balikan.
(sabay tugtog ng ma-alala mo kaya....)
dear ate mahatma gandah....
nag-lilinis ako ng aking silid sa aming lumang bahay ng muling manumbalik ang isang nakalipas na sa pag-aakala ko ay matagal ko ng nakalimutan.
matagal-tagal na ring hindi ako umuuwi. kung hindi pa namatay ang tatay ay hindi ko maiisipang lumipad mula sa europa kung saan ako namalagi sa loob ng mahabang panahon patungong pilipinas. kahit medyo takot na akong sumakay ng eroplano (hindi ko alam kung bakit. bigla akong nag-kaphobi…

love in gilded cage

i nearly asked mang fred to turn the car around once i saw the mammoth house where the party was being held. only one word came to my mind -- regal. surrounded by trees sparkling with christmas lanterns. its tall windows all lit up, like fireflies seducing the darkness into submission.
before that, a long drive on a tree-lined pathway after passing through an unwelcoming overwrought iron gate, tended by a sleepy guard in a blue and white uniform, who saluted mang fred as we entered. 
this is his world, i thought, and a chill ran through my whole being. i was never afraid of anything. but tonight i wished i had a prayer with me. 
mang fred, in his immaculate white uniform, opened the door of the car for me. i have gotten used to it now. it used to make me uncomfortable, even distraught, to let someone else do simple tasks like opening the car door. but we get used to everything, especially when we were doing it for the ones we love.
a smiling woman greeted me at the front door, three …

the ghosts of casandig

as soon as i saw him, his frail body carrying two pieces of luggage and having difficulty opening the gate, i knew he was dying. but nobody noticed that other than me.

it was a sweltering saturday morning, around eleven, and the sun was at its most unwelcoming mood. the entire household, with his mother at the control tower, was busy preparing lunch. you could smell dishes being cooked, vegetables, onions being chopped, garlic being sauteed, and hear his mother shouting orders to the maids who were bantering while doing their chores in the dirty kitchen. they were all sweating even if electric fans were on, but nobody seemed to mind.

it was a feast that his mother was preparing. not for him. not for his arrival. but for her husband's nth death anniversary. his mother will forever love his father, keep him alive in her memory, even if in the end, he was not a very good husband and father to their three children.

her mother cried and embraced him tightly as soon as she saw him ente…