home is where the loneliness is




i don’t want to see anybody crying at my funeral. nor talking only good things about me, the great deeds that i have done, as if i were a saint. i was not. like my favourite artiste, who passed away recently, i knew i was no good.
my mother, the frustrated dramatic actress, would probably shed a tear or two. she might even faint. let her be. i have seen it during the wake of her husband and then of her oldest son (so i heard. i wasn’t there). she cried hysterically in both funerals, like a mad woman. but i love her, so i gave her the license to showcase her flair for the dramatics that would put even her idol, nora aunor, to shame.
it’s hypocrisy to the highest degree to cry in someone’s funeral when all you did was treat him badly when he was still alive. my older sister was like that. when my older brother died, she acted like the martyr, urging everyone to fly to another city to attend his funeral. even if this would mean spending a lot of money to go there. after father died, money was tight. the family business was bankrupted from mismanagement. you see, my sister hated our older brother so much when he was still alive. they quarreled all the time. she even had the temerity to throw him out of my parents’ house when she was angry at him over money matters. i bet my brother was not pleased to see her in his wake, wailing like an orphan. the dramah queen. i bet if he could do it, he would throw her out of his funeral too -- an eye for an eye.

******

my family probably hated me when i refused to attend my older brother’s funeral. i have always been at odds with him ever since i could remember. he disapproved of me and of my lifestyle, telling everyone, especially when he was drunk, that i would go to hell for having sex with other guys. the nerve! as for me, i couldn’t care less about him. i knew that he had so many mistresses and children out of wedlock, whom he never supported. but i never judged him or anyone else for that matter. my motto has always been live as you please, life is short.
i forgave him of course. in death, everything was new. we will all see the light, eventually, literally and figuratively.
i don’t want my so-called friends to cry either. or say nice things about me. my friends knew the real me. i removed my masks when i was with them. i was neither a saint nor a sinner. i was human and i lived as i pleased. i had done a lot of bad things, but i had done my fair share of good deeds too. in the end, everything was erased. life was a blank page.
no eulogies please. no gospels. no tributes. no non sequiturs, only sequiturs.
seriously, i prefer to be cremated right after i die. no more funerals. just a mass would be enough, for the sake of my poor religious mother who believes in having endless novenas and masses for the eternal repose of the soul. blame it on the spanish friars who brainwashed their generation into believing that even if we disobeyed the teachings of god, we could still join him in heaven if we do all those indulgencias plenarias and gave offerings (money) to the church.

*******

please, i don't want my older sister to be there either. i could not forgive her. yet. maybe in the afterlife when i have been asked to lighten my load. if she insisted on attending it, the way she did at my older brother’s wake, then i would slap her so hard on the face that she would know she was not welcome. i hate hypocrites! i was not a psychic, but somehow i could see through someone's soul. i knew when someone was just faking it for his/her own sake. that made me sad. that was the reason why i have very few real friends.
if i could plan my exit, it would be a one-day affair. with friends and love ones chatting, laughing, gossiping, eating, drinking. it has to be a happy occasion, a celebration and recognition that life is ephemeral and that sooner or later, i would see them all in the afterlife. i will be their advance party to prepare a fabulous banquet complete with the hottest hunks that ever died. the music has to be chopin of course, with splashes of ella fitzgerald, billie holiday, amy winehouse and chet baker. no gospel songs, please, even during the mass. that will be blasphemy in my book. so please.
there has to be young and handsome boys entertaining my guests. if possible, they should wear only skintight white jeans, nothing more.
oh lastly, everyone should wear blue and white, my favourite colours and there should be a reading of w.h. auden’s funeral blues:

stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
silence the pianos and with muffled drum
bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
scribbling on the sky the message
he is dead, put crépe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
he was my north, my south, my east and west,
my working week and my sunday rest,
my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,
i thought that love would last forever: 'i was wrong'
the stars are not wanted now, put out every one;
pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
for nothing now can ever come to any good.

no crying please at the end of the poem.
then i could rest peacefully and be where i should be. with an open mind and a happy heart, i will leave this world. that will be my graceful exit.
but first let us go back a few months before this sad event.

**********



at three in the morning in new york, enar c had a thought. it was a starless evening, the streets dark, desolate and dry. there was nothing but bleakness in the air.
of course if you ignored the sirens, the screams of drunks, hookers, pimps and their unsatisfied clients, that evening was quiet. as if the city was in mourning.
he did not sleep that night. he started packing all his clothes, books, dvds, cds and other stuff into huge bags and empty milk boxes. he wanted to get out of there. the city has been choking him, squeezing his life slowly, like a hungry vampire feeding on his weaknesses, fears and anxieties. he has always been a nervous wreck.
what was he leaving behind?
a career in acting that never took off. he had been in new york for more than six years, his youth withering, his good looks fading from drunken nights, lack of sleep and loads of cigarettes. after starring in two obscure films and three hardly ever seen off broadway plays, work dried up, forcing him to wait for tables at noisy, smokey, smelly, filthy bars, where cockroaches mingled happily with rats.

******

then there was the matter of rudie. heartless, cruel, insensitive rudie. a struggling model and actor like himself: broke, addicted to his vanity, and the worst parasite of them all.
the next day he booked a flight back home. first class. he was excited. he had not been home for nearly ten years.
what was waiting for him back home?
let’s see.

maria - his widower mother, who is starting to lose her mind.  cold, selfish, uncaring. if it is love and care that enar c wanted from her, then she is the last person on earth that he should be seeking for. truth be told, enar c should continue running as far away as possible from her if he wants to save his sanity.

rona - his older sister. a bitter spinster who is taking care of their mother. if enar c's mother is cold, selfish and uncaring, this sister is more than that: wicked, greedy and a whole lot more. she could destroy even the toughest person on earth the way she ruined her life and all those around her.

anna - his younger sister. the opposite of enar c’s mother and older sister. sweet, caring, selfless. she is the cornerstone of the family, the one everyone runs into when they need solace, protection and most importantly, help. anna could be his saviour, his last chance at a happy life.

oloip, 19. the boy with an angelic face but with the body of the devil, who will break his heart anew, the way rudie had turned his life into hell.

of course enar c did not know all of these yet. in his business class seat, he stretched his legs, covered his body with a warm blanket, drank the bubbly champagne and fell asleep. a long, dreamless sleep.
it was a long journey but he did not care. in his mind, his mother would be so happy to see him after ten years that she would likely prepare a feast. of course, rona and anna would gladly take him back even for just a few months.
sadly, he was wrong!
what exactly did enar c want?
not much. to be happy. to go back to those times when he was a child, running around their big house, climbing up trees, picking up flowers in the garden, watering her mother's orchids, horsing around with his little sister.
but all of these were just figments of his imagination, the romanticism of a childhood filled with sad memories. ahh memories were tricky. they differ from one person to another, as maria, anna and rona would later tell him.

(unfinished. written at 2 a.m. while alone in hong kong one chilly winter! revisited most recently one sleepless night while down and out in manille.)

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