Down the rabbit hole

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whiskey lets me feel.

Listened to this track along with the rest of Hammock's
"Raising Your Voice... Trying to Stop an Echo" album while
writing this blog entry. They go so well together. Try it ;)

Really supposed to be preparing the content for tonight's episode of "Rant & Rave", but for some reason, I can't maintain my focus. My mind's a messy salad of frustrations, burnt out notes, worn-out thought strings and unanswered questions. One of which, I'm hoping to get an answer to by the end of the week. I find this question stems from that all too-familiar phenomenon of drunken intimacy. I think anyone who's ever had a little too much to drink has experienced this. Whether you choose to frame it and mount it on a blank wall in your brain, or to dismissively leave it time-bound on a dusty shelf in your past, is all up to you. But it did happen.

You're probably wondering right now if the "drunken intimacy" I'm referring to is sex. Well... yes and no. It would be on one extreme end of the spectrum, yes, but it doesn't leave much room for interpretation the morning after. Its formula is basic. Too much alcohol + relatively attractive and equally inebriated individual + primal instinct + opportunity (venue x time) = drunken intimacy via sex (or sloppy making out in a dark corner if you were playing for the junior league of intimacy that night).  A quick fix was all there was to it. Basic. Superficial. Easy to walk away from, and won't ever merit the usual melancholic "pause in midstep and look back" moment we all know too well from movies and overly dramatic teenage sitcoms. As easily as this amorous mistake is made, it is just as easily forgotten.

I'll tell you what lingers well after the sun rises on your hangover. Well after you've washed the dry, sour after-taste of last night's liquor from your mouth, and the smell of cheap cigarette smoke from your hair. As you down your third tall glass of water in an hour, you scavenge for snippets of memories from last night. Like bits of torn paper, you pick them up from the floor of your mind and do your best to make the frayed edges fit. It was you, a glass too many of that whiskey, a warm, equally lost soul, and a blur of other people in the room.

As the pieces come together, you remember laughing and stumbling arm in arm. You remember bumping knees under the table, and blissfully not worrying so much about what was coming out of your mouth. With the weight of an arm around your shoulder, or the feel of someone else's fingers interlaced with yours, you forget about all of the times you felt alone. Not a single article of clothing left your skin, but you know you bared a part of yourself you usually keep chained in secret. There was no rowdy inappropriateness, but you know you lost control of that cold facade your sobriety normally fuels.

For a good half of a weekend's inebriated population, there's satisfaction in just that - having someone, and the absence of the fear of acting on it. No rough kisses. No regretful touches. No harsh words. No promises to fear breaking. Just solace in knowing carefree nights like these exist, and we all have an infinite number of chances to revel in them, all while holding someone's hand. No need to berate yourself for whatever stolen embraces and half-kisses you managed to come home with. It was all badly miscalculated, yes, but you're human. You spend most of your days telling yourself you're fine on your own, but when the sun goes down and the liquor kicks in, you'll be surprised to find the comfort you never knew you needed in the smallest of gestures. Amidst laughter, stupid jokes, a bruise you'll wonder about in the morning, and bar tab receipts, and smeared makeup, you'll swear you've never felt younger and more alive.

You only have until sunrise. Don't let go just yet.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What a sad sight.

LSS of the week goes to:
Jameson by JMSN

As I’m writing this, the sun is setting on my second day in Cebu. Really needed this quick getaway with my universal constants: my family. A vacation out of town with family is actually pretty much like being at home with them. Everyone’s lazy and totally laid-back, except you eliminate the temptation to coop yourself up in your bedroom, so you all end up eating and napping together like lovey-dovey pigs in mud. Except here in fancy-shmancy Shangri-La Mactan, it’s not so much cuddling in mud as it is lounging side by side on ergonomic beach chairs while sipping on overpriced blended fruit. Then again, are these fruit shakes fruit with sugar, or sugar with fruit? Mapaglinlang! Still, it’s quality time with the people who matter most to me. I’ll blog about the trip in a separate post.

See the massive extent to which I fangirl for my family? We’re not afraid to invest every fiber of our being in family because they’re our safety. An unconditional, and unwavering pool of all our roots, memories and support for an uncertain future. With everyone else though, we’re a bit more wary of how much of ourselves to trust them with.

Faith in people. That’s something I believe I have a whole lot of, considering I was blessed enough to always be surrounded by good-natured individuals. Many, of course, have fallen into the past - childhood friends I shared late afternoons and scraped knees with, primary and secondary school teachers who saw my old bright-eyed self, and high school friends I survived the awkwardness of puberty with. Although, just because someone’s a part of your past, doesn’t mean you forget about them. Humans, by nature, are sentimental beings. The social networks we have today bet on that heartstring - that need to keep in touch. So time and distance have never mattered to me. If you were a friend to me once, and assuming you didn’t murder anyone close to my heart or plundered my family’s wealth or quite literally stabbed me in the back, then you’re still a friend to me 5, 10, 15, so many years from now. I will remember you, whether faintly or vividly, and running into you in some random place will always be something to smile about.

If you read the post before this, you’ll know that lately, I’ve been contemplating on getting back in touch with someone who told me it’d be best if we didn’t talk for a couple of months for the sake of (and I quote), “killing the feelings”. Like the good guy that he was, and the optimistic girl that I am, we eased ourselves into our little hiatus with a few jokes here and there about how things would be like the next time we’d get around to talking or even hanging out. I think the last thing I said to him then was, “Hey. Don’t be a stranger.” He smiled at me before he left, and I figured, Oh what the hell. At least we’re still friends. I rested my faith on that and kept it there for 3 months.

Exactly a week ago, as my hairdresser ran a flat iron through my hair at 6AM for an entire day’s worth of taping for CGE TV In Da Loop, I focused on the weight of my phone in my hands, and the weight of my decision to break the ice. I readied myself for two possible outcomes of what I was about to go out on a limb for: the pleasant cessation of having to pretend the other doesn’t exist, and well, nothing. I don’t know why, but I felt it then in my gut that the latter seemed more likely. Oh, but I told myself I knew him enough to be a good guy. As I composed the message on Facebook, my hands went cold.

“Hey, stranger. :) How’ve you been?”

I stared at it, hushed, suddenly wanting to delete everything and go back to the already familiar silence that took the place of sweet nothings, late night conversations and stupid, smitten laughter. I just sat there, almost marveling at my fear of getting nothing. Since when did nothingness become that terrifying? Probably since I knew that if he didn’t reply, it would ultimately mean he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. The thought angered a little part of me, because if that was his intention all along, he should’ve just said it instead of being some odd withering memory settled in a corner of my mind. With that, I sent the message and went on with my day. See, I’ve always loved anger. It’s one of the most motivating emotions one can feel. Sadness debilitates you, while anger pushes you. If you have to feel something after being wronged, be angry. Channeled correctly, it can lead to a whole lot of self-improvement, and once the embers die, you’re left with a certain peaceful resolve. But maybe that’s just me.

He replied the next day. Before I opened the message, I told myself, This is better than nothing. I braced myself for whatever he had to say, and opened it. This is what he had to say:

“I’m fine. Very busy. I’m with family.”

I took a seat and cradled my head in my hands. It was a legitimate reply, yes, but as I read it a second, third and fourth time, I started to doubt if this really was better than nothing. It was blunt. It was dismissive. It was cold and didn’t agree with the warm person I knew him to be. At that point, I wondered if reaching out was even a good move to begin with. Maybe I should’ve let that smile of his be my last memory of him, instead of this three-sentence reply. I wanted to lash out at him for it. In fact, the first draft of my reply was, “You rude son of a-”, but my breeding, tact, and call of the high road won. I deleted it, and instead typed:

“Are we still not supposed to be talking or what? I just figured I'd break the ice. I mean, I'm not after anything. I just wanted to know if we're still friends. :)”

I added that smiley face out of sheer spite. I wanted him to man-up and give it to me straight. You’re either in my life or not. There is no grey area for you to hang around in forever, while I walk on eggshells, trying to balance avoiding you and showing you I still want to know you. As much as I wanted him to stop being such an asshole and tell me he can still be civil with me, I wanted him to give me a reason to stop being so goddamn nice and do something that would let him know I’ve had it.

This was last Saturday. He’d always be online on Facebook, and in the back of my mind, I’d expect an Inbox notification. Nothing came. After 4 days, I went up to my mom and asked her, “Mama, can I ask you for some advice? I don’t know what to do.” She turned the TV off, faced me and asked me what was wrong. My voice broke. “Should I delete him?” I felt my lips tremble and my eyes sting. I didn’t realize until then how hurt I was. My mother berated me for not doing it earlier. “Bakit ka pa umasa na pwede pa kayo maging friends?” Teary-eyed, I said, “I don’t know. I guess I expected better from him.” I went to his profile page, hit unfriend, found his name in my phone’s address book, deleted him. I set that bridge on fire, stepped back and with a heavy heart, watched it burn.

Faith in people. I have a whole lot of it. Still do, but if there’s one thing this experience has reaffirmed, it’s to NEVER EXPECT. Although, time and again, we all learn that just because you expected something (the way I expected an unideal outcome), doesn’t make it hurt any less. To tell you the truth, it’s not so much the “rejection” that hurt me. What really got to me was the disappointment. My whole life, I’ve never had to erase anyone, nor has anyone tried erasing me, but I guess there’s a disappointing first for everything. Took me a while to absorb the fact that someone who used to be special to me, and I was special to, could find it in himself to cut me out. Just like ripping a bandaid off, it’s over before you know it, and everyone can finally move on. I really wish I didn’t have to burn that bridge, but really, why would you make room in your life for someone who won’t make room for you in theirs? Don’t let anyone have one foot in your life, and the other out of it. We all deserve better. I know I do. So I'm keeping my face turned to the sunlight and I hope to God I live a life that won't necessitate me setting any more bridges on fire.