9:28 am, today
I am rightly headed to my 2nd concert next month. And to a band that I legitimately like (even though the last band whose songs I’ve all memorized is M2M. Kidding).
Sedate, cool, silent-morning. Quiet time in order because it is prayer and fasting week. But my head is not quiet – it is filled with to-dos. Scripts, shoots, a short film I must seriously finish before I leave the country next next weekend.
Allaying the fear. Because as God’s daughter I should not fear. I should only have faith. I have the faith, only the fear is a hardwired human thing. Making sure to learn to let go of that.
My old gay man looks familiar, sitting on the table beside us in the ubiquitous cafe that we have chosen for our nightcap. He is with his old gay friend, and they are both amiable, and respectfully loud. But with an air of refinement, of subdued tiny screams and perfectly nuanced words. As is expected of old gay amiable people who have gone through years of buffering, prejudice, and determination. To prove a point, or otherwise. Or maybe they are not even consciously aware of strangers judging them as such. My attention is piqued by my old gay man because I feel, strongly, that I have seen him, talked with him, before. Or maybe there is just something about his amiability, his elegant nuances and articulations, which I imagine to be dearly familiar. His head is bald, his shirt is fitted, and he is typing in SMSes in a fairly-shiny device.
His friend is not as strikingly effeminate. The friend has overgrown, ruffled, gray and black hair, modish glasses, and a tired face which seems to have squinted through meters and meters of typed out pages. I judge – with a strong sense of conviction – that he is an editor or writer of some sort. I deduce it from the windbreaker – rumbled, oversize, and made of Nylon. Typical journalist cover-up, isn’t it? To project that look of “I’m too busy with words to worry about my appearance.” It is a look which I vainly try to recreate and update with mismatched yet luxurious sartorial choices – but that, my friends, is another story.
My old gay man and his friend are discussing a fairly young band, to book for a next event – I am partly right – they are involved in some sort of production or media affair. Which explains the rumpled and refined combo. If that makes sense to you. The friend is also selling my old gay man a shirt – for a pretty hefty price which my old gay man promptly turns down. I try to hear more snippets of their conversation, to deduce if I do know this man, but their voices have hushed down and I need to revert my attention back to the kind friends whom I have endeavored to “hang out” with. So for now I’m committing their place and their position and their images here – to come back to, later on.
Inside an FX, with no traffic on a Friday night, but drops of the just-seceded rain still stuck to the windows. Yellow lights casting pretty fire to the miniscule orbs, oddly photogenic, in my now dutifully observant eyes. A moment to tuck away, and to bring out later on.
Dark buildings, dark, sad, dusty buildings that you could smell in your head – the oldness, the dryness, the sadness of being forgotten. And I am so aware that this is Manila, that this has seen better days, and that I belong to a generation starkly devoid of “glory days” – these days, we are all too busy with our own lives, with making money, with not getting pregnant. Finding love is just another success story. I hate watching the old movies because they give me such a powerful feeling of being left out, of being spoiled, too cold, and too tame in this semi-comfortable existence that I have (where all I think about is can I buy my family a car this year). When I pass by these roads, I feel validated – I can still feel the heavy charm. I can still go through these tragedies. I can still let it simmer and stay long enough in my head, and tell you a story that will immortalize our milieu, our loves, our mores, our hopes and dreams no matter how flimsy and practical they are. Aspiration is merely optional these days
And the conversation never gets boring. Because I’m a 20-something female with affirmation and self-image issues, I will always ask him to tell me that I am beautiful. And he will never acquiesce, but later on, when we’ve moved on to other tangents of the daily conversation that encompasses “togetherness” (albeit in a more techie, post-modern sense these days) – – he will bring up a topic, a point, and then proceed to say something about my eyes, or my hair. He tells me that he will never tell me I am beautiful. But he will always do something about it.