Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Torpe Road Part 6

It’s like an end of your favorite TV show or your favorite rock band disbanding (or usually the vocalist getting greedy and wanting to do a solo career). It’s bittersweet and you need to move forward and try out new stuff. Like juggling, for instance.

It’s almost the end of the “Road” for me. As much as it is therapeutic and me becoming a celebrity in the strictest sense with my close friends and (maybe) people from Iceland, South Africa and China, it can be rather traumatic to think back on what I did. Sure, there’s the philosophy of trial and error but remembering what you did before can be painful. Heck, Present Me would smack my Past Me’s head so hard and shout “ TANGINA!!! BAKIT YAN ANG GINAWA MO???!!!”. But I guess even playboys have his bad day.

Which is what this post is all about. This is one of my greatest follies. My greatest sablay. I’m not particularly proud of what I did, but it just happened. I think I’
m selling it too much and I’m afraid I might not deliver. But enough of the hype, let’s get this going…

It’ll only be a few more years before I would graduate from College. We were already thinking of what our Thesis subject will be but also able to enjoy the benefits of being a College
student, like going to concerts and being in charge of your time. Because there are times that you’d have a 2-3 hour interval from your next class and you could use that time to either go to the mall or bisitahin yung pinopormahan mo sa dorm nya. And it was at that free time that I met this classmate of mine in a different way. She will be named Paranaque.

Paranaque is a bit tall, almost at 5’6. She had long, black hair and almost looks Chinese because of her singkit eyes. Another distinguishing attribute of Paranaque is her buck front teeth. She’s barkada with Las Pinas ( see Part 3) and is the usual Art student. You know the type: the one who prefers Tori Amos over Taylor Swift kind. I’ve been classmates with Paranaque ever since I enrolled in our University pero I only saw her as a friend and fellow classmate. It never dawned on me that she can be a potential girlfriend, not until Rivermaya came to our campus one pre-Christmas day.

It was our Annual University Christmas Celebration , and another way of ending the School year.We were treated to one free choice of food in famous fast food restaurants and eateries, seeing the whole campus grounds lit up in Christmas lights and a free concert. During that time Rivermaya was the one that will play for us, where Rico Blanco was still the vocalist. They played well, and even joked around about piracy; “… wag kayong bibili ng piratang CD namin, hiramin nyo na lang yung orig sa kaibigan mo at ipa-burn nyo na lang…” We’ve learned later on that whileRivermaya is waiting for their “set” they stayed in our College building since malapit lang yun sa stage. Paranaque and her friends was in our building that time and nakapagpa-kuha sila ng picture sa mga miyembro ng banda. She uploaded it on then-famous social network Friendster and I commented on it and even made a joke in reference to their hit song during that time “Liwanag sa Dilim” and changed it to “Liwanag sa Panty”. It was corny but we were able to make a connection. You could pretty much guess that at that exact moment I was able to make my “moves” on her…

After that I was already talking and made my trademark corny jokes to her. I was even able to get her landline number and we talked for hours. We talked about Anime and some of my barkada’s ka-sablay-an sa panliligaw. I was never the one to talk about that, but I guess it came involuntarily because puro dead air na sa telepono at wala na rin akong masyadong makuwento. Even then, my previous telephone conversations sa mga dati kong niligawan only helped so little with Paranaque. Nonetheless, I was able to learn a lot about her. She is a tomboy type and has also watched hentai, much to my amusement. She also is best friends with my ka-barkada na lalake but there was no competition. She also broke up with her long-time boyfriend because of him cheating on her. You know how it goes; you’d feel sorry for her but a little happy because it gives you a big window of an opportunity for her to become your girlfriend. It looks easy but it requires the utmost care. Because any minute she might get back with him. It’s like becoming a singer where you have to take care of your voice or else you won’t be able to go abroad ( well, let’s be realistic here anyway… )

Speaking of those kinds of singers, I’d like to go off-topic and talk about my experience with my past neighbors. Overlooking my room is the other house’s staircase and a room which is in my humblest judgment mga dalawang babae na nag-a-apply na Cultural Artist, or “japayuki”. Why such a claim? Because everyday in the afternoon for what seems to be almost 2 months they’d practice their vocal abilities with a guidance of a gay vocal coach. They can be pretty loud, so siesta is out of the question. I remember in my ka-bad trip-an I’d remark about their inability to sing. One song that stands out in their practice sets is the Jennifer Lopez’s song "Waiting for Tonight”. There’s a line in the song where they’d sing it like this:

…I want to stay in this forever/ I think of the days when the sun used to set/ On my empty heart, all alone in my bed/ TOW-SING and turning/ Emotions were strong/ I knew I had to hold on/ [CHORUS] Waiting for Tonight/ OOOOHHHHH .…

Wait, wait, wait, wha-aaatttt????

TOW-SING [tossing] and turning…

At first I thought that it was a mistake, but they’d sing that part like that every time. I was laughing my ass off and even shouted to them “ HUY MALI-MALI YAN!!!”. I never knew if the girls there were sexy or pwedeng pag-nasahan because I never saw them. There was one time where the room overlooking mine was their “changing room” and I chanced that one of them finished taking a bath and was about to dress up. Tamang-tama at nakapatay yung ilaw sa kwarto ko so sinulit ko na yung pagkakataon. I was on my knees, trying my best peeping tom style when she noticed someone looking at her. No cases were filed but the next day,

there was a curtain placed in the room. Nuts. The worst luck ever was that my room is also overlooking their bathroom… but you can’t see it since it is parallel to my window. Believe me, you can’t see anything. I tried. Thrice.

Moving forward, I was really trying my best to be a potential boyfriend to her. As usual, we were being teased by my classmates and one Professor about us being an item. One time, during our outdoor sketches, one of my classmates has a SLR camera with him and my professor egged us on having a photo of us. We obliged much to my professor’s amusement. My friend gave me a print of it and I showed it to my parents. My dad had the most bizarre reaction when he saw the photo. He was sitting on the edge of the bed and when he saw it binitawan nya yung litrato at nalaglag sa sahig. I don’t know if he’s joking or not but it seemed cruel. Well, a lot of my friends too objected to the idea sa pagliligaw ko sa kanya because she’s not the pretty type. That may be true in some sense but I was kinda desperate. And, who knows, Paranaque could be worth the risk. Heck, I skipped a class just so that I could watch my favorite show, The Drew Carey Show that evening. Was it worth the risk? Not really, but I enjoyed the guilty pleasure…

It was a few weeks after that Friendster occurrence when I asked her out to a movie date to Robinsons Ermita. She hesitated at first but she said yes. I was so happy but a few days after she approached me and:

Paranaque: (my name), bakit mo ko niyayang manuod ng sine?

Me: Wala lang, gusto ko lang.

Paranaque: Kasi, parang feeling ko nililigawan mo ko...

( at that point I was speechless; I don’t know how to respond to that. )

Paranaque: (my name), kakagaling ko lang sa break-up, ayoko pa na tumanggap ng ligaw at gusto ko pa muna mag-focus sa pag-aaral…

Me: Ah ganun ba? Okey lang. Pero mag-date pa rin tayo . At least let me keep my word to you…

Paranaque: Sige…

Sonofabitch. Dalawang beses na akong binagsakan ng ganung linya. ( the first one was from New Zealand, see Part 1 ). Di ka rin talaga masasanay dun. I was shattered but I did continue our movie date. As an advice to my friends, we made a “dry run” to know where to take her to eat and how to commute to the Mall. Yan ang pagkakaibigan. Kahit di nila boto, tutulungan ka pa rin nila. We were supposed to meet in front of our College building at Saturday. When I went to our meeting place she was already there waiting for me. Late ako. Well, we took the FX and even I packed a note on my celfone some of the things I want to say to her to explain my side on bakit ko sya niligawan blah blah blah. Di ko sya nagamit at iniisip ko yung mga galaw ko. We ate at Sbarro, since I liked their food back then. After eating we talked a little about sa mga dapat gawin sa panliligaw. Pinagdiin nya na dapat wag akong ma-late. Ok lang na late ang babae, wag lang ang lalaki. I also noticed that while I was talking to her she kept on checking her celfone and texting someone. I never knew who it was but I guess it could be her best friend checking up on her or such. Nailang talaga ako dun, I kept thinking about the article I read from FHM before that on a first-time date when a girl is engrossed more on exchanging text messages than exchanging stories with you means that she’s texting her friends: “Dis date sux. I wana go home” or “Grabe ang boring kausap nito”. But still she was supportive and also recommended me to be firm sa panliligaw. Lakasan mo loob mo. We watched the movie Constantine.

It was a bad choice for a first-time movie date because it was a little creepy but the other choices were Tagalog movies. We did enjoy the movie and I escorted her to the FX terminal that would take her home. That evening I cried a little because I felt like the date was a big sablay, and that there would be no more chances of her being with me. But Thesis came so I was able to block out all of my emotions there.

A few weeks after that fiasco I later learned that her best friend na ka-barkada ko eh naging sila na. I was surprised about the news and at first I did not take it well. Bitter-bitter-an ako nun. I kept thinking “ tama ka nga pre, ampangit naman nya eh…” and “ loko pala sya eh, ayaw pa raw nya magka-BF tapos anong nangyari???” . I was not proud of that feeling but I had to move on. I had to accept that maybe she’s not that into me. We had some little friction pa before especially with our strong personalities. One of the good things about her relationship with my ka-barkada was she started to wear skirts and became more of a girl. We graduated and I found out that a few months after graduation, they broke up. We never knew why but I was able to find out when I was able to talk to her again over the telephone. That time I was looser and I don’t have to project an image to her. Turns out they broke up because of the usual thing men do to women. Alam nyo na yun. She also got back with her ex and they are still together after all these years. It was not something that I would approve of, I mean that’s what exes are, but what the hell. It’s her choice.

The biggest sablay that I was talking about before was when most of us have work and she texted me. Nakipag-kwentuhan sya sa akin and made a comment on my call center work. “Bakit di ka na lang mag-hanap ng trabaho na related sa pinag-aralan mo? Sayang din naman yun.”. I replied “ Ito muna yung nakuha ko eh. Darating naman tayo dyan…”. I was a little irritated about her text so I texted my best friend. Kinuwento ko yung sinabi nya sa akin at sinabi ko na epal sya. I sent it to my best friend and I was surprised that Paranaque forwarded the message to me.

I accidentally sent the message to her.

When I found out about my error I fell down on the floor and was cursing a lot. I just replied : "Well, you were not supposed to read that. ” and she never replied back. Her friends, mostly Las Pinas was texting me on how bad I am to tell her that. My barkada supported me in a manner of teaching me what to reply to her texts. Paranaque and I had a crack in our relationship and we never talked to each other.

It was only a few years that I was able to talk to her again when her mother passed away. She invited me to her wake but I had work that night so I wasn’t able to come. I was able to fix my mistake and all the bad blood was gone. She is still with her previous boyfriend, and is working at a graphic design company. We were able to meet again at a reunion and she looks happy with the choices that she made. I learned that you just have to be strong and remove all the bad energy that you may have sa panliligaw. That, and it’s best to use “codenames” sa pagte-text and to double-check who you are sending the message to.

art by Jerald Dorado, text by me