92 Days

In a literary piece, Patrick King Pascual asked: "How far is one willing to go to show someone what he really feels? How much more waiting and unanswered questions can one take? How can one know when enough is enough? How much longer are we willing to stay in a situation even though we're unsure of what's going to happen next or what benefit we will get out of it? Is happiness enough?"

It all started one fast Tuesday morning. Everything was supposed to turn out ordinary that day, but it didn’t.

The previous night was one of his usual; he was out with his friends, enjoying an unlimited glass of strawberry margarita while ranting about the problems he encountered – on how hard the dating game has been ever since he broke up with his ex more than one year ago.

It was a regular drunken night for him. The only thing that wasn’t regular, for some maybe – it was a Monday and he was drinking, and he needed to be somewhere first thing the next day. He went home around four in the morning; feeling blank, feeling numb, feeling happy – even if it was just temporary and real because of the strawberry flavored potion.

Tuesday morning quickly started, just like usual, he finished a landslide of two Caramel Macchiato’s as he made his way to his appointment. It was supposed to be an ordinary errand, but there wasn’t anything ordinary about it.

As he made his way inside the room; slowly turning the knob open, holding several pieces of paper and his smartphone on the other, trying to look relaxed, donning a smile, he pushed the door.

That moment, that hour before lunch, stood still. It wasn’t because he’s suffering from a hangover, it wasn’t because he forgot what he’s supposed to do to accomplish his errand. It was the moment when he reached for the hand of The Artist.

He introduced himself to The Artist.

He was greeted and reciprocated with a smile. The smile, yes that smile, it brightened not only the room but it also awakened him that Tuesday morning. It was not a perfect smile, but it was during that time. The smile he will think of differently for 92 days.

For a while everything was a blur to him.

It was a slow and one of the most memorable two and a half hours of his life. He listened to the stories of The Artist, it felt like they’ve known each other for a long time. The pressure to impress each other was not present, everything flowed smoothly. It was all smiles, laughs of agreement, curious questions – questions that he continued to throw so that the conversation wouldn’t run dry.

He was talking continuously so his nervousness wouldn’t surface. That’s just him.

But the meeting ended, like any other good things. He didn’t want to appear like he was trying too hard to extend the moment, but deep inside he wanted to. He left the The Artist’s place, thinking that it would be the last time that he would be able to see and talk to him, that it would be the last that he would be able to marvel at his smile.

Lo and behold, their communication continued days after. And he didn’t knew that time the he had to make a decision after 92 days.

He didn’t lie to himself that he’s already falling for The Artist, but he stayed quiet. He didn’t want to ruin a growing situation by spoiling each other with motherhood statements that involves his feelings.

They shared intellectual conversations, details about each others craft, personal things and silly jokes in between.

From where he was coming from, The Artist was a breath of fresh air. He brought him back to life. Maybe that’s too much to describe the whole situation, but it was one of the first moments that his friends saw him light-faced and smiling most of the time even if he’s faced with really irritating problems.

His friends kept asking him what or who was the reason behind it, he didn’t spoil them the details, instead, he kept everything to himself. And for someone who has so much to say and suddenly stood quiet – the silence, was indeed, deafening.

A month and a half passed.

The good rapport with The Artist continued. The Artist’s smile still makes him smile. He still yearns to listen to their conversation every time they had the chance. He still gets thrilled every time he reads his messages.

But the questions to himself had started already.

Suddenly he felt different. And The Artist didn’t know what to do and so he just ignored the warning signs he was being signaled.

How far is one willing to go to show someone what he really feels? How much more waiting and unanswered questions can one take? How can one know when enough is enough? How much longer are we willing to stay in a situation even though we’re unsure of what’s going to happen next or what benefit we will get out of it? Is happiness enough?

And the questions continued.

There was a time when they were together every night for several days; sharing a bottle of red and exchanging stories in every sip.

He didn’t want to keep asking questions, but something inside him continued to lean towards his sanity. He didn’t want to lose it along the way, but he didn’t want to lose the feeling that’s making him happy.

Ninety-two days later, he made a decision.

The Artist was still his usual self. He was polite, responsive and still smiling at every moment. The good rapport still continues between them. But he’s slowly reaching the edge of patience. And The Artist is still there.

Ninety-two days later, more questions came to his senses.

He connected the dots of the entire situation. The Artist only wants his company, his good company, and maybe nothing more of him, he doesn’t know if it was only for a meantime or for good. And for the first time after 92 days, he felt blank and numbed, but only this time, he didn’t want the influence of the strawberry flavored potion to blur his point of view.

He wanted to feel everything.

But nothing really ended, only his questions. The good rapport between The Artist continued. The exchange of intellectual messages and conversation still challenges them. And the questions he had were answered one by one – by himself not by The Artist.

For 92 days he was smiling, feeling happy and thankful that he met The Artist.

And on the 93rd day, when he read The Artist’s message, he was still smiling, knowing that there will not be any expiration date, but rather a challenge not only to him but with The Artist too – to keep what they have and make it stronger.

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April 2007 marked the launching of Outrage Magazine, the only Webzine made for, and by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.

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