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Literary Pieces

Ikaw ay isang bahaghari

Evangeline Grace writes about being part of the rainbow life, stressing “kung pinagtatawanan ka ng mundo, Dahil hindi ka lang basta bughaw at kulay rosas, Itaas mo lang ang iyong noo… Dahil lahat ng bahaghari ay matatagpuan sa langit.”

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Ni Evangeline Grace

Ikaw ay isang bahaghari.

Hindi sinasabi rito
Kung ano ang nasa pagitan
Ng iyong mga hita
O kung gaano katangkad
O kaliit ang umbok
Sa iyong dibdib.

Hindi hinuhusgahan
Kung tinutubuan ka ng buhok—
Ng bigote o balbas
O kung malago ang nasa binti
At nakatago sa kilikili
Walang panghuhusga sa kung ano’ng mayroon ka.

Hindi ka pipigilan
Kung ang gusto mo ay mag pantalon
O kung mas gusto mo ang palda,
Ang maluluwang na damit
O ang masisikip na nagpapakita pa lalo
Sa hubog ng iyong katawan.

Hindi nito tinutukoy
Kung ipinanganak kang may tatak ng mga kulay:
Kung dapat ay bughaw ka lang
O kung dapat ay kulay rosas ka lang.
Walang sa’yo ay maaaring tumukoy

Pagkat ikaw ay isang bahaghari.

Hindi ka lang bughaw
O kulay rosas
O puti o itim.
Hindi kailanman dapat limitahan
Ng iba o ng mismong iyong tahanan
Ang kaya mong gawin.

Isa kang bahaghari.

Puwede kang maging kahit ano
O kahit sino na iyong gustuhin.
Tinatakan ka bilang bughaw,
Pero maaari kang mamuhay at gumalaw
Sa kahit anong kulay
Na gusto mong abutin.

Puwede kang maging kahit ano
O kahit sino na iyong gustuhin.
Tinatakan ka bilang kulay rosas,
Pero maaari kang mamuhay at gumalaw
Sa kahit anong kulay
Na gusto mong marating.

Ikaw ay isang bahaghari.
Huwag kang palilimita
Sa iisang kulay o dadalawa.
Maaari kang maging pula,
kahel, dilaw, o berde
Puwede kang maging bughaw,
Indigo o lila

Kung kulang pa para sa’yo
Ang pitong kulay sa harap mo,
Paghalu-haluin natin
Ang pula sa indigo
O ang berde sa kahel

Huwag kang palilimita
Dahil hindi iisa ang kulay
Na maaari mong pagpilian.
Kung pinagtatawanan ka ng mundo
Dahil hindi ka lang basta bughaw at kulay rosas,
Itaas mo lang ang iyong noo…

Dahil lahat ng bahaghari
Ay matatagpuan sa langit.

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Literary Pieces

I Am Here

Have you ever been “lost” in a labyrinthine gay bathhouse? Here’s a poetic glimpse at its nerve-wracking – yet intoxicating – appeal.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash.com

I stood there in front of that door for God knows how long. Staring at that small sign that says “Pull”, I felt my heart pounding as I fumbled for my wallet in that harshly lit alley in downtown Tokyo. I knew I shouldn’t be there, which explains the hesitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to walk away. This is a mistake; I mutter under my breath, it’s been too long-much too long.

It’s getting cold. This is ridiculous. Go in or go back to the hotel.

I reach out, and all of a sudden the door opens. Out pops an old man in a greatcoat, about 60 years old, his hat pulled down low on his brow, with flushed cheeks and brandishing a briefcase. He takes one cursory look at me as he brushes past me and starts to shuffle towards the train station down the block. I could hear a man’s voice coming from inside, gruff and clipped. I don’t speak Japanese, so I feel this sudden (though not thoroughly unfounded) jolt of guilt that I was wasting their heat since I stood there holding the door open like a frozen doorman. I quickly found myself inside.

There they stood, peering at me. These two men, one significantly older than the other, stood there and bowed. The younger of the two smiled, revealing a toothy grin. “American?”

I shook my head, no. “No, no, Filipino.”

“Ah! Filipino! Welcome, welcome.” He put out a cup of steaming barley tea and motioned me to drink. I cupped it between my hands to warm them and breathed in the nutty aroma wafting from the small ceramic cup. “Manila?” He asks. “Yes.” My voice was tightening in my throat. “How much?”. He smiles again and points to the ticket machine off to the side of the door. The machine had a laminated sign on it that says ¥2,800. He went over and took the money I fished out of my wallet and fed it to the machine. It spits out a ticket, and he hands me my locker key on those elastic bands not unlike the vintage phone cords I played with when I was younger. I slip it on my wrist, and follow him as he led me past the split curtain and into the locker room.

***

Photo by John Baker from Unsplash.com

I open my eyes. It is pitch black.

My eyes slowly start to adjust to the darkness and slowly, shapes begin to form around me. Undulating bodies, slick with sweat, they writhed under my touch. In this surreal landscape, I could feel my mind slowly melt away, along with the stress built up on the knotted muscles on my back.

I feel it, the hot breath on the back of my neck as I slowly rise from where I lay my head, rising from the warmth of some faceless chest that served as my pillow for the past half hour, as the rest of the room pulsed with lust. I felt two strong hands suddenly grip my arms as I steadied myself to stand.

“Wait. We’re not done.”

“I need to freshen up, aniki, and I need a smoke.” I watch as Touma stands up, his muscular bulk slowly rising from the floor. I feel him approach and pull me into a deep, long bear hug. “Don’t take too long. I might not find you again.” He growled into my ear. “You are mine tonight.”. I feel him stiffening against the inside my thigh, and I knew he wouldn’t last too long, with or without me. I noisily breathed in the smell of his musk, kissed his neck, and he lets me go.

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I wind my way out of the maze of corridors lined with men of all shapes and sizes, obscured by the dark. I can feel their eyes on me as I brush past them, their hands “accidentally” brushing against my body. I feel the cold draft coming from the shower area, and I close my eyes against the light that greets me as I open the door.

***

I opened up my locker and started to undress, the guy from reception looks on as I peeled off the winter gear I had on. The guy from reception steals glances at my little awkward striptease. I ask him if I need to be totally naked.

“Yes. Or underwear.”

I stop pulling down my boxers, and I start to close my locker. He says something in Japanese again, and holds up a strip of fabric. A fundoshi. Oh no. I slowly removed my boxers, and neatly folded them. I placed them inside the locker and closed it, I stood there and reached for the fundoshi, and he smiled.

“After bath.”

Of course. This is becoming more and more embarrassing as each moment passes. He hands me a small washcloth and goes back through the door to the reception area. I stood there for a moment, looking at the calligraphy scrolls that adorn the walls of the space. I slowly make my way towards the long corridor where I could hear the faint sound of water. I wonder where all the people were.

I enter one of the shower stalls and begin to wash off the stench of the city.

***

I settle down in one of the hot tubs, my washcloth folded neatly on my head. I relish the feeling of being almost lulled to sleep by the gentle rippling of the water, and the almost iridescent heat of the stone tiles on my skin.

Why do I do this to myself?

I breathe in the heady mix of steam and jasmine. I am getting much too old for this. I know. I’ve seen the looks the younger ones give me. How they see the wrinkles that have appeared almost overnight. Not that I care much. I have always been very cavalier about my appearance, even when I was younger. Partly because I have always been unhappy with how I looked. Only later was I able to think of my features as mildly attractive to others.

The door opens and he stood there, staring. I see a hint of surprise and a slight pink flush to his cheeks, and a towel in his hand. I smile slightly, completely unaware of what my face was doing. He takes it as a positive sign. He walks towards me slowly, his body well-proportioned and well put together. He had a sexy, compact and stocky build, with thick arms and calves that are covered by coarse hair. I move to make room as he steps into the tub and sits across from me.

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I took the time to study his face: Those eyes that seemed to me so full of curiosity, as if they were drinking everything in. That thick beard that came away from the sides of his face, filled with crystal droplets that dripped down to his chin and fell one by one into the tub. I could see the swirling patterns of the hair on his back and shoulders. I see him looking at me.

He can’t resist. He can’t fight it.

***

Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash.com

He stood up, the water washing down his lithe body making it gleam under the soft lights of the bath. He gracefully steps out of the tub, and I can’t help but look at him in awe. He takes a towel from a small squat table and proceeds to dry himself off. I don’t know if it was the heat, or the heavy scent of flowers that pervaded the room, or just a deep longing that I feel at the pit of my stomach, but I can’t help but watch transfixed as he seemed to move in slow-motion.

He walks back towards the tub, and he sits on the edge. His hand reaches down and runs his fingers through my beard, and traces the outline of my jaw. I smell the subtle scent of vetiver on his wrist as he does this. I feel my anxiety start to subside in my gut as this gorgeous stranger continues to trace his fingers around my face, across my brow, down my nose, and against the side of my neck where my pulse was racing. I closed my eyes in delight.

“Izumi.”

“Anton.”

I feel his hands move to the back of my neck, gently feeling the tense muscles he found there, and moving his fingertips in small circles. I don’t think he speaks English. With my luck, he probably doesn’t. But as it always happens, right now is not the time for words. I got up from the tub and step out. He got another towel from the table and began to slowly dry me off, taking his time with fascinating precision. After he dried my legs, he lets the towel drop to the floor.

There we stood.

He says nothing. Just looks at me with a perfectly still, handsome, inscrutable face. I feel his hand in mine and he silently leads me into the void.

***

I see nothing. I don’t need to.

My hearing picks up where my vision left off, and I hear the soft padding of his feet behind me as I move further into the maze. I sense the other people hiding in corners, their eyes moving faster than their bodies, as they watch him with either hunger or cold, dispassionate ambivalence. I find a little empty corner just as my eyes begin to get used to this twilight world once more. I push him against the wall and look at him.

Handsome. Within and without light.

I feel his forearms, my fingertips lightly brushing against the strands of hair, until I reach his broad shoulders. His averted and while it may first seem impossible to explain, I feel the heat of his blush. I lean in and kiss him on the lips, a number of small tentative kisses that lead to longer, deeper ones. He was hesitant at first, but he began to return the kisses, gripping my arms tight and pulling me closer to him: obliterating what little distance there was between us. He spins me around and pins my hands above my head on the wall with an audible smack that the people around us turned towards us. He’s strong, I think to myself, I fight back somewhat but he persists.

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His hands felt soft against my skin, and they burned with warmth that surprised me.

Why do I do this to myself?

My mind snaps back to here. I feel his chest under my palms as he busied himself under me. I feel the fur under my fingers like I was riding a wild beast. This emptiness inside me is lost in the thrum of excitement I feel deep in my belly: the same soft thrum that slowly sets my mind adrift, makes my body convulse, and makes me feel as if my joints have come apart like wax.

***

Photo by Rene Böhmer from Unsplash.com

I open my eyes.

“Tea?”

The guy from reception smiled as he offers me another cup of barley tea. I look over to the other end of the room where a huge guy was sitting, dozing off. I check my watch and realize that I would need to take a cab back to the hotel. I never noticed the first time I walked in, how graceful the small stone garden was, and how intricately carved the big stone lion was on the entryway. I picked at my fingernails nervously as I waited for him to come out.

He comes out of the locker room into the reception area, his hair slicked back, and dressed in a wrinkled shirt and a slim tie. He returns his locker key to the reception desk. He looks at me, and smiles.

“Izumi?”

I see the big guy get up and start gathering his things. He looks at me, and gives a slight, almost imperceptible bow and put on his coat and hat. He looks back at Izumi and motions for him to follow, saying something in Japanese before heading into the street. I look back at Izumi, and he smiles. He gives a little bow, and opens the door to follow the man outside.

I stood there for what seemed like forever. Quite unsure what to think or feel. I smell the light scent of vetiver left hanging in the air.

“How do you like?”

I like him very much.

The guy from reception grinned at me from behind the desk. I come over to return the locker key. Everything is great, I said. He puts back the key on the hook, and thanks me again, looking at me with those knowing, but soft, brown eyes. He gives a bow and asks me to come again. I put on my coat and after one last sniff of that perfume, I step out into the brisk cold of a clear winter night.

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Literary Pieces

Five foot eight

Will you date someone who doesn’t conform to the standards you set? What if – by breaking these standards – it means you find the one you’re looking for?

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Photo by Oliver Schwendener from Unsplash.com

It’s raining again today.

Much to my dismay, I see the sky outside my window. Bleak. Gray. And even with the negative illusion of my dark room that should show that one tiny window as a square of light, it’s more like a faint projection on a blank wall of a Serbian art house film.

I check the clock, it’s barely past seven in the morning, and I will myself up from the sticky, oppressive heat of my bed, which despite the best efforts of my poor, ancient, and overworked air-conditioning unit, feels more like an electric griddle set on low than the dreamy softness that grinning salesboy promised when I bought these sheets. Another day off to a rip-roaring start, to be sure.

Stumbling across my room into the small lav in what could probably be the unsexiest pair of pajamas ever known to man, I flipped a switch and heard a soft moan and a rustle in the bed I just left.

Right. Anton spent the night.

I took a piss, relishing the sound of a steady stream make contact with the toilet water, hoping it would drown out the soft sound of the rain against my window. As I relieved myself, I started to trace back my steps last night.

***

“Anton.”

“Terry.”

He smiles: “Like, ‘Wag mo akong ma-Terry Terry!

We laugh. Mental note: Please don’t do that, like ever again.

“Mike said you’d be here on time. Sorry, I was caught up in traffic.”

Not an excuse for being almost 40 minutes late, but whatever. “It’s alright, I work in the building, so I went down when I could and I figured I could read a bit while waiting.”

He plops down on the sofa directly across me. He’s totally not what our mutual friend Mike said he would be. For one he’s NOT 5’10’, more like pushing 5’8” tops. As a tall-ish guy (About 6’ tall), I do try to date people within my height range.

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“What are you reading?”

“Some stuff for work.” He makes a face.

“Really, put those away, you’re off the clock, right?”

I put my papers back in my bag. I will concede this point. “I’m sorry. You have my undivided attention.”

He takes a sip from the bottle of beer that somehow materialized in front of him at one point. “Good. I have been reading up on the Queen and her deliciously sordid relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and Kate Middleton.”

“Oh really now? And?”

“I haven’t made my mind on it as of the moment.” He continues. Looking dead straight into my eyes.

I confess, I averted my gaze.

“So how do you know Mike?”

“I knew Michelle from college, when they got married, I was dead set against it. Mike is just too short for Mich.”

It took all the strength I had in me not to laugh in his face.

“Anyway, Mike seems to have taken it upon himself to overhaul my sex life, so he offered to introduce me to you.”

I take a sip from my drink, and arched my eyebrows. “And why would he do that? Is there something particular about your sex life that needs fixing?”

He laughs and pats his belly. “I seem to have an awful knack of devouring the souls of all I come across, at least in his estimation. I work in advertising, so I guess he’s right.”

“So tread carefully is the name of the game, is it?”

“You can say that. We can also call it bad publicity and fake news.”

“You sir, are a hot mess it seems.” I raise my drink to him with a slight smirk.

“And you sir, are not in a better place, believe me.” He raises his beer and gently clinks it against my glass.

***

I take off my pajamas and step into the shower. I turn the tap and turn around to let the water run in cold rivulets down my back. I wonder what fresh hell awaits me back at the office.

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I hate Mondays. As Garfield would say, but unlike that goddamn cat, I actually have a reason to hate it. I start to lather up my hair and beard, and I work my way down. Making quick work of washing up the sticky scent of sweat, gunk, and sex. I took care to wash that nasty business back there. I never enjoyed being on the receiving end of penetrative sex: it always makes me uncomfortable the next day. Like legitimately makes me feel out of sorts: like my back is all out of alignment. If it’s a psychological thing, or an age thing, I don’t know exactly: but I keep forgetting to stretch before getting into it. And I have a theory that this hamster is trying to kill me by jackhammering me every time we meet.

***

“So, Terry: Apart from your riveting work as an auditor for one of our country’s finest banking institutions, and a possible history of homicide involving your ex-husband’s mistress, what should I know about you?”

“Very funny, something tells me, that is your favorite movie.”

“If it is, will you hate me?”

“No. I wouldn’t. But you will be judged. Though I haven’t really seen it.”

“Then I am judging you. Maricel Soriano is a national treasure.”

I snort. This conversation is absurd.

“Oh, mock me all you want. It doesn’t make you superior. Sexier, perhaps, but not superior.”

I snort again. Loudly. People from the other table look at me.

“Okay, significantly less sexy. Are you retarded?”

We both laugh.

“I must say you are turning out to be so much more vexing than Mike initially led me to believe.”

He smiles, “Well, I do try.”

***

“Room for one more?”

I turn my head and open my eyes to look at him, framed by the door.

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“Don’t be ridiculous. This shower wouldn’t fit us both. Go read a magazine or something. I’m still pondering the secrets of the universe.”

He doesn’t listen (as always), and proceeds to slowly peel off his clothes: First that ratty t-shirt, and then those boxer briefs. I stare at him, taking in the lurid little striptease. He steps into the shower and I feel the coarse brush of his chest hair against my back. His arms, thick and strong envelop me in their embrace.

“So troublesome. Must you invade my every waking moment?”

“I intend to invade every inch of you. Must you protest so vigorously every time I do?”

His hands begin to unravel each excuse, each justification. I feel the heat rising in my body for the first time today, as I felt his cock firmly press in between my thighs. I turn around, not without much difficulty, in the small space we now share, and I face him. His eyes glow like obsidian, his lips taste like cocaine.

And 5’8″ seems to be the perfect height after all.

***

“Go ahead. You can say it. Mike warned me about your height preference.”

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I made a mental note to kill Mike later.

“It’s not a requirement.”

“That’s good to hear. It would’ve been a shame, you know.”

“Why?”

“Because I only date people who are 6’ and taller. So you’re the perfect height. If we don’t hit it off, I’ll have to find some other giant to climb.”

“Given that the average height for our people are around 5’8″…”

“Ouch.”

“That implies that you don’t get to climb very often. How do I know if you can climb well enough?”

“Oh I can climb pretty well, thank you very much. You’ll just have to trust me on that.”

“Well, we’ll see.”

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Literary Pieces

My lovelife may have no direction, but my life has…

In a world obsessed with “finding the right one”, Gab Riel writes about the joys of singlehood; and about being alone but not being lonely.

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By Gab Riel

Last night I was asked over a coffee by a friend why I do not have lovelife until now. It’s been three years since we became friends and wala pa din ako kwento sa lovelife ko kundi ‘yung flings lang, like I’m not really serious. Crush ko lang and that’s it.

Masyado daw akong pa-virgin and serious looking.

I asked: Bakit nga ba?

Is it because it’s not my priority?
Is it because I do not look for it?
Is it because I’m used to being single and alone?
Is it because I am not good looking and no one dares fall in love with me?
Is it because I am too busy with something?
Is it because I prioritize my health, my family and my career?
Is it because I enjoy traveling with friends than dating?
Is it because I feel bored easily?
Is it because I’m reaching my goal of savings and investment?
Is it because I am choosy?
Is it because I have high standards (Wow bes!)?
Is it because I am waiting for someone else?
Or is it because I am afraid to fall in love? Again?

Too many questions but all of the above are valid questions and mostly true.
I am just a 25 year old who doesn’t want to settle at early age. I am free and careless.

Sometimes I am jealous of other people with partners, yes, but that goes away in a matter of day. Sometimes I wish I have a partner today, but the next day I would be thankful again I never had.

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My lovelife has no direction, but my life has.

May mga tao na hindi nagagawa ang mga bagay na nagagawa mo because they are confined with the idea na lovelife is sapat na.

Pero life is not about lovelife, it is how you enjoy it.

Ganun talaga, may mga bagay na hindi para sayo dahil ginusto mo.

Sabi nga ng iba, di baleng walang lovelife; ang mahalaga nadidiligan.

Antay lang. Dont rush things.
Malay ko kung at the age of 30 doon pa lang darating.
May five years pa para mag-enjoy alone.

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Literary Pieces

Over a bottle of rosé…

Patrick King Pascual writes about finding love and then losing it – via the experience of Peter and Richard.

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IMAGE FROM PIXABAY.COM

(While Yumeji’s Theme was playing)

His heart was pounding hard when he opened the door. He was greeted with a smile. He never thought that moment would come.

It was half past one in the morning and it was a Sunday.

They went inside his house and stayed in the balcony.

It was the first week of September.

His name is Peter. His friends knew him as a devoted and passionate person.

He was very excited and nervous. Every time their eyes would meet, he would respond to it with a smile.

Richard, on the other hand, is known to be caring and sweet in his own ways.

They shared stories, laughed at each other’s jokes, and flirted in between. He wanted to hold his hand, feel his skin closer to him – but every time he moves closer, a creeping feeling takes over.

Around three in the morning, they decided to end the night.

As they walked out of his house, Richard following very close behind him, he stopped. “Am I going to see you again?” Peter asked. Richard stepped closer to him and answered, “Why not?”

His heart was pounding hard again. He turned and faced him, and gave him a smile. They were just staring at each other. For a moment, it seemed like a scene lifted from a movie.

Peter’s face moved closer to Richard. Their lips met. Without saying a word or moving a muscle, they kissed. It was a slow kiss. It was a long and passionate.

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He removed Richard’s glasses. Maybe, to better see his face. Then, they kissed again.

They first met when Peter attended a gathering with his old friends. He was running late and had to leave to early. He felt a bit uncomfortable when he arrived. A few minutes passed, he asked if anyone from the group smokes. Richard, who was with one of his fiends, responded, “I do.”

They went out of the café. He introduced himself to Richard as he puffed on his cigarette. Their initial meeting was brief, but he knew he wanted to know him more. After two sticks and uncomfortable stares from his friends, he asked for his number. They went back inside. After a quick group photo, he left.

Present time. The following evening came. Peter messaged Richard. He can still feel his kiss. It was a memorable one, he said.

Richard arrived at his place half past 12 in the morning.

They went straight to his room and picked up where they left off.

The kiss was longer than the previous night. It felt like it was more passionate, has more meaning, Peter recalled.

They went all the way. They both wanted it to happen. It was intense.

“We might get used to this,” Richard whispered. Peter responded with a kiss.

For a moment, they were just staring at each other, still in bed and naked. He wanted to capture all the details of his face in his mind.

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The night ended with Peter giving Richard a tight hug. Richard leaned forward and gave him a kiss.

Peter waited for Richard for five years.

Ever since Richard moved to New Jersey, they consistently exchanged Skype and Viber messages. They, sort of, continued where they left off when they first met.

On Wednesday, Peter went to his house. He gave him a small cake. Maybe it was just an excuse to see him.

Then on Thursday, Edward went to Peter’s house. They stayed in the balcony again. Peter opened a bottle of rosé and a small pack of truffle cheese.

The Script was playing on his phone. He was surprised that the he also knew the words. After a sip and a slice, he noticed they were unconsciously singing together.

And then the strings of Yumeji’s Theme started. Peter walked towards Richard. He took his hand and pulled him closer to his body. Slowly they danced together.

Everything was in slow motion. The music seemed endless. He held his body tighter and laid his head on his chest. It was euphoric.

It was a poignant moment for Peter. He was not sure if Richard felt the same. But he knew what happened was not a knee-jerk reaction.

Richard was scheduled to go back to New Jersey the following week. It was a bittersweet moment for him. He missed his family and friends in Manila, but he needed to go back to fix his citizenship application.

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They had not seen each other for several days. Richard and his family went to Davao. But they continued to message each other.

When Richard got back, he stayed home because he felt sickly. Probably he was too tired after the trip.

They were supposed to meet the following night, Richard’s last night in Manila. But Richard’s friends surprised him with a party.

Peter did not reply to his messages.

The following morning, hours before Richard’s flight, Peter received a message.

“I’m on my way to the airport now.”

Peter replied: “Take care.” Then he sent another message, “I’m annoyed because we did not get to see each other before you leave.”

“I guess, I’m not sure, it is better that way. At least we won’t be thinking too much,” Richard answered back.

He was mad. He was sad. He was pissed off.

Richard has been in a relationship with his partner for three years now. Peter is also in a serious relationship with his longtime partner.

Maybe, what happened, they just picked up where they left off when they first met.

“Take care all the time. And always smile,” Richard messaged Peter.

Peter replied, “Yakap :(“

Theirs is not (yet) a love story. At least not the type you were hoping it to be.

But it was something real.

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Editor's Picks

Kahel at Bughaw

Jerome Cleofas contributes a literary piece that tells the love/life story of a gay man and his straight best friend. Here is also the link of the recording of the song, “Kahel at Bughaw”.

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Music and Lyrics by Jerome Cleofas

Ang taglay niyang kulay ay bughaw
At sa kakisigan niya ako’y napukaw
Ako nama’y kahel na marikit, isang baluktot na yagit
Na hindi maituwid kahit ano’ng ipilit
 
Musmos pa lang nang kami’y magkalaro
At sa mga kalaba’y ‘di sumuko
At kahit na ako’y sinasaktan, dahil ‘di pangkaraniwan
Sabi ni bughaw ako ay kaibigan, at siya ang aking pananggalang
 
At mula noo’y ibinigay ang puso ko
Sa isang pangarap na hindi magkakatotoo
Dahil ako’y isang kahel na ligaw
Na umiibig sa isang bughaw
 
At noong kami’y magbinata
Sa aki’y meron siyang pinakilala
Isang babaeng marikit, na maganda at mabait
Kaya si bughaw kay pula naakit
 
At sa altar siya’y naghintay
Sa babaeng aalayan niya ng buhay
Ako nama’y naro’n lang sa tabi, nakangiti kahit masakit
Ngunit ang makita siya na maligaya, ay sapat na upang ako ay sumaya
 
Dahil sa kanya pa rin tumitibok ang puso ko
Siya ang tanging pangarap kong hindi nagkatotoo
Ngayon ako’y isang kahel na uhaw
Na umiibig sa isang bughaw
 
At ang mga tao’y lumipas na
Siya ay nagkapamilya at ako’y tumandang mag-isa
 
Sa huling hibla ng aking buhay
Si bughaw sa aki’y naka akay
Sabi niya kahel kong marikit, sa palad mo nakaguhit
Ang pangakong ako ang ‘yong kaibigan, nandito lang ako kailan pa man
 
At hindi ko man ibinigay ang puso ko
Sabay naman nating tinupad ang mga pangarap mo
Salamat kahel at hindi ka bumitaw
Salamat, nagmamahal, bughaw

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Literary Pieces

Living the story of ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’

Watching ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’, Gee Cruz said it is like watching her life unfold. “We met extremely late. She is already married. This is a fact that we have to endure. For three months we are free to fly into each other’s arms, and then her rightful husband returns and stays for one month,” she says. “To subject ourselves in uncertainty, to sacrifice, to be invisible, to be silent, to look at each other from both ends of the table – to show love without saying it is the only way we know how to.”

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It is as if I am watching parts of my life unfold in front of me every night whenever I tune in to a local channel showing a series about lesbian love. I cannot remember the last time I have been so eager to go home after work just to watch a local TV series until they started showing The Rich Man’s Daughter. I would finish dinner in 10 minutes, take a quick shower, head to my room and dial a number until the person on the end of the line says “hello.”

We met online last year. After a few months she decided to visit Manila so we could finally see each other in person. After our very oriental dinner, we went out on another date before flying back to her hometown. That same night, we decided to be a couple.

I had a disclaimer. She knew from the very beginning how my other relationships started and ended (and this is something I am not very proud of). I made her understand what she is getting herself into, and all she said was very clear, “let me love you.” Simple as that.

Life would have been a lot easier if things were that simple. Nothing is. Both of us are closeted lesbians. She is from a Chinese family, and I am keeping my true sexual orientation because I know how dismayed my family would be. Although we are a very discreet couple, we have plenty of lesbian and gay friends who know about us. We feel the need to be with them on a regular basis because it is when we are with them when we can be a couple – when we could introduce ourselves as girlfriends and not us friends.

READ:  The edge of patience

The distance between us engages us in a long distance relationship. We still feel fortunate that only islands and regions separate us, and not continents and time zones. Still, we face challenges such as compromising our wake up times to be able to talk to each other before going to work and before we sleep. Facetime dates are reserved for special occasions, e.g. birthdays, Christmas, New Year, while a beach trip, et cetera. Video calls provide the sense of togetherness whenever we want to watch the sunset.

Unlike other couples who spend their money on weekly dates, we spend ours on plane tickets and hotels for our trysts. These are activities we look forward to every month because the feeling of sleeping beside each other gives us the most serene and comforting sleep. For us, airports mean two things: arrivals and departures, hellos and see you laters.

We met extremely late. She is already married. This is a fact that we have to endure. It is an open secret. Something that our friends know, but never talk about. Maybe nobody is brave enough to ask about it. For three months we are free to fly into each other’s arms, and then her rightful husband returns and stays for one month. Our communications lessened, making it even harder to endure our already complicated status. She married not because of any romantic connection. She married because it was a request from her elders.

READ:  Saudade by G

There are times when I would agree to have dinner with them, husband and wife, thinking if it goes on a regular basis, I would get used to the stabbing pain until I get numb. One day it will just be us. There will come a time when we will sit on a dining table and we do not have to hold hands under.

She told me to let her love me. I said: “I don’t know how to love like how others would love.” She said that it is enough to let her love me. To subject ourselves in uncertainty, to sacrifice, to be invisible, to be silent, to look at each other from both ends of the table – to show love without saying it is the only way we know how to.

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