We were rushing.
Dinner was good, but – looking outside of the restaurant – we could see the queue starting to form in front of Music Museum, where we were to watch New Voice Company’s production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.
And so we had to hurry.
As we walked past the row of restaurants, it was then that I saw him.
This person I know.
He was drinking with his friends on one of the tables outside this resto chain.
I saw him looking at us as we were walking.
And then, when he saw me see him, he… panicked.
You know that look when you are looking at someone, and then he/she catches you staring at him/her, and you look away so fast, the fact that you were staring was just made more apparent? Well, he was giving us that look.
But he did not only avoid my stare.
He actually immediately stood up, and then – leaving his friends – went inside the resto.
I felt… annoyed.
At least for a while.
Did he find us – gay people – so revolting he had to hide?
Unfortunately – for him – my phone rang, so we had to stop walking near the table where he left his friends, just so I can answer the phone.
While chatting on the phone, that’s when I saw him inside the resto, standing by the door, peeking to see if I was still there or not anymore.
And then he saw me again see him as he was peeking.
Yet again, he panicked.
And then he hid again, behind one of the waiters standing at the doorway.
After the phone call, as we were walking away, I saw him finally step out of the resto.
He was throwing glances my way.
As if making sure I won’t head back his way.
That’s when I felt sad.
This guy self-identified as straight.
I first met him in this Amazing Race-like competition.
We belonged in the same team; for that matter, in our team, we were the two most competitive members.
We solved puzzles to get clues.
We peeled coconuts without using bolo.
We swam to get flags placed in the middle of the sea.
We snorkeled to look for hidden prizes.
We crossed lubid (rope) bridges.
And by the time we kayaked, we were somewhat sure we topped the other teams.
And which we did.
We won. Big time.
Some of the other participants (particularly girls who liked him) asked me if he is, like me, gay.
He is borta (muscular), guwapo (good-looking), somewhat timid.
Stereotyped qualities of the (Western) gay man.
But I said that question is judgmental.
More importantly, that question is not for me to answer.
It is for him to answer – at least if he chooses to.
Because I respected him as a human being.
And then that incident happened.
Any other time I would have wondered if his reason for hiding had to do with his uncertainty about his sexual orientation.
Or I would have wondered about the shame he may have thought he’d have if his friends saw him even acknowledge gay people.
With his immaturity uncovered, bigotry reared its head.
And I just pity him.