Thursday, September 27, 2007


Five days after I banged my forehead on a glass wall at the company party, I could still feel it slightly swollen. I was way too drunk to recognize who laughed at my booboo. I didn’t care, really. If it had happened to any of them, I would’ve guffawed more boisterously. All I knew was that I hit the damned glass wall too hard because when I turned, all of them were looking at me. And possibly laughing, too. I wasn’t sure. At any rate, it was a swell party that left my forehead swollen. Funny, but that’s exactly the image that flashes in my mind when I think about that party: swollen.

It started docilely like a prayer meeting as people arrived dressed in black, white, or both at the hall decorated with black and white balloons. Obviously, it’s a black and white party. But I love stating the obvious, so there. The chandeliers were deliberately not turned on. Only tiny downlights provided soft, sleepy incandescent glow to the whole place, which, at that time, seemed more like a fund-raising event in the country club of botoxed matrons. Anyone can look like a botox image model without booze. At that time, wine wasn’t overflowing yet, it was merely trickling, droplet after seductive droplet.

A chocolate fondue fountain was flowing by the entrance, which was flanked by two buffet tables laden with miso soup, sushi, sashimi, tempura, and some other Japanese mutations, blueberry cheesecake, some really tasty noodle thingie, and fish, I think, and some shit, hell, you can’t expect me to remember what the heck they served there. I puked them all out five hours later in the restroom at Starbucks, after having asked for directions from four unbelievably sober officemates at the other table, who, seeing that I was as bloated with booze as a lactating cow’s udder (wouldn’t it be nice if udders squirted tequila instead of milk?), coaxed me to speak French. The American goaded me to speak Tagalog. Freak show mode. But I digress. Where was I, oh yes, the party. At dinner, my wine glass magically filled itself up every time I emptied it. I made a mental note to remember who catered this party. If ever I would throw a party, I want my guests to do the backstroke in a pool of wine. Later on, somebody from HR passed around vodka in a funky bottle that looked like a dildo. I just gulped whatever was handed to me and continued to dance like a hippopotamus with a bad case of hernia. Did I mention I had colleagues who are part of bands that have regular gigs? There, now I did. So there, I danced, hernia and all, and I only have a vague recollection of who exactly I danced with. All I remember is that they were either in black or white. I dragged one of them up the stage where we danced some more, and yeah, there were cameras all around. I whored for the cam whenever I saw one. I borrowed a white, feathery halo from one of the organizers and wore it the whole night. Horns would’ve looked better on me but I don’t want to be a walking cliché. When everybody else was losing all their inhibitions, I decided to keep mine intact and pretended that I was holy. One wore a stuffed panda on her arm, one wore a white wig, and the big boss had a huge Afro. And I mean nest-of-a-fucking-ostrich huge! By this time, I had no idea what songs were being sung by the performers. All I knew was that I was dancing and camera-whoring. I grabbed the camera from a friend, went up the stage, and photographed the singer’s bare foot. I don’t know what else I took photos of. For a while I felt the place was bobbing up and down. That was the time when I was jumping. Or was I? Maybe everybody else was, except me. I gulped some more wine and downed the fresh glass of vodka given to me. Yup, the place was really moving. This was the swollen part of the event, I guess. From there on, it was pretty much downhill. Some people were already leaving to continue the party at some club. I caught the managers line-dancing onstage. I was too wasted to notice the other wasted people around. I hugged some coworkers goodbye and headed out to Starbucks to puke. At the coffeeshop, I was the only one who was that drunk so I shut up and dozed off as they took pictures of me, which are now plastered all over the Net. At some point, I remember having said that I would never drink wine again, ever! But of course, we say stupid, nonsensical things when we’re drunk. And that’s my standard line whenever I feel like puking. At least, I’ve learned my lesson. And I’ve learned it hard. Glass doors and alcohol don’t mix.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 20, 2007


When strangers meet, they don’t normally talk about forever. The most they will do is go over the perfunctory hellos and how-do-you-dos with as much emotion as ritualized introductions allow. They don’t have an inkling that, later on, they will stain the sheets with sweat, saliva, and other fluids of passion, and by the time it happens, they will have tied more knots than they could ever hope to untie in one lifetime.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

guava tree

You won’t find me sitting on a tree branch and drinking in the breeze, soft against my skin. Those days are long past. Too far removed from what I have become. Like the last time I climbed down the guava tree in our backyard, never to climb it up again, not so much because I outgrew the tree as because the tree grew weary of my presence. You know too much for your own good, it said. Innocence is the prerequisite of childhood fantasy. And I was losing that, inch by inch. Was it not the point of education? To erode innocence and replace it with doubt? Or did I equate innocence with ignorance and antagonized the two?

To put me to sleep, my grandmother used to sing an ancient folk tune that spoke of a huge moon and a woman yearning for her lover, while I thought about my playmates who were out in the sun, playing backyard football. My grandmother noticed that I wasn’t in the mood for a siesta. With a slap on my behind, she sent me off, murmuring some cusswords which I had yet to learn and enunciate properly. I felt guilty then. I wasted her time and her saliva. It was not easy to sing songs like that. And it was easy to feel guilty back then, when days were long and afternoons lazed around shamelessly.

It was so much fun to be a kid again and be capable of just one emotion at a time. Cry when you’re pissed. Jump when you’re happy. Hit the idiot next door when you’re mad. But everything is ambiguous now. Nothing is classifiable. No definitive answer to anything. Which is what I have always wanted, really. When my diffidence as a child was replaced by assertiveness as an adult, something slipped away so stealthily I hardly noticed it. Or had it been there in the first place? Much of the boy still lingered within, perhaps nursed by my artistic proclivities. It only came out when I felt like climbing the guava tree again, which had long been cut. On its site yawns an ugly hole on the ground which should have been the foundation of a new house my family wanted to construct there.

If I were a poet, I would’ve waxed poetic about all these and romanticized even the guavas that dangled in that tree. But I am not. And there is not much to sugar coat anyway. Childhood memories are intrinsically sweet, until reality grows like an incurable pimple and nothing is the same again. Beliefs get flushed down the toilet, emotions become more complex, songs no longer speak about a huge moon and a yearning woman but of an evil sun that whips the ground until it breaks and gushes forth black mud, thick and ugly like a child’s rhyme swelling epical with a convoluted plot and twisted characters, each desiring to bring down the other in a mad rush to get to the top and to feel some semblance of an emotion, like that feeling that one gets while one sits on a tree branch, feet dangling, face upturned—drinking the breeze that is soft against one’s young skin. But that tree exists only in one's memory.