There have been sweet hellos in recent months. But there are also some farewells.
Earlier we had a farewell dinner for Er (girl next to me in the photo), who has been working across the corridor as part of the business news channel. She’s moving to Canada with her husband. I remember meeting them when they were still girlfriend and boyfriend. Her husband and my ex share the same name. “Your Neil or my Neil?”
Meanwhile both Ly and Lo (that’s LyLo!) have big things going on in their own lives recently. I mean look at us… it’s the middle of 2018 (I’ve known them for four years) and our topic earlier was tax clearance, banking, marriage, and migration. We’re headed in the direction of Titas of Manila. Only thing missing would be happy hour Prosecco.
Er, I wish you and your husband a wonderful new chapter in Toronto. ❤
It took plenty of energy to be inside the same room as him again.
While the rest were crunching numbers, explaining terms, and allocating budgets… I couldn’t help but feel a wave of sadness. As if all the encounters I’ve had in recent months with both strangers and acquaintances faded into the gray and I’m swallowed up once more. I’m moving on but it’s not easy. It’s not easy. It’s not easy.
The way his hair was brushed back. Those eyes. The way his shirt wraps around his lovely shoulders. I used to rest my weary head on those shoulders. And of course, his laughter which can light a whole room. Familiar, warm, and cold. I probably finished half the bottle of white wine on the table.
I step outside for a breath of fresh air.
Parking lot. The only movement were cars on the main road and the smoke coming from my cigarette. The dead silence. The deafening mood. I wanted to scream a thousand scenes.
To which was broken by voices and besos. Some of our faces lit by Grab.
He’s on a bicycle heading off. I’m in a taxi and it’s heading further, further away.
A whirlwind of a month (June 2018). Concluding it with something I’m proud of. I put myself in a room filled with many gay men. I’m not talking about a sauna. I’m talking about volunteering for a local organization that helps fight the stigma against HIV/AIDS.
Here’s our group shot from last Saturday at our induction.
Rushed to Changi Airport earlier to catch VN 654 to Ho Chi Minh City!
It’s the first time I got to use Terminal 4 (and not just visit it for a tour…)
It’s also the first time I flew on Vietnam Airlines.
My family flies in tomorrow morning from Manila. This is the first time I booked the family at a hostel. We’ve done hotels in Bangkok and Singapore. Serviced Residences in Kuala Lumpur. So HCMC will be a hostel. But we have our own “family room”.
It’s similar to the one I had right before I started college in 2002. I was entering a very lush, green campus. It’s the butterflies you get on your first day. But that’s the same day that I met my friend UP. It was the first day of the most beautiful four years of university. I would fall in love with a boy for the first time. I would come to terms with my sexuality. I would live in a dormitory and learn to sleep away from my home. I would learn how to speak Tagalog.
It’s 2006. I was unsure if I would get a job working at ABS-CBN News Channel where I had my internship the Christmas prior. I wouldn’t easily forget the scent of the halls of the ABS-CBN’s main building. Or it’s eerie silence past midnight (knowing how very much it comes to life during TV Patrol). While waiting for my first job offer, I remember driving around Cavite with my best friend TO. Eventually, I landed my first job and it was for Studio 23. The next six years were beautiful. I met my first (and only) boyfriend to date. I learned how to survive in Metro Manila. I remember Christmas after Christmas.
It’s 2012. I’m hugging my mom at NAIA on a warm summer day. She’s accepted and supported my dream of leaving the Philippines to work in Singapore. It’s a beautiful day when my Cebu Pacific flight lands. My then-boyfriend picks me up at the Changi Airport budget terminal (having arrived a day prior). The city felt huge. Massive. Green. Ready to be explored. My heart was racing. We lived in a backpackers’ hostel in Lavender. Those first few innocent days of Tori-Q and Old Chang Kee. I repeat that story so many times to friends who ask me how I started in Singapore. It was the beginning of life living in a foreign city.
Now, it’s 2018.
I don’t have a boyfriend to lean on if I want to cry after a terrible day has gone by. I’ve lost my drive doing the most repetitive tasks. I feel anxious and worried. But I’m beginning to dream again for that next beautiful change.
I don’t know where I’m going. I just know I have to go somewhere. I have to keep going. I cannot stop. Money can be spent and exhausted. But it can be earned back. Not like time. When time is spent, it’s over. You don’t get that back.