When Loperamides Are Hard To Come By

If you’ve experienced sweaty palms, goosebumps, chills, and a churning stomach all at the same time then chances are, you’ve tried holding your bowels while in a public place.

Come on, there’s no shame in admitting it. True, the memory of controlling Number 2 is something you’d very much bury in the deep recesses of your mind but it happens to everyone. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will. The experience will start with a minor urge to poop but will remain bearable, depending on what you’ve had for lunch. It’ll then progress to a throbbing pain in the stomach and a pressure somewhere in your body which you’re certain has nothing to do with tension headache. The throbbing will come and go (like labor pains), but there’ll come a point when the contractions are too closely-spaced. This is the dangerous part for here you run the risk of accidentally unleashing all that you are and all that you have. The pain is persistent and this time it’s coupled with heavy perspiration. Oddly enough, you don’t feel warm. Quite the opposite, you actually feel cold despite the turtle-necked shirt and corduroy jacket you’re wearing. If it weren’t for the long sleeves, your friends would’ve seen raised tiny hairs all over your arms. Speaking of friends, you’re currently not speaking to them as the slightest tap on the shoulder provokes you into having a major hyper-conniption fit. You’re not sure if they can hear the agitation building up within your stomach walls. You desperately want to fart, if only for a brief release from this sheer torture, but you can’t as you fear that you might not just emit gas but give birth to its “brown-haired twin” also. So you wait. Until something warm trickles down your pants and everyone in the room turns to stare at you: the person who just turned himself into a living embarrassment as well as a human pudding dispenser.

Or you could be lucky and find an empty restroom just in the nick of time. Slamming through one of the cubicles, you sit down on the throne almost praising a Higher Being as you grunt, squirt, and push your way through relief. Your legs fold and you occasionally grab/scratch on the walls while you simultaneously drop the bomb and regret the pasta carbonara which you washed down with milk earlier. Mom always taught you to share and right this moment, you wish you had. Suddenly, you hear footsteps. Oh crap, someone else is inside the comfort room and is patiently waiting outside the cubicle you’re using. Not even close to being done, you feign vomiting to indicate that you’re not leaving anytime soon. Mercifully, he/she takes the hint and hies off to the water closet on the next floor, leaving you to finish your job.

Finally, it’s all over. Reaching behind for the flush, you press it, only to realize that it’s broken. Oh well, you’re just going to have to leave a souvenir behind. Unfortunately, the bidet doesn’t work as well, nor is there any dipper in sight so you’ll have to make do with tissue knowing it’s gonna leave a skid mark on your undies and you ass will alternately itch and hurt like hell for the rest of the day.

As you open the door, another person enters the room and in that instant you apprehend the reality that you can’t deny to him/her that you were the most recent occupant of the defiled stall. So what do you do? The most natural thing, of course. Scrunching your face, you hurry past the ill-fated individual while muttering, “Ay grabe wag ka dito, ang dumi ng banyo. Tignan mo may nag-iwan pa dun sa cubicle!

It’s a universal truth. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Stamp of Approval

“Look Ma! My teacher gave me a star!” I remember running down the bus to show my mother my hand. I got the star for finishing a drawing early and I brandished it to everyone in sight. Beaming, I accepted the praises from both Ma and Mommy (my grandma) while I dodged my uncle’s jesting that I must’ve helped myself to Ms. Rieza’a stamp pad when she wasn’t looking. As the day wore on, the star faded and just before I turned in for my afternoon nap, I knew without a doubt that the ink will not withstand Mommy’s scrubbing later at bath time. Still, I was proud of that star.

It’s funny seeing not much has changed since then. We may act like complete grown-ups but underneath the worldly, sophisticated demeanor is an inner child still craving for approval. I know of people who are already in their late thirties but they still wish they’d get Mummy and Daddy’s favor. Pathetic, you say? Well how about that time you laughed with everybody else at a joke you didn’t get just so your friends will think you’re as quick-witted as they are? Or that time you splashed yourself with ridiculously-expensive cologne so your girlfriend will keep saying “Hmm… Hon, you smell really good.” And who can forget those instances when we’d change our writing style or even our opinions just so the professor will grant you that holy UNO. Admit it, you know at least one or two people (or maybe you do this yourself) who hang their medals on the wall of the living room not just because they’re proud of their achievements but also because they want constant validation. Never mind that the award was for “Most Helpful Student” and given several eons ago. We may not be as crazy about being stamped with a star or having our notebooks signed with a V.G. as we did back in kindergarten but the constant need to prove ourselves is still there. Maybe this time, the stars have been replaced with an elite group of peers who have VIP passes to a Tim Yap club, 250 likes on a photo, a flashy car, a high salary, or a bombshell girlfriend. It’s the inner kid’s way of saying “Lookie what I got here!” No matter how hard you try to curb him/her, he/she manages to peep every once in a while.

I guess some things just never change.

Coffee and Ink

The tall plastic cup of mocha frap was making rings on the wooden table. He shivered a little but took a sip of the cold coffee anyway. One of these days, he will be brave enough to order hot coffee, he just did not know hot to say it unlike his adventurous and well-off friends – the ones who could afford the Php 180.00 cup of hot latte with two Splenda and extra shot of espresso which he almost always considered highway robbery.  Today was not the day to be adventurous or act well-off. He only had the energy to be brave today and so he ordered his usual (or at least the coffee he ordered every other payday) and plunked down on one of the oversized chairs

If someone from the busy café would look up from whatever it was he or she was reading, that person would see Miguel as the image he had always wished to portray: an artist on the cusp of making a literary breakthrough. One would think he was a writer hell-bent on creating a piece that would evoke the deepest emotions and catapult him to the highest success. The first part was true, he is an aspiring writer, but right now all the emotions he is capable of drawing forth are the ones voluntarily spilling from him.

It was the last time, he knew it. Things have always been ugly for him and Gary but last night was one of the worst.  Slightly tipsy from their night of partying, Gary put his arms around him and started nuzzling his neck and nibbling his earlobe, the way he usually did when he wanted the night to end on a high note with Miguel on his stomach, and him collapsed on top of his partner; but Miguel was not in the mood. He saw Gary flirting with one of the guests at the dinner party his sister hosted for Gary’s promotion. He could not bring it up because he knew Gary was just going to deny it; or worse, he would actually believe Gary when he would tell Miguel he was crazy and was just overthinking things. He hated it when Gary brushed off his worries, he hated it when Gary laughed at his concerns and would say to him he was the only one who mattered to him despite his past, despite his former lovers. He hated how Gary was so handsome that women could not help but flock to him even though it was so obvious that he is gay and his past relationships with women were nothing more than attempts to find out his true sexual identity. He hated how Gary was so open with everything that he was able to fish stories about his exes within months of being together.  He hated himself for looking at the Facebook page of each of these ex boyfriends/girlfriends and trying to find out anything that could be wrong with them. She was too homely. He was too flamboyant. Her features were too sharp. He sounded stupid in his Description. He hated himself, but he hated Gary too because Gary had a past, which in turn gave Gary more personality. Gary had a stable job. Gary brought in more. Gary stayed out later, because he was more busy with his job and this was like Gary slapping Miguel on the face with the truth that he was nothing more but an ambitious writer, not even capable of writing a decent break-up letter.

“I’m leaving you,” the scribble on the paper read, “because you have no respect for what I do or for what I dream about becoming.  You don’t listen when I pitch my ideas, you can’t be excited for me except when you want me on your knees. You finish too early when we are having sex. You never take me out on dates anymore, maybe because you think it is enough you already paid for the tuition fee for my MA.  There’s no longer romance, no spontaneity. I’m leaving you because it will only be a matter of time before you realize you want to be with another person. ”

His heart was beating a little faster, he did not know if it was because of the blatant manner in which he wrote the letter or because he tried to finish his frap. The frap that costs as much as the daily allowance Gary gave him. Perhaps that was it, his heart was beating fast because he did not know where he was going to find money to get to and from school when his measly salary would run out. That is what he always loved about Gary, he did not think twice about sharing his money. But it meant cutting back on the affection.

Taking one last gulp, he scanned the letter for any grammatical errors or misspelled words. Satisfied there was none, he retrieved his mobile phone from his pocket to call his best friend and ask her for help in moving out from the apartment he shared with Miguel, rather, the apartment Gary paid for but was mostly used by Miguel since Gary was often in Cebu, sweet-talking the clients into putting up another franchise. It would take at least two days before Gary would realize he was gone for good. Miguel imagined the look of confusion on Gary’s face when he would notice the shoe rack was free again. Miguel found himself liking this mental picture.

Anita answered and her knowing sigh brought Miguel out of his reverie. He could almost see her rolling her eyes on the other end of the line.  He told her this would be the last and he was not going to sleep over at Gary’s after a few days and eventually move back in after two weeks.  They hung up and Miguel felt a sour taste in his mouth from both the coffee and what he was about to do. Gathering his things, he heard his phone beep and saw that it was Gary “Baby, where are you? I’m in Ayala right now. Let’s have lunch?”

Miguel continued gathering his things and stepped out of the coffee shop, but not before crumpling the paper and leaving it on the table.

Fortune Is A Woman, Fortune Is A Bitch

Fortune is a woman, she favors the lion-hearted. No time for weak men, she bestows her blessings on the fighters. She is difficult to attract. She isn’t easily convinced by any man. You have to prove to her that you’re worthy. Sometimes, no amount of effort will do. She’ll just keep on ignoring you, refusing to see your hard work and heartaches. There are different ways to woo her, but there’s no saying which method is the most effective. Sometimes, it just takes a little nudge; other times it takes blood, sweat and tears. Once you have her, though, you’ll see that the suffering was well worth it. She’ll give you joy, satisfaction. Your heart’s deepest desires are finally satiated.

Her perfume is intoxicating, filling you with so much vigor that you feel you can take on anything. Ah, yes, you’re consumed with that sense of greatness she allowed you to believe you possessed. Spinning, spinning, spinning on top of the world, you demand everyone to take notice of you and the woman who made it possible. But just as they turn their eyes on you, you realize you’re the only one standing there. Slowly making your descent, you struggle to recall the exact minute you were left alone. Those thoughts are quickly dashed as your slow descent graduates into a quick fall from grace. Battered and bruised, you desperately look around, hoping she’ll be there.

She isn’t. You begin asking yourself why. What could you have possibly done to make her abandon you? Was it your pompousness? Didn’t you give her the attention she deserved? Or was it just because it was never meant to be?

None of the above. She was just too fickle to stay with you. As you slowly rebuild your life and as the wounds heal, you start to look for her again vowing to make it good this time and never let her go. But all this is futile because she refuses to notice you. Last you heard, she was already with a stronger, braver, more virile man.

Maybe in a few years’ time you’ll be better than that other man. Maybe you will get back together and she will bestow on you favors again, the way she once did. Then again, maybe not. Maybe no matter how strong and courageous and virile you’ll get, she still won’t give you the time of day. After all, you had your chance with her, and you blew it.

Maybe she’s still with that other man by that time. Or maybe, she disposed of that other man already and moved on to even greater men. And you… you’re left in the sidelines only with vague memories of a distant past which you will never have again all because she won’t have you anymore.

Fortune is a bitch.

Note: This appeared in The Spires, literary folio of San Beda College. 

Disclaimer: This is not a rant against anyone, it is merely a piece on fortune inspired by the philosophy of Niccolo Machiavelli as reflected upon by Hannah Pitkin.

Monster

Symmetry. That’s what makes a thing one of beauty. Harmony in lines, features, even in imperfections. Paradoxical? Perhaps. Yet it is recognized. And appreciated. Freckles showered across opaque whiteness, a mole to accentuate a well-curved mouth, a curl to break the monotony of needle-straight hair… A flaw to balance out a good point if you may.

A flaw. And then two. And then some more. The beauty is destroyed. What remains is an abomination. An atrociousness that is beyond repair. Sweetness covering up the lies, imposition masked as cordiality. Selfishness. Pure, unadulterated selfishness rising like bile from your insides, all the way up to your throat, coming out of your mouth, your ears, your pores. Drowning every little aspect that once fooled people into loving you. Submerged in the murky water are all your pretenses, all the untruths that spewed forth from your treacherous mouth.

And the world sees you for who you really are: A puny shadow of a person, naked without the put-on glory, the self-proclaimed adjectives, the pre-packaged identity.

And what of beauty? It was all an illusion, like the thick make-up you wore, the fake charms you made us believe you possessed. It is not gone for it was never there.

You were never beautiful for you were never truthful.

Muse

The night is balmy yet I shiver. I shiver in anticipation of what is to come. It is murder, planned in cold blood to rid me of the innocence that has for so long surrounded and plagued me. It is gruesome death yet I will smile through the entire process. Yes, there will be death tonight, but in many ways, I will also be reborn.

Then again I have been dying little by little the past few days. It is a fate I have brought upon myself ever since I agreed to your visitation. Ah, yes, your visitations which will rival the visions people have of any saint. You are like a vision yourself, with your coquettish smile and taunting ways. I am enthralled by your vision, even more so by what I feel when I touch you, on those times you actually let me touch you. Your smooth, alabaster skin speaks of purity yet I know you are hardly chaste. You are worldlier than all the Biblical harlots combined but I still worship your body, your essence. As my fingers run down your smooth skin, I can hardly contain my excitement.  I tug at your clothes, hesitating, hardly believing you are allowing me to do this. I kiss your neck and breathe in your fragrance mingled with a hint of sweat; I want more. I fight the resistance to rip off the garments covering your body because I know my enthusiasm will never be equal to your power. You will consume me, I am aware of that, so I continue taking in your body little by little, loving you inch by inch.

I am heady with exhilaration; I know we have barely begun. You have a lot more to show me and I remain steadfast in my prayer to endure what will happen next. You sigh a little and I look up, expecting to see you with your eyes half-open, but they are wide and are pointedly staring at me. I take it as an invitation to be bolder. Cupping your breast, I marvel at how it has remained firm even after nursing ten children. Suddenly, I am envious of your offsprings. They have satisfied their hunger with the milk that comes from you, and I want to experience what they have experienced. I hungrily suck on a teat, but I am not content. If anything, I am more famished now than I was before. I want you, all of you, but I know I cannot have you fully. I can only have what you decide to give to me.

My mouth reaches yours, and greedily I drink in your beauty. I will never have enough of you, you know that. Forgive me if my tight hold is bruising your arms. I can no longer control myself. I have descended into madness which no asylum can treat. Let me devour you. Sliding a hand in between your legs, I realize that you have long been ready and waiting, I just did not hear your pleas. Laying you carefully on the ground (for not even my wantonness will take away my respect for you), I brace myself for the pleasure and exhaustion. Finally, I enter you and it is sweeter than I ever thought it would be. I try to match my movements with the grinding of your hips but you are too fast, too experienced for me. Your face is devoid of any reaction but I am certain this is not due to frigidity; you are only concentrating on giving me what I can take. I want more. I need more. Please, give me more.

Almost too soon, we are done. I collapse in fatigue and mutter to myself that I will never do it again but within hours, I am back to wanting you. You cannot stay long, even as I beg and whimper. You have done your job, you say. It is time for me to try it with others, but I am afraid. They might not experience the same joy I have experienced with you. All my arguments are for naught, because you have already disappeared, leaving me wanting for more.

I knew what was going to happen; we planned this. Something died in me, but something was also born, and with it, a craving that will never be satiated. I yearn for you day and night, I curse you during those times you do not come to me, but I renew my passion for you with each time you are kind enough to throw a glance my way. I anxiously await your sporadic visits, cursing my own mania. All this disappears when you arrive and I am once again consumed by your splendor.

This is madness. This is an obsession I willfully embrace. This is beauty.

This is life.