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.



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