The Boy Who Cried “Let’s Hang Out!”

My Symphony: Something Here / Day Wave

Growing up is strange in that the people you used to hang out with everyday begin to gradually but steadily diminish into faces without names, and names without faces. Hours of deep, meaningful conversations at the football field have turned into minuscule scroll-down glimpses on Facebook. Countless heart-to-hearts have deteriorated into the most casual of “what’s up’s” and “hello’s”.

Who are we? Or, I guess, the more appropriate and less ambitious question is, who were we?

We were once kids, who (without doubts or hesitation) would knock on each other’s doors at two in the morning just because. We were once kids, who unconsciously spent more time with each other than with anyone else, on a daily basis. We were kids who drank their first beers together, smoked their first cigarettes together, and lived through their first heartaches and heartbreaks together.

Perhaps friendships are just naturally more challenging as we age. Back in high school, everything was just easy. We were in the same school, in the same classes, liking the same things, sharing the same goals (mostly consisted of passing Physics and submitting our Research papers on time). Some were even living on the same street, talking about the same trends, listening to the same music. ‘Follow’ meant literally following each other around school during lunch, recess and dismissal, ‘Like’ literally meant liking each other for and despite all his/her flaws and imperfection. ‘Friends’ literally meant people you cry with one second and laugh with the next. Life was a series of sleepovers, unplanned Saturday afternoons at the mall, secrets involving crushes and mortal enemies, and the usual horsing around over fishballs and ice crumbles.

But growing up has changed all of that. Hanging out is now a super-conscious decision you have to make. You don’t just happen to be in the same vicinity with your friends all the time. A mere meet-up for coffee takes a lot of scheduling, rescheduling and compromising. Nothing is as easy as it was. Now, you actually have to really want to see someone in order for you to afford the time and energy (and sometimes money) that it takes to meet with someone.

And this is exactly why friendships in this stage of our lives are the most important: these are now the friendships we choose to have, the friendships we choose to keep; the relationships we decide are gonna progress and develop into something larger and realer as the years go by. We no longer share our deepest darkest secrets to just everyone in our circle, and in the rare event that we have a sleepover, it isn’t just high school buddies passing time anymore; it’s like-minded souls mutually sharing in each other’s worlds, exchanging thoughts and ideas, basking in the light and warmth of a presence which, although rarely present, will always be genuine. We stopped being kids hanging out, and started becoming human beings connecting.

I love you, dear friends.

P.S. Let’s not be strangers…

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The State Of Our Affairs

My Symphony: State of Our Affairs by Mt. Desolation

The morning wears a veil of rain in the city I live in. The traffic’s edging forward again, but no one knows where they’re going…

Upon looking at the collage of pictures at the very beginning of this post, you must know up front that this write-up is about me and another human being. However, this won’t be just about us. I decided to write this one because of two reasons. One, I have been missing high school since graduation day last March 24, 2010 (I just don’t admit it to myself and to other people); two, I know for a fact that looking back at what was always comes with a lot of lessons. You know, you take a walk down memory lane, you see the first signs of trouble, and then you get back to the present with a much clearer understanding of why things happened and why some people aren’t where you had imagined they would be in your life today. If you choose to read on, you might actually learn something from this.

So for many many years, I have been known by the people close to me as someone who is emotionally and socially unstable. About three or four months ago, I posted a status in Facebook that went like: “Can somebody please tell me what it feels like to have a life-long bestfriend? Just curious.” There are at least about 30 likes and 12 comments on that post. One comment that stood out to me was “I bet you have been wondering about this for a long time.” Not the exact words, but it went something like that. Well it’s true. I have been wondering what it feels like to have an ultimate partner in crime that will stand by you no matter what. Both of my brothers have such amazing bestfriends. Most of my friends also have partners in crime of their own. Even my aunt and cousins also live in this world with the foundations of very cool, very long-lasting friendships. And so I start to ask myself, what’s wrong with me?

For those who didn’t get the chance to know me when I was in high school, the guy with me in the pictures is Jerome. I am pretty sure that it is very safe to say that he is my ex-bestfriend. But don’t get ahead of yourself. This won’t be focused on him or on us. I am just using him as a certain symbol that is best to represent something else.

Jerome and I were bestfriends. It’s been almost two years since we last talked (like really talked). But on those old days, we would always have lunch together. I can’t really remember all the names of the food we used to order on a daily basis at our high school’s canteen, but they were mostly beef steak and pork barbecue. We would order what the other ordered. We would walk along the halls of the school with people looking at us wearing strange and bewildered layers of skin on their faces (yes, I always knew what most people thought that time). We would help each other out on assignments, projects, quizzes and most of all, research and thesis-writing. We would go out and drink with our other buddies, sleep over at each other’s house, meet and greet each other’s parents and siblings, talk about our dreams and most importantly, we would unconsciously learn from each other given our obvious differences.

I remember that time at Saga-sa. I’m sure not a lot of people know that place. Well, it’s a small strip of land not very far from Bacolod City. It’s where Jerome lives. Well there was that one time when I went there for a sleepover and just before the sun set, I sensed this incredible smell of nature. I don’t even know how to effectively describe it, but the way it smelled reminded me of green leaves, tall, shady trees and fresh air. We went outside his house, I looked up and saw a pale orange atmosphere in the skies. All I could really think at that moment was how idyllic his hometown is and how stress-relieving that kind of view was. A couple of hours later, we were called for dinner, and Tita Leila (Jerome’s mother) really left me in amazement the moment I tasted her green shells and grilled fish. Nothing really beats what’s fresh and natural. And that’s what I learned from that fateful day.

Later that night, I introduced my favorite tv series to him. At first he was really reluctant and skeptical. But I didn’t mind. I mean, I can be such a persistent influence on someone most of the time (HAHA). So we started with of course, the first episode of the first season of the series. That was like 9:00pm or something. At the end of the episode, he was saying that he loved it and that he wanted to watch one more episode. And so we continued. It was actually sort of weird because I had watched the first season literally three or four  times before, but I still kept on watching it again and even found that I still think it’s very interesting and entertaining. The next thing I knew, we were already watching the eleventh episode, and the clock read 01:45am of Sunday. I was already very sleepy and exhausted that I actually begged him to stop watching. But my plead for mercy was of no sign of use. He kept on watching and even though I was already lying down the bed, I could hear the dialogue and I was simply playing the scenes in my head. So there. Within the period of eight hours, there we were watching 90210, my favorite tv series. We finished the season at nearly five in the morning and I was like “HOLY SH*T! We finished one full season in one sitting!”. What’s very memorable about that night is that I wasn’t really expecting that someone who plays soccer, listens to hard metal songs, knows how to cut woods and carries the image of a totally manly jock who makes all the girls go asdfghjkl could ever appreciate an American TV series so dramatic and flashy as 90210. But he did. He liked it, and on top of that, he also liked Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes) the most in the show. She was our crush. Well, I don’t know with him now, but Shenae Grimes will always be my celebrity fantasy. *grin

So those were the days. I could elaborate more on the drunken nights, the sleepless talks, the shopping sprees and everything in between, but I won’t. What’s major with this reminiscence is the realization that comes with remembering certain people in our lives who somehow weren’t able to make it to our present. I am not saying that it was Jerome’s or my fault. Because really, it is nobody’s fault. Quite frankly, I can’t even remember why and when we started being cold to each other anymore. It’s almost like the reason is no longer there, but the effect remains iridescent. Sometimes we hate some people, we despise them and we curse them like there’s no tomorrow. But a day comes when we begin to forget why we’re mad on the first place. And this is where the wake-up call kicks in. The day we forget the reason why we are mad at somebody is the day that we realize that we were never really mad to begin with; we were only sad. We were sad because things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to; because our expectations outshined the outcome; because as we grow up, we acquire the sufficient knowledge and wisdom that enable us to understand that life is an almost never-ending scope of closing cycles. And we don’t want that. No one wants that. No one wants that kind of life where he has to deal with the fact that good things always come to an end. But it’s neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just the way life is.

My ex-bestfriend and I are probably never gonna be the same. We might see each other again a couple of years from now, or we might not even get a glimpse of each other at all. We might be friends again someday, or remain strangers for the remainder of our lives. We might bump into each other someday and naturally recall those days when we were almost like brothers, or we might forever be a mere memory of two high school buddies who used to dwell in the energy of one another but are now reduced to faces without names and names without faces…

It doesn’t really matter. Whatever our relationships with certain people have turned into, wherever they are right now (whether you two are living in the same block or in two places which are miles and miles away from each other), whoever they have become and however you live your life right now, there is absolutely no reason for you to be sad about the things and people that were. Because at the end of the day, “losing” someone isn’t a tragedy. It is just the current state of your affairs. 

Three Seasons of Twists and Turns

My Tune: Sparks by Coldplay

Tell me if what I am feeling and experiencing right now is one very good example of a seasonal affective disorder or simply, winter blues.

Just three days from now, I will already be celebrating the first anniversary of my Aftertaste of a Mental Foreplay. I am foreseeing this anniversary as something which can completely tell how I have changed mentally, emotionally, socially and even dramatically. So as a “treat” for myself and for my avid readers, I am here to share to you a very special chronicle— a chronicle which I have just compiled in my rollercoaster-riding mind just minutes ago.

As I have repeatedly told my fellow earthlings lately, I came to see that each and every thing around me is gradually and unstopabbly changing. It’s like I’m always finding myself singing Keane’s song which lyrics go like everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same, oh everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same. Well I mean of course, right? Change is the only thing which is definitely permanent in this place we address as “Earth”. But you see, sometimes, it seems like the changes that are happening are driving me crazy. It’s like the changes that I am glancing at lately are turning bad things into good ones, and vice versa. So different from last year, this University Week at my school actually taught me a lot of things. And by “a lot”, I really mean “a lot”. This week was not like any other weeks when I could just see past some laughter lines as I grab some cloudy cotton candies or some hot chocolate waffles in my hand. This week also hasn’t been one of those weeks when I was able to be with my beloved and treasured people all the time. This week, I was forcibly deemed to be numb to the “Holidays sensation”. This week, my life has been divided into three blissfully sad seasons.

The Lazy Limelight

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In this season, I experienced an emotional pain. Socially, I was both at the center and along the corners of different places. I felt like I didn’t have any chance to mingle and bond with my best of buddies. I felt like I didn’t have any capacity to laugh at the same jokes they are cracking, be under the same ceiling with them, roam around with them in the same room or simply, I didn’t have the capacity to be with them. I insist that this is not just another shallow thing to take. In my case right now, losing time for friends is like losing buckets of gold and emeralds which I so badly treasure. In fact, there was a point in this season wherein I told one of my friends, John Re, that I am subconsciously telling myself that maybe, I will not fit well in UP because I think I am becoming very weak when it comes to saying my goodbyes. I hate goodbyes, for your information. Who doesn’t? It’s like you are obliged to keep your tears dripping down to your heart everytime some “farewell session” is being executed. That is why I hate goodbyes. They keep me melodramatic, which I’m normally not. I was like put under such ruthless social panic during this season. Sigh. I learned one thing, though:

It’s not everytime that we are with the people who make us smile, laugh and even dance like lunatics. Sometimes, there will always be a point in our existence wherein our bond ties with these beloved people of ours are being put into test, just to see if the friendship we keep with other people will stand the test of time. We have to be socially flexible beings, that is. We will need this especially when we go to the greater and more challenging heights of life’s demands.

T-shirts, Perfumes and Pairs of Slippers

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You know what?.. so far, T-shirts, Perfumes and Pairs of Slippers is the most profound title (or subtitle, for that matter) I have ever even thought of in years of online writing and internalizing. It’s just that there are times when I feel like getting personal and more precisely, exclusive, especially when it comes to sharing true-to-life adventures and misadventures.

Well, during this season, I was relieved to know that what I believe in in The Lazy Limelight is actually true— that there will always be a time for separation and evaporation and a time for reconciliation and reunion. This season is exactly one of the highlights of this week. Never mind the songs, the dances, the whole world of circus and the whole bunch of jamming and disco… this season surely goes to the list of permanent memories of my life.

You might want to scratch your head and wonder what happened during this season. Well, you surely will scratch something if you are not in the above photograph ( John Re, Herman, Kenn and Jerome).

Those people who are in schoolboy outfits overhead are the only ones who can completely relate to what I am talking about right now.

Again, I choose to get exclusive right now.

As a bird’s-eye-view, there were glasses, water, water bottles, cheese curls, yummy peanuts, sticks, ice, chicharon, tables, chairs, a whole lot of mess, four haggard but happy creatures and of course, there surely were t-shirts, perfumes and pairs of slippers.

Quite too much for a bird’s-eye-view, ei? You bet.

Lack of Links: The Season of Goodbyes

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You read it right, people. This surely is the season of goodbyes. Without further ado, Shayne Anne, I really believe you were right when you told me that life is like an instance wherein things and people come and go without extensive notice. You told me that there will be no time for tears. We all must be strong enough to endure life’s obnoxious obstacles.

I just once again realized that it’s also not all the time that things have to be complete. There will always be a time when we are deemed to lack certain objects in order for us to “metamorphose” into stronger and more enduring humans.

Sigh, sigh, sigh. I wish I always have the nerve to practice what I preach. Yes, people. I am still emotionally weak.

Changes. Goodbyes. Uncertainties. Twist and turns of circumstances.

Whew. This indeed is the week of the weeks. This indeed is the university circus which I am so familiar with… or not.

Bullets of Bliss III: Triggered Presumption

My Tune: Cold Hands Warm Heart by Brendan Brenson

Counter-terrorists win. Yeah, right! And so did I!

To get things straight to the point, I’m not here once again to talk about Counterstrike or how I suck at it big time, nor am I here to narrate to you my adventures (and misadventures) with this epic game. Well I am here for one reason: to give you a recap of one thing that had never happened to me before.

So it was recess time last week. To be exact, it was last Thursday morning, if I’m not mistaken. Usually, every morning break, I would just stay inside the classroom and chat with a bunch of other people as they eat their packed snacks and drinks. My other peers namely Dane, Jerome, Herman, John Re and Keith also do the same thing as I do— to stay inside the room every recess time and fool around, laughing like hyenas! But that Thursday morning was different. That Thursday morning, we unexpectedly got what we thought we would never get, did we not do a legendary “performance”.

Allow me to be in a narrating mode, people. I rarely do this. I rarely write like I’m storytelling. So now, just let me actually write like I’m actually storytelling.

A 50 Philippine peso bill is now on the table. What’s next? Who’s next? Where’s next..?

So we were situated in a table positioned in the very middle of our school canteen. I was sitting right there with Dane, Jerome, Herman, John Re and Keith. We were at that moment calling it quits with regards to our “pot money”. At that time, Php70 was already on the table. We had no problem with the budget. The problem was who will volunteer to buy footlong hotdog sandwiches for everyone. Everyone who goes in my school knows how our canteen is such a crowded place especially every recess and lunchtime. This may just be the reason why no one would volunteer to buy those precious footlongs.

Out of the blue ( not just any other blue, but navy blue), John Re blurted “Okay, I’ll do it!”. Then we were like “Oh, come on John! Not you! Not you again!”. Then we started pointing at each other in an attempt to finally come to a verdict of who will be the “volunteer” in that crucial moment. John Re then took the mounted cash in the center of the table saying “I’ll do it”. Oh well. Can we blame someone for having such a warm heart? Of course not.

[X] Footlongs

[  ] Softdrinks

[  ] Economics Class

[  ] NO MAYONNAISE!

There goes our checklist. There may be some thing in that checklist that you might find weird. Don’t worry. I’ll explain that later.

So the next thing that we found ourselves arguing about was on who will be the volunteer to buy softdrinks. We didn’t have any much problem about that, though. Dane, being the only one among us who really is addicted to drinking carbonated beverages, took the task and did it “wholeheartedly” (Can I say that? Haha).

[X] Footlongs

[X] Softdrinks

[  ] Economics Class

[  ] NO MAYONNAISE!

We were down to two things. Our Economics class is right up next recess time. The bell just rang that time and the footlongs still weren’t ready to be served. Miss Aligonsa, our Economics professor who was at that time in the canteen as well, gestured that we must come inside the classroom before she does or we’re going to be marked absent in her class.

Abnormally, we felt no rush even upon seeing that gesture. We were like “That’s miss Aligonsa. Pfft. She can’t be mad and she won’t be!”. Technically, we were already seven minutes late when the footlongs we ordered were ready. Now, it’s time to dash our way up to class. The problem was, I found out that my footlong has mayonnaise in it (and Ketchup!)!

“What the F?! Didn’t I tell everyone that I freaking hate mayonnaise?!”. Yeah. To those of you who still don’t know my nature, well I have mayonnaise and ketchup on my hate list. I don’t know why, but everytime I taste mayonnaise or ketchup, it’s like doomsday is happening in my mouth. Yuck! I mean seriously, yuck!

Delayed by my desperate hoping for the mayonnaise in my footlong to miraculously disappear, we were by then already seventeen minutes late in class. Just as we opened the door of our classroom, we were told by miss Aligonsa to stay outside because we are LATE! Wow. It was that sudden. I didn’t see that coming either.

Sigh.

[X] Footlongs

[X] Softdrinks

[X] Economics Class

[  ] NO MAYONNAISE!

I was still holding my footlong smothered with mayonnaise that time. Everyone else had just finished his own footlong. I am really wondering until now how they managed to put all those white slimy stuff in their mouth and actually eat them… digest them…let them penetrate in their systems!

Everyone was already telling me to just swallow the thing so that we could do something else without me having to hold the footlong in my hand without even trying to smell or look at it.

That time, I braved myself and braced it with all courage. Haha. Over-acting? I don’t think so. Trust me, it took all the courage in the world for me to even think of eating something which has mayonnaise in it! Whew! So, I did eat the “thing”. Surprisingly, it wasn’t really that bad. I’m not saying it’s great, but it wasn’t that bad. It tasted like a tasteless sauce. Whatever. Still, that event made me catch my breath for a couple of minutes. They were actually looking at me, laughing maybe at the image of me being so scared of eating mayonnaise (laughs).

[X] Footlongs

[X] Softdrinks

[X] Economics Class

[X] NO MAYONNAISE!

^^

We did really crazy things that morning. We were given one hour to fool around and we wasted no time! We indeed fooled around.

There was the Chicky Chicky thing that had lasted in our minds for 24 hours! Everything that had happened that morning was never-before. Never-before, we had gotten ourselves kicked out of class just for being late for seventeen minutes. Never-before, we played Chicky Chicky. Never-before, we planned on taking our Counterstrike experience to the next level.

We planned on buying toy guns and doing Counterstrike in a live action-packed performance! We also planned on playing classic Pinoy games like Tumba Patis and Sipa-Takraw.

Oh well. Those were the moments.