Days without paracetamol*

Days without paracetamol*

I.

Sadness creeps in every time you leave. I welcome him, fix him coffee at three in the morning, and sing him sad songs. In your absence, I find clarity. No questions, no doubts. Sadness is addictive. While I wait for you, I cradle solitude to no end. I type away, bruised, but that’s fine for writing is meant to hurt. I end this paragraph with a period, and after that, I will bleed some more.

II.

Before pulling to a halt, your friend reminds you, for the third time, to never order the fried dumplings. This is one of the things you like and envy about her, aside from still being able to drive after six bottles of beer: she is someone you would call imposing, until, of course, she corrects you. Then you would resort to suggestive. Unlike her, you fear being construed as rude. You are that kind of person who always feels the need to pass everyone else’s jeepney fare. You are too apologetic you even say sorry for not giving the exact change. Remember that one time a guy made you drink a White Russian just after you told him you’re lactose intolerant? You still saw him after that night. You were easily swayed, pushed, and pulled, and the next time someone tells you to jump for no reason, you will jump. But unlike those nights when familiar strangers had told you to unzip their pants or scream their name at three in the morning or spit or swallow or bark, you held your breath for a moment before telling the waiter that you’ll have the fried dumplings. You breathed out, smiling.

III.

From afar I can already smell the usual perfume you wear on Tuesdays. You didn’t notice it, but there was many a time in the elevator when I would fade into the background and I would sniff your back like a mad dog. It was a Tuesday, and you smelled of humility, especially when you apologized upon pressing the close button as I was about to get off my floor. You were running late yet you still managed to stretch those lips to a thin, confident smile. But after many Tuesdays of secretly standing at your back to catch the slightest hint of shampoo you used that day or whatever detergent and softener your laundromat put on your shirt, weirdly enough, you smell differently today. My senses tell me it’s something close to love. But I no longer trust them these days. ■

*Apologies to Snow Patrol

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When bodies meet like old friends

When bodies meet like old friends

I have played the field long enough to memorize its rules—and how I can bend them to my advantage or break them whenever necessary. And this is what I learned:

A body is only a body; nothing special. It only becomes more than itself when it meets with another, in an unfamiliar bed whose smell you won’t remember when you wake up. The two unknown bodies greet each other in a language only they can comprehend, like old friends; it is when as if your hands and legs have brains of their own and you watch them slither around his body—travelling into foreign territories and dominating them as you go. But when he grabs you by the neck and thrusts deeper and deeper into you, you’ll get what I mean.

I’ve had my fill of conquering lands and claiming everybody’s body as mine. That’s why, don’t undress me with your gaze if you don’t intend to help me put them back on at five in the morning, or when you want me gone at first light without breakfast nor a goodbye kiss. You can’t entirely conquer my body without conquering my heart; dethroning someone who’s been king all his life is never quite an easy task.

His body says hello. Don’t be rude. Invite him in. ■

Almost

Almost

So, here we go. Again.

It’s finally that time of the year again when all motivations to subsist would escape me, gradually at first — unwashed dishes and cheap wine in a coffee mug, unreturned calls from my boss, creased shirts and mismatched socks on a Monday — then later, well, we know how it ends; and it rarely ends well. I’m half-expecting that a series of bad decisions will already have been made by the end of this week. But considering how I’ve outdone myself these past years, surely I tend to underestimate. While most people could no longer contain their excitement for Christmastime, I keep myself away from objects I could slam my head onto. I easily get frustrated, and I get mad when people couldn’t understand me. I don’t need sympathy, that’s what I say. What I need is a pack of cigarettes, sixty-five tequila shots, a very long sleep, and maybe a ten-wheeler truck that would ram into me until the necessity to drink the remaining quarter of this year away is long gone. But, instead, I find myself getting in line for the cashier, my hands clutching a grocery basket. Look at what I’ve got: a box of fresh milk, canned goods, two loaves of bread, a large bottle of Coca-cola. “Cash,” I told the cashier. I keep a forced smile at the lady behind the counter as she scans the bar code of a really sharp knife. I walk my way home. ■