I am blinded.
Let me tell you what kind of predicament I am in right now. A subtle predicament that lies no further than the back of my mind…but it disturbs me more than anything.
Good thing I write things on paper whenever I've got something going on. I write everything, every word, every action, every emotion. That way I couldn't forget a thing, and I could look back at their vivid detail. It is rare that I share these thoughts with anyone, but I guess I would, eventually.
It was a sunny day one summer about 3 years ago. A bright, sunny day, but I was feeling hell for a reason that I'd have to tell later. I was on with my summer job on a small, cozy grocery in one quiet corner of the city. It was all so good then.
Then I heard the chimes. I politely greeted whoever that was like I used to, though it was rare to have customers in the afternoon. I was sitting by a shelf, cleaning the stocks.
I noticed a man standing at the near end of the shelf. Probably the person that just entered, I thought. I stood from my cardboard chair and dusted off my get-up.
"Good afternoon, sir. What can I do for you?" I greeted. He was tall—very tall. Even taller than me. The first thing that entered my mind: queer.
He was wearing a tight-necked red long-sleeved shirt in the hot midafternoon, sporting a matching red cap worn backward, and a sling bag. And plus, his not-so-long hair was braided. Two braids on either side.
He smiled and slightly nodded. I remember him ask about where the instant noodles were. Queer…and stupid, maybe a little nearsighted, I thought. Because that shelf that I was cleaning was well, the shelf he was looking for. He laughed, got a couple and proceeded to the counter. I followed him. Ok I admit, I was a bit reluctant…and regretful that the person I was working with had gone for lunch break. I dunno, that man's smile just annoyed me. Ultimately.
I punched his noodle cups and put it in a little plastic bag. He smiles at me again, gets his wallet and pays for them. I got the money and handed him his change. He got the bag and guess what he did next. He smiled, said thank you and walked away.
With a forced smile, I said thank you back like a polite worker would do and stood to resume my delayed work. Then I felt my nerves pop.
I turned back. That man. Smiling again. "And oh, your…hair's sticking up." He chuckled. Then he walked away. Really walked away this time.
I grudgingly stomped my way back to my shelf, and re-tied my hair.
I still remember that day. Things that came up afterwards made me—forced me to look back.
I have a band. Yes, a band, with the guitars and drums and everything. And, I do vocals. Bleh.
Shortly after I finished my 4 weeks summer job, we had a streak. We went a lot composing good songs, learning new styles and techniques. In had given a lot of time for the band then because we were all showing nice performances and progress. And, kaboom. One day our drummer went away. He had to move away because of another story. We were all so depressed.
No…of course no acoustic. I hate acoustic. We had to find a new drummer.
A band member of mine called for a meeting one day, saying he found us a new drummer.
Later I was regretful once again for rejoicing. Because, of all the good luck in the world, the new drummer must be him. Sure, I believed in fate, but I seriously thought it was pure bad luck.
Him, that man I met in the grocery. That man who smiled at me so annoyingly. Then I wondered, because when he was introduced to the group, he looked like—whoa. Punk. No, honestly. He didn't look at all like the annoying man I met. Though I was pretty sure he was the same person, because he recognized me. And that recognition made me remember the day, and I never forgot it ever since.
And that was the start. Just the start.
His name is Hiro. Takayama, I call him, being the formal animal I am. Half blood Japanese, half blood Latin, speaks good English. I never really got close to him…I still haven't forgiven his nuisance. Ok, kidding, I'm older than that.
Seems that it is all paperback. And I just wish it was. I wish it really was.
I had been such a normal boy. A healthy, growing boy that lived a normal life and experienced the normal things that growing boys should experience…but I was wrong to think such. I was different inside, and I knew that. But I never knew what was coming. I never knew that what was coming was not so normal.
I had friends. Friends that traced back to civilization. Friends that I cherished, friends that I lived my life for. And because they all turned their backs on me, I lost life for some time. It once came to me that I have been wasted; I have been so stupid to waste my life. For what? For these people who didn't even notice I existed after I thought that they were my existence. What a stupid waste of effort and time.
But maybe that was just normal.
I had girlfriends. But girls were such fickle things. But I had this one girl that gave me my life back. I knew I had loved her. It's not everyday I met a girl who was interested in me and my strange ways, after all. The world always misunderstood me, but she was there and it as not so bad. I had loved her, and she had loved me. I knew that.
But she died.
She died in a car accident one rainy summer night. It was all so sudden. Again, I was left alone, and no one else wanted to sit beside me.
Perhaps that was just normal still?
Naturally, I became devastated. I drowned in pain for quite some time, and it was definitely the major turning point of my life. I learned to see the darker shades. I learned to look deeper into people's eyes. I learned to feel the reality, that life was not such a good place, and I almost despised it. Almost. I was alone, with my so-called new friends that had plastic faces, and I learned what hypocrisy was. Still, nobody wanted to share my bench with me. They pretend they do, but really, nobody was a dang bit interested.
What a happy life. Very, very normal.
But, it passed. I learned to live with life because really, I had no choice. I became a reluctant empathic, able to feel the happiness and agony of others, but not of himself. I did not want it, but again, what can I do? I lived. I survived everyday with myself. It was hard to trust anyone. I let people come close before, too close for them to hurt me, too close that I feel totally miserable when they went away. I tried to distract the ugly thoughts and feelings and kept myself busy. I got used to being tired to the point that I am half-dead, so that whenever I drop to my bed, I am asleep instantly.
These activities…these activities entertained me. At least they killed my time and kept me from being idle, and I practiced my God-given gifts with them. I realized there was no use wasting anything more than I had already wasted.
What a twisted mind I have.
I drew, I wrote, I played, I sang. I had a band with a group of people who empathize with my love for good music. And I was happy whenever we played. And then, as I told earlier, that's when Hiro entered the scene. Good heavens that the day I met him was exactly a year after my angel passed away.
Ah, Hiro. Back to him and his role in the paperback that was my life.
Once upon a summer night, I had a drinking session with my band members who were also a part of my basketball buddies, and yes, Hiro was one of them. It was a custom for us to take a "day-off" every rare time that we could, once all of us can be present. So, we played basketball in the afternoon, and then when the day died, we had a good deal of alcohol at my place.
Speaking of my place, I live in a spacious room like a little house (I just prefer to call it a room), with a male roommate that was hardly living there. Ok, now back to the story.
It came to the point that all of them were punch drunk. They were all sleeping, scattered in my living area. And I, I was never an alcoholic. Alcohol had a slower effect on me. Or maybe I was just not a heavy drinker compared to them.
So, I watched late night basketball on TV on the couch and waited until I could have some shuteye.
Then, out of the blue, the man that was sitting beside me became the annoying man that he really was. Hiro. And I just wish that he had JUST been annoying. It is one of the rare things that I could never forget. Never have I been so offended as I was that time And as I had warned, you may get offended as well.
I turned the box off and decided to sleep. Then he asked me in a very annoying dragging voice why I did. I said it had to shut up already because my head's starting to hurt. So, with that settled, he proceeded to make my head hurt more by talking and talking. Just random things, really. I let him, afterall, he's drunk. He just talked and talked and talked and it felt like a lifetime.
Finally, he stopped. I thanked the gods.
And again, now that I think about it, should I have thanked them? Maybe, because then, I didn't know what was coming.
I closed my eyes and tried to doze off. And then, when everything was going peaceful, he blurts out something that had never offended me as it did, ever.
I'm pretty? Pretty?
Cool down, I told myself, he's drunk. Ok so he is. I ignore him. I tell him to just shut up.
Then he goes "no, really."
My head hurt, and I had no time for such shit. I just ignored him again. I needed sleep.
He complements me for my "nice lips" and again, I am offended with his words. And though offended, I let it go. He's drunk, for goodness' sakes. So, I told him to go get laid and picked up where I left with my journey to dreamland.
Ah, talk about the unpredictability of my life. And I knew I was not dreaming. I was pinned on the couch, there, beneath a person who is drunk and reeking of alcohol that offended me more. I ordered him to get off, and I almost felt my nerves pop.
He replied with a solid 'no', with that annoying smile, and said, "I'm getting laid".
Fuck this life.
I didn't know exactly what happened, although I had an idea the moment I woke up. It was early morning, and I was on my bed. Wasn't I on the couch last night?
I got up, and it dawned on me.
I was stripped if not for my boxers. My sheets smelled of alchohol, sweat and, guess what. Seed. Damn. And before I even gathered it all up to one coherent thought, I felt it. Yes, down there. Then I knew.
If I could cry, I would have. Just imagine what I felt back then. I could just remember it now…and I hate how it feels.
I felt so…violated.
Technically, I was. And that whole day, I did nothing but to sit there, with the door locked. I didn't even bother face the people that slept over. And as the hours passed, I could remember fragments. I couldn't remember the whole of it, just parts. I blamed it all on the alcohol. Because I was drunk, I wasn't able to do anything.
The roommate arrived late that day. He probably observed that my part of the room was badly messed up. The sheets were all over, and some of my clothes were scattered on the floor. He asked me if I brought a girl home the previous night. I walked out on him.
The days after that, Hiro never talked to me, he didn't even look in my eyes. And that worsened everything. More and more each day I felt used. I've never felt worse in my life. And I had to wear turtlenecks for a week because he put a hickey on my neck. Dammit.
A couple of weeks or so after that, I tried to resume to my normal self. Only a little quieter than before. I gave up on the hope that he could at least apologize somehow. I knew well that he was sober then, he can't be drunk enough. I knew that he knew what he did because if not, he could've just acted like nothing really happened.
But I needed to catch up to my life. So I did. I didn't know what he did after that, if he told anyone. The silent threat to kill him if anybody else knew was all bluff, afterall. But I didn't think he did. Though, a lot of screwed things happened shortly after that little incident.
First off, a lot of girls noticed that I look better than usual. That was in public. Also, men did, of course without anybody else hearing. They would call me 'pretty boy' or beautiful and things like that. Naturally, I was nervous that they knew about what happened, but I don't think they do. I also got three date invites in one week, only one came from a girl, and being the 'nice' (or was that submissive) person that I am, I agreed to all of them.
The first date turned out ok for some reason, but I think the girl was pretty…dissed about me not talking at all. Just sat the whole movie out. I think every girl I go out with expects me to do something in the dark. Do I look that aggressive? Really, I wasn't at all amused by the fact that I had to go out with a guy the night after. With Hiro.
Of course I felt awkward having to go out with him, even on a 'friendly' date, as he called it. We talked about what happened—NO—he talked about it. He apologized, said it was just a bad start, and asked for another chance to start over.
I replied. "Whatever."
I wanted him to at least talk about it, but when he did, I didn't want to talk with him. I don't know if I'm really that screwed a person, or maybe I was just that bad at conversations.
So, for the third invitation, the guy treated me to dinner. Just that, everything innocent. He drove me home I am so mistreated… and—I got a goodnight kiss. Not on the cheek.
Damn myself to the nine circles for being so goddamn submissive!
I wanted to disappear, I was so freaking confused and all, but I got used to everything after that. I didn't care about the girls practically worshipping the ground I walk on (that's not boasting), I didn't care that the girls were practically worshipping the ground Hiro walks on (again, not boasting), I didn't care about the chocolates, the notes, everything. I just…moved on.
He scandalized me by dropping by my house everyday just to see "how I was doing" which I was very very uncomfortable about, my roommate's already gone "what's up with him" and all the people especially the girls have gone "what's up with you". I wanted to shout at them, at the very very top of my lungs that I'm going to eat them all alive if they don't stop bugging me. Of course I can't do that, so I just forced myself to be callous and all. I just swore that if he gave me flowers, I'm going to kill myself.
One day, they called for another day-off.
Another drinking session? Hell no. Could you blame me for the trauma?
We played b-ball as usual on the gym, but I ditched the later part. I managed to egg them to let me stay because I wasn't in drinking mood. They all told me that my being alone wasn't doing any good.
So they left me. But he stayed as well.
After they all left, I proceeded with my playing as if he wasn't there. But he kept on blocking me, insisting that he was there to play with me. Being the civilized person that I am, I played with him if only for the sake of playing without nuisance.
I don't know how long we had been playing. I'm addicted to basketball, so can't help that. Neither of us spoke a word. I didn't know what he was thinking, and I hated him. Period. Then he decided to break the dead silence.
"So, you don't want to drink with us anymore, huh?"
That son of a—he's got nerve. I didn't say anything and just played like I didn't hear anything.
"Figures." He said. I looked at him threateningly, as if reminding him that I had the right to not want to join them anymore. He just…smiled.
I told him to stop smiling because it's annoying. He told me he can't help it because I'm so cute. Naturally, I got angry. I threw the ball away and proceeded to the locker area. I hate him. And more than that, I hate myself.
He followed me to the lockers where I was taking my clothes off before going in the showers. His were beside mine. I told him, hardly, not to stare at me. He said I was dense. I cursed. Then he told me I was 'too damn dense'. I slammed my locker door shut and told him to shut up and leave me the hell alone.
"You mean you're still mad at me?" He asked.
I just stayed there, in front of him, never taking my eyes off his. I wanted him to know how fucking frustrated I am at him and that I wanted him to go to hell that instant. I wanted to hit him, but violence was just not my cup of tea.
I think he was aggravated himself that time. "Look, I'm sorry, ok? Stop being such a prick!" He retorted.
I was enraged, naturally. "Now I'm being such a prick?" I asked, angrily, which surprised even myself. I asked him if he had the slightest idea what he did to me.
"I said I'm sorry." He cut me in the middle of my sentence. He told me, his voice mellowed down, that he didn't mean to hurt me that much.
And I just couldn't bear any more of it. I felt my chest constrict, I wasn't at all used to talking with anyone about things this kind. I accused him of not being totally drunk then. He didn't answer.
I got my towel and went to the showers. It was such a pointless conversation.
He grabbed my hand and called me by my name. I told him sharply that he had no right to do so. Then his pitch heightened. "Dammit! I said I'm sorry! I just didn't know how to let you know!" He shouted, desperately, I think.
I turned to him, and blurted out some of the most spiteful things I've ever said in my life. "What? To let me know that you needed a fuck toy to waste your drunk ass on?" I asked him, my temples throbbing.
"To let you know, that I like you." He said. I can't help but see a little boy that time.
But no, I was still angry at him. "So you took advantage of the opportunity?" I asked. Then I told him that I'm not some bitch that he could treat like that. I got my hand back and walked away from him.
I stood under the water and tried to collect my breathing. I knew I lost control back there. But then—I did deserve to be mad. But on top of that, I didn't want to be angry at all. I hated the heavy feeling inside, and somehow, with that dumbfounding conversation I had with him I was able to release my inner pains. What I just wanted was for it all to end. Because honestly, I didn't know what to do.
He followed me and took the stall beside mine. He apologized again. I didn't say anything. I didn't know what to say. He called me by my surname, I didn't budge. He called me by my given name, and I turned to him. He looked miserable. For the first time, I saw raw emotion on his eyes, and I was actually moved to answer to his pleading.
I asked him why he was avoiding me, and why he didn't even say a word about what happened. He said because he knew I was mad. I guess men couldn't really read minds of their kind, could they? I asked him if he knew it hurt me. He said yes, and that he was sorry.
Could I really let it go at that?
I thought I could, but still, I couldn't look at him straightly without wanting to say something awful to him. So, I guess not.
One good Saturday night, I was there, alone again in my room and typing along in front of my computer. Ah, this is the life, I thought. No dates, no annoying people, no noise. Somebody knocked. Pissed, I stood up from my peace and opened the door.
There she was, our former guitarist who disappeared after we broke up.
Being the good person I am (good? I'm too damn rude for comfort!), I let her in and asked her to make herself comfortable. I returned in front of the computer and she sat herself in my bed. After some quiet minutes, she wrapped her arms around me from behind, and asked me what I'm doing. I dismissed her with my usual "you don't care" and shut the pc off. She asked me, in a very liquid tone, why I was so cold. I pushed her away and asked her what she was doing in my place. She said that she just wanted to see me and asked me if that was so bad. I told her I was busy.
But she was never satisfied with my answers. Ever.
Next day. I thought my back was sore. I sat there, uncomfortable in front of my beloved computer when somebody, again, knocked. I absentmindedly opened the door. It was him, Hiro. I let him in, and sat back on my previous place.
"Who's she?" He asked. Hiro came in the band after she went, so he never met her. I remembered—she slept overnight after giving up. I wasn't really in the mood to get down with her after she tried really really hard to make me, so she just slept it off and never bothered to dress up properly. I slept sitting in front of my desk, because I knew my roommate would kill me if I had my ass anywhere on his bed. I told Hiro she was my ex.
He just stood there and stared at her.
"She slept alone," I said, like I understood that stare. "Right" he replied. I knew he wasn't convinced. I realized that I had my shirt off, and my pants unbuttoned. I'm innocent, I swear (actually I was planning on practicing abstinence forever), she just undid me while I shrugged her off me. But I had no plan of telling Hiro that, so I just told him to "ask her if you want" while I shook her up and told her to get out, and she did. I'm not too nice afterall. Forgive me for being rude, but I didn't get any good sleep and my back was aching badly.
After she had gone, Hiro told me not to be so rude. Rude, I am. I reasoned that she was pissing the hell off me. Afterall, she just comes barging in and expects everything to be the same. Am I that kind of person? Then he asked me, with a very serious tone, if I had slept with her. I said 'no' flat out. He sighed and said "I thought…" I cut him off, rudely as I am. "What would be the difference if I did?" I said. "Right" he muttered. After some time of just staring at him just staring at the mattress, I said I'm sorry.
Why the hell I apologized, I don't know. Maybe I'm not so callous afterall. Or maybe it's the thing in his eyes my conscience could not ignore.
I figured we ended up making out. "What does this mean?" He asked me. And with all the honesty in the world, he was on top of me and I was all sweaty and my lips were burning and everything, I just told him—ranted everything to him. Everything I wanted to say, even the irrational and stupid and insignificant things.
I just let the words flow, just be honest. I didn't want to hide anything from him and from myself as well. I've had too much experience not to do that anymore, especially now that I'm, like, blinded in the dark. And of course, I knew that it'd be all unfair if I told him to fuck off when I'm not too sure myself. Like what someone told me: "well if you don't know what to say, then just go with the plain simple truth! Just tell him exactly what you told me; that you still don't know if you can really have something with a guy or not... and that you don't exactly want to end it when you're not sure! That simple. It's better to say what's exactly on your mind, no matter how stupid or small or unimportant it may seem, than try to protect his feelings by hiding things, y'know? How're ya supposed to get to know someone otherwise?"
I told him that it was very brave of him to come out like that. He said he owed it all to the alcohol, and that he couldn't have done anything under normal stats. He told me he's not taking back anything he said.
Eventhough I didn't really know what he was talking about, I let it go. I've got some things in my mind.
I asked him how he suddenly came to think that he liked a man like himself, when I've been there long enough to see him have girlfriends. Actually, he's quite popular among the girls, and I always saw him as a player or something.
He just laughed, and said, "don't ask me."
I was completely dumbfounded. I didn't have any idea what was happening, but I knew I could live with it. Then I felt the load disappear in my chest. But I was still confused. I had always been straight, that's all honesty. Although I am often mistaken for otherwise, I am really straight. Then suddenly, Hiro comes barging in my otherwise peaceful life, and makes me question everything.
Was it just the sex? Something that hurt my pride as a person? As a man? Something deeper than that? It was a blank. I had no idea.
Then he just goes taking me inside his arms. "Takayama?" I called.
"Could you please call me Hiro now?" He asked.
I felt what he was making me feel, but I couldn't feel but be insecure about the whole situation. It's like a whole new perspective, and I'm just still starting to see it. Though, since my submissiveness always gets the better of me, I just let him, I knew that if this was another wrong move, I would pay for this the whole of my lifetime, like I am paying for the wrong decisions I made still.
I could do nothing but ask him. "What now?"
He doesn't know either. But he's there, trying to be the tougher pillar of us both. I guess he's just as confused as I am, but he didn't want me to feel that this thing had no future. I'd take it he'd make one if that were the only thing to do.
Was it just a bad start?
I guess he was relieved with our exchange. He was already smiling then. It was the first time he did it with a man, he confessed. And he told me he felt so confused that he wanted to hit his head on the wall. I said he should've seriously considered it.
We got along better after that.
It had been quite some time since I first met Hiro. He had seen it all, and somehow, he knew me. Though not well, I am surprised that someone would make an effort to know me. I never had anyone who paid attention, except for the angel that's watching over me from heaven. I wonder what she's thinking right now.
Somehow, Hiro and I have made some sort of an understanding. He's not putting anything around me, and I absolutely don't want to put anything around him. He can barge into my room anytime, and I am not disturbed by the fact that I know little about him.
Hiro Takayama was born without a mother, and his father is not around. He was tired of being dragged around by the demands of his father's work. Some time ago, he told his father that he'd stay where he was right now, reasoning, "he's now got a life that he didn't want to leave again". His father was a nice man, I think, because he understood and let him. So he just sends him allowance and I think pretty healthy allowance and calls him occasionally to see how he is. I don't even know where Hiro stays. If he has a house, where it is, I don't know. Should I care to know? And after all, he stays in my room every once in a while. I let him on the condition that he shuts up. He agreed.
Hiro is one naughty boy. His favorite pastime is bullying me. Not that I get angry, I just…let him. How submissive can you get? He has weird taste in clothes, which is perfectly fine, and a pretty big, loud mouth that is not so perfectly fine. He likes biting things because he's got nice teeth. Luckily, his favorite teether is me. (Darn!) Although we made an agreement, he always manages to disturb me whenever I am working, especially when I'm in front of my computer. He tells me that it's "soulless and cold" unlike him, like he's playing jealous over my pc or something. I always answer him that at least the pc is quiet. After that, he threatens to send it to the junkshop if I continue aggravating him.
What a dumbfounding connection, I must say. I think we must be on TV for this.
I don't know what Hiro saw on this fu-fu that he could not get enough of. I don't know how I act like, but most people describe me as 'cool'—not too talkative, not too arrogant, but I tend to be really quiet at times which I think is pretty queer for a vocalist. I'm also not the showy type, I just wear long sleeves most of the time (I have been told that whenever I'm not wearing such, girls tend to swoon at my skin) and skinny-but-not-too-tight jeans, which are just in four colors: white, khaki, black or grey. I'm not at all like him who loves to wear funky outfits and attractive colors, does weird hairstyles, and loves showing off his…uh, features.
So, I'm ed-chief of our school paper. Cool, no? But I don't really think I'm suited for the job. I just got promoted because there was no other choice. So, I always pass the work to the subords, then I just do the finishing touches. Smart. And lazy. But it's enough work. So, one day, they propose a character sketch of their editor-in-chief. Naturally, I disagreed. So, since everyone's a basketball whore, they just figured to do a character sketch of the varsity. I agreed, though I'm still included. At least I would not be the lone talk of the town, right?
So, since the people that suggested it were girls, they took the chance to have a 'date' with the whole varsity, to interview. But they're still wary since I'm with them. But I just thought so. They prepared so many questions…and I hate them all. It reminded me of girly slumbook crap.
"The team's center and small forward are the most sought-after boys in school. What would you have to say on this?" The other team members answered with "I don't care, I'm still cute" and the like, but when they asked the center and the small forward, they could not answer. WE could not answer.
Of all the bad luck in the world, Hiro must be the center and I must be the small forward. I wanted to die.
I wanted to dismiss them with the usual "who cares?" answer, but Hiro answered first. Here's what he said: "Tell all of them that I apologize. I'm taken."
I think my face crumpled a bit that time. And when my turn came, I said I didn't care.
Next question: "What do you look for in girls?"
I wanted to tell the interviewers that it was a sensational question and it was inappropriate, but my teammates were more than happy to answer. In the back of my mind, I wanted to ask the girls if they were really sure that these men were all looking for girls. But I dismissed the thought.
As I expected, all of them answered almost the same, only differing in the 'interests' part. When it was Hiro's turn, he just whispered it to the girl interviewer, who in fact was smitten with Hiro and we both knew that. I think I saw her eyes widen while Hiro was whispering, and I got curious why. When it was my turn, I decided it was time to answer properly so I told them that anyone who could cook would do. They all flashed me with a disgusted face. So I just said "anyone who would not go as far as gagging and tying me up to get me to bed." They all thought it was brilliant.
When the thing got released, I laughed at Hiro's answer to the question. He said: "Cool, calm, collected. Quiet most of the time, but can be pretty down-to-earth. Seemingly innocent but tends to be reckless and impulsive."
He said that's supposed to be me. Hahah.
I suddenly remember one certain dumbfounding conversation we had. It went like this:
"How are you?" He started.
"Cold." I answered.
He laughed. "Cold?"
"Why, isn't it cold?" I asked.
"Yeah it is, I was just wondering, since you're so hot and all…"
"I don't know." I just plainly said.
"Try talking without carefully thinking about what you're going to say sometime."
"You always choose your words. Too carefully spoken, bleh…Well, that's a thing I liked about you anyway."
I just smiled.
"Do you have fun?" He suddenly blurted out.
"I mean, you don't act like a person who's having fun."
"Oh really? As a matter of fact I do. Maybe not just like everybody else."
"You're so weird. I kinda like that."
"I just don't like people knowing me. You know. Coming too close."
"Well, you just may try reconsidering." He said, grinning. "No, really, do you think this thing has a chance?"
"You speak too much."
"Yeah. If I has to speak a little less than this, we'd die of boredom."
"You'd die. I'd be just fine."
The summer vacation came like in any year before, and I worked every summer on the same grocery shop where I met Hiro. The job's pretty easy, just the minor things, but the hard part is having to mingle with all those people. There are so many girls, boys, people, in this world, and I hate it when I draw their attention. Plus. Last year, I have a new workmate who definitely thinks, and proclaims, that I am gay.
He doesn't know anything about me, and after three days of working with him, he tells me I'm gay. He didn't ask me, but really, told me. The hell? And he even thought I have a thing for him! I don't even notice he's around!
It brought about some insecurity in me. I told Hiro about it, he just advised that I smack this guy in the face. I seriously wanted to, but I didn't like violence. Hiro told me to just ignore it, saying maybe the guy just assumes so because he thinks I dress too well and speaks too fine for a straight person. Or maybe it's just my mannerisms, he said. A friend said the same things, and she even told me that maybe, I'm just flirty and do not know I am. Heyy, I have always been like this, even before Hiro came in! What does that have to mean?
I don't think I dress too well, though I had a comment one time that I look formal whatever I wear, even if it's just the shirt-jeans-sneakers get-up. Hell, I even wear an apron at work. I just don't talk too much, and I don't talk that loud. And because I'm unfamiliar to everybody I work with, I just tend to smile whenever I don't talk. Maybe for a guy who looks like me, that would be queer. But it's me. Or maybe I'm just an unconscious flirt.
Second week, he goes off telling everybody I have a boyfriend. Ok, maybe I have one, but he doesn't know about him and definitely has no business with that. I knew he made that up to piss me off. He said he can't help it because I'm so quiet and all "ladylike". I told him I don't have to be a noisy ass like him to be "manlike" anyway. He's so damn judgmental.
One day, I got pissed, and turned into a little boy. I told Hiro what he's doing. He saw I was pissed, but I told him I didn't want him to do anything. Of course, I was just kidding, I'm too old for such things. Just to lighten up my mood with his reaction, I guess.
Sometime after that, my workmate tried to hit on me.
Fuck him! He's calling me gay in front of everybody and then he goes telling me he has a thing for me! Damn him! He could dream!
I told Hiro everything about it too. So one busy, customer-plenty day, he shows up at the grocery shop and bought some noodles again. He approaches me some meters away from the workmate, tells me quietly to smile, then takes my hand. I had no idea what he's up to, but I just let him play.
The workmate approaches us and inquires Hiro politely of what service he may do for him. Hiro just looked at him hardly and told him to "fuck off". I wanted to laugh at the workmate's reaction, but I managed to look serious. Naturally, workmate got offended. "What is your problem?" He asked, a bit loudly. "You're bothering us, that's the problem." Hiro answered, rudely. Workmate just glared at him. "Working hours, sir." He said sarcastically. "He must not waste time in such worthless things."
And god was I surprised. Hiro looked too punk than usual. He grabbed workmate's collar and said, "Why, are you his boyfriend?" He asked threateningly. Workmate was all quiet. Then Hiro tightened is grip on him, saying "Well, I see you're not. You're too ugly to be his boyfriend. Bug off." Then he let go. He turned to me, touched my face, winked and said "See you later, beautiful", got his plastic bag and went off.
I laughed. And workmate? He was as embarrassed as hell. He didn't dare do anything to offend anyone at all after that. Turns out he got a boyfriend before our work ended. Just something to share…that boyfriend he got, he entered the shop and I must say, "my, my, not bad…not bad at all". But all that good looks and appeal got turned down past six feet under when I found out that his (drag queen)name's "sugar".
Well, so much for work.
After my work finished, I did nothing for the rest of the summer but band and basketball and write occasionally. There was one time when Hiro and I played together, one-on-one.
It was after the game. I never really believed that people fool around locker rooms and shower rooms…until I fooled around myself. The other people we were playing with had already gone and I stayed because I was too hyper that day. Hiro stayed and played with me.
That game was supposed to be in the court only.
And well, I also thought that steamy make-out sessions after sweating it out in the court only exists in people's imagination, but they don't. It's amazing how men or maybe everyone lose their minds during such. I'd have to admit I didn't care if anyone came in the gym and saw us. Shameless, but true. After that, after a whole lifetime, I decided to call it a day.
I stood up and proceeded to the locker area. I smelled of sweat, and I didn't like me smelling like that so I figured I had to go get a shower. After I told shouted at him not to stare at me while I'm stripping off my clothes, he tried to start with me again.
He managed to drag me into the shower area which, I let him do, being the wonderfully submissive creature I am. It was a lot easier that time than the first time. Of course, we're there, and there's the soap. Afterall, it's there, who would neglect blessing?
Things happened after that. We had another short cough session in the court again, then we went home. He declared that he'd go home with me. So be it. On the way home, things…happened. It's nothing, really, but he was really happy because he knew more things about me.
Wonderful. He got another one at home.
I'm kind of…used to the feeling now. The feeling of giving yourself completely to another, and to the aftermath you feel the day after. Hah. Talk about 'pain in the A'. That he is. Literally and figuratively.
I wrote something about us for a request of a dear friend, about how all of it started. He's kind enough to help me write it, after being totally amused about the fact that I'd actually write something about us. Guess it made him feel happy. He helped with the 'reminding' part the most, since, as I expected, he wasn't drunk at all and he remembered everything like it was the day he was born. I'm almost entertained with the fact that he holds that day dear to him.
And I could only gape in wonder when he told me everything that happened. He even commented on how badmouthed I am when I'm drunk, saying that I kept cursing at him whenever he did something that I liked. Well, what could I say? I don't remember anything afterall. He also told me that I almost pulled his hair out of their roots, and that I moaned so loudly, that I almost screamed at one point, and that I told him that his mouthwork was nice. My face was crumpled all the while he was telling me these things, because I could not believe them at all, naturally. I've never been like that in bed before. He also told me that he wondered how the other people that slept over didn't wake up with the bed constantly banging the wall and with all the noise we were making. Well, I just said that maybe they were too drunk. He laughed. He even whispered in my ear a very liquid "you felt so good" and I hit him in the head for it.
He gave me demonstration of it after, saying that I'd rather go through it again so I could write it better than just with his little storytelling. Hiro and his ecchi ways.
Days came and quickly folded into weeks that as quickly, turned into months.
And then, after some time, I realized, I am human. Human can correct their mistakes and avoid doing them again.
Me and my mood swings.
I did too many foolish things before. Foolish things that hurt me and changed me devastatingly. They are things that I know I cannot change now, but at least I can make up for them by not doing them again. And with all that congeniality this person is making me feel, I am reminded of the same feeling I felt before, before I realized they were all mistakes. And before he can get too close, too close that I would feel empty when he leaves that space, I decided to push him away. I don't want to hurt at all anymore.
So one day he goes trotting in my room. My roommate was there, I was there. And when my roommate saw him, he went. I do not wonder why, because one previous day he told me that when Hiro is there, he feels that his presence is rejected. Not at all as bad as it sounds, but…just that. Rejected.
So he plops himself on to my bed and I resume my work like any given day. I do not bother accommodating him, for he does not feel like a guest in turn. "Hey." He called, as if calling my attention. I was working, and I need not be distracted. Nobody does that to me, except him. "Shut up." I said. And I think he felt the more than usual amount of rudeness in that.
"Whoa. Why're you so prickly today?" He asked.
"None of your goddamn business." I answered. I had spent the previous night assessing myself, and him in me. And I need not this game to continue. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I didn't believe there was any sense about it, nor was it going anywhere, that it was a waste of time. More than that, I could still be at the losing end. And I didn't want to lose. Not anymore.
He stood up and approached me, placed his hands over my shoulders and tried to ease them. I shrugged him off with an infamous "get your hands off me", and, sensing that very evident difference in my tone, he did shrug off. And after that, I told him to get out.
I didn't want to look at him. I was scared that I could not pull it off. I had tried to start times before, but when I see his eyes, I am pushed to stop.
Naturally, he asked me what the problem was. I told him that he was the problem.
"But we were just ok yesterday."
And I told him that yesterday had passed, and there were no use comparing it with today. Everything changes, afterall. He asked me what was happening to me. I told him, that I had always been like this. That I do not want him, or anybody for that matter, to ruin my life for me. He asked me if I think he would. And I said yes.
But, as always, his head is harder than concrete. He wouldn't budge. I stood up to drive him away, and finally, stress my point. He fearlessly looked me in the eye and said, "I'd go, but first tell me what happened."
And I had no choice.
I told him everything. I told him, that all my life, if I wasn't rejected, I was used then rejected. He never knew about these things because I never want to talk about them, and back then, I didn't want him to reject me because of them. But now, I have no choice. If he couldn't hate me, I'd make him hate me.
My childhood friends always bullied me because I can never run as fast as they could, and I would always fall down. When I was in low school the bullies always saw me: in the classroom, in the corridors, in the canteen, in the court, in the shower rooms for a reason that was practically forged in my head: I looked like a girl eversince, and for that they treated me like shit. And I told him that was the reason why I was so damn mad at him for making me felt used after sleeping with me and pretending nothing happened the next day – because I had always hated how it feels to be mistreated like that. I was so much younger then. All my friends only wanted me for what I could do for them, and then forget about me the rest of the time. People make things up about me, and now, even my family rejects me.
And when I looked at him, he was crying.
He moved to approach me, but I told him to go away. I told him I don't need his pity.
I've gone through all those awful things and I am still alive. And if he was gone, it wouldn't make any difference.
"I'm sorry." He said, unclenched his fists, then calmly walked away and closed the door behind him.
And I don't know what to think or feel at that time. Somehow I was feeling better, with the burdens in me eased and him gone. But I also felt bad about it. I felt bad having to drive out that person, the only one who made me laugh. Of course I laugh with others too, but not that genuine, lasting laughter. Like I was really happy. After all, he was the only person I met that would rather tell me I'm a prick right in the face rather than pretend everything's still ok.
Was he really that significant to me now? Was I too late?
I didn't know, but he woke up the next morning with a mild fever in my roommate's bed. Surprised, I was. And then I saw a note that my friend wrote on top of my pc.
Saw him sleeping outside. Do you know how cold it was last night? You bastard.
After that, we got along a lot better. I don't know how, but he's still here, and maybe that just explains it.
I still keep that note up to this day.
On my birthday, I went to my real home with my family. But I went back to my little house the night after. I figured that I'm not so comfortable in their company…in anyone's company anymore. So I went home to spend the remaining hours of the celebration of my nativity alone.
When I arrived, the walls were all covered with posters. The kind that only existed in my side of the room. And there he was, waiting for me. Hiro. I asked him how he knew I'd be coming home that night. He said he didn't, and he was planning to wait there until the next day. I told him that my roommate would kill us both when he sees that his wall had disappeared.
He said, "Welcome your new roommate."
Somehow he managed to egg my roommate to look for a new place. How? Probably with some good cash. So there. He had his boxes and bags of things unpacked on the night of my birthday. "He told me to tell you that you're welcome." He added.
He told me he had four gifts for me, since my favorite number is four.
First were the posters. Actually I'm happy with the posters. Now my room walls are covered with them. All the series I like the most, to boot.
Then he brought out a box, covered with green glossy paper and a lime green ribbon on top. Of course, he knew that my favorite color was green. I opened the box, I saw nylon and sticks and macaroni and black…things.
I took it out. Appears to me that it's some kind of chime it doesn't make any sound though, with a framework of sticks, embellished with uncooked unpainted macaroni hung on nylon strings, forming some kind of thin curtain. In the middle hung two black paper mache figures, two dolphins that are twined with each other.
Dumbfounded, I was.
"What's this?" I asked. I was stopping myself from laughing, but i bet my face was turning red then.
I think he blushed. "Something I made." He said. "Hope you wouldn't throw it away."
I hung it on a hook in the ceiling beside the fluorescent lamp, nearly in the center of the room. He smiled.
"So, what's the third gift?" I said, teasing him.
He held out a smaller box, a tiny black velvet box with silver ribbon on top. Black and silver were the colors I liked most next to green.
I opened the box, there was a silver pendant inside. Two dolphins, twined. It reminded me of a dance. I pulled it out, and it was attached to a thin, silver chain. Very simple. "You're so cheesily old-fashioned," I laughed.
Yet I couldn't help but wonder. "What's with the dolphins?" I asked, curious.
He was more than glad to share to me the fact behind it all. He said that they were both male dolphins. When two males meet and form a special bond of their own, he said, even if one meets a female dolphin and mates with her, he would leave her after she gets pregnant. Then the male dolphin would join again with his male companion and live together. In short, when two males join together, they are inseparable. Even when one dies, the remaining one would not join any other dolphin until it dies too.
He proudly told me he learned about it on the National Geographic channel.
"Too bad we're not dolphins." I said, smiling.
He looked at me with the softest of stares, held my hand and said, "We need not be, anyway."
"And for the last gift." He said, as he turned the lights off, "Don't blush, don't blush, not just yet…" He said.
I hit him in the head.
"Since it's your birthday and all, I won't let you be submissive today." I wanted to ask him if he were really up to it, but I didn't because I felt that he really wanted to, for once.
That night was the first time openly admitted, said, as clear as broad daylight, that well…he does love me. And it was also the first time that I got a chance to be Top. Totally queer gifts from an equally queer person.
Not that I want to, but at least he'd offered to play the harder part that day. But now, I think about it, it's not too bad that I'm Bottom. At least he gets to do the work for me. All the work.
Morning after, he woke up earlier than me as usual. He tried to get up to get me some breakfast, but after a few movements, he lay down beside me again. I almost laughed.
"Don't worry." I said. "I'd bring you breakfast in bed instead."
He kissed me in the forehead he loves doing that any chance he gets and says, "Now I love you more than yesterday."
I just shook my head, told him to shut up, and got up. All the while when I was in the kitchen I'd hear him cursing at himself. I definitely know why. Then his cursing would always be followed by apologies to me. Guess he never really knew how physically painful it was, until then.
Hiro has this gift for drawing. I had noticed it some years back, when he saw me drawing and have shown me some of his stuff. So, we kinda helped each other out. I taught him the things I knew, and, uh, we just helped each other out. So now, after some years of practice, he's really good, but not as good as me he would always add. But hell, he could color and I could not, he even knows how to water color when all I could do is black and white. He would just say that it shows our difference in personality and nothing more.
So, one time, I asked him to draw me because I got a request, and I felt awkward having to draw myself. Ok, so he did I've drawn him a couple of times myself, one in his braids, and the other, he used chopsticks to hold his hair up. He's just so weird. He didn't show it to me, and said I should wait till I see it on my online art page. So, ok. It was a chibi version of me, wearing his oversized green t-shirt with my hair sticking up. I remember where he got it – the one time I woke up, and he was in the couch, and he laughed and shouted "adorable!" (with maybe an XDXDXD too?) because I wore his shirt instead by mistake and I was holding my pillow and basically I just looked haggard because I forgot to remove my ponytail when we slept.
I just hit him in the head. I never removed the drawing in my page, though. It looked pretty good. It had a signature on the corner that said "Hiro" followed by a small heart.
I had to go home to my family for Christmas Eve of course. He was left there, alone, with the assurance that I'd come back early the next day. If anyone would see that pouting face when he said he didn't want to be alone on Christmas Eve, they'd swear to come back early morning the next day.
But, something came up. It was a couple of hours before midnight and I wanted to go home. I don't exactly remember the reason why, I just remember them all at home treating me like some sort of disease, and I wanted to go away. Hah. So, me and my mood swings went home to our little house.
I opened the door, there he was, the great Hiro Takayama, sitting on the couch facing the sole wall clock on the house, looking utterly, utterly wasted.
"Yo. What's happening to you?" I called.
"Can't believe you came back. What happened?" He said, his eyes similar to the eyes of a puppy. If only he had a tail, it could have been wagging violently by then.
I pointed at myself. "Am a deadly, incurable, disgusting epidemic at home."
"Aww." He said, not at all looking even a bit serious. Bullying me, as usual. "I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR THIS SINCE YOU WENT!" He announced proudly, before standing up and sprinting to the kitchen.
And fast before I could even say "idiot", dinner was served.
I gotta hand it to him, that man.
While we were eating complete with the cheesy candles and those stuff which he wouldn't put away no matter how much I threaten his life, somebody knocked. I stood up, walked to the door, and then opened it.
A tall man, dressed in coat and tie, holding a piece of paper in his hand, smiled at me.
"Good evening, sir. What can I do for you?" I asked, in my normal voice.
"Uh, good evening." The man answered. "Is Hiro Takayama living here?"
"Please come in." I said, letting him in. the moment he entered, Hiro practically jumped from his seat and gave the person a big bear hug.
And me? I was dumbfounded.
Hiro told me that the person was his father. Ohhh. So again, I greeted Hiro's dad, then proceeded to the dining area to add another plate on the table. Then, I invited them both to resume dinner.
Well, I must say, that Hiro's dad is much like him. He laughed a lot, and looked really carefree that's why I didn't think he was his dad, he didn't look so old. We had a chance to chat at dinner, and we talked about many things, about Hiro, mostly.
We talked about how Hiro always came home looking haggard from school when he was young, how he cried quietly whenever his dad told him they needed to transfer to another place again, how he insisted to cook although he didn't know how to, how he complained about his height when he was younger saying he was feeling so different from his classmates, and those stuff. I just smiled the whole conversation, making gestures of agreement and sometimes adding things myself. Actually, I was amused at how his dad sounded really comfortable talking to me.
I remember his father smiling at him and saying, "Now I see why you didn't want to leave anymore." Hiro just smiled at me. His dad once offered me to call him 'dad' as well, but I declined the offer. I don't know why it sounded awkward. Hahah. His father also commended me for my manners, saying that my parents must be proud for such a son. I laughed, remembering that Hiro told me the same thing once before. Guess they just were a lot alike.
Christmas Eve was not so bad. And Hiro seemed very happy too, because he wasn't alone that evening. And we got to give candy to the little children in the morning together, as I promised.
Now, I'm pretty much contented with my life, and it is needless to say that I'm also pretty much pampered. I love getting tired, sometimes even taking my physical limitations for granted for the sake of it. But, with Hiro around, it's worth it.
Damn screwed, Hiro might say, but it's who I am. And he had long given up trying to scold me for tiring myself too much. Now, he could do nothing more but give me a good rubbing, or a good dinner, or sometimes just stay awake there, in his bed as he watches me work when there's nothing he could do to help. It may not be much, but I appreciate it. Sometimes he'd even take himself for granted in virtually every way you could think of if he knows I'm tired, and sometimes I think that's one of the reasons why I like wearying myself so much.
I remember one time he gave me a bath because I was too tired to stand up, but I ranted so much because I don't want to sleep all dirty and sweaty in my clothes. And, one time, embarrassing as it may seem, I gave him a lay even if I knew I was tired I suddenly felt guilty for neglecting him so much because I was still hyper, and in the morning, he told me I fell asleep. Yup, I fell asleep right then and there, with me unfinished and him unfinished and still going at it. All I could say was an "aww, I'm sorry."
That is just as about as embarrassing as it could get. (Cue nervous laughter.)
Now, sometimes even I wonder why I couldn't possibly even think of getting rid of him, no matter how annoying he may get, how terribly stupid he may seem, or how absurdly weird our relationship is. Funny.
Hiro is the one person who knows just what to say. He's the only person who could guess what I'm thinking even if I'm not talking, the only person who does what I want him to do and knows what he needs to do. He knows just how to hold me, how to make me feel cared for, how to comfort my screaming brain, where to touch me, when to annoy me, and all those stuff. And with all that given, I feel it's not fair because I don't exert as much effort as him when it comes to knowing each other. As of the moment, I'm still training.
Which could only mean that I want to make it mutual. I guess.
So the weeks came and went, and I'm here, still alive, he's there, still alive, and there's us, still very much alive. It's amazing how time flies, and it's amazing how much we've come to reach. Seems that my insecurities are fading away with time, and the thing left is the hope that I'm doing the right thing. We've never had any real arguments lately, and he has come to accept the fact that I date other girls proudly saying that I don't really mean to do anything with them and I'm just being polite. One pompous prick, that man. Even more than me, at times. And, much to my bewilderment, he's been turning down all his date requests since when, which has sent some rumors flying around, but he says he doesn't really care.
On Valentine's Day, nothing much was up if only for an annoying boy annoying the annoyed crap out of me. He's been on my tail the whole day, watching me and taking me for a fool to not notice he is. Why must it always be me? Boy was I pissed. I just went out for a long solitary walk home to pass my mood off. It was tiring, but it was worth it. But, things got a little nicer at home. And yeah, I am a bluff, so the threat to never talk to him again and kill myself if he gave me flowers was all bluff, too. First he gave me a single long-stemmed rose. I accepted it half-heartedly, telling him I was uncomfortable. He grinned, then asked me if I'm not angry. I said no, I just feel stupid having received flowers and a rose too, to boot from a man. And because I told him I wasn't angry, he brought out a whole bouquet of roses. Hah. Smartass.
And I just felt like grabbing the chance to make it up to him other than in the room (cough), so I prepared dinner for us because I haven't got him anything but I know he understands my unthoughtfulness and unsentimentality which is all-out unfair but hell.
He had a wonderful night, he said, and I've given him a very beautiful gift which really made him happy. I hope you don't mind me sharing. I had him sit in front of me on the couch, the TV turned off, no music, just the quiet of our mini house. I told him to close his eyes. I cradled his face in my hands, and put my face nearer to his, both of us already feeling our breathing in each other's face, and we just stayed like that for quite some time. My hands roamed his face, then I kissed him in the forehead, his cheeks, his nose, his jaw, his chin, and at the corner of his lips in slow, feathery contact. I had dreamed of doing that sometime in my earlier years, and I never thought it would be him I'd do it to. He was smiling then, and it was such a sweet smile. Then I whispered in his ear my "happy valentines."
He just held me all night.
Maybe…a friend of mine is right when she told me that maybe I'm indeed having something going on with Hiro, that I'm having these 'fluffy feelings' for him. Well, maybe. Maybe that's why I feel so guilty when I do something awful to him, or when I'm being exceedingly rude, or when I'm neglecting him, or when I think he deserves more than what I trade him for. Well, maybe.
That night, we also had the chance to talk about this fickle thing that I can't seem to wrap my brain around. I told him what the situation was – that maybe there's this care I want to give him, that maybe it's getting deeper, but I still don't know. Perhaps, I'm still not sure. Perhaps, I'm still not ready. One of my most hated things is commitment, and he understood that. I told him that maybe I'm still not ready for the responsibility, and I'm still not ready for the demands of this new thing I'd be in. I'm still scared of failing us both, because I don't want either of us to hurt. Which makes perfect sense to me.
He held me, saying that he is thankful that I tried to talk to him about it, because he knew I'm not at all good with conversations and talking about personal things. He told me to hold that 'fucking L word' according to him for now, and it was the best valentine's ever. I hit him in the head and told him I'm not some lame girl who would fall for those kinda compliments. He laughed.
Actually, with all honesty, I am scared out of my wits. I'm really scared of that 'fucking L word'. I don't know why. Sometimes I still shiver whenever I hear that word from him. Funny, but hey, just keeping it real.
I wonder if he's getting tired, having to go through all these things for the sake of keeping us together. I can't help but trusting him that he really wants to do it, otherwise, he'd given up long before, when things were not going as smooth as this. He told me one time, that the only thing that frustrates him is that he couldn't dance with me the way couples do. I told him that we could always dance here, in our sacred little heaven, but he wouldn't go for it. He told me he'd always wanted to hold my hand in public too. Actually, I get the point. He's looking forward to the day we could brave the world outside this heaven together. Well, maybe, someday.
I've been busy these past few days, and as usual, he's been berating me and nagging me about abusing myself too much, he even gave a threat that he'd actually hit me unconscious if that's the only thing he could do to make me sleep, but he failed again as always. Silly Hiro. But now, at least, I'm having a short vacation, and he's very happy about it.
He's having a shower right about now, and I think he's calling me.