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When I Googled “what do you do when you’re lonely?”, I knew I had it bad. Having scanned halfway through the generic ‘go out – meet people – indulge – solicitate prostitutes – volunteer in a soup kitchen – masturbate 35x a day’ responses, I heard the alarms of my own sanity, telling me how this is all an exercise in futility. Come on, if the internet had the answer to everything, we all wouldn’t be this deep in shit. We would be all deliriously happy, holding hands and skipping merrily and no amount of premium, grade-A crack will ever match the high. The interwebs will be our cyber-nirvana, and nobody will ever get off of it.

Loneliness. Its a fairly new thing for me. I’ve heard of it, sure, from other people. Some, even going crazy on its account. Personally, it is only now that I am experiencing it first-hand in all my 25 years. I’m basically a happy kid. So yeah.

I actually didn’t identify it as what it is. I tagged it ‘disconnection’ to everything and everyone else. It wasn’t until I was online and saw a photo of Macaulay Culkin (don’t ask what kind of kiddie porn site I was on — i forgot already) and saw how cute he was in ‘Home Alone’ that it dawned on me that my feeling of disconnection was actually just, yeah, loneliness. Its actually not that bad, I mean, some people I see on tv (mostly on Dr. Phil and Oprah and The Biggest Loser) have it as young as 8. So at 25, this is actually pretty normal. I should actually be happy, come to think of it.

But I’m not holding a banner saying so, or doing that stupid happy dance that I do. Because, to be really honest, this blows. Major suck, I’m telling ya. My internet browser history will attest to that. How did I come to this? I might not be the popular girl back then, but I have accumulated a group of friends whose detestable traits are compensated by their talent, bitchiness and love for alcohol and several illegal substances. But then, life happened. We grew up. And with that, came growing apart.

Oh. Bridget Jones’ Diary in on. The ‘The Hours’ of Lonely Women. The ‘Pretty in Pink’ of Girls Who Got Grounded on Prom Night. Holy.Fucking.God.

Well, not so long ago, I made a pact with myself to generally just weed out people who wear negativity as part of their wardrobe from our life. And look where it got me. Great going, Grace. But then again, as I told a friend (who’s a million miles away), I am not afraid to be lonely if the alternative is being with somebody who doesn’t really care.  I don’t want a friend who doesn’t give a flying fuck about me. I am in a country where they say finding someone you can trust even to lend 100 bucks is a task so unbelievably daunting you will have better luck winning the lottery. Im sure that wouldn’t help.

If there is one thing that..

that…

that…

Bloody wanker. I forgot what I was gonna say. Damn movie and Beer. They Always Have This Effect of Nauseating Forgetfulness And Inappropriate Capitalisation of Initial Letters On Me.

So.

I’m lonely and shit like that. If you wanna grab coffee or something, send me a PM. If you make it worth my while, you might get yourself a nice acquiantance in me. It’s pathetic and I’m not even kidding. No perverts please. And, I can give you a ride, but you buy your own coffee.

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Untitled 05

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Lorenzo “Ren” Derevko —superstar and super bastard. The son of Italy’s most powerful Mafioso by a Russian actress who harbors the thought that no name is better than her actor father insisted that her sons use them as screen names (because somehow she knew she will have nothing but sons and that they will all be famous), he dreams of becoming a chef, a strip club owner, and to bed as much women as humanly possible. Of all these, he fulfilled the last one. At 29, he’s the most coveted print ad model of all of Venice (thanks to the stolen shots arranged by his mother), owner of two Ferrari’s, and bedded most of Italy’s beauty (for he prefers his toys brainless). He has never had successive dates with the same woman for he says that he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He’s smart, all right, but he’s too lazy to indulge himself with such tedious work.

His life has no direction, not even the vaguest plot.

One hot night, he was kidnapped, beaten to the pulp, and the next thing he knew, he’s in America, clothed with the ugliest hospital gown he ever saw, penniless. After being booted out of the hospital because apparently they needed his bed for other patients, he wandered in the streets of New York, disoriented, trying to figure out what happened to his fairy tale world, his fairy tale family, and his fairy tale sex life. He tried to con people into treating him to a Russian restaurant he saw (in a manner like when he tries to lure her women to bed), but who would give an Armani-clad, supermodel type free lunch?  No one in freaking New York.

Being his mother’s favorite son, he was the perfect opportunity that passed Donato Giambelli’s way to avenge his loss of a beautiful but cunning Irina, who saw more promise in marrying a powerful Italian Mafioso than a struggling actor. His father, on the other hand, is the known Giancarlo Medicci, lord of Italy’s feared Family, wondered who would be taking over their restaurant chain which is by the way, the front to their drug-dealing activities (they import their drugs with their veggies). Giambelli had Lorenzo thrown to America, made up a letter saying that he needed to find himself, things about personal space, make up his dreams, blah, blah, blah, because he knows that however Pilar would be hurt and want to be with his son, she would respect his decision and hope for his happiness and not go looking for him anymore.

Disoriented from hunger, with a killer headache, and with the skies threatening to pour, he entered the first door where most likely he would be able to get out breathing. The Russian restaurant that saved him and his Armani suit is owned, managed, and has its kitchen dominated by Theodosia Markov, a Russian immigrant who desperately needs a cook for Dyakuyu (Russian word for thank you). Ren, tried out and got immediate employment, thanks to his mother’s chicken kiev recipe, the only Russian dish he knows (all others are Italian). His chicken kiev was a success that Theodosia asked him to cook other Russian dishes, but all tasted Italian, for he was a trained Italian chef. From here, the plot revolves around Ren’s fulfillment of all the things that he never intended of doing. He learned life, love, sex techniques, recipes, divorce laws, writing a Chinese stop-short, how to negotiate with hostage takers and all other things he needs to know from Theodosia, the patrons of the diner, and his own experiences never to have taken place if he was in Italy.

After a year, Pilar finally gave in to Giancarlo’s plea of finding Ren (he convinced her because his other son, Vitorio, who was managing the restaurant for the family was very bad in math and was slowly bankrupting their business, was killed in a plane crash (he was squished by bananas he personally ordered from South Korea)).

But before they could start looking for Ren, he was back in Italy (he saved his earnings up from Dyakuyu for a business class ticket) with Theodosia.

At dinner with his family, he asked if they have an idea who would dare touch anyone of them but his family couldn’t think of anyone. But because of the outcome of that incident, he thought that there would be no point at knowing.

As they were chatting away, Ren asked Pilar if she had heard of the death of the famous actor Donato Giambelli. Pilar answered yes and added that Donato has been her second favorite boyfriend, next to their father. She also mentioned what a fine man he was for he left his fortune to a charity that rehabilitates alcoholics who were dumped by their girlfriends.

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September 7, 2009 Leave a comment

I feel an abstract sort of explosion
As I read a sequence of epic battle in your eyes
Mines of reds and blues and violets
Mash-up with the notions of the past eight years.

Money well remains flowing
Energies keep on consuming
Avalanche of fire in the distance
Why the hell aren’t we burning up?

In the blaze, I’m wondering what we lost
But instead I saw that I have found a new playground
And in the corner, a seesaw of odds.

Then I realised I am ready.
We are the ones who most often surprise ourselves.

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It was 4 in the afternoon on the first day of Ramadan. And she’s already drunk.

She’ll take her buzz wherever she can. Gossip websites are her favourite, but when she’s too lazy to read, she’ll just pop a beer (or five) and get on with whatever she’s on to, usually just staring into open space while imaging the downfall of the latest person to steal her thunder or the life she could never have. Nothing beats self-inflicted deprecation so early into the night.

She’s crazy and feeling, yet remaining lethargic for fear of overexposure. For the feeling she harbours is unacceptable by social norms, and more so, too grotesque that even she herself vomits in the inside so inexplicably at the very thought of it. She’s in love.

Never had she acquired the flair for the dramatics, but today, of all days, she is eroded by the very emotions that she tried to drown, with beer, with cheap gossip and with every bit of sense left existing in her sordid little mind.

Meryl Streep was crying on the tube when she too found herself in tears. She longed for something more expensive, sophisticated, and mature than beer.

But, alas, she found none.

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He hated animal rights activists. He hated their self-righteousness and their pompous hypocrisy. He imagined asking the fucking retards what they’ll do if they’re stuck in a island with a pig with no food whatsoever, and he imagines further the lot to sanctimoniously whip out their standard issue research from their umbrella organisation or whoever the fuck is the lobbyist behind their movement and read out to him the fucking Miranda rights of a weasel or a honey bee. At this point, he can almost savour the pleasure of bitchslapping their hallowed bodies (from eating not so much as a couple of sticks of lemon grass and carrots) and hogtying them in his basement, and when they’re almost starved to death, dangling a nice tender piece of roast in front of their faces. It is at this point that he makes them choose between eating the meat or their fucking ideology.

***

He drove past the rallying mob, whose placards sashay in the air like heavy drapes covering the view of the pristine ocean and the glorious bouncing boobs that make his office in this waterfront building so goddamned expensive. Missing one of the punks with the ‘Save the Seals’ poster by an inch, he quickly parked his Lexus in the shaded space allotted for the Senior VP, who is not him; however, he is not taking the chance of one of those over informed junkies throwing their dead cat dummies and messing his newly waxed convertible. He’ll deal with the SVP at lunch.

***

He was never one for sympathy. The day his dad suffered a massive coronary back when he was in college, he was sitting at the ER waiting room with his mother and brother. He felt dread… and confusion. But not sympathy – not for his mother, not for his brother, not even for his father who at that moment was being sliced open as a result of years of bathing his insides with oil and alcohol.

Its not that he chose to be that way, no. As a matter of fact, sympathy was a foreign concept that continues to baffle him. He knew it exists, but never can he claim, if for the purpose of this narrative he will be asked, that he once felt sympathy for another human being. He was polite (when necessary), but never actually sympathetic.

He greeted her secretary and did a double take at her sumptuous ass. Could they have grown overnight or is there a little buttpad action going on there? These vixens drive him mad sometimes. He knows if he doesn’t play his cards right, these scheming mongrels can bite off his head clean faster than he can say…

“Good morning RNF!” (the SVP). I took your parking slot this morning, I hope you don’t mind. It’s only until your car gets back from this new car spiff joint that one of my clients opened this weekend. Heard one of the valet boys he’s about to take your ride for a wash, and I sent him there. You should see the exquisite job they did on my car blah, blah, blah…

***

That was the day he blew his brains out using the scrubbed .45 he nicked from his neighbour’s punk kid, who’s been using their empty dog cage to stash his stolen goods from all over the neighbourhood. He came to know about it after he caught the teenage deadbeat scurrying about his backyard when his dad sold him the cage for some quick booze bucks.

That day was particularly calm, eerily so, that the screech of tires against the pavement sounded like it was on Dolby Digital from the park bench he was sitting on, calmly eating is salami and jalapeno sandwich lunch. Looking at him from afar, one can easily pass him off as the generic corporate slave who sips expensive chino in the morning, take hasty, unsatisfying lunches at the park on slow days, and occasionally dines on expensive tiny food portions at swanky hotel restaurants that is often paid for by others. All his life, he had been cheery, and though he had his moments of melancholy, he was never generally thought of as the suicidal type.

Except, of course, he was.

***

Keeping up with the façade he put up in the image of what a man of his age, stature and breeding is supposed to be, he walked, talked, gossiped, worked, fornicated, bargained and dined with people who never even really had an idea that a façade of that sort was in existence. He was sad a lot of times, but what really ate at him was the loneliness, although he never even had a wanting for physical company. The irony of it all often left him dumfounded, until eventually, all he ended up really wanting was for everything to stop existing.

He made a decision, one that, for once, he was happy to make.

And obviously, he doesn’t want your fucking sympathy.

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December 11, 2008 Leave a comment

As she waited a split second for the whizzing click from her digital SLR, a barrage of raw images keep loop-playing on her head, like a pirated CD that got stuck in some sad little piece of lyric from an old love song. Her eyes and hands are simply not fast enough to capture each astonishing moment, made sacred by its fleetingness and the reckless abandon as a manner upon which they were conceived. Everything is so unabashedly beautiful, but nonetheless reachable, like a supernova explosion of dazzling lights and colours that originate from the orbs that are the eyes of each and every soul present in the snaking streets of Quiapo.

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The kid was bawling her eyes out for her broken slippers, abused and beaten to a pulp by her scrawny feet that have walked the miles, which will make my own Havaianas-clad feet inundated with shame. She felt a certain ache at the pit of her gut, which was followed by a startling discovery that this might be the purest manifestation of loss she has ever laid her eyes on, making her feel lightheaded and stunned and sick and amused at her sheltered existence and her befuddled reaction to it. She walked towards the kid, but caught herself before asking the tot to come with her to the nearby store to get a new pair, lest she be accused of kidnapping or worse, being a sexual predator. Instead, she handed over a 50-peso bill, hoping that it will be enough for a new and sturdier pair of Spartan’s, a hot soup from the corner ‘gotohan’, and relief for her own denigrating self-disgust.

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Passing by the line-up of fortune tellers, she was tempted to burn a few bucks to ask the stars above how she would be and other mundane questions she will come up with, for which she will later on feel so stupid for, outside of the fact that she had asked a completely clueless fucking stranger about a life, which she herself is having trouble understanding. She went on.

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Now feeling a weird knot forming on her stomach, which may be due to the funky-looking buko juice from the makeshift cart littered at the landing of the Hidalgo side of the underpass, or a skipped breakfast, she headed towards the corn-on-the-cob joint manned by a meek-eyed boy of around 15, 16 years. She was greeted by the tantalizing aroma of the bulk of sticky corn ears that seem to have absorbed all the sunshine in the world, and are now basking in a pool of salty goodness. ‘Magkano?’, she asked the boy. ‘Tatlo sampu ate’, he answered. As she looked up after rummaging her purse for spare change, she saw the boy running away in a frenzied hurry, and it was only then that she recognised the group of sinister-looking policemen heading towards her (and the boy’s) general direction. The boy was already a couple of metres away from her, and it was only then – as if she has just awoken from a straight-from-the-movies dream – that she ran after the poor thing to give him his ten bucks. Then, she turned and was in an instant eye-to-eye with one lanky officer who looks a bit uncomfortable terrorizing the vendors with threats and a constant waving of yantok sticks. For a solitary moment, she heard him crying for help.

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Amidst the sea of devotees of the Black Nazarene (it was a Friday), she waded through the throngs of maroon-clad men and women who perpertually mumble under their breaths, effortlessly creeping her out. They all seemed miserable in their pretend holiness, and what she would love if for them to be struck down by lightning and be branded in their foreheads: RELIGIOUS OFFENDER. They approach the church’s majestic gates as the gloomy cloud of impending rain threathened the burning afternoon outside, and she can hear the kids playing at the mouth of the cathedral holler, “ayan na ang mga manang, takbo!”. One of the kids has burnt his foot on a live cigarette butt on the hot pavement, but he didn’t dare stop and be in the way of the high and mighty authorities of Quaipo’s holy kingdom.

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As she will herself against buying a small pack of smokes, (she’s quit for some time now) she revels in the life that is all around her hitting her in a speed that can knock her out if she takes one small misstep. She wants to beat herself up for she feels that she has missed out, she’s not good enough, and she’s stunned so easily. Yet in the centre of her wallowing in self pity and inadequacy, she was surprised to learn that peace had completely enveloped her. In that moment, at that step in the Echague rivulet of the Quaipo underpass where she stood, she felt peace like she’s never had before.

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Prologue

September 17, 2008 Leave a comment

I feel the need to smoke, something stronger than a cigarette, if you please. I am sitting here, pretending to do an honest day’s work, and all i can think of is how I am not in a place where everything is dark, and where pretentions, including my own, are dead.

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