September 22, 2006

Youngblood Article

Drama to. Sorry, i have no time to reformat. JoTy forwarded this story.

My place

TODAY, I will attend an execution: my own. I will watch it with
both eyes open and I will not cry. I will not break down
just because the man I have loved since forever will marry someone
else. I will watch
him promise himself to a woman who will never love him like I have.
will watch them bind themselves to a vow I should have taken.

I have loved Oliver almost all my life. I have known him since I
saved his six-year-old hide from a bully named Ricardo who wanted
rid him of his two yellowed front teeth. I was five at the time,
having grown with five older brothers and a hellion of a sister,
``Totoy Cardo'' was a piece of cake.

Oliver was so overcome with embarrassment at having a girl to
his scrawny neck that from that time on he made it a point to be
rescuer, not the rescued.

As time passed, muscles filled out this lanky frame and those two
front teeth began to sparkle. He combs his hair, and he takes a
daily now. In short, he has become a fine specimen of manhood.

The best part is, he lived up to his promise: he became my self-
appointed guardian (well, I don't know if that's the best or the
worst part). He was just always there, sticking to me like glue. It
used to drive me nuts that he never let me out of his sight.

When I was 12, I ran from the infirmary on my way home. I had found
out in the most humiliating way that I had become a woman: there
a big red stain on the back portion of my skirt. The jeers and the
taunts followed me through the school corridors.

Oliver dashed after me and offered to accompany me home. I
of course. He seemed to understand my discomfiture and promised to
drop later with the things left in school.

When I reached home I was told that I needed to jump three times on
the stairs (which I did) and to wash my face with my blood (which I
didn't do).

Oliver dropped by in the afternoon, sporting a black eye and a
on his arm. When I asked him what happened, he said he had walked
into a closed door. I believed him. But a few days later, minus the
dysmennorhea, I found out that Oliver got into fisticuffs because
some guy made a disgusting remark about me.

Nobody had ever fought for me before that. And when you're 12 and
discussing in class how King Arthur and fairest of them all,
Lancelot, fought for Guinevere's love, you tend to get ideas. I
Oliver then.

When we were in high school and I found out that the school's
heartthrob and one of my most ardent suitors, Richard, was involved
with a bustier girl, it was to Oliver that I ran. When I didn't
graduate as valedictorian and I got so drunk, it was Oliver who
me home. He didn't even mind that I barfed all over his dad's car
(which he borrowed without permission). When I decided to go to UP
and he went to Ateneo, we celebrated by partying. When I lost my
in a car accident, he took care of everything. When my dad followed
my mom less than a year later after a heart attack, he was there

By this time he was an appendage of my life. He used to check out
guys I came to know. Nobody dared to get serious with me--not when
Oliver had a black belt.

I didn't know how to define our relationship. I didn't know what we
were. We definitely were more than friends, better even than best
friends. It was like we were a couple, but formally not one. We did
all the things that couples did like hang out and neck but always
stopped when things got too hot. Since we never defined what we
to each other, we never said ``I love you'' or whatever serious
couple told each other. As a result, I remained a chaste princess
while my prince caroused and sowed wild oats, but still had the
energy to monitor my movements.

I didn't mind. After all, I was so sure we'd end up together. I
always thought that in the end, it would be us. I loved him. I
managed to convince myself that he loved me (what else
could it be?). Little did I know that love doesn't conquer all, it
only conquers the weak.

I didn't think he'd be so stupid as to get a girl pregnant on the
same night they met at a party. I didn't think he'd be so stupid as
to forget to use some form of contraception. After all, he had
me a lecture on safe sex. And I didn't think he'd be so stupid as
marry the girl.

But maybe I forgot that after all he was a man, and men have been
known to be stupid about these things. Their brain is located in a
region other than between the ears.

What could I do? Kicking him in the groin and punching him in the
seemed like a good idea then. Don't blame me; he was the one who
enrolled me in a self-defense course. But I did not feel better.
Seeing him bent over in pain only made me angrier. I wasted my life
for this lousy excuse of a man? I could not believe it!

I wanted nothing more than to run to him and beg him to wake me up
from the stupid dream. I wanted him to take me some place where we
didn't know anybody. No pain, no memory, no humiliation. I wanted
just forget it ever happened but since I flunked in the School for
Martyrs, I couldn't, for the life of me pretend, it didn't happen.
couldn't pretend he didn't hurt me. I couldn't pretend everything
fine and dandy and exactly the way it was before.

We didn't talk for a month. For both of us who were practically
inseparable, that was like an eternity. I ducked into corners
whenever I would see him. I wouldn't take his calls. I wouldn't see
him. And for some time hate was my reason for getting up in the
morning, for breathing, for living. Hate and I became good friends.

``God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them but to cleanse
them,'' somebody once wrote. I didn't want to be cleansed. I just
wanted to drown in pain and misery and utter desolation. I wanted
wallow in the dark and deep pit of despair.

I know a thousand and one clich├ęs that say this can be a blessing
that I should be thankful. But thankful is the last thing I'm
right now. I've always thought that there are three kinds of women:
those who break, those who mend and those who are broken
Before this hit me, I assumed that I belonged to the first or
category. Now I know I'm in the third--so hurt and broken up

My grandmother used to say that there is nothing you can do about
pain when it gives you a silly grin except grin right back. All I
could manage was a wry smile, a killer headache and the worst
hangover the day before his wedding. Evidence of that is the
disgusting sight of mashed potatoes and barbecue, thrown up not
meters away from where I was lying prostrate on the floor and the
awful stench of cigarette on my hair.

Frankly I don't want to go. I want to wallow in misery in my messy
room, crying, retching and stinking, surrounded with Michael Learns
to Rock (whose songs are dedicated to the broken-hearted) CDs. But
have to go and attend the wedding. I have to bathe and prepare and
put on that atrocious peach (it's not even my color!) gown. I'm not
doing it for the groom, my one true friend and love, Oliver.
am I doing it for the bride, my younger sister, Sandra, who needs
I'm doing it for my unborn niece who has the great fortune of
me as her aunt.

Call me stupid, but I've always known my place. If it isn't beside
the man I was destined to marry, if it isn't behind my sister, who
will take his name, wear his ring and bear him a child, then it
be with my niece, cradled close to my heart so that she will know
both of our love.


SC, 22, teaches at a private school in Cagayan de Oro City while taking up postgraduate studies.

1 comment:

caramel cream said...

This is one of my favorites in the first edition of the Youngblood collection. Really sad. Stupid guy, dammit!

hehe affected ba masyado?