Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Party Party!

Christmas. It’s here. Just when I turned my head away to focus on the flurry of yearend work, it ambushed me like it was no one’s business. It came faster than the MRT. And I snowballed with it as well. I was dreading it. All the stress, all the traffic, all the hassle... I was just really looking for ward to the break... both the Christmas break and a break from the Christmas rush. But it was not meant to be that easy. Christmas sent its advanced party.

I spent my first Christmas party with Yoga for Life. As usual, yogic stuff is far from the usual. The potluck was mind-boggling, it’s never easy for a meat-eater like me to figure out what he could bring for a vegetarian feast. So as I came from work, I shuffled through the mall and settled for some monggo bread. No meat in that, for sure. Rush, rush, rush. I made it to the venue with time to spare.

Not content with just partying hearty, we started with a short yoga practice. Then just as we got totally calmed down, our Yogi Bear and Babe snapped us out of it. It was time to party! I believe it helped that we went through the World AIDS Day thingy the week before. Dramatic as it was for some, it was an icebreaker for sure. A bonding experience. So for the Christmas party, everyone seemed game.

Game, indeed. Games, in fact. There was Paint Me A Picture. A yoga version of Newspaper Dance. Bring Me for items like a pair of underwear on your head, 5-centavo coins, and condoms, which, ahem, I handily got a prize for. And then of course, probably the most fitting yoga game, Twister. Woohoo for me and the four others who they couldn’t knock down! The energetic night was capped off with some take home gifts and an attack at all the meatless but scrumptious food. Kudos to them who organized it and the sponsors who supported it. This party just set the bar.

By that weekend, another one was lined up. Our work party this time. Not knowing people from our sister company, the tacky cowboy theme, the required production number, and the 3:00 pm start all made me less enthusiastic, honestly. But it was something I wouldn’t be allowed to pass up, but only because I got assigned to be the host... Geez, I know, this is the 2nd year in a row that they’ve gone for this admittedly anti-social host... Oi. So I gathered all the kapal-muks I had, borrowed a cowboy hat from my hubby, practiced a dance, and prepared early, and I was good to go.

With ceremonies like a wish balloon release, a holy mass, and photo ops with our big boss, this was certainly more formal that I’d need. I don’t know what happens, but I get drowned in shame and stage fright, and then I turn into a host. Go figure. I don’t know what exactly it takes, but I watch my words somehow, and just okray away, and voila! So with the exchange gift, variety show, raffle, a couple of shots of something I don’t know, and an abundance of my most favorite food, the party actually wasn’t so bad.

Next on the calendar was a couple of parties and gatherings at the RITM. Now these were the ones I was least enthusiastic about. The record of seemingly soulless partying of recent past. The threat of nega-monsters. Having work. The distance. The sleepover. Having to leave the Lil Bastard behind. I had all the excuses. Even the attempt at making it “in memory of Papi” couldn’t get me to go. A no is a no. Sorry.

Instead, we had gotten into putting together a little gathering of our own. A gathering of my pozzie posse. I don’t know why I seem to get myself into it every time, but I was secretariat again. I’m not exactly the kunsentidor of the group, maybe the matriarch, at least. Fine, so I disseminated the invites. It was my pozzie family, "plus plus". "Plus plus" because in the past year, some of them have managed to get hitched or have their own pozzie babies that not everyone knew yet. So it was a celebration of a year since the original group first got together, pre-Christmas, and was going to be a reunion-slash-inventory. Hehe.

As a group that began with us northerners, it was but befitting that it once again come home to the north. So it was set, meet at the local mall at 6:00 pm. I had gotten confirmations, but didn’t really have a good picture until people started trickling in. Me and BFF GreenFrog, Trese with adopted kiddos Pozzieboy and ThisHeartIsStillBeating, O and his hubby, my grandson APositivePointOfView, W, BFF’s latest kiddo, another fellow northerner RecordBreaker, BruskoBoi, and two of my own kiddos. We were far from being complete, but 14 was an achievement, I must say.

It was a good mix. Some of us who’ve been years old with HIV, and some newbies. I really believe it helps to be exposed to others in the same situation but in a normal setting. And normal it was. Dinner at a Japanese restaurant, and videoke after. Not everyone was a singer, but singing was not the only thing there was to do. There was dancing, joking around, catching up, chatting on. I was so happy, that I wanted to be seated at a vantage point where I could see how everyone was having fun. This may just be the start of a yearly gig for us.

Just this past Wednesday, Yoga for Life went for an unplanned part two. There was a mix-up at the venue, which left us without one, so definitely, yoga practice was out. I was ready to head on home, but they thought we could make do with what we had. My favorite doctor advocate played host to all of us, twelve thereabouts, feasting on pizza, brownies and chocolates, and stopping for an educational yoga video.

The highlight of the evening was all the sex talk. With all us gay guys at our soon-to-be-wed Yogi Babe’s fingertips, there was no reason to be shy about anything, not even sex and all. We were curious about her, she was curious about us. Hehe. The taboo, with all of the laughing, giggling and roughhousing, really turned it into a Christmas party part two for us, and bridal shower part two, a gay version, for her. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.

So there, deny as I may that I’m not ready for Christmas, the party-party mode has certainly taken its toll. A good one at that.

So let me take this opportunity to greet each and everyone a Merry Christmas! Party hard, party safe, party on, and just PAR-TAY!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goodbye for Now

Every time I hear that a fellow pozzie passes away, I just thank the heavens that it’s not anyone I know personally, especially not one of my poz posse. I know it’s harsh to think that way, but I won’t lie. And every time, I wonder how it would feel if it was one of my little poz family to go. It’s a question I can’t answer, or am just avoiding altogether. But it is bound to happen. It has always been bound to happen. And recently, it just did. I lost someone from my pozzie family.

It was Monday early morning, around 1:00 am I think. I awoke to my mobile phone ringing. I was still groggy and actually missed the call. I tried to peek through blurry eyes at who called, and realized I had an unread message as well. It was E. Bitch, patay na si Papi. Nasaksak siya. What the?! He must be kidding. E can be such a joker.

Then my phone began ringing again. It was E’s kid, Lil Jenny’s boyfriend. I answered. I sensed panic in his voice. He told me to remain calm. Wala na si Papi. I sighed deeply. He passed the phone to Lil Jenny, who was sobbing. Mami, wala na si Papi. Shit... so is it true?

I don’t know how exactly I felt. I was probably overcome with shock. But hearing the panic and grief on the other side of the line, I needed to remain calm and strong, even though my mind was reeling. I thanked them for the info, told them to relax, and said goodbye. I needed to let it sink in.

The phone rang again, and it was my other kid, RedAppleBlackMark. He said the same thing. Hearing it thrice was enough. This would’ve been too much of a conspiracy if it wasn’t true.

Papi’s gone. Papi’s gone.

Apparently, he was defending his brother against a group of guys. Then it happened. He got stabbed. Twice. Even his current boyfriend, who was with him, got stabbed. Papi didn’t even make it to the hospital alive. Thankfully, his boyfriend did.

It’s not easy to explain how I felt. I was asking myself how the hell it happened. Why the hell it happened. I blame him and his confrontational nature. But why didn’t anyone try to stop him? But that’s that. Not something I can control.

I wasn’t crying. I just might not really be the crying type. Even when my own father died six years ago, I didn’t shed more than a tear. Was I sad? Of course. Sad but not crying. Yes, it’s possible.

I won’t deny that it dawned on me that he never granted me the closure I wanted back when things between us got complicated. Why didn’t I see his confrontational self when I needed it then? He left me to my own capacities to get over things, live with unanswered questions and just move on. Good thing I did, eventually. Civil, but he and I knew things changed between us.

So I was questioning, I was introspecting, I was reminiscing, I was blaming. Even though everyone expected me to be distraught and grieving.

Honestly, I wondered if I deserved the concern people were giving me. Remember, I’m no longer the boyfriend. He is still Papi, but he is not my papi. I no longer have the privilege of acting like I got widowed.

I texted my BFF, GreenFrog, asking if he was up. Thankfully, he was. I messaged him about what was up. He suggested we talk over the phone, so he called. We discussed it, and like me, he was shocked, probably even more than I was. While we were talking, he got online and stalked Facebook. Even more confirmations. It wasn’t just my imagination. Papi’s dead. Papi’s dead.

We had talked. We had vented. But really, there was nothing that we could do. So we bade each other goodbye, and I tried my hardest to go back to sleep. A feat after all that, but I had to wake up for work in a few hours.

Waking up, I knew what had happened the night before. But I was busy. It was Monday. I needed to prepare for work. Me and my routines keep me sane. It wasn’t until I was in the bus, stuck in traffic, left with hours of time to think, that it hit me. I was tearing up, trying hard not to lose it. I don’t know what was running through my head. Probably just me still hoping that he was just happy. Argh.

That evening, I decided to go to the wake. I was glad not to have to go alone. I had BFF, W, and O and his boyfriend with me. We took the trip down south, bonded over dinner on the way, and made it. Here goes nothing.

It was a small chapel in the church compound of the village. I was surprised a bit. Less glamorous than the royalty Papi always seemed to exude. A banner that said Official NBI Morgue... must be that way for murder cases. Why’d he have to beat us to the grave? And so close to Christmas? At such an unholy hour?! And on a Sunday?!?! Geesh, always the center of attention. Oh boy, I was really distracting myself, wasn’t I?

So we walked up to the casket, and took a look. I was aloof, as usual. I didn’t need to say anything. I’m sure Papi knew what was running through my head right then and there. He looked alright. His vain self would’ve been happy. I gave him a secret smirk which said, hey, I’m here, long time no see, we have a lot of catching up to do. I think I wasn’t sad because I felt he was in a happy place. I felt he was happy to see so many people cared.

Walking away, we greeted some fellow RITM peeps - and there were a lot, mind you. Ate was there. My eldest kiddo. Y too. And so many others. Papi was a loss to the HIV community. He was ever present whenever there’d be a gathering at RITM. Even more present than I was, for sure. So much so, he was probably the one who qualified most to be an honorary pusit. And he would’ve been proud.

I always wondered why he got so attached to the positive community of RITM. I remember he told me he got himself tested at RITM for the first time in a long while back in 2008. And though he turned out negative, he developed an affinity to the people he happened to meet then. And ever since, he never got the positive community out of his system. A negative attracted to the positives. Just how a magnet says it’s supposed to be.

Even in the advent of death, it’s never too late to say thank you. So I will. Thank you for the smiles. Thank you for the laughter. Thank you for that one fateful date. Thank you for laughing your ass off with me at Kimmy Dora standing at the back of the movie house. Thank you for the hugs. Thank you for the kiss and the kisses. Thank you for being my first “relationship” since finding out I was HIV-positive. Thank you for reintroducing me to the roller coaster of love. Thank you for saying you’d love me forever no matter what. Thank you for introducing me to the person who became my BFF. Thank you for being the Papi of the family. Thank you for the friendship. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

Life. You never know how it’s going to go. Too soon, they say. Too soon. So the world lost a life. I lost my first official pozzie, though just honorary. He was a couple’s son, a sibling’s brother, a friend’s friend, a stranger’s neighbor, a lover’s lover, a cause’s advocate, my posse’s daddy... and my Papi.

So long Papi. With no tears, all smiles. Goodbye for now. I’ll see you soon...

June 1972 - December 2010


Saturday, December 11, 2010


Oi, What a weekend it was. All as usual. Walked the Lil Bastard as soon as I woke up. Had breakfast. Gave the Lil Bastard a bath. Took my own shower. Went to the grocery with mom. Had lunch. Yoga for Life day, but this time, without the yoga. Yep, Yoga for Life without the yoga. Today was going to be different. We would be walking instead of yogaing. It was the 2010 LGBT Pride March.

The LGBT Pride March. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I belong to the gay part, of course. I’m not lesbian, because I’m not female. I’m not bisexual because I’m not sexually attracted to females. And I’m not a transgender because I’m still all male body parts, no more, no less.

Gay. I’ve never been ashamed of being gay. Not even if most of the paminta population was up in arms declaring they were “bi” when they actually were really gay. Not even if and when the stereotypical gay was the parlorista, keribels. I’m gay, and proud of it. Bakla ako, may reklamo?

I was always out to prove that there are so many forms of being gay, and I was the discreet kind. I never dressed up in women’s clothes... okay fine, I did once when I was fielded to a beauty pageant by my college organization... but on a daily basis, I am still all man. And even if I was the “penetrated and perpetrated”, as my officemate would call it, I have never had the desire to sport a vagina or labia.

Unashamed, but I’ve never needed to shout out to the world that I am gay. As such, this year, I joined my first ever Pride March, as part of the Yoga for Life contingent.

Now Yoga for Life is in no way particularly targeted towards gays. But the reality is that most straight men would either underestimate the effort needed to do yoga, or cower at the possibility of them walking out of the class in a tantrum of I-can’t-do-this. Oi, men and their manhood. That being said, majority of those attending Yoga for Life are men... let me qualify that... men who have sex with men or MSM. A frustrating fact that the straight women who join us have to face. Hehehe.

That being said, whether Yoga for Life belongs in the Pride March is a resounding yes, if not just for the fact that both Yoga for Life and the gay community advocate acceptance and tolerance. Not to mention, this year, the Pride March was to be jointly celebrated with World AIDS Day.

So Saturday afternoon, instead of heading to Makati, I headed to Tomas Morato. This is the first time I remember that the Pride March was not being held in Manila, Malate being the unspoken home of the gays. And being a Quezon City boy, I was glad and proud that QC finally hosted the event. And I actually hope it steals it away from Manila altogether.

I was anxious, because I am never comfortable in crowds, not to mention the extra pretense of a gay crowd. Remember, we are the ones who brought scrutiny to the whole new level of okray. So, I was dressed in my usual comfortable clothes, purposely veering away from any attention-grabbing garb to keep myself under the radar. All I had was a backpack of essentials, plus our Yoga for Life banner in hand, as the cab dropped me along Morato.

I needed to wait a few minutes before the rest of the Yoga for Lifers got there, a few minutes of awkward paranoia, shielding myself both from the sun and from being noticed by others. Upon being prompted, I walked to the meeting place, ready to see my comfort zone.

Greetings and hugs aside, we stowed into a coffee place craving for some protection from the afternoon heat while waiting for the parade to start. Some more Yoga for Lifers trickled in one after the other. Soon we were about ten, thereabouts.

The sounds of percussion drew us out of the café, and we were ready to march loud and proud. Yogi Bear and Babe were there of course leading the pack, dressed in black outfits, a cross between sleek and sultry. The Yoga for Life banner. Some fuchsia balloons. And then the rest of us. Most of us were actually Pride virgins, which may have explained the mix of excitement and anxiety... but really, everyone was game, and we were just all out to have fun and proud to represent Yoga for Life. Then the parade began.

We walked. I spotted Carlos Celdran walking by us, and our Yogi Babe approached him to join us for a picture. He was game! The energy was high. We were following a float of trannies, and their music and antics were keeping the energy high. It was a great place in the parade to be.

We walked. Now I knew that media would cover the event and all. So was I scared of getting exposed as part of the Pride contingent? Not really. Being gay is the least of my issues. What if my mom sees my face on TV? Well, she knows I’m gay. Other people? So what?! My HIV status? Well it’s not like it’s tattooed on my forehead, is it?! I was just hoping I don’t get interviewed... else I might just faint. Hehe.

We walked. Shortly we encountered some guests, protesters to be exact. Waving bibles, disapproving condoms, and declaring “God did not make you gay”, it was laughable, especially since there were just three or four of them there. Old issues that for me were non-issues. Geesh, nothing better?

We walked. A lot of people came out to watch, from the residences and the buildings we passed. Our Yogi Babe was outrageous, approaching people encouraging them to do yoga poses for photo ops. From street kids and fab femmes, to policemen and titillating trannies, to hiphop dancers and construction workers, she was just out to get them! Oi, straight female wins over the gay contingent on this one. Hahaha!

We walked. It was hot. Scorching hot. Not gay friendly. Make-up melts, you know. And oiliness, they say, is next to ugliness. And sweatiness is next to confiscation of the gay license. Argh. But seeing everyone still all out in spite of that was great. It was good too that the streets along which the route ran were pretty wide, compared to Malate where I imagine the density of people would’ve added to the afternoon heat. QC rules!

We walked. Tomas Morato. Eugenio Lopez Drive. Panay Avenue. Timog Avenue. One last turn back to Tomas Morato, and we saw the home stretch. The protesters were back, the same ones we passed going the other way. Namaste. Peace, peace, peace. Some other city should host their march.

We walked. Oi, just a few more blocks... Finally, we made it back to the starting point, a good hour or so of walking under our belts. Geez, an hour?! All for pride. All for pride.

We got a breather before the program started as the darkness of the night set in. A few more Yoga for Lifers joined us, better late than never. As the show started, I think my energy went off with the setting sun. I was pooped! I couldn’t wait to rest. But we wanted to wait until they acknowledged the groups who participated in the event. As fate would have it, they made the announcements in alphabetical order. Yoga for Life? Oi, we were third to the last out of sixty groups. Oh well, we’ll take it.

After some part of the program, including speeches by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, both putting Quezon City behind the advocacy of HIV & AIDS awareness and LGBT rights, some musical numbers, a cameo by Journey frontman Arnel Pineda, the descent of seemingly godmother to the gays Risa Hontiveros, and a short segment allowing our Yogi Bear and Babe to talk about Yoga for Life, I split.

I had actually promised the hubby we’d meet, considering the proximity of the venue. But I had tipped him off after the walk about how tired I was already, and had already called our date off. But I thought I’d just push myself a little bit more, and ended up in a cab to his place. I was tired, sweaty, sticky and smelly, but still got the hugs, the kisses, dinner, a movie, and arms to fall asleep in. Mmm. Not a bad way to end the Pride weekend... Happy and Gay!


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Yogaing Away AIDS Day

Fine. It’s December. Primarily, I’m dreading the reality that Christmas is fast approaching. Gone are the days when hearing Christmas carols as early as August was a welcome thing. Lately, I’ve been trying hard to ignore the -ber if the months, even as they didn’t exactly sneak up on me. But even before Christmas hits me smack in the face, the dawning of December is something else. It’s World AIDS Day.

December 1 was World AIDS Day. This is officially my third as someone living with HIV. My first, back in 2008, I remember I was home watching how the news would ramp it up, at the same time awaiting the launch of Positivism. My second, last year, I think I was watching some local documentary about HIV. It’s my third. Imagine that?

It’s my third, and still, I object about being part of the celebration, considering I don’t technically classify as having AIDS. Maybe there ought to be a World HIV Day? Oh well, that’s just me and my twisted mind.

My third year. What did I do? I could’ve been glued again to the boob tube with my guns ablaze ready to shoot down all the reporters who would say something wrong about the issue. I could’ve been leafing through the latest UNAIDS report on the global status of HIV. I could’ve actually been surfing through the Project Headshot Clinic albums trying to spot the people I knew. I could’ve even been lined up at the cinema to watch the premiere of the HIV-inspired and DOH-supported indie film H.I.V.: Si Heidi, si Ivy at si Vi. But no. I had plans.

December 1st this year just happened to fall on a Wednesday. And Wednesday is Yoga for Life day. And as an official HIV advocacy, our Yogi Bear and Babe planned to integrate a World AIDS Celebration into the day’s session as well. Involved as I am in Yoga for Life, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen exactly.

Getting there, the usual: Changed into my shorts. Rolled out a yoga mat. Chika with friends. Then things were taking a twist.

First, candles were being set up. Tea light candles in little red glasses were shaped to form a red ribbon. Around it, the mats were positioned like rays around a sun. And on each mat, another tea light candle was placed. Hmm. Two friends arrived and started hushing with our Yogi Bear and Babe, with a guitar on the side and a stack of papers in hand. What’s this all about? And shortly, we started.

After some breathing exercises and nine sun salutations, we sat down to start what was called a Kirtan, if I’m not mistaken. Basically, it was meditation through song. Fine, I don’t really sing, but I can try. And try I did. Some songs I actually knew. There were church songs, and you know how I’m not exactly the church type. There were Tagalog songs, the cheesy kind, which I like. And some English songs, including the Rent classic, Seasons of Love. But singing wasn’t all of what it was about, surprisingly.

In between the songs, the floor was opened to anyone who had something to share with the group. Our Yogi Babe started the ball rolling, expressing how honored she was to have been destined for Yoga for Life. My BFF followed, a bit emotional at that. Then our Yogi Bear. Then BFF’s kid. Then BFF’s future boyfie… it just went on and on and on. It seemed like so many people had something to say.

Quite remarkable was how most of those who spoke were the positives, telling their stories and how our little community had factored into their lives, actually getting to the point of disclosing their status to the group. Significant, as for some, it was the first time they were to disclose in front of a crowd. At Yoga for Life, there’s an unspoken don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when it comes to status, aside from the fact that you really couldn’t guess who was positive and who was not just by looking at us as a group. Test us all, why don’t you…

Anyway, the stories varied. Some thankful. Some emotional. Some just poured their hearts out. One of them talked about feeling the ripples of disclosing to a parent, and how heartbroken he was about being judged for his condition by the very person from whose womb he came.

I admit, it wasn’t easy to listen to a sad story as that. And I would’ve had much to say, talking from my own experiences and drawing on what analysis I could make, if only I had the guts to speak up. But then I’m not exactly the expert on disclosing to parents, am I? Hehehe. Oh well, maybe what insight I can share with him someday might help somehow. Someday, someday.

I, of course, didn’t volunteer to speak. But alas. I was volunteered. Argh. It was a conspiracy against me. Darn, even Yogi Babe has now figured out how I looooove (urk) being put on the spot. So aloof and anti-social as I am, I dug deep trying to weave my thoughts together impromptu.

Of course, I still don’t have a sob story. But as I looked around realizing that I probably was the one person in the group that evening that had been living with HIV the longest, maybe I did have some thoughts to impart. Don’t ask me what those thoughts were exactly, because again, I was speaking half-conscious, half-unconscious, half-subconscious, and half-self-conscious. Dami, ‘di ba?

I remember pointing out how life must go on for all of us. I remember saying HIV is not a punishment, but rather a challenge and an opportunity to care for one’s self and others more, and make changes for the better. I remember mentioning my HIV tagline, about how H.I.V. for me is a whole different acronym… Happy In spite of the Virus. I was staring into the candles for most of that time, so I’m not sure if I made sense, if at all. But hopefully I did.

At the end of it all, I was glad I wasn’t glued to the television this year. Yoga for Life has proven itself to be a real community, and being with the Yoga for Life community turned out to be the best way to celebrate World AIDS Day.

Yes, I dare to use the word “celebrate”. Because gone are the days of World AIDS Day being a commemoration of the lives that had been lost to AIDS. Rather, we should be celebrating. Celebrating life going on in spite of the virus. Celebrating hope that humanity will not be beaten by a measly virus. Celebrating faith that there is purpose to be found in everything. Celebrating reassurance that every one of us, positive or negative, is and has been blessed.

Happy World AIDS Day!


Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Night

Last night. Saturday night. I got a birthday invite. Not just from one, but two people. A joint birthday bash. Two people I knew, and hadn’t seen for a while. This was the chance to. The perfect excuse to finally show up at a pusit party. Should I, or should I not? How sure am I that this is going to prove to be a good night? I’m not. But...

I don’t usually like going to pusit gatherings like these, mostly because of the possibility of seeing some... uhm... nega-monsters.

Nega-monsters. My term for a few pusits who are just swimming in so much bitterness that they’re just out to nitpick at everyone who crosses their paths - devoid of any wit, sense or reason - as though they’re perfect and actually have a hand in the lives of everyone else. Nega-monsters. Ironic how someone who is “positive” can be so negative. Ugh.

Of course, there’s a lot to nitpick about me, but then I never claimed to be perfect. But then again, it’s my life, right? And these nega-monsters have been out to get me and some of my friends. Not our fault, they just don’t have lives of their own. And I choose my battles, and these nega-monsters have never been worth one.

With that, I choose to avoid any possibility of encountering these negativities, not participating in some of these gatherings at the risk of appearing elitist, snooty and anti-social. I’m just not the type to care if others think that way.

So with this opportunity to celebrate another year for two friends, and the assurance that nega-monsters weren’t invited, I seriously considered and reconsidered going.

Saturday night, I found myself on the way up north, with BFF and O. After around two hours on the road, we got there, almost exactly on call time, but still early as just the second group to arrive. The celebrants were there already plus a couple of familiar faces. And as the rest of the group showed up, sans the fact of being an hour or so late, it struck me that that night was going to be a good night.

Primarily, there were no nega-monsters. That in itself was reason to party. Other than that, Ate showed up with some other staff of the RITM. Perfect. I always thought having authority figures at times like these will mean that things will be kept in check. Of the 30 or so people there, I only hadn’t been acquainted with less than a handful maybe. For me, that means a bit of a comfort zone.

A group of pusits who prefer not to call themselves pusits was there, but in all fairness they were the ones I didn’t have problems with... not so much at least. Mr. Mouth was there, flaunting his gift of gab as usual, but thankfully this time, not anywhere in my direction, so he was okay. Not a problem.

Another set of people, I knew from the empowerment seminar I attended several months ago. A majority of our batch was there actually. Some sort of a mini-reunion after months of not seeing most of them.

But really, the biggest surprise was the little pozzie posse I fell into since about a year ago. Roll call?

There were four of my “kids”; the first ever person I brought to RITM, LittleJenny, and RedAppleBlackMark, and my adopted kid Positive'sStory. There was one of E’s “kids”, who I surrogated and who just happened to currently be LittleJenny’s beau, making him an in-law. Some friends LuckyTrese, O, and BruceKho. Papi was there, as well as one of his “kids”, who just happened to be LuckyTrese’s ahem-ahem. And my friendly neighborhood BFF, GreenFrog, of course. I was missing a couple of people though, W and E. And maybe my “dad”, U, who technically is part of the family.

But twelve of us there made it one hell of a reunion. A reunion because it’s been a while since I last saw some of them. The only ones I would regularly are those who attend Yoga for Life. Other than that, being busy with each one’s lives has been keeping us apart. And quite frankly, I’m sort of happy that we didn’t see each other a lot.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about me not wanting to see them. I’m happy because that just means everyone’s busy with their lives. Busy being productive. Busy with their own families. Busy with their personal lives maybe. Just basically being busy going on with life, sans the HIV-positive part. Busy proving that life goes on. Perfect.

But despite this apparent retreat from the posse, we still know we’re all just around, and we still love seeing each other every time we do. Sort of like we move in our own little circles but still gravitate towards each other somehow, like the planets to the sun. The bond remains, if not gets stronger. Absence, fonder.

Also funny that night, I realized that most of the posse I haven’t even known for a full year. But I’m pretty sure there’ll be more years to come. I don’t believe that it’s the HIV that’s keeping us together. It’s more like HIV brought us together, but it’s something else that’s keeping us tight. Jiving personalities maybe. The overall good vibe. Whatever it is, heaven knows.

And so with that, that night was indeed a good night. Even if I had to leave my little bastard at home. Even if I made the boyfie sad at the fact that I chose my friends over him for that night... he was extremely understanding but I’ll make it up to him. Even if I’m still reeling from lack of sleep right now. Even if there was that one parlor game that led to a hair-raising and spine-tingling mishap... not my mishap, but my hair raising and spine tingling. Even if, even if, even if... Last night truly, truly was a good night.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Propping Up Positivism

I received notice from a fellow Yoga for Lifer and advocate about a meeting for which Positivism needed to be represented. Typically, it would be my boss who would be the rightful representative. But as he was overseas on vacation at the time, there seemed to be no other choice. I had no other choice but to go.

So I remember, it was a Tuesday. I took the afternoon off from work to attend the meeting. Call time was actually at 11:00 am, but I asked if I could drop in by 2:00 pm. I planned on leaving work at lunchtime, and just needed time to get to Quezon City where the meeting had been set. Luckily, they allowed my tardiness. Otherwise, I would’ve had to pass on the meeting.

I was quite nervous. I knew Positivism isn’t exactly an institution in the established HIV advocacy realm just yet. So in as much as I was told that I was there just to observe, I was expecting that I would need to give at least a backgrounder on Positivism. Yikes. It’s me again faced with public speaking. Good luck to me. But I did what I could to prepare for that possibility.

Getting there about half an hour earlier than my foreseen tardiness, I walked in and signed the attendance sheet by the door. I was pleased to see a familiar name on the list, and scanned the room to search for the face that went with it. I saw a hand wave me over, as our Yoga for Life yogi babe offered me the seat beside her. Whew… big relief to have her there.

The meeting was actually vision meeting among advocates in Metro Manila. A joint project of USAID (United States Agency for International Development), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS), FHI (Family Health International), and APCOM (Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health), it brought together representatives of groups and projects in Metro Manila working against HIV among MSMs, or men who have sex with men.

Manila was just one of six Asian cities being surveyed, a “City Scan” as they called it, for innovative and scalable responses against HIV among MSMs. The other 5 cities include Bangkok in Thailand, Chengdu in China, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Rangoon in Burma and Jakarta in Indonesia. They would be doing their own “City Scans”.

In that room that afternoon, I was in formidable company. There were representatives from the National AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Program (NASPCP) of the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), the AIDS Society of the Philippines (ASP), Health Action Information Network (HAIN), TLF Sexuality, Health and Rights Educators Collective (TLF Share), Action for Health Initiatives (ACHIEVE), The Rainbow Rights Project, Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC) and Pinoy Plus or PAFPI - sorry, I confuse the two - and some other groups.

A number of groups were given time to discuss efforts they had in support of the HIV advocacy.

ASP discussed their proposed online campaign of HIV awareness among MSMs backed by financial support from the Global Fund. They would get chatting with people on some of the gay hookup sites based on certain keywords on their profile, which included BB or bareback, PNP or party-n-play, and orgy or group sex. I giggled on the side wondering if they’d chance upon my own profiles on those sites. Boy, would they be surprised at how aware I am about HIV.

ACHIEVE had a campaign bringing together the Philippine National Police, the Quezon City STD/AIDS Council, and SAMACKA, which was a union of spas, massage parlors, clubs and KTV bars. Through this collaboration, they were to encourage the at-risk group of sex workers to practice safer sex and observe better health protocols, hinged on Quezon City‘s ordinance 1053 on sexual health response. Now this one was cool.

MCCQC and Rainbow Rights Project were two groups I don’t think I’d ever heard of before. MCCQC is apparently a religious group, while Rainbow Rights Project is a sort of law firm of sorts, both of which support the LGBT sector. It was good to know that there was such a thing.

Before moving on to the next part of the agenda, as expected, they gave a little bit of time for Positivism to introduce itself. Yikes. So I gave what I had, assisted by the internet access they had at the venue. Now I need to point out again that Positivism is not a presence in that circle of advocacy just yet. So unexpectedly, but thankfully, the idea of Positivism was taken in by the group with no negativity. No concerns, no violent reactions. Whew.

So at this point, I was still in shock to be in the midst of the group. And for Positivism, Yoga for Life, and Take the Test - three efforts that I was lucky enough to be a part of - to be considered among the innovative responses against HIV, was phenomenal.

So it came time for them to move on to putting together a contingent of advocates who would be sent to the big event in Hong Kong - the coming together of all the scans of innovative practices in the six cities represented in the study.

The Philippine contingent would have 9 slots available. Representatives from government were to be given three slots, representing NASPCP, QCSAC and PNAC. The rest would be split among the five identified fields of attack. “Strategic Information” would be represented by HAIN, “supportive interventions” by TLF Share, “Enabling Environments” by ACHIEVE, “Treatment, Care and Support” by the positive community, either Pinoy Plus or PAFPI, and “Prevention” by ASP.

Hmmm, that left one slot. I felt safe, since Positivism wasn’t represented or barely heard of in the group until that day, which was the last meeting. Plus Positivism isn’t exactly an effort targeted specifically towards MSMs. But of course, things don’t ever go as expected.

Positivism got in. They chose to give us another slot under the “Prevention” cluster, partially in consideration that it was an effort spearheaded by someone from the private sector. I was in disbelief. Too bad my yogi babe was no longer there to slap me silly that it was really happening.

Within the week, I needed to meet up again with the Philippine consultant of the program to give him everything he needed to know about Positivism so he could put us into his report. Again, I was the default since my boss was still out of town. That was again another moment of awkward speaking for me, which was thankfully helped out by a relaxed atmosphere in a casual venue.

It was a long, but less structured interview. But for me it was really an impromptu thing. It was good to hear feedback too from the consultant about Positivism. He found it remarkable how we are able to work without funding, relying only on collaborations in terms of efforts and services we would need. And hearing how existing advocacies could benefit from the tone Positivism takes in its messages and information was huge.

And in the weeks that followed, we then needed to figure out who would represent Positivism in Hong Kong. My boss was considering shouldering his own expenses just so we’d both be there. Actually, it would really just be either him or me.

But things can and will go wrong. Upon checking, I realized my passport needed renewal. I tried getting an appointment with the DFA for that, but the earliest slot available would fall on the exact week of the Hong Kong event. Funny, huh? Oi. Either fortunately or unfortunately, my boss would have to go to Hong Kong for Positivism. It’s fine with me. But it would’ve really been a great opportunity, too.

So there. Baby steps and all, Positivism now officially has its foot in the HIV advocacy door. Not that we’d stop doing what we do otherwise, but still way cool. The perfect way to wrap up another year of Positivism.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Blame Game

Yoga for Life has been going on for nearly five months already. Every so often, our Yogi Bear and Babe make it a point to survey how the participants feel, both physically and mentally, so in the future an analysis could be done to produce concrete data on how yoga has benefited the participants. Along with that, they ask for feedback. Now while most of the feedback is positive, there has been negative feedback as well. One in particular, that piqued my... uhm... fancy.

During the celebration of one of the monthsaries, amid all the fun and laughter before the yoga practice, someone spoke up. After congratulating the community on the success of the program, this person pointed out that he did have one piece of negative feedback to give. I was a bit surprised actually... and curious. Everyone listened intently.

Apparently, one of his friends - someone HIV-positive - met someone else at one of the Yoga for Life sessions. And apparently they got it on. They had sex. They had unprotected sex. And what made it worse was that the person he had sex with was among the HIV-negatives who were there supporting the community. Oh boy, indeed.

As much as I wanted to speak out - biased as I would be towards Yoga for Life, yes I would defend the program to the death - I didn’t want to be a proponent to any outburst. I kept my mouth shut, but my mind was ranting throughout the yoga session. Relax, surrender and let go? My ass.

Really, the point I wanted to make was... What was the point exactly?!

It just wasn’t clear to me how that was supposed to be feedback on the Yoga for Life program. So they had sex. Fine. But unless they did it at the venue, on their yoga mats, in the middle of a yoga session, then what’s the deal? Is the Yoga for Life team expected to keep an eye on each and everyone each and every minute even outside the confines of the yoga session? It may just me, but I think not.

So certainly, the issue could have been brought up before our Yogi Bear and Babe and maybe the rest of the core group. But to have to subject even first time attendees to something like that was unthinkable... not to mention inconsiderate.

And the way it was made to seem like negative feedback on the program was outrageous. If someone had felt they’d been fouled, would it not have made more sense for that person to speak for himself? But no. A spokesperson ranted on his behalf. So to me, whether it was indeed meant to be negative feedback on the program from the person directly involved was still questionable.

Okay let me make it clear. It’s not that I don’t care that someone was put at risk. But HIV is not and should never be a blame game. But if you want it that way, let’s play.

So HIV-positive got acquainted with HIV negative. Now really, should Yoga for Life have prevented that?

So HIV-positive and HIV-negative got it on and got carried away. That’s their right. But that’s their responsibility as well.

So maybe HIV-negative assumed they were both negative. Never, ever assume. Blame awareness and education, or the lack thereof.

So maybe HIV-positive assumed they were both positive. Still, protection is for everyone, even HIV-positives. And not just to protect their partners. Did HIV-positive forget about superinfection? Did he forget about other sexually transmitted infections? Who’s to blame for that?

So on that note, if HIV-positive really meant to blame Yoga for Life for what happened, on what basis?

As someone who already was and already knew he was HIV-positive, it can be expected that he would know all about HIV. So for me, if there’s anyone to blame, it would be whoever it was who gave this guy HIV counseling, whether it’s his doctor, his nurse, or his peer counselor. He obviously didn’t learn much if he actually thought he could play victim and blame a yoga program for his misfortune.

Actually, from the beginning, I questioned whether this was actually a rant from HIV-positive, or just his spokesperson telling a story adding his own ranting tone and feel. And recently, I confirmed what it was.

I initially didn’t know who HIV-positive was. Until, during a recent yoga session, I unexpectedly happened to hear something. It was a guy, telling his yoga friend, about how he hooked up with someone at yoga after he tested positive, and how that person thankfully still turned out negative after being tested after the hook up. I thought to myself, “So, it was you.”

It was interesting how the guy told his story. A bit cocky, without a tinge of remorse. Sort of proud, even. Hello, he told it loud enough for me to hear, right? Wisely, his yoga friend pointed out how there was still that little complication of the window period and how he shouldn‘t rest on his laurels just yet. That was the last I heard.

Clearly, it seemed HIV-positive didn’t get the full impact of what happened. And as much as I wanted to pull him aside and slap some sense into him, it would be counterproductive to subject him to public humiliation. And I’m sure if I took him on in a blame game, he would’ve lost.

I’m still tempted to pull him aside one of these days and engage him in a bit of counseling. But it will have to be done discreetly, as I have no plans of intimidating him, scaring him, or shaming him into oblivion.

My point will simply be... enough with the blame game. Take responsibility for your actions. Sex is a personal thing. So don’t even attempt to have a spokesperson speak up for you.

And a spokesperson too should know his limits. Stop spoon feeding. If someone is old enough to produce sperm, then he should be old enough to take responsibility, too. He’s too old to be playing the blame game. And neither should you take on playing the blame game for him.

This is a lesson that applies to everyone. Take responsibility. It applies even to safe sex. Take responsibility for yourself. Protect yourself. It’s your right. It’s your responsibility.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Money Matters

I’ve been feeling a financial crunch lately - on a personal level, that is. Right now, I have less than PhP 200.00 in my wallet. That’s pretty decent on a regular day. But it’s a weekend. And even before the gimmick worthy night creeps in, I’m already concerned. We usually have lunch out at work every Friday. So I’ve been forced to feign a diet and watch what I eat. Not for the calories, but for the pesos I’ll be spending.

Oi. Money. They say it makes the world go ‘round. If there’s any truth to that, then my world is coming to a screeching halt.

Okay fine, I’m not really that broke. It’s just that for my last few paydays, I seem to have racked up a good amount of expenses. Let’s do some accounting.

Naturally, daily expenses are there. Commutes to and from work, meals and other incidentals at work are staples. If only I could stop at staples. There are the monthly bills to pay, of course. But wait, there’s more!

The first spend that I remember is also the most remarkable. Christmas. I’m not excited, but a sale makes it too easy. This early, I’ve bought Christmas gifts for both my mom and myself. Remarkable, I say, because buying an LCD television for each of us isn’t a joke. One of the rare times I’ve allowed myself to eat into my savings. I rationalize it with the sale price, the savings on electricity I stand to gain, and the look of disbelief on my mom’s face when her least successful child offers to pay for a little bit of luxury. Hehehe.

And then there are all those tests I needed to pay for when I last paid RITM a visit for my CD4 count. Over PhP 2,000.00 worth, and I’m not even done yet. They say I need to go back for a repeat of my RPR to check if my syphilis is indeed still active. Argh. Another thousand there.Recently, I offered to shoulder medications for someone confined at the RITM. Considering it wasn’t anyone I knew, I really didn’t need to help. But the way Ate pulled me aside and told me how this person’s mother would choose walk to and from the drugstore every day just to save on fare, my heartstrings were pulled. With an unexpectedly small amount, I was able to cover her needs for a month. At least, her mom can lay off the walkathon for a month.

My exercise regimen is something I’ve added. There’s Yoga for Life. Of course, the sessions are really free, but any donations are used to shoulder the cost of the venue. Indigent students aren’t expected to donate if they can’t. But then, HELLO! I’ve got my pride. I am NOT indigent. So I give what I can to shoulder my share. Take that! Oh, and I have been in the process of putting together some way to work out at home. I have my yoga mat, a bench, and my first installment of dumbbells. Slowly but surely, so the costs come slowly as well. Hehe.

My little Bastard is another factor. It’s like having a kid. I get carried away shopping for stuff for him. A cage, food, toiletries, pee & poop pads, leashes & collars, a little carry bag, and lots of toys. And it’s depressing when he foregoes his toys to play with the plastic bag. Argh.

And as my first official dog, I’ve made it a point to get friendly with a vet for him. All the consultations, vitamins and shots really rack up as well. Good thing he got his last set of shots last week. Whew. He’s good till next year, we just gotta keep him healthy. It’s bad enough that I wasn’t careful enough to keep my own doctor away, so I’m bringing him up the right way now. Yep, even in the canine world, prevention is better than the cure.

And then of course, we cannot forget this little relationship that I’m in. I don’t know if I speak for anyone else, but dating can be expensive. Especially for me, since I’m coupled with someone who won’t let a week pass without seeing me at least twice. The dinners and movies are fun, but then he’s not the eat-just-anywhere type. He needs restaurants with decent food and excellent service, which means no Burger Machines and Aling Nena‘s Carinderias. But neither am I the freeloading type. I pay for my fair share of the tab. Yep, that’s proud little me.

So there. I’m maxed out. Well I’m not exactly broke. It’s my miserly fault too for doing everything in my power not to touch what I already have in savings.

So at this point, I need to beg. From you. From anyone out there. Not for myself, but for my beneficiary at the RITM I mentioned earlier. She’s confined right now, and is on medication for six months. A cocktail of medicines for some sort of respiratory infection, I think. Based on the per piece prices I got at the Generics Pharmacy, here’s the damage:
~ Rifampicin, 450 mg - PhP 8.25
~ Isoniazid, 300 mg - PhP 1.30
~ Ethambutol, 2 x 200 mg - PhP 4.20 each
~ PZA or P2A, 500 mg - PhP 3.50

Sorry, I’m just reading off the prescription Ate wrote out for me. So this is her daily regimen, which racks up to just a bit over PhP 20.00 a day. Not bad for us who are financially able. Compare that to some of our daily luxuries, right? But the reality of things is that one trip through Starbucks can already mean about a week of life to some who really need it.

So with that, I’d like to once again extend my plea to those of you who’d like to help. Please, please, please? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you already know my contact, or via e-mail,

For now, I remain budget conscious myself, and will draw upon the easy-to-please side of me. But I’ll be trying to do what I can as well. Thank heavens it was payday yesterday. Because money or not, the world will - and should - continue to go ‘round.


Monday, October 04, 2010

The Verdict

It’s that time of year again. It’s been a long awaited day.

Long due, and long overdue even.

I‘m kinda excited, yes. But with a tinge of anxiety maybe.

It's time. It's time. It’s time to go and get my CD4 count.

I need to have my CD4 count done twice a year, every six months. Supposedly, my schedule is to have it done every February and August. I had been coordinating with a number of people who wanted to tag along with me. There was my calf-caressing friend, who was also due for his CD4 count, and there were two newbies who needed to go to RITM. One needed to get his confirmatory test, while the other already had his confirmatory result with him and was meaning to start his own HIV journey.

If you recall, I got a med refill just in the third week of August. I could have, but purposely didn’t get my CD4 count done that same day just because of the plan we put together. At first, we planned to go on the last Friday of August. Fortunately, I was able to text Ate a couple of days before to advise that I was planning to go. Unfortunately, Ate informed me that they were having problems with the CD4 machine. So I had to call the plan off.

It was a bummer because coordinating four different schedules wasn’t an easy task and at this point all went to waste. Even worse? On the day itself intended to go, Ate texted me that they were able to have the machine fixed. But the advise came only in the afternoon. Too late for the 10:00 am cut off for CD4 batching. Too late as well to even try to salvage our little plan. Argh.

Our little group fell apart. My calf-caressing friend had gone to get his CD4 count alone before I could put together a new plan. One of my newbies couldn’t take a leave from work anytime soon to make the trip. And then there were two. My newbie and I came up with another plan to go September 23rd, a Thursday. We had already both filed our respective leaves from work, and so it was set.

I arrived at the meeting place exactly as planned, 7:00 am at the Ayala MRT station. I was texting constantly with my newbie, and unfortunately, he was running late. It was fine. I sat amidst all the other tambays and waited patiently. In about half an hour, he arrived. Apparently, he had opted to take a cab and got stuck in traffic. Not so bad, there was time to spare, anyway.

So we hopped on a bus to Alabang, as I made sure to point out some landmarks to give him an idea of the route we were taking. We got talking about different things, but nothing too cerebral or serious, as we were both nutritionally challenged and possibly mentally slow, as we had both been fasting wince the evening before in preparation for our blood tests.

We got to RITM past 8:00. We went straight to the clinic. Ate wasn’t there, but our two other nurses were. My purpose there, to get all my tests done, was simple enough. Routine even. But for my newbie, we were really trying to get everything he needed done within the day because it wasn’t easy for him to take leaves from work.

Based on experience, they would have newbies talk with the doctor first, and schedule tests another day. My newbie didn’t have that luxury of time. So I had asked Ate prior to our even planning to go if it would be possible to get everything done in one day. Fortunately, they were willing to give it a shot, with the condition that we show up early, before the cut-off time for the CD4s, and be ready for all the tests, fasting and all.

He sat patiently while waiting for the doctor, while one of our nurses put together all the requests for my blood tests. Apparently, sonce it was the anniversary of my pozzie-ness, a lot of tests would be done in addition to the usual CD4 count, CBC and blood chemistry, especially since my HIV infection came with some “friends“.

First, I needed to get my Hepatitis profile done, apparently to check if my Hepatitis B was still active… although I thought once you had it it’d forever be active. I needed to get a Quantitative RPR done too, to check how my Syphilis infection is doing, or the lack thereof. There were a couple of more tests I needed to pay for. All in all, it totaled to over PhP 2,000.00. Argh. A bit steep, but it was needed and I was prepared.

So took my route through the cashier, to the x-ray section, and onto the lab to have my blood extracted. When my turn came, I tried to make it a good experience, for myself and for everyone. Despite the many times that I’ve had my blood extracted in the past, I’m still not overly excited to have it done. I gave the stack of requests to the med tech on duty, and braced myself.

I joked that my lot of blood tests would seem to correspondingly require a lot of blood. She said it’d take around four vials. Not so bad. So she got going. I turned my head away from the prick as I still get queasy seeing blood flowing. In all fairness, I was able to keep a smile on my face the whole time. It was a mix of thinking positive and feigning courage.

When I was done, I went back to my newbie at the clinic. I passed him at the cashier. Good thing a doctor was on duty that early in the morning. He had already talked with the doctor, and now needed to pay for some of his tests as well. He was actually a bit short in funds, so I lent him some cash. Fortunate that I had enough to be able to. From there, we went to the lab.

Apparently, he was just as bad with needles and blood as I was. Hehehe. I understood completely. I assured him that the med tech on duty was good at what she does. He made it through without problems. Just a bit of stress, that’s all. His x-ray was much easier, of course.

Making it back to the clinic, I got a surprise. They had forgotten one final lab request, one for Hepatitis C. Another prick?! I headed back to the lab. I requested that they allow me to rest a bit before another prick, so they entertained other clients first. The next time they asked if I was ready, I took my seat once again in the pricking chair, ready for another one in the other arm.

I was ready and game, I really was. Fortunately, they said the blood they’d extracted earlier was still enough for the extra test. Though I sighed a sigh of relief, I kidded with the med tech that she missed the chance, considering I was extra generous with blood today. She laughed and retorted the next prick would’ve been one in the jugular. Hehehe. That was fun.

From there, having accomplished everything we needed to do, we headed to Metropolis Star where we were to get a ride back north. We had lunch as well, after deciding we couldn’t last another minute without food. After a quick meal at Jollibee, we were off.

We both were able to nap a bit during the trip back, having been up since so early in the morning. We both got off when we hit Mandaluyong, he to get a ride home, and I to meet up with the hubby in Shangri-la. I accompanied him to have lunch, we had some of our favorite frozen yogurt, and caught a movie... creepy Devil of M. Night Shyamalan. Even though I spent most of the movie with my face buried in his armpit - yes, I’m not so good with horror movies - I’d recommend it.

Oh wait, wait... back to the pertinent issue of the moment. I texted Ate the day after, requesting her to “chismis” our CD4s if and when they became available. She replied promptly. My newbie had a whopping 553. Coolio!

Me? Let’s recap. A year ago, I was at 493. Six months ago, I dropped a bit to 447. And today... the verdict? Drumroll please... 493! Right back where I fell from. Not bad! Now whether I can attribute it to anything from ARVs and stress to love and yoga... only heaven knows. I’m happy. I still want to go past the 500 mark, though. But for now, I’ll take it!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yoga Loca

It’s been almost four months since Yoga for Life started. Personally, it’s become a habit. Seriously. As in I haven’t missed a class since July, if I‘m not mistaken... except that one Wednesday session they cancelled due to heavy rain. I super duper look forward to yoga every Wednesdays and Saturdays. I actually have a yoga mat of my own now at home... shhhhh! So am I officially yoga loca?

I am now a true believer that Yoga is an excellent form of exercise. It’s non-competitive, so anyone of any fitness level can get into it. The only person you’d need to challenge is yourself. It’s very physical, but it’s about the mind and the spirit as well, so much so, that a strong mind and a robust spirit can bring the body to do things it never before could.

And I think Yoga for Life is a notch above any other yoga. Really, the sense of community is there. From complete strangers, there has grown enough camaraderie within the group. And the liberty with which lines like, “What are you doing here today? Aren’t you a Saturday boy?” and giggles brought about by a solemn chant concierto get thrown around tell me the group is getting tighter.

But regardless of how regular the regulars have become, newbies show up every so often and get the full benefit still. Probably the fact that yoga is such a personal practice helps, in that the camaraderie isn’t as directly important to the practice as self-discipline and self-awareness are. It’d just be abonus. So the degree of fitting in shouldn’t necessarily help or hinder either way.

As part of the group behind Yoga for Life - them more than me - it’s not a heavy thing for us, and it’s still a lot of fun every time. Last Wednesday, while lazing around our yoga mats, we were happy to realize that it’s become stable, and attributed our first quarter of “success” to the fact that we’re working together well as a team and actually taking the work out of “working together”. Yes, that definitely helps. And the good vibes we carry stand a good chance of rubbing off onto the others.

Recently our Yogi Bear and Babe requested some feedback from the participants, both regulars and newbies. I actually was given a piece of paper to write my feedback, but being considered as part of the team behind it, decided otherwise. Me no buhat sariling bangko. But for the others, here’s what they had to say:

• “Yoga for Life has been and still is a life and attitude enhancing experience. It makes you feel part of a community.”

• “It was nice, relaxing and de-stressing. Time worth spent.”

• “There really isn’t much I can say. I am just glad that there is a venue for me to de-stress with the little time that I have. It would be nice though if there are more sessions during the week.”

• “Yoga for Life is a wonderful positive influence in my life. Thanks!”

• “Yoga has helped me to start thinking about the healthy lifestyle and actually start living it. It gave me more focus especially when a normal day turns into a stressful one. It is a very good way of detoxifying...”

• “I feel more relaxed. My headache gone after the session. I enjoyed this.”

• “Since I started yoga, I never had fever. I used to have low-grade fever daily. I never felt so lazy or lethargic since. I feel rejuvenated. It makes me feel whole.”

• “Yoga for Life as a program has been helpful in dealing with daily stress facing and living with HIV. It helps that the community is so normal, even in the reality of HIV. It’s very healing and positive.”

• “All my stress and all the hard thinking has vanished because of this yoga. Love it!”

• “For me, yoga is good for my health and I feel good after doing it. First time I attended this class I told myself that I love doing Yoga for Life.”

• “Relaxing, can ease tension. Looking forward to the next session.”

• “Enjoyed this more than I expected. Twice a week yoga is becoming something I look forward to and prioritize each week.”

Even I couldn’t believe all the good feedback. But considering we used a secret ballot method, then they could’ve well given what violent reactions they had as well. I therefore conclude, yoga is good, good, good.

And yoga has been picking up elsewhere as well. Who else is into yoga? The boyfriend... Wait, did I just say boyfriend?! Whoa... Fine. The boyfriend has started working out as well with a trainer, and yoga is part of his regimen. I’ve invited him to Yoga for Life, but we‘re still working out some details.

He’s been ranting about how much difficulty he’s been having at yoga, which he attributes to his fitness level. As you know, he’s built with a little bit extra as of the moment, which really shouldn’t be a problem. At Yoga for Life, we’re always given options that adjust to our respective fitness levels, so one of these days I’ll try to teach the boyfriend (naks talaga!) what I’ve been learning from our yogis. He’ll get a private session with me... with extra service maybe. Hehehe.

But for those I cannot give private lessons and extra service to - hehehe - the invitation to Yoga for Life is still open. On Wednesday evenings, it’s at 7:00 pm at the 28th floor conference room of the Medical Plaza Building on San Miguel Avenue in Ortigas. On Saturday afternoons, it’s at 2:00 pm at the Echo Yoga Studio in Century Plaza Building on Perea Street in Makati. See you there!

Also check out our Yogi Bear’s new program under the Echo Yoga roster, which aims to immerse liberated men into yoga. Every Thursdays and Saturdays, he leads men stripped from the usual workout outfits and down to their skivvies, into a deeper and more fabulous appreciation of yoga. Check out Yoga Loca at the Echo Yoga website for more details.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Okay fine. I’m going to say it. I’m going to try to say it.

I dread having to admit it. But this being my journal, I can only say it because it’s the truth.

I’m... gulp... seeing someone.

Da bitch is owned.

He’s someone who found me online... yet again... on one of my personals sites. I held off on meeting up as long as I could, but he was persistent. I told him I was HIV positive. He still wanted to meet. I ran out of excuses.

We eyeballed at a local Starbucks, drove around a bit, and he brought me home. He snuck me into his house, got me comfortable, got me in bed, and got it on. This was last year. And that was that.

I couldn’t see him anymore because the time came when I was supposedly in a relationship. But that’s not to say that he wasn’t trying to see me. But I knew I couldn’t and I shouldn’t, so I didn‘t.

Of course, my relationship ended. This guy was still keeping in touch every so often. So June this year, he texted asking how I was and how my relationship was going, I decided. Fine I could see him again. No more reason not to.

So we’ve been going out since June. He immediately made clear that he couldn’t commit to anything just yet. That we could take it slow and just enjoy what we had. I honestly didn’t think I could commit either. I was at a point where I had come from committing myself to a relationship that turned out to be physically unsatisfying. So I was itching to just cruise the meat market, really. So taking it slow and just having fun was just perfect.

So yeah, we were dating regularly, once, sometimes twice a week, but not exclusively. I was dating other guys. I was sleeping around. I even had a bus buddy and a sex week, remember? What other things he was doing on his end, I didn’t really need to know. I didn’t ask. But he wanted to know what I was up to. I didn’t see any reason to keep him from finding out. And then it happened. He arranged for us to have a serious talk. Uh-oh.

To put it simply, he wasn’t happy. He was jealous. He was sad. He was disappointed. I could even say he was pissed. He was certainly reconsidering what we had. But what did we have? Technically, nothing. But introspect told me I wasn’t happy seeing that glum look on his face. So his sudden display of these emotions was, for me, a call to rethink where whatever we had was going.

So who is this guy? Well, he’s older than I am. Taller. Fairer. Built with a little bit extra, which is fine with me.

The bad news?

He’s a pessimist, putting himself down, especially when it comes to what we have. Lines like “Ayaw mo naman ako i-hug eh” after a perfect date piss me off, regardless of how little it’s meant. I just think it’s uncalled for, and there’s no right response to something like that.

Sexually, he’s more vanilla than I’d really like. But it’s something we can still work on and are still working on. No biggie.

He’s got a temper. He sometimes won’t let bad service at a store or a restaurant pass. He voices out getting pissed at rowdy kids at the mall. He barks at promo people who pester him. Believe me, even I have been on the receiving end of that temper already. Not the best way to start a date.

He’s paranoidly discreet. He takes a lot for him to give me a smack in his quite tinted car. He won’t hug me in public, not even in a bromantic way, and sometimes stops me from putting my arm around him. He’s even threatened to walk out if he hears any of my pozzie kids call me “mom”. Seriously?

The good news?

We have common interests. He’s an architect, and I’m a frustrated one. I match his educational and professional background in design with my fanaticism with the Lifestyle Channel. I sort of understand property development, have engineering somewhere in the back of my background, and know that ottoman pluralized is not ottomen.

He misses me. A lot. And very easily. Maybe too much. We’re still together and he already says he’s going to miss me. I know. Cheesy much.

He worships me. Not my most preferred role, but it’s good for a change. Still getting used to it. He knows everything about me, from my indecencies to my HIV, but still proudly declares something to the tune of “My boyfriend is a slut!” Oh, I’m fine with that. Not like it’s a far-fetched idea.

At this point, we’re still “together”. After that serious talk we had, we sort of honeymooned, spending a weekend in Tagaytay, albeit just sleeping in most of the time. We see each other at least weekly. He calls me his boyfriend. He uses the word “love” liberally. I admit I’ve used that L word as well. Gah! Cheesy! So not like me.

So there, that’s what’s been happening. I am owned. Or at least I’m letting myself be owned. Let’s see how things will go from here.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bitch Finds a Bastard

Bastard!You already know that I’m the self-named, self-confessed, self-admitted B.I.T.C.H. I might just be the only person who has no problem being called a bitch. I’m the personification of the old Alma Moreno joke, who when called out, “Hey, BITCH!”, would reply with much annoyance, “Don’t you dare call me ‘Hey’!” So, as the Bitch, it is appropriate that I find my bastard. And I found my bastard.

He’s young. He’s short. He’s dark. He’s hairy. He loves to nibble. He’s jumpy and very excitable. He loves me unconditionally. He hates taking baths. He’s one hot dawg. Oh... what? I really was talking about a dog... as in he walks on all fours.

A colleague at work had puppies that she needed to give away... to anyone who was willing to give them a good home. Four puppies each needed a home. Easy a decision as it should’ve been, I had to think about it seriously.

I’ve always been a pet lover. I’ve had fish, turtles, fortune lobsters, cats, dogs and even a monkey. And my last pets, and I could say my favorite species, were rabbits. But it’s been 2 years since my last rabbit died. Almost perfectly timed with finding out I was HIV positive. I guess it gave me time to take care of myself first.

But it was time. I took a chance. Let’s give him a codename. Let’s call him mah little Bastard. Because he is... he is Bitch’s little Bastard. Just in case he’s in any way covered by R.A. 8504, let’s keep his real identity for him to disclose for himself.

And August 21st, the little Bastard came into my life. He was born June 10th, making him around two and a half months when I got him. He’s a mini-pinscher, with a little mix of shitzu. So in the question whether he’s a pure breed or not, he isn’t. But that don’t mean he ain’t the cutest.

He doesn’t exactly look like a mini-pinscher or a shitzu. People have said he looks like a Yorkshire terrier. He actually reminds me of Tintin’s dog, Snowy, just tinier and in a different color. He’s black, with brown bits on his legs, his snout and his eyebrows. He’s not exactly classy looking. I would actually use the word “scrappy” to describe him. He really looks scrappy. But just right. I’m not classy myself. I’m scrappy, too.

So there. Officially, this is my first dog. My own dog. A dog who I’ll be bringing up, my own style.

So for the first time ever in my pet history, this dog stays inside the house and sleeps in my room. He ain’t gonna be eating bones and just leftovers either. But most importantly, health-wise, karir kung karir.

Well, it was partly a condition laid upon me by my colleague who gave me the little Bastard. But more importantly, I cannot overlook the fact that I am now immuno-compromised. So the little Bastard’s health can and will directly affect my own.

So, two weeks ago, I brought the little Bastard to the veterinarian, luckily just a couple of blocks from where I live. It wasn’t his first trip to the vet, as he’d began his shots even before he was given to me, but it was mine. He had a little booklet that was a record of the vaccines he’s gotten... funnily similar to the booklet I have for my ARVs.

The poor little thing got the second dose of his vaccines, which the doctor said was a 5-in-1 thing, all with a little whimper. It was a combination of vaccines for DHLP - short for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus - plus Corona Virus, if I‘m not mistaken.

Interesting. I never knew dogs could get hepatitis. I’m sure it’s different from the hepatitis I have, but I could’ve truly said that I can sort of relate.

By next week, he’ll get his next shots, which the vet says will be a 6- or 7-in-1. I’m not exactly sure what six or seven those are. Also soon, he’ll get a follow-up for his deworming, and start on his rabies shots. I’ll probably have to get a rabies vaccine as well, just to make sure. I’ll ask RITM about it.

I really wasn’t sure how my mom would take the little Bastard. But thankfully, she’s fallen in love with him. She’s been able to whip out her grandmothering skills, probably seeing him as the first ever grandchild she’s been longing for. She loves feeding him, keeps him company during the day while I’m at work, telling me all about his antics while they’re home alone, and even going online to research on dog care. And mind you, my mom isn’t exactly all that techie, so that’s a real effort for her.

It’s really not hard to fall in love with the little Bastard. He lives by little bundles of energy, and is a sleepy, lazy pup in between... quite like myself. He’s also extremely perky and pesky, in an adorable way. And he’s extremely smart. It took just over a week to potty-train him, although he does still have the occasional accidents every once in a while. He also knows this early how to “sit” and “come”, and he has this funny way of putting his toys away by his little bed, which my mom says takes after my obsessive-compulsive side. Hehe.

I guess the worst part of it is that the little Bastard is really taking up my time. I can’t just stay out all the time knowing that he’s home waiting for me. And my mom is taking advantage of that fact as well, using him as a way of convincing me to come home early every time I have plans. Argh. But he’s not exactly cramping my style completely. I am still able to stay out late or go out on weekends, either for yoga or the occasional dates.

He’s not keeping me up late either. Mostly, he’s sleeping when I am. Or if he is awake, I don’t know what else he’s doing... he’s really quiet and doesn’t disturb my sleep. Though he is becoming my third alarm clock, as he now knows the morning routine. My cellphone rings, my wristwatch rings shortly after, and soon he starts licking whatever body part I have hanging off the bed, trying to wake me up to let him out of the room. Even on holidays. Hahaha.

So there, this is my little Bastard. Just over four months old, and barely a month under my care, the little Bastard right now has earned his special place in my heart. One other reason to try to stay healthy and live longer. Yes, this Bitch has found his Bastard.


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sex Week

Sex-wise, I’ve been such a good boy. Not totally good, but relatively, I could’ve used a whole lot more. After my sexless Papi-stage, sex has been few and far between, and more vanilla than I’d prefer to be. A combination of choice and chance. I just wasn’t going all out just yet. There was an election day fuck, a feast of german sausage, and some mini servings of vanilla here and there. Ugh, I’ve been good. I’ve been too good. I’ve been good long enough.

I wanted sex. I didn’t need it. I wanted it. Enough goody-two-shoes.

I finally gave in to my accounts on some gay personals sites that were craving for attention. I wouldn’t want to give them too much time speculating about my absence, right?

So I took the initiative to plan out some sexy time. What? I’m single. I’m horny. So? Go!

Episode 0 (Yes, even before Episode 1...)
Monday. I was rushing home. I crossed the overpass. I made eye contact with someone going the opposite direction. I glanced back. He was looking. I continued walking, turning to look every so often. He was still looking. He stopped at the end of the overpass. I was at the opposite end making my way down. I could see his silhouette against the bright lights behind him. His arm was up. He was inconspicuously calling me over, pretending to be fixing his hair. Should I, or shouldn’t I?

Should I! I was particularly brave this day. I turned around and climbed back up the stairs to cross to meet him. He walked beside me. “Anong gusto mo?,” he asked. Confirmed. He just wanted to get off. He led me to his car, where he nervously tried to get it on. He had me explore different parts of his buff body with my tongue. And despite the hesitation every time someone would pass by, he came. It wasn’t much action, but it was a good quickie to start the week.

Episode 1
Still that same Monday. The first planned session of the week. A guy I met online was inviting me over to his place. So I made it home, had dinner, showered, and waited for the go signal. His roomies were gone. He sent me a text message calling me over. A tricycle ride, a short walk, and another tricycle ride... I was there.

This was my first eyeball in a while. I wasn’t as nervous as I usually am on eyeballs. Odd. Might be the age. My age. He was much younger. He led me in, and we sat and talked in the living room. Then he led me into the bedroom, where we did the deed… in his roommate’s bed. Yikes. In the end, we were spent. He thanked me. I thanked him. And a condom manufacturer thanked us both. I finally got the chance to bring my condom stash to life.

Episode 2
Fine, I rested a couple of days. The next session I had was set for Thursday. Someone I met online was inviting me over to his friend’s place after work. The rain and traffic that day were really challenging my determination. But it was set, and I didn’t want to back out at the last minute. So late and wet as I was, I made it to the meeting place. From there, he bought us some takeout for dinner, some drinks… and of course, rubbers and lube. And off we went to his friend’s place.

A long walk and a tricycle ride later, we were there. He keyed the door and… oh. Of course. It was naïve of me to think we’d have his friend’s place without his friend. So, I was going to have my first threesome since a while ago. I’m not new to it. I know what it takes to balance two cocks at one time. I just haven’t been able to practice lately. And it showed. I was a bit awkward admittedly, but at the end of the evening, I got them both off. Whew!

Episode 3
This particular one, I told you about already in The Bad Trip. It was the fortunate or unfortunate and unexpected falling into place of all elements of being in the right place at the right time, all for one hot and steamy encounter. But one of the biggest factors that allowed this to happen was actually another surge of braveness that evening. Hell, I hopped in a stranger’s car... doesn’t that say it all? I can’t exactly say I’m more confident, maybe just more daring...

And all this happened, while I was on my way to...

Episode 4
So there, fresh... or not so fresh... from an encounter with a stranger... yes, cum-breath and all... I headed off to meet up with the guy with whom I’ve been dating most regularly. Good thing he didn’t suspect anything. We’ll, it’s not like we’re a couple or anything just yet, so it should’ve been fine anyway. I just needed to work within my green mind to downplay the afterthoughts and the afterglow and concentrate on the task at hand.

Well, this particular one shouldn’t even be part of this list because, technically, I’d really consider this a date more than a sex session. That particular evening, we just hung out at his place... albeit half or totally naked... teased a bit, napped a bit, and basically enjoyed the time together in private... in a comfortable but non-orgasmic way. Anyway, this guy is a whole other story, so I’ll tell you more about him in his very own post probably.

Episode 5
Saturday, I had an eyeball. The guy didn’t even have a picture in his profile, but then again, that may have just intrigued me more. We planned to check into a motel and do the nasty. Our preferences were a perfect match. That was something I was looking forward to. I got pissed a bit with how hesitant and finicky he was with the actual meet up, with him worrying that I was “halata”. Saying, “I’m here. Meet me. If you don’t like what you see, then just tell me off,” did the job.

Me? Halata? Hello?! So we met. Him leading me to the motel may just have meant he did like what he saw. He wasn’t so bad himself. He was older than I was, but looked good. Er na er. And he lightened up once we started talking and getting comfortable in bed. So sans all the sordid details, after two spent condoms and getting him to cum three times, I can confidently say that he enjoyed every minute of the four hours we spent together. This was one perfect fuck. And he’s looking forward to more.

Episode 6
To cap off a whole week of steamy encounters, I unwittingly ended with a bang. Reviving some old buddies I used to jam with, a conspiracy ensued to have hot fun. Of the buddies I used to have, the guys I had less qualms about keeping in touch with were the “strictly safer sex” guys. My sensibility says I wouldn’t have to convince them to safer sex. While with the rest, they’d probably be wondering why I suddenly shifted to safer sex after years of doing it with them unprotected.

So with worries like that out of the way, five horny guys got together and had a whole lot of fun. Fetishes and kinks all the way. Oh, you’re still stuck at lucky number five? Well, a five-some isn’t even the maximum I’ve ever had, so you shouldn’t be surprised at all. In the end, all five of us had fun, the chemistry surprisingly still there despite not seeing each other for over a year. Close to perfect. But the perfect way to end the sex week.

So there. Seven sessions for a week. An average of one per day. From a regular date to old buddies to new eyeballs to total strangers. From an intimate one-on-one to an unexpected threesome to a full-fledged orgy. From total vanilla to going all the way to having the kinkiest of kinks. This was one hot, hot week that gave me the sex fix I wanted. And I’m left saying to myself, “HIV and all, I still got it.” Pak!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bus Buddy

Bus BuddyAn ordinary weekday morning. I hopped on a bus on my way to work, all seats were taken. I stood in the aisle. I took a seat that became available at the rearmost of the bus. I was followed by others who had just gotten on.

And then, of course, as buses are somehow the root of some worldly desires for me, it got weird.

A guy took one of the other seats in the six-man row I was in. My peripheral vision was teasing me. Was he looking at me? I’m oddly visually challenged. I’m far-sighted. So I can’t really scout out guys who are seated too near. Or I just don’t really want to seem too obvious. Hmm.

As people got off along the way, I was able to transfer to the two-seater just ahead. I still felt like I was being watched. It was just him left in the row behind me. He was oddly leaning forward foregoing comfort for something else. But a lady was seated across from me, which may have been stopping him from making a move. Or I was just being too presumptuous.

We had reached Shaw Boulevard, and I felt him gathering his things. He slid over to the aisle. I felt his hand on my headrest. I heard a piece of paper. Then a couple of taps. I was intrigued but remained unobvious, both to him and the lady seated across. He got up and headed up front to get off. I tried looking out the window to see if he’d give one last glance, but didn’t spot him.

So what was that? Was he indeed trying to show interest? I remembered the sound of paper I heard. I ran my hand up the headrest and took a piece of paper slipped into it. It was a bus ticket. Today’s date, the fare, the origin and the destination. At the back, a name and mobile number was scribbled.

I had all the options in the world. I could have thrown it away. But then, of course, I’m a pleaser. I had a chance to make someone happy. How could I just ignore the guy? A guy who did not shove my face into his crotch on the first bus ride for a change? So yes… I sent a text message to the number.

And then the exchange began. He was relieved that I noticed the little message he left in the bus. Naman! I’m not that dense. With that, we became text mates. We’d text daily, at least mere good mornings or what not. This went on for a number of weeks. Maybe a month.

One Saturday morning, I was on my usual mall routine with my mom. At the hardware section, while looking at rechargeable lamps, my eyes caught a glimpse of someone. A guy. Tall, dark and neat, built with a little bit extra. We just stared at each other, short of saying “You look familiar,” “Where do I know you from,” and “Is that you?“ It was him. We didn’t talk or anything. We just texted.

At some point during that text conversations, I realized how ridiculous it was for us to be relying on chance to see one another. So I suggested that we plan out the next time we’d bump into each other. He agreed.

August crept in. And upon establishing the common point of our respective daily commutes, we agreed to meet and share rush hours. I arrived at the bus stop first, he came in a bit. Must’ve been funny seeing two grown men who couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces.

We hailed a bus that would run our common route. We took seats beside each other. Sometime during the trip, he took my hand and held it the rest of the way, not even minding if other people would see. Cool. It was really nice having a hand to hold through traffic. There was a movie playing on the bus, too. Vic Sotto and Rosanna Roces. Basta Ikaw, Nanginginig Pa. Oy, is this a sign from the heavens? Not really. We were really without the kilig of it all because we were giggling at how ridiculous the movie was. He tapped my leg before getting off at his stop.

The next day, same thing. We rode together. Same bus line. No Pinoy movie this time, which we giggled about again. Again he had my hand firmly in his. Rush hour again. Traffic again. He got to his stop again, and tapped my leg. As he stood up he looked at me, sort of waiting for me to say something or wanting to say something himself. I’m sure I had a confused look on my face. He leaned in and gave me a smack on the lips. And then he turned and trudged to the front of the bus to get off, not even looking back.

Wait... what just happened? But no more confusion, I had a smirk on my face by this time.

I got a text message from him shortly.
     “Ikaw rin. Hmp nanggugulat ka. Hahaha.”
“Hahaha… Nakuha ko ba sa bilis?”
     “Oo. Kung Pinoy movie yun, dapat sasampalin pa kita. Hahaha.”
“Hehehe… Sige di na nga maulit.”
     “Oo. Di na mauulit na magugulat ako.”
“Hahaha… So laging ready ka na?”
     “O baka ikaw na magulat. Sige. Ingat ka ha.”

The next day, same thing. Without the movie. And without the smack. He didn’t even hold my hand. I felt he was teasing me. So I took initiative and grabbed his hand. Hmp, akala mo makakatakas ka ha. So there. We were officially bus buddies, and this was our daily routine. I felt like I had a date every single day. I did, sort of.

Okay, fine, we haven’t always been that patweetums. I think there’ve been three occasions that he holds my hand and leads it towards his crotch for me to feel his erection through his slacks. But that’s the farthest we’ve gone. Nope, he still hasn’t shoved my face into his pubes. But he’s managed to keep me curious as to what’s down there. Wholesome, but naughty.

As of this writing we’re still on it... our daily date. I think in almost a month, we’ve missed just three or four days, but I liked how the days we missed together aren’t a big deal. Because on days we were together, the least we’d be is just napping in the bus holding hands. Nice.

Basically, we're barely past being acquiantances. I don't know his surname. Not even his real name. I don't know what he does, nor does he know what I do. And no, I haven't told him the virally significant secret that I hide. Not like he'll catch anything by holding my hand.

So there, now you know my bus buddy. We’re not a couple. No commitment. No I-love-yous. Just something comfortable. And major-major safe. A huge ego boost, for me, at least. Nice. Really nice. And naughty too sometimes.

Isn’t life great? And aren’t buses too?