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.

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


Ming Meows said...

oh...his death was not really meant for him. but i'm hoping he's in a happy place now.

Anonymous said...

again, my condolences...


blessedcain said...

that was sad for us being left behind idol, but i'm sure as energy he is now together with the source of all energy in the universe and that is amazingly beautiful. i lost two sex friend at the same month of October last year and i can relate you getting those phone calls. merry Christmas pa rin idol.
love and gratitude!
your fan


No tears for you but im having tears while reading this. ahhhhhhhhhhh

why things happen only God knows I have been crying like a river since you informed me with it.

Wherever he is I know hes in good good hands.

I never imagined i will read an entry that says something like this in your blog.....sad sad sad for me.

odin hood said...