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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For Rent

In the relationship I’m in, I hardly make decisions. Partly because I really am less dominating, but also because he’s more critical. He’s more set in his ways, and I’m more open to anything. It’s a match actually. My favorite line, “Up to you”. So taking the reins for a major date night was huge for me. But I took the chance.

It was back in January that I struggled to even consider planning it. There were so many reasons to. I was about to be fresh out of a job, with loads of free time to spare. It was Valentine season, a first for us, a major reason for a major date. A friend was going to have his star shining on that stage, and I was thrilled at the chance of watching him. And I had never watched Rent before, not in the movies, not on video, not on stage, not ever.

So I scoured the net for ways to get tickets. I found it, and asked Hubby if he was game, without revealing what exactly I was planning. I tried to keep it a secret. I chose a date, he marked it off. I wondered what seats would be good, he left the choice to me. I opted for what I guessed to be the best seats to watch from. I made the reservation, paid through a bank deposit, and it was set. On the very opening day, the very first evening performance of its 2011 run, I was finally going to be able to watch Rent.

Though our reservations were still for the 8:00 pm show, we had practically the whole day planned out. We met to have lunch, some mmm mmm Savory chicken after his morning meeting. I skipped yoga to keep my day open for our big date. We drove to the Rockwell area, where he had some work to do for a client, with which I was able to help out as an extra pair of hands. I truly enjoyed that. From there, we had an early dinner at XO on Jupiter Street in Makati, and headed finally to RCBC Plaza early so we’d not have to be hustling our way there.

We got the tickets we reserved, and had about an hour to spare. So we grabbed some coffee, and hung out. After a while, we took one last trip to the restrooms, and headed in. Drumroll… and… whew! I was happy that he approved of the seats I got. Not too near, not too far. We were right smack in the middle of Orchestra Center.

Soon, a robotic sing-song voice flooded the theater. “This show will begin in ten minutes. Thank you.” Then five minutes. Then two minutes. Before I knew it, the lights dimmed, and I held my breath…

Before this, all I knew about Rent was that it touched on HIV and AIDS. And of course, Seasons of Love. I knew that three hundred sixty five days, at twenty four hours per day, and sixty minutes per hour, made ‘five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes‘. That’s all.

So without giving anything away, I giggled at Gian Magdangal’s grind, groove and guy-liner, I am humbled with how homey OJ Mariano plays a homo, I was superbly shocked to see Ciara Sotto’s sensual, sultry and slutty side, I mooed at Maureen’s maniacal monologue, and of course, I acclaim at the acrobatics and antics of the amazing Angel, played by Job Bautista, famed tomcat of the Pole Cats, and fellow Yoga for Lifer. Bravo!

Of course, as pleased and excited I was every minute I was there, Hubby had different things on his mind. Thanks to my super power of peripheral vision, I could see every smirk, every sigh, every tsk, every head scratch, every eye roll… everything from notes not hit, to lines unheard, to palengkera pokpoks behind us, to the cigarette breath of the guy seated next to us, he was just stressing himself out.

It wasn’t easy. It just wasn’t easy. But then, he’s just like that. Blame that he is himself musically gifted. Blame that he is a performer himself. Blame the hypertensive genes. Blame age. Whatever. I admit, it wasn’t easy, but it was fine. I try my best to appease him whenever he gets like that. Thank heavens I don’t sweat the petty stuff myself. Maybe opposites do attract, huh?

Well, he didn’t exactly ruin the evening, despite all that. He did have a good laugh as we got lost in the parking lot. He did admit that criticizing stuff was one hobby he enjoyed and enjoyed a lot. He did say he was happy just spending the whole day with me. Good answer. Good answer.

So would I recommend watching Rent? Of course! It was a great place for a Valentine date, and a perfect last hurrah to my bumhood. Now I’m not naturally a critic, not of the performing arts at least, but I can safely say I enjoyed the production. Immensely.

I giggled every time the “AZT break” punch line got thrown… oh, boy, could I relate! And I got teary-eyed when Angel got kinuha-ni-Lord, and even when he showed up again at the curtain call. Cheesy! And I absolutely especially loved every time the chorus sang the all-too-familiar Seasons of Love. It never tires. It never tires. Fine, so maybe I’m not really musically inclined enough, but who cares if the highest note Mimi hit was the screech of her thighs against a cold metal pole?! Ah basta, I enjoyed myself!

Perhaps it helped that I was relating on a personal level. Perhaps it helped that I myself have been counting my own five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes for the past almost three years now. And mind you, I’m still counting and I have no plans of stopping just yet. Go and check out Rent. Perhaps someone you know is counting his or her own five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. I can only say, there’s only me. There’s only us. No day but today. No day but today.

Rent is being held at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, from February 12 to March 6, 2011, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information on the schedule, reservations, and tickets, visit


Michael Offutt said...

I loved Rent. It's so wonderful reading your experiences...takes me down a stroll of memory lane.

InfinityStrip said...

Angel and Mimi have always been my favorite characters in Rent and I became an instant fan of Job when I saw his performance during last year's regular season run. Kaya nga I always get star-struck when I see him in YFL classes :)

It's so sweet that you got to watch Rent with your special someone - inggit ako hehehe

Little Fish said...

can i possibly Rent you to watch it again without the consent of your hubby?

hehehehhe...joke lang!

PinoyPoz said...

hahahaha! if the price is right?! LOL!