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.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Simply Complicated: Surprises

Am I ready to deal with all the competition?

Again, the too-cute category instantly invokes a fight or flee mode. And honestly, I would usually flee. I’m not a competitor. I was never raised to be. Inferiority complex, that’s me. But this time was different. I found myself with an unusual conviction. Go ahead... someday you’ll see we belong together. Wow. My confidence amazed even myself.

So I was sticking around for that “someday”.

And in sticking around, we were spending more and more time together.

Having met there, definitely, yoga was a staple. As he became a regular, so did we become... uhm... regular. On Wednesdays, we’d see each other there, him from school, me from work, and head home together. And on Saturdays, we’d meet around our place and go together, and after head home together.

But in all that, I made sure we weren’t a package deal. We should go for the benefits of yoga, remember? So on more than a handful of times, either he’d be there and I’d be stuck at work, or I’d be there and he’d be busy with school. No big deal. And even when we’re both there, we’d usually be in different parts of the room, only catching up when it was time to leave.

And aside from yoga, at times, I’d take leaves from work, to give myself a break and to accompany him on errands. I dunno, I felt like I needed – no, not “needed” – I wanted to take of him. But even if I wasn’t completely helpful on his errands, he appreciated me being there, and we both always had fun spending whole days together. A very good sign.

When our birthdays came, mine a day ahead, I wanted to spend it with him. Dinner would do. It was a Friday, so I suggested we meet at the mall. I’d be coming from work, and him, school. As I got there, he was on his way. Next text, he said he was there, but with a classmate he needed to shake off. It turned out to be a harder shake that expected.

I ended up waiting a couple of hours, and found myself alone, no dinner, no date, no nothing. I admit, I was a bit disappointed. It was my birthday! I had dodged other invites so I could be with him! Geesh! Instead I was home, lying in bed with my dog, munching on some cookies for dinner. Very spinster.

Ah well, no grudges. No big deal. By the next day, we were together on the MRT, on the way to yoga kissing and holding hands. No blaming, no apologies… he told me about his night out with his friends, and I was happy he had fun. Sincerely. So at yoga, we got offered a lot of sun salutations that day, a number equal to the average of our ages, actually. And after, we were able to have our birthday dinner finally, with Yogi Bear and BFF.

He fell asleep with his head on my shoulder on the long bus ride home from Makati. We took a cab from the bus stop, and I dropped him off at his place. But before he alighted, I reached into my bag to pull out a gift I got for him. Surprise! He thanked me intensely, as we greeted each other happy birthdays, and he gave me a kiss. I hoped he’d like the gift.

It was tough thinking of what to give him. But this was something I knew he needed. So I got it, and made sure he’d see a message as he opened it. I fell in love with you. Happy Birthday. The L word. I used the L word. It may have been the first time I used the L word towards him, but I had been feeling it for quite a while already.

Cheesy, I know. But it was the truth. I wasn’t saying it so he’d love me back. I was saying it because it was matter-of-fact. No more, no less.

I was thinking, even if he didn’t like the gift, I hope he appreciated the feelings that I sent with it. Napaiyak mo ako sa saya! Maraming salamat! Mwah mwah mwah! With that, I believe he was happy. And so I was happy too.

We saw each other again the following Wednesday at yoga. I ended up carrying a package of his through a dinner meeting and on the trip home. As I handed it to him as we were about to separate, he throws me the most beautiful smile and says Surprise! What the?! Apparently, what I thought the whole time was his school project was his gift for me! Grrr, I hate surprises, remember? Hehe.

As I got home, I opened up the gift, and it was something I could definitely use, and even better, something that would surely remind me of him. I spied a little card at the bottom of the package. Thank you for being there when I needed you. =) Love you too! Happy Birthday! The L word? From him?! And, hard as it is to admit, I broke down. Argh, I still get teary-eyed every time I read it till now.

So was this it? Were we officially a couple?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simply Complicated: Competition

CompetitionShould I die now? Of course not. OA lang ako.

So yeah, people were noticing the chemistry between us. They were seeing a lot of us as a package, arriving and leaving yoga a lot together. Sometimes, during dinners and get-togethers with friends, he would be my plus-one. And on more than a handful of times, I’ve been asked whether we’re a couple. I have to be honest of course and say that technically, we’re not.

But the path we were treading was far from perfect, or ideal for that matter.

On one occasion, after a yoga session just on heels of our being introduced, some were going for dinner, and some were going home. I thought we were heading home together. But he got cornered by someone else... actually the same guy who was molesting him at the dinner some nights back. Before I knew it, they were walking together to the dinner place. And seeing he didn’t even look back to see if I was coming or where I was, I bade goodbye to the others and headed on home.

On the bus, I got a text from the boi. Sabay ka ba maya? Darn, so he looked for me? Should I head back? Geesh. So I replied that I was already on my way home. We sent each other Ingats. So everything was fine, right? Sort of. I found out after that the guy he was with took him home. Whose home? Well, the guy’s status message after which read, Perfect na sana, lakas lang humilik, should tell you what happened.

In all actuality, this guy was pretty persistent. The next yoga session, despite the fact that I had arrived with the boi, the guy again marked his territory. As in I was seated in front of the boi while we were joking around, and the guy actually squeezed himself in between us and immediately put a hand on his leg. Ohhhhh, okay. I backed off.

After yoga, the guy tried to whisk him away, offering him a ride home. Assuming “home” was really home, I should hitch too, so I did. Very third wheel of me, I know, I know.

With the boi in the passenger seat and me at the back, I was witness to a courtship ritual. Actually, from the turn of the key, the stereo flipped on with Cee Lo’s “Fuck You” at the top of the playlist. Wow, all planned out? Double entendre quips. Caresses here and there. And attempts at convincing the boi not to head home yet. Ahm, excuse me, am I not in the car? But at the end of the trip, I had managed to keep my food down, and found myself on the MRT... with the boi... having been dropped off at a station.

This guy was not the only one.

It wasn’t alien for people to be talking with him while caressing his strong arms and bulging chest. Don’t get me wrong, he would never shoo people away, enjoying the attention. But on my end, I’d be rolling my eyes into the back of my head thinking, excuse me, he’s a human being, not a piece of meat.

Sometimes, at yoga, guys would call him over to take the place next to them. In all fairness though, I appreciate how, when that happens, he looks back at me with a face that says What do we do now? I just nod at him to give him the go ahead. We’ll be back together after yoga anyway.

And then the boi has a circle of friends he would hang out with. Out-of-town trips and parties. He tells me about plans, an FYI short of asking permission. Trips and parties, nothing bad about that. Supposedly. But hanky and panky were there hanging out with them. He told me himself when I asked him if he was going to be good at these things. He couldn’t say yes outright. He said I shouldn’t expect, for I’d just be courting disappointment. Rather, I could hope. I appreciated the honesty.

But I think my bigger concern with this group of his would be vices. Fine, I can drink a lot too. Drugs, only time I’ve done it was one session smoking a joint of marijuana. First and last time. But the boi wasn’t averse to these things at all… claiming he knows his limits. But then there’s a reason why the ABCDE of HIV prevention has D as Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol... because it clouds your judgment.

That being said, mix alcohol, drugs and hanky panky, and you’re flirting with trouble. Yes, even if I’m NOT a trained HIV counselor, I know that. I’ve made sure I’ve done my part reminding the boi of that fact, and repeating time and time again that he stay safe. I just hope this circle of friends of his be real friends - be better influences and keep him safe too.

So a lot of people were interested in him. As in, a lot. And since I was hardly trying to fence him off, it wasn’t unusual for the boi to turn into a free for all.

Nope, all these things were still not a big deal. We weren’t a couple anyway. Special friends, maybe. But not a couple. Yet. So as long as he was safe, I was fine. So it was probably the drugs part that brought me the most concern.

But otherwise, certainly, the too-cute thing was certainly turning into something to deal with. Like I mentioned before, the very first time we were introduced, I instantly put him into my too cute category. Too cute meant too out of my league. Too cute meant too much competition. And the world itself seemed to not even try to debunk my theory.

So should I fight, or should I flee? Am I ready to deal with all the competition?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simply Complicated: Revelations

Did the relationship end before it even started?

Saturday was yoga day. Sadly, the boi was a Wednesday yogi. I man the Yoga for Life attendance files, contact numbers included. I was tempted to take advantage. So even after my rePUTAtion being broken, I swallowed my pride and texted the boi inviting him to Saturday yoga. I even offered that we go together. Time tick-tocked away as I waited anxiously for a reply.

All he said was that he’d try. As Saturday morning rolled by, I followed up if we were going together. We could meet at the MRT. No reply.

So I went on my usual itinerary, taking a bus to Makati. Lo and behold, the boi suddenly texted asking where I was, saying he was running late just approaching the MRT. Yikes, but I was already on my way. But of course, I hopped off the bus.

I headed for the nearest MRT station. Ideally, I would ride the MRT back to his station, and enjoy the entire ride with him. But, I stopped myself. I had other plans. Let’s not be totally easy-to-get. I suggested we meet at the destination station, Ayala. Wooooow. Hard-to-get. LOL.

So I got there ahead, and exited the turnstiles and waited patiently. I think it was a good 20 minutes. He got there and looked around for me as I was walking towards him. Fine, I admit, I was a bit thrilled to see him, and more to be with him.

Focus. Focus. This is not a date. This is just a walk... to yoga. This is yoga time.

After yoga, our Yogi Bear insisted we hang out with him before his next yoga class. So we had a snack together at a mall food court. Nothing fancy. I believe I had siomai and a drink.

With much time to spare, the tambay time quickly turned into getting-to-know time. Everything from personal, school and family, to HIV, safe sex and fetishes... oi, this wasn’t an interrogation. This was one huge round table with everyone sharing.

So I got to know a lot about the boi. One thing that struck me was that he was no angel. He’s been around. Yes, sexually. My rePUTAtion heaved a little sigh of relief. Very, very interesting.

One other thing that struck me, was that our birthdays were both coming up... just a day apart from each other. Fate... almost. So we shared the same zodiac sign. Big deal? What if we shared the same animal sign, too? It was creepy.

Were we the same age? Unfortunately not. Which, based on the cycle of the Chinese zodiac, meant we had an age gap in a multiple of 12 years. Age GAP. It’s a wonder that I’m attracted to him. I used to really prefer guys older than I was. But in hindsight, I was attracted to the maturity, which, as I learned the hard way, does NOT come with age. So it was not a wonder after all that his age didn’t matter.

Soon, Yogi Bear needed to leave for his class, and I was left with the boi, still basking in all the revelations. We headed for the MRT together. I put my arm around him as we walked. No resistance. Nice.

Getting to the landing, he said he was staying behind. He was going to a friend’s place in the area. His smirk told me it was a date. Hehehe. No problemo. I said I’d go ahead.

So before we headed off our separate ways, he looks at me with these puppy dog eyes, leans in and pouts his lips. I got it. And I obliged. I leaned in and gave him a smack on the lips. Yes. In public. I smiled. He smiled.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t necessarily a big deal, the kissing in public thing. I kiss BFF in public. I kiss Yogi Bear in public. I kiss my favorite doctor-slash-advocate in public. And so many others. It’s just something we’re not shy about, being the liberated gay bunch. No... big... deal.

Okay, fine. I had a smile on my face the whole way home. I was happy, not just with the kiss. You know how you’re attracted physically to some people, but once you start getting to know them deeper, it changes things make-or-break? With getting to know him, I liked him just the same, if not more.

With that, I texted him reminding him to stay safe on his date... in all senses of the word. He knew what I meant. And I couldn’t stop myself.

Stay safe... Like kita. :-) Send.

Beep beep. Haha stay safe too. Like din kta! Lambot ng labi mo. :)

Should I die now?


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simply Complicated: Reputation

Were things going to get… complicated?

So the next time I saw him was the following Wednesday. Yoga for Life day again. No biggie, nothing unusual, I was just yogaing away. After the class, in one way or another, we found ourselves planning to head home together. I can already hear you saying HMMMMM.

But no, this was still no big deal. No hangover from the hand-squeezing that happened. None at all. It was all just common sense. We lived within 15 minutes of each other, so it was just logical for us to head home together.

Incidentally that evening, our Yogi Bear, BFF, and other Yoga for Lifers planned to have dinner somewhere in our part of the metro. So logical again, we hitched a ride and joined them for dinner at a local ChicBoy.

Seats were taken around a long table. The seating arrangement? Nope, we weren’t dinnering as a pair. Hell, we weren’t even sitting beside each other. I didn’t even try to elbow my way there. I’m not that type. Truth be told, someone else’s hand was all over his thigh... almost the whole way through dinner. Ohhhhhkay. I’m not reacting. No reason for me to react. I’m an observer. So I observed. And I observed that someone was aggressively interested in him. Geez, the guy didn’t spend much effort trying to hide it either. Deadma. Good job to him, I thought.

The next thing I know, the topic of the conversation went my direction. As is, I’m not comfortable having the spotlight on me. To make it worse, I was being outed as the slut that I potentially could be. Okay fine, true as it all was, it’s not exactly something that I would like a new acquaintance to know. Let alone a new acquaintance that seemed... uhm... interesting.

Geesh. Thanks ha. Ang linis nyo lang teh eh no? And these were supposed to be my friends?! The friends-make-laglag-friends principle is one I don’t really subscribe to, sorry. I don’t know what face I was making, but I guess I kept my evil eyes at bay because the person who started it was and is still alive. I’m pretty sure though that my eyes rolled into the back of my head a number of times. And I was fake laughing. Tact, anyone?

It was embarrassing. Frustrating. Irritating at the most. But fine, que sera sera. And indeed, sira went my reputation. I reminded myself that I spelled my reputation with a capital P-U-T-A. Ah well. There goes the norm of making a good first impression. Instead of having my best foot forward, my filthy ass led the way. Nak nam puta.

So with that, the little hope or dream or whatever spark I had for the guy fizzled out. I was thankfully first to get dropped off, as I could not have turned invisible soon enough.

And with that, the relationship ended before it even started... or did it?


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Simply Complicated: Squeeze

I apoligize for being so quiet. Too quiet. I've been busy. With work. And with family. Okay, fine... and with my personal life. It's been a case of I-want-to-tell-you-all-about-it-but-I-don't-want-to-jinx-it. But right now, I'm afraid that I've been saving too many details in the memory card in my brain... so I decided I'd tell my story. Or start to. So allow me to backtrack... to when it all began.

It was February, (hahaha, what?! i told you i would backtrack didn't i?!) and Yoga for Life was celebrating the love month with a series of partner yoga sessions. Basically, you do yoga in pairs. You get into more intense stretches and positions with the help of your partner, and vice versa. And you get the challenge of going into a deeper state of focus, having to interact with someone in your personal space. Sound interesting? It is.

So basicaly, as much as I wanted to have my actual partner-hubby at the time there, he just wouldn't have it. No way in hell. Fine. I will go alone... and be a broken record explaining why I didn't have my boyfriend with me. Screw you all.

So it was a packed class on my first partner yoga session. And I looked around the room wondering who I was going to get paired up with. I had a few that I was eyeing. Crushables, you might say. Mostly shorter guys. Yeah, I tend to be attracted to short guys, because they tend to be more chunky... CHUNKY in my bitch-tionary is short for chubby-slash-hunky. Basically, I’m tall and lean, I’m borderline-twink, so I prefer guys who are more built that I am, albeit a little extra or more to love. And shorter usually means the weight is packed into a smaller frame... ergo, chunky. Mmm.

But then of course, partner yoga pairs you up with someone closer to your height. Lucky me, I got paired with the young, tall, lanky, straight guy. He wasn’t bad looking at all, don‘t get me wrong. A number of others were eyeing him... but he wasn‘t rowing my boat. Oh well. I was there for the yoga anyways, so I got down to business.

At the end of the class, we were okay. We worked hard, I could say. It probably helped that there was no sexual tension going in either direction. We were all about the yoga. And then of course, I got approached by some saying how lucky I was to have him for a partner, and how envious they were of me. And I was like, yeah, whatever.

So after class, I got introduced to some of the other guys, including one of those I way eyeing. Acquainted, and that was that. I looked him over and thought... mmm, chunky, more hunky at that... but cute. Too cute. Yes, some guys fall into my category of too cute... and I fall into out-of-my-league mode. As in this guy is too cute to be interested in someone like me. So on that note, I drop it. Done. Acquainted, and that was that.

As fate will have it, we both live up north of the metro, so we headed in that direction together with our yogi bear. The MRT was packed. No poise whatsoever, not that I needed it. Yogi bear got down first, leaving the two of us. He was getting down next, a station before mine. Dito na ako, he said. Okay, I replied, Ingat ha.

Simple, right? Yes. But only until his hand slid down the handrail to where mine was, managing to squeeze the fleshy part at the base of my palm, before he stepped out of the train. What the hell was that?! I stared at my palm, and my brain went haywire. Was I imagining things?! I admit, I was giddy, but didn’t want to assume anything. I was left speechless. And confused. It couldn’t be. No.

And with that, were things going to get... complicated?