Where the hell are you?
Do you even exist? Are you just a mere myth invented for the sole purpose of torturing women with high expectations and taunting men for their substandard horizontal techniques? Are you just a mere fragment spun from some lonely woman’s imagination as she lay under the heaving Wookish morbidly obese body of her panting husband to entice him to stop his one minute pounding of her disenchanted vaginal canal?
Where the f**kin’ hell are you?
DocS was the one of the deans of the medical school where I came from. Because he was a member of a family-owned educational institution, he asked me and some of my classmates to help him conduct the annual physical examination of all of the elementary and highschool students of the said educational institution. We all rode in his van and he drove us towards the said institution, with me sitting in the front seat with him while the rest of my classmates sat at the back. As he started grilling us about school, the review, my former highschool classmate who is a niece of his, our conversation shifted to the more personal and interesting questions.
“So, [Mistress], when are you getting married?”
I laughed. “Di ko pa alam, DocS. Di ko pa po iniisip yan sa ngayon.”
“Why not? You should start thinking about settling down already.”
A polite smile was my only reply.
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
My classmates laughed from the back. They were all aware of my sordid stories of the men who had come in and out of my life. “Uhhh… no.”
“Why not? Didn’t you have a boyfriend when I interviewed you during your application to the medical school?”
Uhhh… that was eons of years ago, I wanted to tell him. But instead I just smiled.
“And I think I saw you before with some guy, I just can’t remember when it was.”
“Which one, doc?” I asked him. After which my classmates laughed. They thought I have just incriminated myself to one of the deans from our school by implying that I was a slut.
“What? So you have had many boyfriends?”
I simply laughed him off and ignored his question.
Darna then whispered to me jokingly that I should just keep my mouth shut because I am forgetting that I was talking to the Dean of Student Affairs, who was the henchman for knowing the personal stories and reputations of all medical students in the medical school.
So, how many really is many? And how many boyfriends is appropriate enough? How many boyfriends will a girl have had to be labeled a slut? Does having had a number of boyfriends, regardless of whether or not I was monogamous to them (I was, by the way, 100% of the time!), of whether or not I slept with them, or whether or not I was truly madly deeply inlove with them, label me a slut? Does the simple fact that the number of guys whom I have called “My Boyfriend” are more than the number of fingers in my one hand evidence enough to categorize me as a slut?
I do not really consider myself a slut. Yes, I have had numerous relationships, a lot more than I would care to but I regretted none of them. I did not sleep with all of them. I do not wish to tell the actual number of boyfriends I have had but rest assured that I can still count them using the fingers in my hands. I will admit though that I have only fallen truly deeply madly inlove thrice in my life.
I once heard in some show at the Discovery Channel that a person will fall inlove about an average of three times in his entire lifetime.
So, does this mean that three is the magic number?
You tell me.
So now you tell me you’re satisfied
You strut around with your 10-month old baby and that wedding band in your finger, looking down on my warped views regarding love and my commitment issues. You thought I didn’t notice how you cringed in disdain when I told you how marriage is something I might not want to pursue given the relatively slim pickings of men actually worth marrying. How could you have changed this much? You who used to be fun and more flirty than I was. You who had no qualms about sleeping with rich chubby guys on your first date. You who had probably slept with more men than I did. You who laughed at my dating horror stories and my occasional embarrassing moments of naivety with men who were about to take advantage of me.
What happened to you?
Haven’t you noticed that things have been different between us after you got yourself pregnant? We used to be the best of friends. When you told me you had gotten yourself accidentally pregnant and you were marrying your on and off boyfriend, Muscles, for six years, I wondered why it took you a week to tell me. I suppose you probably were ashamed and had to wait for Muscles’ decision to do the right thing and marry you. How could you have been so dumb? I thought you were so much smarter than this. You who swear on the efficacy of Provera. You who frequently chastised me for not practicing safe sex as much as you did. You who laughed at my mastery of the Natural Family Planning method.
You who got yourself accidentally pregnant after a weekend of debauchery with the man whom you told me was possessive, emotionally weak, had unethical values and whom you have sworn to me repeatedly was not the right man for you.
So, who’s the smart one now?
And now you tell me that you’re deliriously happy. You have a baby, a husband and the security you needed which you didn’t get when you were still boyfriend-girlfriend. You have deluded yourself into thinking that getting married to you has made him change his ways. Go ahead, continue your delusions, while I keep my mouth shut and not tell you about how HotNurse told me that Muscles still flirts blatantly with his students. Of how a few days before you two got back together, Muscles told HotNurse that it will be a long time before he actually thinks of getting married to anyone. Of how Muscles was not ready to get married but was only forced to make that decision because he got you pregnant. Of how once when you were pregnant, HotNurse, Muscles and I went drinking and they made me swear not to tell you. Of how HotNurse and Muscles would go out with the rest of the boys and meet girls they would then end up having one-night-stands with, and then he would go back home to your loving arms and warm bed, telling you that he only went drinking.
How could you actually believe that getting married was the solution to an unwanted pregnancy? How could you believe that a mere sheet of paper was the catalyst that could make him change his ways? How could you be so darn ignorant so as to think that marriage has actually brought you security and contentment?
And you wonder why you’re getting fat despite having lost the post-partum weight. That’s stress. Somewhere in your subconscious, you know you are unhappy. You know you are not contented with the marriage. Despite that marriage certificate and the baby, you know there is still a void that he has not fulfilled in your life. And it’s eating you. And your body is manifesting your frustrations by refusing to hydrolyze the lipids in your system and fooling your hypothalamus to think that you will never reach that point of satiety.
You are one of the reasons why I no longer believe in the purity of marriage. You are one of the reasons why I would like to take my time in finding the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I no longer care that I am close to my 30’s and friends are worried that I might become That Pretty Girl in the group who remains single. If I ever get accidentally pregnant by someone who cannot provide for me a lifetime of bliss, I will keep the baby, allow him the opportunity to spend time with it but I will not marry him. I will take my time. I will not settle. I will make sure that in the end, I will not regret.
That unlike everybody else, I will truly be happy.
So go ahead. Convince yourself that you are happy. Look down on my series of broken hearts and failed relationships. Feel sorry for my current lifestyle of loneliness. Pity me for still being single and unattached. Persuade yourself that one day you will never hear your husband tell you the most hurtful words you will ever hear in your entire life: that he only married you because he got you pregnant. Convince yourself that unlike me, you are now living the life that you’ve always wanted. Go on, dream.
We both know anyway that’s all just a fantasy.
“Scoot over, [Mistress]. I’m feeling sleepy.”
I scooted over to the side, my breasts practically flattened to the wall, as another classmate squeezed in his huge frame between myself and TheIdealMan in the miniscule bed. “Oh, guys, come on,” I muttered, “I can’t breathe in here!”
My classmates laughed. Another day at the PGI Quarters. A full-blown whole-day citywide brown-out and a 5:00 PM class with Dr. Lee at Radiology has resulted into my hanging out at the PGI Quarters at noon. I wasn’t really much of a siesta person so I figured, since the hospital has a generator and all, it would probably be a cooler place for killing time than sweating like a pig and dying of boredom at home. Of course, I had forgotten that lunchtime was usually the time of the day when the PGI Quarters was most packed.
Cocolee, official class clown-slash-heartthrob was in the middle of telling an anecdote about a former Psychiatry patient he met during his rotation at IM when my cellphone rang.
Yup… It was Mcplayer.
“Meet me at the Doctor’s Quarters. The one near the Burn Ward?”
I smiled. “What time?”
I laughed. “Okay.”
A quick tug-of-war between my hair and the hairbrush, a few strokes with the lipstick and a couple spritz of my perfume and I was all-set. I was about to walk inconspicuously out the door when Eve called me. We were both under Dr. Lee’s class but she usually comes in early because of – get this! – her insatiable appetite to learn… Yes, I too believe she must be suffering from some kind of a disease… “Hey, [Mistress], where are you going?”
Think, [Mistress], think. “Uhmmm… lunch.”
“I’ll go with you. I haven’t had my lunch yet.”
“Uhmmm…” Shit! What the hell— “I’m having lunch with my Mom.”
Eve scrunched her face. “Oh, well. No thanks. I’ll just wait for Doc Badz instead.”
I simply nodded and headed towards the Burn Ward, a cat-ate-the-canary smile practically pasted on my face. There’s something incredibly naughty about keeping secrets. The mere fact that you’re keeping something from other people makes rendezvous-ing so much more… what’s the word?… Delicious?…
And there he was, waiting for me by the door of the Doctor’s Quarters.
From afar, I can just imagine that expression on his face, as he watched me walk towards him. Those intense eyes, boring through me, as if he was planning to eat me up in one unexpected moment. The lips partly pouting, partly smirking, as if he knew something about me that even I didn’t know… He was very dangerous grounds, I know, but somehow, sparks flew and I was hooked to him like Mighty Bond between the pads of your fingers.
Mcplayer smiled at me and tugged on my hand as I walked into the Doctor’s Quarters. “Hi, baby,” he greeted, kissing me lightly on the cheek.
I grinned. “Hey, have you had lunch yet?”
I nodded. “So, how was your day?”
He started playing with my hair, twirling them in between his fingers. “Don’t ask,” he answered, rolling his eyes for emphasis. “It was quite toxic at the ward this morning. Thank God that’s all done now. At least, now I finally get to rest.” He then leaned his head on my lap and closed his eyes.
“Oh, poor you,” I teased and started playing with his hair.
He laughed. “Stop! You’ll mess up my hair.” He then grabbed my hands and held them firmly, his fingers fitting perfectly in between my own.
I swatted him playfuly. “So, aren’t you going to ask how my day is?”
He looked at me guiltily. “Oh, haven’t I asked you yet?”
I laughed and pretended to look mad. “Heh!”
He laughed and held me closer. “Uyyy… hahaha… You’re mad at me…I’m sorry, baby. I’m just so tired. Okay, so how was your day?”
“I found out Rockstar got his new girlfriend pregnant.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Rockstar, your ex?”
“With the same girlfriend who was the reason why you two broke up?”
I pretended to look offended. “Did you have to remind me?… Yeah, I guess so. I heard his parents are having a problem right now because they can’t exactly get married yet since the girl is only 16 years old.”
“What did you feel when you heard the news?”
“I don’t know. Mixed emotions. Mostly, I felt surprised.”
“Knowing Rockstar, were you actually even surprised?”
“No. I was just surprised that it actually happened. I kinda felt sorry for him because from what I heard, he’s still jobless until now and now he’s become one of the statistics that he used to vow he would never become – an unwed father.”
“Too bad for him… Baby, that’s karma.”
“Yeah. I guess… Actually, I felt sad as well. More for myself, not for him.”
“Why? Do you still miss him?”
I laughed. “No… Honestly, I think I felt sad because… how come he got his girlfriend pregnant and not me?”
He laughed. “Aba! And you mean you actually wanted him to get you pregnant?”
I giggled. “Hehehe…Just kidding.”
“You know, it’s quite easy to get anyone pregnant. What’s difficult is to raise children.”
“Yes, dad,” I teased, kissing him quickly on the lips. “I was just joking.”
“But if you really want a baby,” he turned and before I knew it, my back was practically reclining on the white standardized sheets of the hospital bed, “I am quite easy to talk to. You want us to start making one now?”
I laughed. “Heh! You’re so bad!”
“No, I’m just being a good friend. You know, I’m always ready to lend a helping hand… So, if you really want to get pregnant now, I’ll lend you my body. Free of charge.”
I smiled. “You’re crazy!” I told him, before giving him a quick smack.
He then looked at me inquisitively. “Honestly speaking, I am not going to get mad. Do you think you’re completely over him?”
I looked at him and found myself surprised by what I saw in his eyes. It was fear, fear that he was actually going to lose me… Ha! I guess he has realized it so much earlier than I did… What started out as friendship, a fling, a relationship that was just supposed to test the waters has finally turned out to be so much more. Damn hell… how was it that I never realized it until now? Or maybe I was just so much in denial about it, afraid of getting hurt again, that I didn’t want to face what’s right there infront of me?… Until now…
Oh, shit. What the hell am I gonna do?
“I’m over him.”
“How sure are you?”
I looked at him. “I just do.”
He kissed the back of my hand and didn’t say another word.
“Baby?” I called.
“Wanna know something?”
“I’m just as scared about this as you are.”
He turned to me, smiled and kissed my forehead. He understood. Words weren’t needed because he felt it too. And it was clearly enough for now.
His name was DubaiBoy. The one and only time I’ve personally seen him was when he was first introduced to me as Beckham’s bestfriend from Cebu. Beckham and his friends had decided to visit the community where I was staying, for a few hours with some relatives. Beckham had decided to surprise me by visiting me right at the hospital where I was currently on 24-hour duty. I remembered laughing when I saw him and his friend peeking from behind the posts while they watched me as I wrote the admitting orders of a pediatric patient with Acute Gastroenteritis.
Beckham convinced me to go out of the hospital for a few hours to have dinner with him and his friends. Because there were about four of us assigned on 24-hour duty that day, I was confident that the rest of them can manage without me. I remembered my classmates teasing me when I told them I needed them to cover my patients for me because I had to sneak out for a few hours to go out with some boy.
As I rode in his SUV, I checked my cellphone for load and tried to see if it was fully charged. As much as Beckham had acted like a complete gentleman most of the time that I’ve been with him, I am still a girl and I had fears that I was about to be brought into some lair filled with drunk horny men who will forcefully engage me in some gang-rape. I felt slightly better knowing I had the means to make a phonecall to any one of my friends should I need them to save me.
A few minutes later, we arrived at the house where the rest of Beckham’s friends were. It was there that I met DubaiBoy. DubaiBoy was a talker, a heavy drinker just like Beckham and more of an extrovert compared to Beckham. He spoke to me in Tagalog with an obvious Bisayan accent. A few instances, he would ask me personal questions regarding my own views about love and past relationships. I detected a slight hint of interest and Beckham must have as well because he kept telling DubaiBoy, “Wag ka na, bro. Alam ko style mo.” I decided to ignore his subtle flirtations because it was apparent among the group that I was there as Beckham’s girl.
The night ended with the boys driving me back to the hospital and a certain incident than involved a USB that contains my only copy of my undergrad research I was working on, which I thought I had accidentally dropped while I was in their company and turns out to have been in my bag at the hospital the whole entire time. I didn’t hear anything from Beckham after that. I guess I must have turned him off when he saw me freak out over a stupid USB, calling him repeatedly and bugging him to check the house, the dinner table, the frontyard and his vehicle again and again for my lost USB. What do you expect? I’m a writer, a researcher and a blogger. One gigabyte of encoded information to me is like a throbbing carotid pulse to a Count Dracula.
And then DubaiBoy found me via Friendster.
He started sending me messages regularly via Friendster, one of which he took the opportunity to ask for my number. I wasn’t particularly that interested but he was very friendly and he seemed harmless so I gave it to him. He then started texting me frequently and I simply replied back out of politeness. At the back of my mind, for me, he was nothing more to me but Beckham’s friend so I better be nice to him. I don’t know what rules men have with regards to going after women your friend used to be interested in but I guess, things were quite okay between the two of them since I never heard from Beckham the whole time that DubaiBoy was courting me.
Until his text messages started containing the words, “I miss you” “I care about you so much” and “I am inlove with you.”
He had this habit of texting me long 5-part messages including short stories or the complete lyrics of a different love song everyday. As in, COMPLETE lyrics. He would call me up on the phone and talk to me about how he was missing my voice. He would attempt to text me using my own dialect, when I myself rarely texted using my dialect (It takes double the time to type in the local dialect as compared to simple English or Tagalog). I felt slightly creeped out by his courtship and would have simply ignored him if not for the fact that I knew he was really a nice guy who is just genuinely interested in the wrong person.
I don’t like courtships. No, scratch that. I don’t like the fakeness of courtships. I don’t like unnatural attempts of showing someone that you like them. I preferred spontaneity, those subtle flirtations interjected between normal conversations, skipping that awkward phase of making good impressions and putting your best foot forward and heading straight to letting that person see and accept you for who you really are and not for who you pretend to be. I don’t like going through that stage where the guy puts you in a pedestal as he tries to prove everything in his power that he is worthy of you. I am not a saint. I do not walk with clouds under my feet nor a halo behind my head. Instead, I like a man who can confidently tell me, “This is who I really am. Take it or leave it,” or after weeks of being a friend, he finds the perfect opportunity to steal a quick kiss from my lips.
Hence, as much as most women would have found DubaiBoy’s wooing strategies sweet, for me, it was just corny and overstated.
So I told him I’ve started seeing someone else. It was too easy to lie to him, he was courting me via long-distance, from Cebu. He told me that whoever the guy is, that guy was extremely lucky to have me, that he will continue praying for me, and that he hopes I will be very happy, etcetera. He disappeared from my cellphone inbox for a few months, except for the occasional messages we exchanged through my Friendster, until I found out recently that he had gone abroad to work as a nurse. He still calls long-distance occasionally, still tells me that one day he will play his guitar and sing a love song for me via phone call.
And how could it be that I still am not interested?
Everybody loves a secret. There is something incredibly exciting when someone speaks to you in hushed tones about his or her or someone else’s secret. Whether it’s a good secret like hiding the fact that you will be graduating at the top of your class from your parents so as to surprise them during graduation, or a bad secret like being involved with a married man or a boring secret like smoking in the house’s bathroom before bathing or exchanging flirtatious text messages with the boyfriend of someone who comes from the same school as you. Everybody loves a secret.
The third floor of my school building has its secrets.
It has been a constant witness to the numerous women taking daily baths at the 3rd floor CR despite the school forbidding it. It has been a constant witness to the many secret rendezvous with one married medical student, despite having been chastised once by one of the priests in the school for public display of affection (We were only talking and holding hands, by the way). It has been a constant witness to the various maneuvers to sneak into classrooms despite the door being locked for those who are late for even half of a second to their 7:00 AM class, the scandalous conversations between women in the comfort room regarding their sexual activities with their boyfriends, and the sexually-charged atmosphere when gay men illicitly check out the penises of straight men while peeing in the urinals.
As one passes by the open door of the 3rd floor Men’s CR, one will be able to see the heads of men standing infront of the stalls as they drain the main vein. A moment of discomfort occurs as one briefly catches the eye of anyone currently doing his business. For a fleeting time, the man holding his penis as he purges out his renal secretions and the woman passing by who manages to look into his direction exchange a few seconds of awkwardness. The man, as if ashamed of this normal act of excreting bodily fluids, is usually the first to turn his eye elsewhere. The woman, conscious of what anatomical part he is holding at the moment, proceeds to turn her gaze elsewhere as well, as if somehow afraid that her stare might cause all the blood in his circulation to rush to his main pipe, completely unaware despite her highschool background of Biology that it is almost impossible for a man to urinate when he has an erection.
And somehow they are reduced to forget that a mere strip of metal that stands as a stall separates the other from whatever it is that he or she is thinking.
Contrary to what most people might think, I do not hate Nice Guys. Although Bad Guys may seem more appealing and exciting with their confident swagger, their humorous pick-up lines and their constant fascination for danger and all things forbidden, it is a rare occasion for them to be able to provide that feeling of being safe and the security offered by a Nice Guy.
Some Nice Guys do seem bland. Boring. Vanilla. But there are a selected few who can come up with one-liners that will make you laugh so loud that it makes you think that Vanilla might not be so bad after all.
Airsoft has that talent.
Hence, I decided to crush on him.
I crush you, Airsoft.
The thing when I have crushes is that I become a dumber version of myself. I clam up, avoid looking at him and pretend that he doesn’t exist at all whenever the person I am crushing on is around. I end up talking to myself, flirting in my mind and making up witty conversations with him in my head.
In short, I become a loser.
For example, I had been given two free tickets by my aunt to a concert by Sponge Cola. I love Sponge Cola and I’ve always wanted to watch them live. Because I lived in a small city where concerts by famous rock bands occur every once in a blue moon, I figured this was the perfect opportunity for me to finally watch them perform live.
I asked my sister if she wanted to go with me. She said she has outgrown these things. Heller! I’m two years older than heer! I didn’t want to ask one of my female classmates to go with me. I knew them well enough that they still lived by the highschool girl bathroom mentality – they will only go, if the rest of the group will also be going. I didn’t bother asking one of my highschool classmates because I assumed they would most likely be unavailable. They had work and babies and stuff.
The perfect person to ask to go to these things would have been a boyfriend, in this case, Philip, but of course, he was indisposed in an out of town school activity. Even if he was in town, I would doubt he would be able to go with me anyway. Midge wouldn’t allow him.
So, I figured, the second best person to invite would be a close friend, a boy, who has his own wheels, and preferably someone I wouldn’t mind to be seen dating.
As soon as the realization hit me, my palms started sweating. I debated whether I should text him as early as morning to ask him if he would like to go with me or whether I should wait for the opportunity later to ask him in person since I would be seeing him anyway earlier in the evening because the whole class was invited anyway to attend an RTD* at some popular restaurant. Because I was a coward, I opted to forego the moment and ask him later instead, when we would finally be alone in his car, since I was the one he usually drops off home the last.
I felt nervous about asking him out. To do so would cement the fact that I wanted our friendship to move forward. It would show him that I was interested in him as more than friends. I started daydreaming about the series of events that might happen once we go out together to that concert. We would have to keep the date to ourselves and not let any of our friends know so as to avoid the awkward teasings and tauntings of the barkada. He would probably start picking me up from the house and we’d be going to school together. At first, when our friends start sensing that there was something going on between us, they would tease us mercilessly, them pushing him so that he’ll trip and stumble towards me or flat in his face in the ground infront of me or them quickly lifting my skirt and letting him see the color of my underwear as if we were all still in Grade 3. Eventually, our friends will get used to seeing us together and the teasings will stop and we will become just another one of the boring annoying couples in class.
I took great care in dressing up that night. A black silky spaghetti-strapped shirt under a black knitted sweater, jeans and stilettos for additional height. My make-up was impeccable. I was dressed to impress but casually enough so as not to look as if I was trying too hard. When I arrived at our meeting place, the usual gang was already there, minus Airsoft. I figured he was late, and inquiring about his whereabouts would have made my friends suspicious, so I no longer asked. I hitched a ride with Naruto instead in his motorcycle and together with the rest of my classmates, we all drove towards the RTD*.
The RTD* started with Airsoft still being a no-show. A couple hours later, with our stomachs fully satiated and our brains refreshed with knowledge about the current treatment modalities for Hypertension and the recommendations based on JNC-7, the RTD* ended and we spent a couple of minutes taking pictures of each other. In the end, hitched a ride in SoSexy’s boyfriend’s car along with the rest of my female classmates and I ended up being the first one to be dropped off.
Suffice it to say, Airsoft did not show up at all.
Tang ina mo, Airsoft.. You stood me up before I could even ask you out.
Leche ka, BREAK NA TAYO.
— RTD – Round Table Discussion – a free lecture discourse set-up by medical representatives and their companies for physicians for the purpose of promoting new products and providing a Powerpoint lecture of the latest recommended management protocols for a certain disease entity. Usually begins with an abundant buffet-style dinner and/or snacks and ends with an open forum for any question pertaining to the prior given lecture. May or may not include a raffle draw of promotional give-aways or an acoustic band for entertainment.
Out of all the members in my family, I have always had the most lax schedule. Before starting medical school, I was volunteering at some hospital every afternoon, together with my boyfriend Rockstar. Both of my parents were working and my siblings had classes from morning till afternoon. As such I was usually the one tasked to go out and deposit money to the bank, pay the phone bills, electric bills, water bills, cable bills and even my siblings’ tuition fees.
One morning, my mother asked me to go to her office later because she had an errand which she wanted me to do. This was a common occurrence since she sometimes leaves blank deposit slips in her office and I cannot go to the bank without her signature in the form. A few hours later, I was finally dropped off by Rockstar to my mother’s office.
“Hi, Ma.” I took her hand and raised it to my forehead as a sign of respect.
“Oh, you’re here. Sit down. I want to talk to you.”
“[Mistress], are you pregnant?”
I was shocked. “Excuse me?”
“I found your diary last night. You left it in our room, wide open. So, I read your latest entry… [Mistress], how can you do this to us? Haven’t all the unwanted pregnancies from your cousins ever taught you something?”
I wanted the floor to just open and swallow me up. I slinked further down my seat. I’m so stupid. This was all my fault. My period has been late for a few weeks. I have an irregular cycle so this shouldn’t cause such an alarm. But because I have been sexually active with Rockstar much too often than I would have cared for, I too was afraid that the frequency might have increased the chances that I could be pregnant. So, I wrote about it in my diary, which was a standard-looking blue Corona notebook back then. Because I was still deliriously inlove with Rockstar back then, I wrote about how despite my own fears, I wouldn’t really mind if I was pregnant since I know he will take good care of me and he will be a great father to my baby. Now, since I would usually write in my notebook and then encode it afterwards and our PC was in my parent’s bedroom, she must have read my diary when I had totally forgotten that I had left it in their room, after taking up a phone call from Rockstar while I was in the middle of my encoding session.
“Ma, I’m irregular. I was just afraid that I could be pregnant,” I told her, in a really small voice. I was afraid of my Mom. Still am though.
“What about our plans for you? You have disappointed us so much. What kind of example are you setting to your siblings? I would have thought that you were the smartest one in the family. I did not expect this from you. How could you do this to us? We have always supported you in all your decisions! You know, when you said you don’t want to apply abroad anymore and you want to go into medical school instead, we supported you. Even when we don’t know where we would actually get money to sustain your education for the next few years. Do you even still want to continue pursuing medicine now?”
“Ma, I’m not pregnant. I still want to go into medical school.”
“But how will you focus if things between you and Rockstar are too serious? I know it was a wrong decision to allow you to have a boyfriend. You two are always spending your time together. It can be distracting for your studies.”
“Ma, I’ve had boyfriends in college before. I never let boys affect my education. Look, despite the fact that I had boyfriends before, I never neglected my grades and I still got to graduate in time, didn’t I?”
“But are you sexually active with Rockstar?”
I could have lied and told her no but she read my diary so she’d obviously know I wasn’t telling the truth. I could have come up with a lesser lie and tell her yes, and then tell her that we only did it one time. I could have thought of a thousand other better things to tell her than what actually came out of my mouth if I had more time but alas! Being the tactless person that I was, I blurted out the first thing that popped into my mind.
“Ma, I’ve been sexually active since I was 21 with my other boyfriends in the big city. I know what to do to make sure I don’t get pregnant.”
I cringed as soon as I heard the words come out of my mouth. I just basically told my Mom I haven’t been a virgin for a long time, that I’ve slept with more than one man, and that basically despite trying to raise me well, her daughter was a slut.
It probably took all my mother’s willpower not to slap me in the face right then and there.
My mother then went on an extremely long tirade regarding my lack of moral values, my disregard for their feelings and the Christian values they taught us, their personal vendetta against Rockstar for taking advantage of me, veiled implications of their not wanting me to pursue medicine anymore, my cousins’ unwanted pregnancies (I have one cousin who got pregnant during her affair with a married man and two other female cousins in my mother’s sides who were forced into marriage because of unwanted pregnancies), my stupidity, my apathy and my loose morals. She did not yell but continued chastising me in a soft tone, as she told me of how she couldn’t sleep at all last night and how she would just stare off into space and think about how I have destroyed their dreams for me, and how she wouldn’t even notice that she was crying until her tears were literally dripping down her neck.
I hated that. I couldn’t stand that. I would have preferred it more if she yelled or slapped at my face instead. I could face her anger well. What I couldn’t bear to face was the guilt and her disappointment.
I couldn’t look at my mother’s face for quite some time. I was allowed to go out with friends, even until the wee hours of the night, but Rockstar and I were not allowed to go out anymore together during evenings (as if people cannot have sex during mornings or afternoons, hello?!). It took a few months for my mother to learn to trust me again. I had been marked for life and indiscretions like this were one of those things that my mother would be able to forgive, but never ever forget.
So now during evenings, I just tell my parents I’m going out with friends even when I’m actually going out with a boyfriend.
Yeah, I know, I know. I can be such a bad daughter sometimes.
“[Mistress], you’re late. Everybody’s in church for the rehearsal.”
I hurriedly dressed up in the simple black dress my mother handed me. As I put on the 3-inch sling backs on my well-manicured toes, she began ranting off a litany of things that she had to do for the day.
“I already told your sister that you’re on your way. Everybody’s waiting for you in church. I think the seamstress has a problem with your dress. But I think one of your bridesmaids has already talked to her. I think you should try to get in touch with her anyway. I still have to go to the printers because I need to have a few more invitations printed up since your groom had additional guests he had to invite at the last minute. And your father’s busy with the caterers so he can’t do it himself.”
Wait. What the F—. “Excuse me? Mom? What is this all about?”
My mother rolled her eyes at me. “Your wedding, iha. Please don’t joke with me right now. I am soo not in the mood.
I plopped down on the bed ungracefully. Did I just hear her right?
“My wedding? With whom?”
She looked at me exasperatingly. “Iha, this is not the time to dilly-dally. Now, chop-chop. Hurry. Everybody’s waiting for you.”
I felt like I was going through the motions as I rode the car that was bringing me to church for the rehearsal dinner. I vaguely remember hearing myself ask her again and again who I was getting married to but she took my lack of knowledge of the man I was getting married to as another one of my well-known cinematic ploys to joke and make fun of her.
“Can I take a look at the invitation, Mom?”
Maybe I can take a peep at this mystery man that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
“I don’t have a copy of it. We ran out of invitations, that’s why I have to go to the printers to have an additional batch reprinted in the first place.”
“Ma, who is this mystery groom? This isn’t a parental kind of thing, is it?”
She rolled her eyes at me again. “Oh, you! Why should I set you up with a parental? We’re not even Muslim. Stop playing these silly games with me, iha! I don’t have time to deal with this right now!”
God. I’m getting married tomorrow.
And to some stranger I don’t even know.
I tried desperately to search through my memory for my so-called groom. The most that I got was a medium-height well-built faceless guy in a black coat and tie. When my mother dropped me off at the church, I saw the line of men and women, mostly friends and relatives, waiting for my arrival. Several orange and purple flowered topiaries were lined in one side of the church. I cringed, hoping against hope that somebody will tell me that those are not for my wedding. SexyMama, one of my highschool classmates, approached me right away.
“[Mistress], there’s a problem with your dress. I’m so sorry. I’ve already talked to them and they said they can’t get you the dress you asked for to be ready by tomorrow. I know it’s my fault since I was the one who recommended you to them in the first place but they are willing though to have my old wedding dress resized to fit you and they’ll be able to deliver it to you as early as tomorrow morning.”
I just looked at her blankly. SexyMama was tall and extremely lanky. I, on the other hand, was petite and more curvy. It would take the best darn seamstress in the entire city to make me fit into her wedding gown. “I’m going to be wearing someone else’s wedding gown on my own wedding day?”
She smiled sheepishly. “Y-Yes…”
I have dreamed of my wedding my whole life and now, I’m going to be wearing someone else’s hand me down? “SexyMama, are you fuckin’ kidding me?”
“I am SO sorry. The dressmakers totally underestimated the time it will take them to get all the beads and embroidery sewn into the dress. I think they only got the embroideries today so they still had to saw up the whole thing and your actual wedding dress will not be finished by tomorrow.”
“Okay…” As if I had a choice. I sighed in exasperation. “Ahmmm, SexyMama?”
“Who am I marrying tomorrow?”
SexyMama rolled her eyes at me. “Stop it, [mistress]. That’s not funny. The two of you have been dating for almost two years. Don’t tell me you’ve somehow conveniently forgotten who you’re marrying tomorrow!”
Seeing that I wasn’t going to get any dish from her, I grabbed my sister’s arm as she was about to walk past us. She was busy trying to set up the entrance of the bridal entourage.
“Hey, you’re here,” my sister, SisterJ, exclaimed. “Finally, we can start the rehearsal. Places, p—“
“SisterJ, who’s my groom?”
“Oh, don’t be coy, [mistress]. We’re all too busy to go along with your lousy pre-wedding humor.”
“What the— I have no idea who I’m marrying! Can’t you just get me a copy of the invitation so that I at least know the name of this guy I’m supposed to be spending my life with, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health?”
I was freaking out, obviously. But I didn’t care.
SisterJ slapped me on the cheek. “Stop it! Get your act together. This is all just pre-wedding jitters. Why don’t you just go there and stand at the end of the line and wait for your turn to march. We’ve been waiting for you for almost an hour! We’ll start with the rehearsals. Now!”
The sting from her slap was like a cold bucket of iced water spilled on my entire body. It calmed me, yes, enough so that I was able to go through the motions of walking towards the end of the bridal entourage and waiting for my turn to march. I vaguely remember saying thanks to the friends around me who congratulated me for my wedding tomorrow.
“You must be so excited!” exclaimed Darna.
“You’ve been waiting for this all your life!” Janedoe remarked giddily.
“Who would have thought you’ll actually get married before you turn 30?” Funnyboy interrupted. “We used to think you weren’t interested in marriage until you’ve finally saturated your desire for your single blessedness.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I heard myself say to them. Like a robot. I still had no idea who I was marrying. And then I thought, They are right. I have been waiting for this for almost my entire life. Even if I somehow gave them the impression that I was okay with the relatively short durations of my many past relationships because I was still enjoying being single, at the back of my mind, I secretly longed for the long-term relationships that most of my friends had. I worried that I might become a spinster for the rest of my life. I feared that I may not get the happily ever after I’ve been dreaming of.
And then I thought, What the hell?! What girl in her right mind marries someone she doesn’t know?
So in the middle of my wedding rehearsal march, I stopped and I screamed at the top of my lungs:
“Itigil ang kasal!” (Stop the wedding!)
And then I finally woke up. It was just a really bad dream after all. Thank God.
* Parental – A Muslim custom of fixing up the marriage of one’s child to another child of another family after an agreement between the parents of both families, which includes the settlement of a certain amount of money or dowry that will be exchanged from the family of the groom to that of the bride’s in exchange for the services rendered in rearing the bride.
I don’t know what it is that I exude but somehow guys I don’t particularly don’t know seem to think that I’m fair game. It’s not as if I go around whispering erotic stories to unknown strangers. Even if I do enjoy exchanging the occasional sexy banters with my friends, when it comes to relating personal sexual experiences, I clam up and let the conversation roll around me, without contributing those of my own. I have my own reasons, mostly related to self-preservation. As such I was particularly slightly surprised when CuteDoctor started flirting with me and claiming his less than pure intentions.
CuteDoctor and I used to be classmates way back during my elementary days. As he transferred schools in the middle of our elementary years, we lost touch for a few years. It wasn’t until I started medical school that our paths crossed again, since he was about two years my senior and a good friend of one of my former close friends in highschool. Because I’m not as friendly and approachable as the rest of them, the most that exchanged between us were the occasional nods and “Hello” of people who used to know each other.
When I started rotating as an intern in the hospital where he started working in, he began to be flirtatious, starting from the first text message he sent me in the.middle of the surgery that I was assisting in.
Gud am. Its nyc 2 c dat u r stil as cute as d girl I usd 2 hav a crush durng grade skul.
As an intern, I was obliged to be nice to him. And since it wasn’t my style to totally diss guys who flirt with me, I did my best to be cordial with him, without leading him on. Everything seemed to go well, as this guy wasn’t known for forcing women who are not into him, and I managed to be able to avoid him for a few months.
Until I ended up rotating as an intern under his department. And as luck would have it, he ended up becoming my junior resident.
In his defense, as a resident, he was very nice to me. In between surgeries, we would go off at the storage area to share a few smokes or two. We talked a lot about school, our future plans, our childhood, our elementary days. He was very wordly and intelligent than most guys his age and I started to see just what it is about him that made a lot of women fall for his flirtation antics.
One not-so-busy night, as I was sitting infront of the computer and checking out my mails, he took a seat at a chair behind me and stuck his face close to mine.
“Hey, give me a kiss, why don’t you?”
I was surprised. So I backed off from him and then laughed.
“Come on! It’s just a kiss.”
“Cute!” (If no one else was around, we call each other by name instead of Doctor or Doctora So-and-so but in the company of other people, we would address each other using the title)
“You know you want to.”
I laughed him off. CuteDoctor was a flirt. He was also one of the more well-known players in school. He was popular for having had three girlfriends among his classmates at the same time and for having at least one girlfriend in almost every batch of medical students. He made a name for always going after the prettiest, the sexiest, the smartest, the most virginal-looking or the most unlikeliest to fall for players like him. He was a hound dog, who, just like the popular saying goes, ran after anything with a skirt.
I wasn’t bound to make myself one of his so-called “victims” so I tried desperately to fend off his advances. But he was extremely relentless. Unlike most doctors during 24-hour duty who slept in their scrubs, he slept in his boxer shorts and had no qualms about walking around the Conference Room in his boxers with me sleeping just a couple feet away from him. At times, I felt like he was trying to seduce me. Once while I was already lying in my makeshift bed for a few hours of shut-eye, he would look down on me as he stood beside my bed and tease me persistently again about kissing him. I practically managed to push his face away from me and laugh it off so as not to offend him that much. He kept bugging me to go out with him, despite the fact that everybody in the school and the hospital knew who his girlfriend was, listing off secret places he’d love to bring me to, insinuating that I use oral contraceptives rather than condoms when we do go out, even when I kept telling him again and again that I am tired of secretly dating people that everybody within 1000 mile radius of the small city where I come from knows about.
Yes, implying that he wanted to have sex with me may have bordered on sexual harassment but I can’t really say it was just completely his fault either. After all, I usually just laugh him off and have never outright told him no.
Okay, I won’t deny that I was tempted. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t consider it. To lose yourself in mindless sexual pleasure with someone you don’t particularly care about (and whom friends have always wondered might have had a huge d*ck, hence, his so-called prowess with many women), it was severely tempting especially for someone who has almost forgotten how it was to be held by a real man (ALMOST. I repeat, almost.) But I couldn’t bring myself to give in. I am not bad really. Just bored most of the time. I am past that age where I would want meaningless sex with no strings attached. And to quote him in one of his most favorite analogies, even if I may not be finding my diamond in all the gems that I am coming across, I don’t particularly want to wake up one day and realize that I have wasted my time again on just another cheap stone.
Oh yeah, I know how terribly disappointed you guys are after reading this.