Thursday, May 31, 2012

Case 3: The Hooligan

[Part 3 of the "Fiction Rebel" series]


I WANTED to wring my heart dry after I read the note Jane taped on my mirror the following morning:

“I dream of writing about a love that is so old yet so alive I can almost smell the fragrance of the words that give it life and immortality. I want to write it as if the story is ours, each day a page to see us through, pen in my hand inking our lives in this delicate dance of paper and poetry where the rules are never clear and the music is always changing. I want to write it with verbs that will make the world sail away from its axis because the universe has no shoreline where we can dock a ship as big and as restless as the earth, or perhaps our hearts. I want to write it with nouns that can name all that is yet to be known so that we may never claim innocence again. I want to write it with adjectives that will bless our days with the hand of a merciful god. I want to write it.

But ours is none of it. All we’ve had is a relationship so young but so dead it begs for the shovel, the casket, and the grave — assuming it even deserves a funeral. I’d rather let it waste like a corpse under the sun. So I will not bother. Like cold water is to raging fire, so is this note for the last day of what could have been the rest of our lives. Goodbye is too kind a word. It gives hope for a possible return when there will never be one. Consider this our death certificate. Congratulations, and may you live old enough to wallow in misery for a lifetime.”

That was it, all thirteen months squeezed down to a single note. On that bright Sunday, the crumpled linen sheet on the mattress was the only evidence that another warm body slept there with me for the last of all wonderful nights and the first of all cold summer evenings that will surely follow. For the first time, breakfast was a date with an empty chair and three slices of bread.


They say that the folly of humanity is that we always try to find meaning in words we do not even understand — like love. We want to feel it, touch it, and taste every letter of the word as if that is all there is to do in life, a last supper we all desire to have, and yet we fail to notice it when it hits us the first time. We think we know love, but truth be told, we have no idea. Sometimes we assume that it’s not there, only to find out when it has already slipped through our fingers like water that it was there all along. And when we suppose that it is there, that all signs point to it, we make a fatal mistake. All of a sudden, our ego turns flat, like a deflated wheel rubbing hard against concrete, possibly bemoaning its existence if it had life. It’s horrendous. It’s embarrassing. It’s like a nightmare that some of us will take days, weeks, and even years, to awaken from. Some have even been known to have never opened their eyes again.

When I first met Jane, I was twenty-three with eight stitches across my shoulders, and she was twenty with five published short stories listed in her résumé, three at a nondescript magazine, and two in her blog. A common friend, Monica — well, we’ve had sex once, but that was it — introduced us to one another at the restaurant where she was working. Monica had the impression that my meeting with Jane was part of a grand scheme, like intelligent design. I never cared. The hell do I care? Jane was hot, and that’s all that mattered at the time.

On the second week, I told her I love her and asked her if she loves me just the same. “I think I do,” she said. She thought she did, but she had no idea.

The feeling was mutual, though.


I couldn’t count the number of times I lied to her. If I had to pay her a hundred pesos for each lie that I said, she would have probably been rich by then and she would no longer have to wait for the names of the dead each day just for her to write obituaries for a living. I told her once that I do not own a gun, that I have never been to prison because of theft, and that I have never killed a young man in my life. When she was about to leave me on the fifth month that we were living together, I told her that I love her, and I said it with conviction that I cried and cried until I fell asleep in her arms, the moon my silent witness to a great hoax, the truth of which will hardly climb from my heart and find its way to my lips.

Except that, the morning after, she told me the one phrase I kept on mumbling the whole time I was asleep, dreaming.

“What did I say?” I asked.

“What a pain in the ass.”


Once we were in bed completely naked. “The only thing now standing between you and me is your erection,” she said, coyly. I smiled and gave her a gentle thrust. I felt her nails dig against my back with each push that I gave. She locked her legs around my hips, our eyes squinting, our bodies moving in unison with only the sound from the radio to muffle all the ceremonial noise. Suddenly, I moaned another woman’s name while she simultaneously moaned another man’s name. We stopped moving as we found our selves consumed by our silence and the music from the radio. It was probably the longest moment of quiet between us since the invention of verbal language. But we pretended not to care and went on with dinner.

From that day, it became our habit to hold our mouth shut and keep our moans to our selves lest we ruin our orgasm. Soon, it became our routine to close our eyes and act as if we were having sex in the dark, completely unaware of the face of the one we were actually making love with, and imagining it was someone else. Later, we decided to just switch the lights off so that we can have sex with our eyes open.


It was on the twelfth month when our relationship barely had a vital sign. It was in comatose. Not even a million prayers could have lifted it away from its impending demise. Kisses were no longer given as if it was the last thing one can expect from our lips, and sex became a tedious task, like office work that pays spare change. She slept on the couch, I slept on the floor, and nobody slept on the bed, except for the neighbor’s cat from time to time. But even life breeds on death. Plants grow on dead wood, maggots mature with the help of rotten flesh, and many carnivores that roam the earth feed on their lifeless prey. If what we had was dead, whatever it was, I began to found renewed strength in it, something I couldn’t quite explain well. I wanted to feel it, touch it, and taste it as if that is all there is to do in life, a last supper I desire to have.

But she wrote her note by the thirteenth month and life was never the same again.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1 comment:

gayla said...

He deserves what Jane did to him. That poor girl took 13 months before she realized that the relationship (or whatever you call it) is a total waste.

or was i biased?