Tag Archive: Personality


FETUS


All but love curls up into a ball
And bounces around you.
Red and light like a slightly heavy balloon
That bursts with deliberateness.

My fingers are restless:
Today, I drew a sad boy
In shades of black and dots of white-
For contrast.

All in the name of being your missus.
Missus my surname hyphen your surname.
Hyphens become demeaning,
Like a prolonged negative sign.

It is the eve of Christmas
And a turkey is roasting
In my imaginary womb,
Stuffing stuffing the turkey stuffing me.

And you, the proud father,
Wait across my virtual vagina
With anticipation
And of course, a carving knife.

I wheeze-wheeze-wheeeeze
As you cheer me on
Simultaneously salivating
And feeling light in the head.

One great push
And my foot skims hell.
I am ripped apart
And bring forth your feast.

The turkey is burnt
With dots of white- for contrast.
Today, you eat a sad boy.
His fingers are bitter.

The red ball bounces around you
And explodes with deliberateness.
Like a slightly heavy balloon,
Love curls up into a ball.

Nangangarir


Nang magsimula ako magtrabaho, sinabi ko sa sarili ko na magiging Manager ako bago ako mag-30.

Alam kong para sa ibang tao, hindi naging mahirap na maabot ang goal na ito. Pero kung nagtatrabaho ka sa HR, o kahit anong position sa administration o support, sangkatutak na politika at paghihintay ang dapat mong tiisin bago ka mapromote.

Laging sinasabi sa akin na ang HR ay isang calling. Hindi siya basta trabaho. Ika nga, it’s a labor of love. Nilalagay ko lang sa perspective ang lahat para marealize mo na gayong posible, mahirap maabot ang goal na yon.

I consider myself lucky because I’m one of the people who know exactly what they want when it comes to their career. Sa career tayo magfocus kasi everything else about me has not been figured out yet. Hahahahahahaha… (fade to sad face emoticon)

When I left my first agent job, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in HR. I have been working in HR for about six years. In that period, I started as a recruitment associate, doing phone interviews and chasing numbers all day. Less than a year after that I was promoted to Recruitment specialist, handling face to face interviews and assessments. Eventually, I was handling my own accounts.

I moved to a bigger company to get training and after my recruitment project ended, I was introduced to Employee Relations and Organizational Development. I started as an associate, then I was promoted to specialist. Eventually, I was handling Labor Relations.

I had a huge fight with my Manager who scolded me in front of all my team mates. Of course, kahit umiiyak ako, nagdadahilan pa rin ako sa kanya. Sabi ko, “if you feel that I’m standing in the way of the rest of the team then you should let me move to another team. They are asking for me after all.”

Bago kami mag-away nung dati kong manager, she told me that she wanted me to become successful so she was training me to be like her.

Sabi ko, “I don’t want to be like you because I know I can be so much more.”

Yuh, maldita ako sa work. Hahahahahahahaha…(escalate to evil emoticon). Of course, a week later, sinampahan niya ako ng kasong Insubordination at although alam kong hindi niya ako pwedeng iterminate, alam ko lalong hindi ako mapopromote kung makakatanggap ako ng memo. What an asshole move. Matapos ‘to nang promisan niya akong ipopromote niya ako, kaya naloko akong maghandle ng isang buong site (without her supervision, dahil ayaw na ayaw niya sa site na yun dahil matatapang daw yung mga tao). Nagulat na lang ako a month later na may na-hire na pala siya for the position she was promising me. May gana pa siyang sabihing para daw yun may magdefend sa akin, this after nakuha ko na ang loob ng entire site at starlang-starla na ako dun.

I decided to leave that company to pursue a relationship with a start up business, where I was responsible for doing all things HR.

Pero dahil dubious ang kumpanya, at dahil nagka-ilangan kami ng aking estranged jowa na dun din sa start-up company na yun nagtatrabaho, nagresign ako ulit at naging Supervisor dito sa company ko ngayon.

Bongga.

Naalala ko pa kung paano ako maliitin nung ex kong yun dahil Operations Supervisor siya at na-bum ako for two months.

Ngayong sumabog na ang start-up na yon, dahil estafadora pala yung management, sa kangkungan na pinulot si ex. May gana pa siya ngayong kontakin ako. So ginamit ko na lang yung linya niya sa akin dati:

Bakit pa ako tatapak sa basura e ang ganda ganda na ng stilletos ko?

I told the manager who hired me sa trabaho ko ngayon na goal ko talaga maging manager by age of 30 at naghahanap ako ng kumpanya na mabibigay ang opportunity na yun sa akin.

I also want to have tenure, because I’m done with running around.

Ngayong wala na yung manager na yun, andito pa rin ako sa kumpanya. At nalaman ko na lang eventually na I was hired, of all reasons, for my looks.

Hindi ko naman siya masisi.

Anyway, I was being my normal bibo self here sa office. At nadiscover ko na talent ko pala ang magbigay ng bad news at kumontra at mampossess ng mga empleyado without appearing negative or rude. Kahit kasi nagmamaldita ako, hindi pa rin nagagalit sa akin yung minamaldita ko.

Ang tawag daw dun ay CHARM.

Maraming beses na akong nakipag-banggaan sa mga director at ilang beses na rin akong ginawan ng complaint dahil sa mga pagrereklamo ng mga maeepal na boss-bossan dito na hindi sanay na kinokontra sa sarili nilang katangahan.

Meron akong talent: I cannot tolerate bullshit.

At kesehodang kung sino ka pa. Alam kong alam ko kung anong ginagawa ko, at hangga’t mas marami akong alam tungkol sa pinaguusapan nating dalawa, hindi ako magdadalawang-isip na sabihin at ipagtanggol ang puntong yon sa iyo.

Masasabi kong magaling ako sa trabaho ko. At gusto ko yung ginagawa ko. Bihirang masabi ng isang worker yun. Passion ko yata talaga ang maki-alam sa buhay ng ibang tao at ipagtanggol ang tama.

I was able to establish an image of reason, integrity, fairness and of course, BEAUTY. Hahahahahahahaha (fade to soft smile)

So much kong nagalingan ang trabaho ko, na pretty soon, marami nang nakakatunog nito.

Recently, I received an offer from another company. They are asking me to do the exact same thing I’m doing here pero they are willing to give me almost twice what I am currently making.

Ang haba ng hair kong silky.

Siyempre, tinanggap ko yung offer. At nagfile ako ng resignation dito.

Over the past several weeks, kabi-kabila ang mga Executive na kumakausap sa akin para i-convince akong mag-stay. Kinausap ako nung acting General Manager namin nung nakaraang linggo at sinabi niya yung mga plano niya para sa HR. Na ikinatuwa ko naman. Kaya lang, hindi niya pa raw masasabi kung kailan yun mangyayari.

Tapos nung isang araw, kinausap naman ako ng VP na onaks. Isa siya sa mga pinaka-malditang onaks dito sa office. Ganito yung conversation:

Onaks: So, ano? (yes, kaya niyang magstatement nang ganun.)
Ako: Haha, so, ano nga?
Onaks: I heard you were resigning (hanggang “so, ano?” lang ang kaya niya)
Ako: Yes, I gave my letter yesterday.
Onaks: Do you know the top reasons why people leave?
Ako: Uhmm…
Onaks: You should know this.
Ako: It’s usually due to some sort of dissatisfaction. I just don’t think it fits this situation. I like my job. Really, the only reason why I’m picking-
Onaks: I didn’t ask you why you’re picking them. I asked you why people leave. Okay, so there’s three reasons. The first one’s the boss. I don’t think you have a problem with that. The second one I forget. The third one is for money.
Ako: Well, in this case, it is the offer.
Onaks: So what are they offering you?
Ako: *Offer*
Onaks: And how much are you making now?
Ako: *(Offer/2)++*
Onaks: That’s a lot. Now I can’t tell you that we will be able to do something special for you. In the last few months that we have been working together (may project kasi kami) I found you to be very talented. Of course, we want to keep your talent.
Ako: Awww… Thanks (as in, pa-sweet talaga ako nito)
Onaks: And you know how tough I could get.
Ako: Yeah, you’re a bully that’s why.
Onaks: No I’m just tough on the people whom I know can take it.
Ako: Awww…
Onaks: So are you accepting the offer?
Ako: Yes I signed and I start on the 23rd.
Onaks: So obviously I’m looking for a way to keep you. Everything that has been discussed about this I’ve told Onaks 2 (mas powerful na Onaks, no. 2 kay president ng company)
Ako: Yeah, I talked to General Manager (siyempre, first name talaga ginamit ko dito). I’m actually very optimistic about what he has planned.
Onaks: And why is that?
Ako: Because it goes with what we wanted to do as a team all along. The thing is, I don’t know when that’s going to happen. And now something better has come along.
Onaks: So how long are you going to be here for?
Ako: Until the 20th. But I asked for a terminal leave so I can get my stuff fixed. So I’ll have till next week since I have endorsements.
Onaks: Okay. We’ll see, I’m still not done trying to keep you.
Ako: I’m surprised that you’re talking to me about this, actually.
Onaks: And, why is that?
Ako: I don’t know. It just seems like it’s so important.
Onaks: Well, you’re important.
Ako: Thanks…
Onaks: You’re welcome, and you’re not leaving until the project’s done.
Ako: I’m done with it. I’ll give you my recommendation.
Onaks: OK (insert utos here)

Now wheels are turning around me and it seems that they are really making an effort to convince me to stay. Nung pipirmahan na ni GM yung sulat ko, sinabi niya sakin na kung pwede bang bigyan ko muna siya ng isang linggo para mapresent yung plano niya sa Executive Team. Tapos tingnan ko raw kung gusto ko yung gusto niyang mangyari.

E hello, sila-sila kaya yung mga boss.

Nakakaloka.

Never ko inexpect na malalagay ako sa ganitong situation. Feeling ko, pinag-aagawan ako ng mga tao. Ahahahahahahahaha (ang tigas talaga ng fez ko).

Pero siyempre, hindi na sila dapat choosy sa ganun. Kasi kilala ko ang sarili ko at gaya ng appeal ko sa mga boylipops, alam ko ring may kakaiba akong bagsik sa work. Naeembarass nga lang ako magdemand kung tinatanong nila ako kung ano yung magpapa-stay sa akin.

Kasi ang kapal ko naman kung magpress-release akong gawin niyo kong manager at hindi ako lalayas. (Mas gusto ko kasing kusa ‘yong nanggagaling sa kanila)

Ang taray ng work no?

Sana ganyan din ang lovelife…

Roo


I was blog-hopping to increase some traffic into my wordpress blog.

Yes, WordPress has a feature that ticks off my competitive/obsessive nature… BlogStats. It’s a horrendous affirmation of my need for attention. Yuck, I am such a three-year old.

credits to Angel: http://curiousanimals.net/

So I did something that really helped out. I joined a blog community. And I started posting links on my Facebook Wall.

Sad to say, the weekly assignments were suspended (after the week I joined) so my blog has been in the dark for a bit.

So I was hopping. Nyl, who’s a trainer from work has a blog in Blogger. And Nikki’s been telling me that I should check it out. So I did. He’s done so well already. Nyl’s a good writer. He writes nice fictional stories.

As you can see so far, my prosaic skills leave much to be desired. I’m not a very good storyteller. I like to write poetry though because it comes more naturally to me, and because I like rules and going around them.

So I checked out Nyl’s followers and I was clicking on the links to the other guys’ blogs and I sort of got disheartened.

I mean, I enjoyed their blogs. They made me feel queasy and voluptuous (see, that I got from Anne Rice). But they were mostly about hot sex!!!

My mother reads my blog from time to time. And I don’t think she will appreciate prosaic accounts of my “gallivanting” floating around the internet. I have posted some of those before, but they always turned out to be jarring. (I use poetry to talk about sex, so I can always tell her, that it’s just “poetry.”)

And I feel that if I posted articles like that, it wouldn’t have the same effect other people’s accounts would.

I’m terribly insecure about myself.

I feel that when people read my sex stories it would be like they’re watching an accident happen, or a fire in progress. It’s interesting, but so… pitiful/sad/painful.

You know when a guy gets run over by a truck in the highway and cars slow down because they’re oddly attracted to the gore? That’s how they’d probably feel.

Of late, I have had not a lot of sex adventures. (Somewhere in California, my mother is thanking the Lord)

See, I’m not necessarily a looker.

I mean, people only get attracted to me after I get their attention. I’m not the kind of person that steps into the room and has a “presence”. I feel a little sad about that. But I feel stupid for not doing anything about it. And of course, the moment I open my mouth, all thoughts of sex vanish from everyone else’s mind (Oh my God, a successful IRONY).

Sometimes, I wish my life were more relatable. I wish I was more… into the gay scene. I wish I never lost touch with the people I used to hang out with in Malate. Oh, I would have flourished in the drama of it all.

But then I realize, there is a reason I left all that. There is a reason I built a wall around me to anesthesize myself, to create my own experiences, no matter how unsuccessful they were.

I couldn’t stand being a brick.

I couldn’t stand only writing about sexcapades, and drunken nights, and popularity contests. They’re all very entertaining, I agree. But I was constantly looking for something else.

I’m happy though that in my wandering, I found that there are people out there like me.

The key, I found, to make the world better, is not to stop at the first sight you see and make a judgement about everything.

So I’m still hop(p)ing.

Beans


 

It’s not for the tiny hairs on my nape
That rise to the occassion
Of your touch
That I am moved
By you over the universe that is my bed.

Nor the faint but hurried whisper
Of the ticking clock
(Our time together)
The second second gallops
Like a horse in the clouds-
They should be silent-
But they rumble
Like my heart.

Not the gray sky
At 5AM that ushers the smell
Of the neighbor’s breakfast
When the warmth of your
Sleeping arms begin to gather dew
Against my skin.

Nor the smell of the sun
On your hair when you wake
And realize that you spent the night
Again
Without meaning to–

Because you cannot bear
Deserting me.
Not when I am a naked seed that
Craves the earth of your embrace
That springs in the morning
A two-leafed shoot.

It’s when you wake
And realize that you
Don’t belong here
A seedling grew
Where there shouldn’t be.
You till me
Like the soil strewn
With your clothes across the floor.

The swift imagined pain
I feel when you rip yourself
Off my chest

Mimicking a sting
In my heart.

On Building a Family


 

Having no legislation for gay marriage in the country, I am faced with a crossroad in my life. I am a 26 year old gay man with a stable career, a home, and the emotional stability required to start and build a family. The problem: how does a gay guy build a family?

If you belong to a progressive culture, this question hardly seems a connundrum at all. It would have a more existential effect, in a way of speaking.

I know that a lot of gay men like me dream of having a traditional family structure, where there are parents and probably children. However, the gay culture in my community seems to have resigned to the fact that gay men are destined to linger in a sort of relationship limbo. It’s not very uncommon to find that the gay couples who have lasted a long time have morphed into open relationships.

It’s a tragedy that some people think that infidelity is an unavoidable consequence of being gay.

I have no delusions that this challenge does not exist in straight relationships. However, there is less of a stigma that comes with infidelity among homosexual relationships. After all, if you view homosexuality as unnatural then infidelity isn’t so far down the slippery slope.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I told her how much I wanted to settle down already. I want to invest in a family. Ever since I understood myself, I realized that I was meant to be a homemaker. In high school, I was Secretary of my school’s chapter of Future Homemakers of the Philippines (FHP). (Yes, I’m also a geek.)

Now how does having legislation solve my problem?

It doesn’t.

But having legislation will allow other gays to be able to visualize that possibility for them. Well, not really, because people don’t make rules for things they can’t even visualize yet.

All I want, as any person does, is to have a home to come to at the end of the day and have someone there that I want to take care of. Someone I chose. Someone who also chose me. I want to be able to give that person all the attention and all the care that I have learned to develop as Secretary of FHP.

That seems to be a long shot. Right now, the best thing that I can take care of is a plant. A plant can outlive you. A plant won’t cheat on you and best of all, a plant won’t leave.

Good thing we had gardening in FHP.

Phase 3


“Sa Phase 3”
“Special na?”

Tumango si Sid sabay sakay ng tricycle, aabutin na siya ng umaga kung maghihintay pa siya ng kasabay na Phase 3 din. Lecheng long call kasi yan, OT ng 30minutes, may coaching pa kay TL. Quarter to three na.

Kung malaki lang ang kita sa pagsusulat di na sana siya magtitiis sa pakikinig sa sangkatutak na mura ng mga bobong kanong hindi marunong gumamit ng internet.

All in a days work. Mabuti na lang at may natirang beer sa ref. Bakit ba kasi ang layo pa ng Phase 3? Naglabas si Sid ng Marlboro Green mula sa sling bag niya at nagsindi, well, sinubukan niya. Pero wala pala siyang talent magsindi ng yosi against the wind. Hayup, yosi na nga lang ang kunswelo niya hindi pa maibigay. Malayo pa ang Phase 3, matagal pa ang hihintayin bago makapagsindi ng yosi.

Nangangawit na ang mga labi ni Sid sa pag-ipit sa sigarilyo habang hawak ang lighter sa kanang kamay. Naghihintay ng tiyempong bumagal nang kaunti ang takbo ng tricycle.

May kulang sa tricycle na ito– black light… at pinoy rap na dumadagundong. Pati yung nakasabit na “God Bless Our Trip”. Sa halip isang malaking rearview mirror ang nasa harapan niya–yung convex. Sa ilaw ng mga posteng nadadaanan nila, kitang kita ni Sid ang namamaga niyang mga mata.

“Hay, kung sana love life ang sanhi ng mga eyebags na’to. E di worth it.”
“Ha?”, sigaw ng tricycle driver.
“Hmm?”

Bumagal nang bahagya ang takbo ng tricycle.

“Kaliwa?”
“Ha? Hindi.”

Sa wakas nasindihan din ni Sid ang yosing nakababad sa labi niya. Magandang excuse para itago ang pagkapahiya.

“Akala ko kasi ako kausap mo e.”
“Ah, hindi.”

Tiningnan ni Sid ang driver sa side mirror ng motor. Nakangiti ito sa kanya. Naramdaman ni Sid na uminit ang mga pisngi niya.

“Call center ka?”
Tumango si Sid.
“Ganitong oras ka lagi umuuwi?”
Tumango si Sid ulit kahit hindi yun totoo. Nakakapagod magpaliwanag sa umaandar na tricycle.

Tiningnan muli ni Sid ang mukha ng driver sa salamin at naisip niyang hindi bagay sa binatang ito ang trabaho niya. Napangiti si Sid sa sarili sabay hithit ng sigarilyo. Hmm, something in common. Nakangiti rin ang binata sa salamin.

“Kanan diyan…
“Sa tabi na lang.” Nag-abot si Sid ng singkwenta pesos at naghanda nang bumaba.

Dumukot sa bulsa ang binatang driver. Sa kabila. Dumukot siya sa beltbag na nakasabit sa manubela ng motor. Walang barya.

“Boss, wala ka bang trenta? Buo rin pala natira. Pagarahe na kasi ako e.”

Dami namang paliwanag nito. Naisip ni Sid na baka dinudugas siya ng driver. “Sayang, pogi ka pa naman. Di bagay sayo maging manggagantso,” bulong ni Sid sa sarili. Napangiti na naman siya. At nahuli siya ng driver sa salamin. Ngumiti din ito.

“Sige, saka mo na lang ako bayaran.” Inabot ng driver ang singkwenta kay Sid.
“Nye, parang magkikita pa tayo.”
“Bakit lilipat ka na ba?”
“Engot, siyempre di ko naman alam kung kelan tayo mag-aabot.”
“Ano?”
“Sabi ko, alangan namang hintayin mo ako bukas.”
“Hahaha. Anong tinawag mo sa’kin?”
“Engot?”
“Hahahahaha.”
“Abnormal…”
“Hahahahaha. Palabiro ka pala.
“Sige na. Nakaboundary naman na ko.”

Naasiwa si Sid sa nangyayari, hindi siya sanay na nakakalibre.

“Sige kuya, keep the change.”
“Nako, hindi na. Sige na, magkikita pa naman tayo.” Kinuha ng driver ang kamay ni Sid at nilagay dito ang pera.
“Hala, nako kuya ha, hinahawakan mo na ko.”
“Hahaha. Kanina mo pa nga ako tinitingnan sa side mirror, e.”

Napahiya na naman si Sid. Pinitik niya ang yosi at lumabas ng tricycle. Iniwan niya ang singkwenta pesos sa upuan ng tricycle at naglakad papunta sa gate. Agad niya itong binuksan at pumasok. Kinapa niya sa loob ng sling bag ang susi ng bahay.

“Uy! Uy, binibiro lang kita ha.” Bumaba ang driver sa tricycle at pumunta sa gate.

“Hmpf, alam ko. Nako kuya, hindi mo ako madadaan sa ganyan. Hindi ako naghahanap ng callboy.”
“Ha? Uy hindi ako pumapatol sa bakla no.”
“Ewan ko lang ha. Puwes hindi rin ako pumapatol sa lalaki.”
“Ha? Sorry, hindi ka ba bakla? My bad…”

“My bad?” Hindi nga yata tricycle driver ito. Baka nautusan lang. Baka siya talaga yung anak nung operator. Baka tricycle lang yun ng kaibigan niya. Nagswimming ang utak ni Sid sa dami ng posibilidad.

Nahanap din ni Sid ang susi. Binuksan niya ang pinto ng bahay at binuksan ang ilaw ng sala.

“Akala ko kasi bakla ka. Pasensya na ha.” Malakas na sambit ng driver mula sa gate.
“Bakla talaga ko kuya. Di lang ako pumapatol sa hindi rin bakla… o sige na.” Nilapag ni Sid ang gamit sa sofa at lumabas muli upang isara ang gate.

“Ikaw lang mag-isa?”
“Oy, kuya, kung may binabalak ka wag mo nang ituloy. Bakla ako pero marunong ako manapak.” Hawak na ni Sid ang tarangkahan.
“Ha? Anong balak? Nakikipag-usap lang naman ako. Ang sungit naman nito.”
“Ewan. Hindi naman tayo close.” Sinarado niya ang gate at pumasok na sa bahay.

Nagpalit ng tsinelas si Sid at nagpunta sa kusina. Binuksan niya ang ref. Tubig. Tubig. Isang itlog na natira mula sa binili niya nung nakaraang linggo. At apat na SanMig light. Sinarado niya ang ref at nagtungo sa sala para kunin ang notebook na palagi niyang dala sa bag. Binasa ni Sid ang mga naisulat niya kanina habang nagyoyosi break. Ang cheesy, ang corny. Ang juvenile.

Ilang minuto na, hindi pa rin naririnig ni Sid na umalis ang tricycle. Sa normal na pagkakataon, maaalarma siya. Ikakandado niya ang pintuan ng bahay at magpapatay ng ilaw. Pero iba ang isang ‘to. Bukod sa masyado siyang cute para maging tricycle driver, mukhang interesado rin siyang makipagkilala. Nag-alinlangan si Sid nang kaunti pero agad rin siyang kumuha ng sigarilyo at lighter at lumabas sa may gate. Naroon pa nga ang tricycle at ang driver nito. Mukhang naghihintay.

“Nasiraan ka ba?”
“Ha? Hindi.”
“E bakit dito ka nakaparada, hindi naman ‘to parking lot?”
“E ayaw ko pang umalis e. Bawal ba? Wala namang tao dito sa kalsada.”
“Akala ko ba gagarahe ka na?”
“Naalala mo yun?”
“Ewan.”
“Haha, pikon ka pala no? Saka ang lakas mo magyosi. Alam mo bang hindi maganda yan?”
“Makialam ba? Bakit hindi ka ba nagyoyosi?”
“Nagyoyosi, ano bang niyoyosi mo?”
“Green.”
“Penge naman.”
“Hala, tambay?”
“Kusa ka namang lumabas a. Nananahimik ako dito e.”

Hinagis ni Sid ang kaha ng sigarilyo sa driver. “Ibalik mo sa akin yan ha.”

“Isa lang. Damot.” Lumapit ang driver sa gate upang makisindi. Sabay abot ng kaha ng sigarilyo. Sinindihan ni Sid ang yosi habang subo ito ng driver. Naalala ni Sid ang nabanggit sa kanya ng isang kaibigan dati, kapag nakikisindi ka ng sigarilyo, dapat tinitingnan mo sa mata ang taong nagsindi nito para sa iyo. Smoking etiquette. Naibuga na ng driver ang usok ng una niyang hithit, hawak pa rin ni Sid ang lighter na nakasindi.

“Uy. Masusunog ka na.” Hinipan ng driver ang apoy ng lighter. Muntik nang dumapo ang labi nito sa kamay ni Sid.

“Parang lumulutang utak mo palagi no?”
“Ha? Hindi, hobby ko lang talaga mag-isip.”
“Ah… Andy.”
“Ha?”
“Sabi ko ako si Andy. You are?”
“Ah, Sid.” Nagkamay ang dalawa sa pagitan ng mga grills ng gate.
“Nice to meet you Sid.”
“Likewise.” Nagkakamay pa rin ang dalawa.
“Uy, nagpapahawak na siya.”
“Leche.” Agad bumitaw si Sid at naramdaman na namang namumula ang kanyang mga pisngi.
“Nakakatuwa ka naman. Parang ang sweet mo.”
“Nako ewan ko ha. Malandi ka.” Sinagot ito ni Andy ng makulit na ngiti. Kanina, pogi lang si Andy, pero gumagwapo pala siya kapag nakangiti.

Mahaba at medyo kumukulot pataas ang eyelashes niya. Parang medyo Bumbayin. Pero hindi yung Bumbay na may turban na nagpapautang. Yung Bumbay na malinis tingnan: mukhang artista, parang yung bida sa Heroes, hindi maitim pero hindi rin maputi. Parang caramel yung balat. Caramel, tapos yung pilikmata parang sa camel.
Mahaba ang pilikmata ng camel para hindi siya mapuwing pag may sandstorm sa disyerto. Totoo yun, napanood ni Sid sa Animal Planet. At yung humps ng camel nadedeflate kapag gutom na siya.

Nakakadiri yung itsura ng deflated na hump ng camel, parang… hindi scrotum. Well, parang scrotum pero upside down, so mas mukhang malungkot.

Kaya dapat hindi ginugutom o inuuhaw ang camel. Para laging masaya yung humps niya. Pero minsan lang naman required kumain ang camel. Di naman yun parang baka na araw-araw mong kailangan pakainin ng feeds.

Parang nabasa rin ni Sid dati na ang mga tao, pag three weeks nang di kumakain mamamatay na. Tapos pag three days hindi uminom ng tubig mamamatay din. Tapos three minutes na hindi huminga… kakapusin.

Naku, hindi pala ako marunong mag-CPR saka mouth to mouth resuscitation–

“Uy, lumulutang ka na naman.” Hirit ni Andy sabay wasiwas ng kamay sa mukha ni Sid.
“Gusto mong uminom?”
“Tubig?”
“Pwede, meron din akong Light. Tira nung nakaraan.”
“Ayos lang ba?”
“Aalukin ba kita kung hindi? Binuksan ni Sid ang gate at pinatuloy si Andy sa kanyang bahay.

“Pasensya na medyo makalat.” paumanhin ni Sid habang pinapark ang yosi sa ashtray sa lamesa.
“Oo nga.”
Natigilan si Sid, pinandilatan niya ng mata ang hirit na ‘yon ng bago niyang kakilala.
“Haha, loko lang. Ayos lang yun ‘no.”
“O, wag kang maghubad ng tsinelas, ano ka ba? Hindi ako nagwawalis,” sabi ni Sid habang papunta sa kusina para kumuha ng inumin.
“Malinis naman e. Paupo ha.”
“Bahala ka sa buhay mo. Uy, gusto mo ba ng tubig o beer na agad?”
“Ikaw.”
“Ano?” Sumilip si Sid mula sa kusina, hindi dapat iniiwan mag-isa ang bisita. Lalo kapag hindi mo pa kakilala. Mahirap na. Madaling hinanap ni Sid ang bottle opener sa drawer at nagdala ng dalawang bote ng beer. Hindi niya na binuksan.
“Sabi ko, ikaw na bahala.” Pinagmamasdan ni Andy ang notebook na nakalapag sa coffee table. Pinark niya rin ang yosi sa ashtray at umayos ng kaunti sa sofa. Nakaderecho ang upo niya, mga arm’s length ang layo mula sa nakatiwangwang na sling bag ni Sid. Parang naghihintay sa labas ng Guidance Office.
“Ano’ng tinitingnan mo?”
“Sa’yo ‘to?” Dinampot ni Andy ang notebook.
Agad nilapag ni Sid ang mga dala sa lamesa. “‘Wag mong bubuksan!” Hinablot ni Sid ang notebook mula kay Andy.
“Nagtatanong lang… ano ba’ng laman niyan? Diary?”
“Ang dami mong tanong. Buksan mo na lang yung bote.”
“Nagyeyelo pa ‘to a.”
“Gusto mo upuan ko?” Sarcastic na sagot ni Sid.
“Hahaha… ano ‘to itlog?”
Natigilan ang dalawa. Nagkatinginan, at sabay na humagalpak sa tawa.

“Ang baboy mo.”
“O bakit? Inuupuan naman talaga yung itlog para mainitan a.” Nagpipigil ng tawa si Andy. Namumula ang mga pisngi niya.

Lord, sana hindi siya serial killer.

“Ewan.”
“Lagi mainit ulo mo?”
“Huh? Di naman mainit ulo ko a.”
“Di mainit pero ang taas ng boses mo. O eto na beer niyo, sir–este — ma’am.”
“Nako wag na wag mo kong tatawaging ma’am. Masaya ko sa pagiging bakla ‘no. Ayaw ko magpaka-girl.”
“Galit ka na naman?”
“E gusto ko lang linawin na hindi ako tulad ng ibang bakla pinapatulan mo. Wala akong mga illusions. Kaya nga bakla din ang hinahanap ko.”
“Bakit mo naman naisip na pumapatol ako sa bakla?”
“E nagpapa-cute ka nga sa’kin, ‘no.”
“Nagpapabola ka naman.”
“Bakit? Sinabi ko bang nagwo-work?”
Napangiti na naman si Andy, “uy, di ako pumapatol sa bakla, ‘no.”
“Style mo…” Tingnan natin kung hindi magbago ang stand mo sa issue na ‘yan. “O sige nga, kung hindi ka talaga pumapatol sa bakla, bakit ka nandito? Bakit ka umiinom ng beer ng bakla? Umuupo sa sofa ng bakla? Nakikipag-usap sa bakla?”
“Bakit, patol na ba ‘yun sa’yo? Saka, ang dami-dami kong nakikitang bakla diyan sa pilahan, no. Siyempre masasanay din ako.”
“So, sumasama ka rin sa kanila?”
“Hindi. Bakit naman ako sasama?”
“E bakit naghihintay ka sa labas ng gate ko?”
“Wala lang.”
Bet yata ako nitong si kuya Trike. “Hmpf, and dami mong press release. Paabot naman ng bag.”
Inayos ni Andy ang takip ng bag ni Sid at iniabot ito sa kanya.

“Urong ka naman konti, pwede naman akong umupo di ba?” Step one. Nilagay ni Sid ang bag sa kanan niya, kaya’t napapagitnaan siya nito at ni Andy sa kabilang side. Inilapit niya ang sarili kay Andy at huminga ng malalim. Sinusubukan ni Sid na maamoy si Andy. Isang technique na namaster habang naglalakad sa mall ‘pag may nakakasalubong siyang cute.

Umurong si Andy hanggang sa dulo ng sofa, binibigyan ng space si Sid.

“Hindi ka mabaho, ha.”
“Inaamoy mo ‘ko? Pawis na ko e.”
“Hindi ka nga mabaho. Anong pabango mo?”
“Hindi ako nagpapabango.”
“Nagdedeodorant ka naman?”
“Ha? Ano bang tanong ‘yan?”
“Wala, ang weird lang kasi hindi ka amoy tricycle driver.”
“Hahahahaha, bakit ano ba’ng amoy ng tricycle driver?”
“Ewan, amoy motor oil? Malay ko.” Sinundot ni Sid ang tagiliran ni Andy.
“Uy, ano ba?” Lumipat si Andy sa upuan sa kaliwa ng sofa.
Step two.
“Inaamoy mo lahat ng nagpupunta sa bahay mo?”
“Hindi,” mariing sagot ni Sid
“E bakit mo ko inaamoy?”
“Huh? Hello, naamoy lang kita. Accident yun no. Feeling ka masyado.”
“Whooo, siguro marami kang dinadala dito ‘no?”
“Hoy, judgmental ka. At ano namang paki mo? Naiinggit ka?”
“Hmp, naiinggit? Bakit naman ako maiinggit?” Uminom si Andy ng beer.
Denial. Step three.

“Shit, nakalimutan kong may yosi pala ko. Naubos tuloy,” lumagok ng beer si Sid.
“Ayan, kung anu-ano kasi iniisip mo.” Hinithit ni Andy ang yosi niya at pinatay ito sa ashtray.
Hindi nilalapag ni Sid ang bote ng beer, instead pinaglalaruan niya ito at hinimas-himas. Nabasa ni Sid ang move na ‘to sa Cosmo’s 10 Subtle Ways to Get a Man’s Attention.
“Nababasa ka na.”
“Ha?!” Biglang tumingin si Sid sa pundiyo ng pantalon niya. Sa may kaliwang hita, may bakas ng tubig na tumutulo mula sa gilid ng malamig na bote.
“Tumutulo yung beer mo.”
“Ang dami mong napapansin.” Akalain mong totoo pala yung sinasabi sa magazine? At dahil diyan, step four. Nilapag ni Sid ang bote sa lamesa at pinunas ang mga kamay sa pantalon.
“Ewan, observant lang siguro talaga ako.”
“Observant?” Isang unexpected expression na naman ang narinig ni Sid. Something’s fishy here.

“Sa inyo ba yung tricycle na minamaneho niyo?” Simula na ng interview.
“Hindi. Hinihiram ko lang yan.”
“Ah, matagal ka nang nagtatricycle?”
“Mga two years. Pero hindi palagi.”
“Bakit ngayon lang kita nakita?”
“E kakabalik ko lang.”
“Bakit san ka nagpunta?”
“Secret. Teka, bakit sunud-sunod yung tanong mo?”
“Wala, talk show host ako e.”
“Weh, di nga.”
“Sagutin mo na lang. Bahay ko naman ‘to a.”
“Ang yabang. E di aalis na ko,” tumayo si Andy mula sa upuan. Hinawakan siya ni Sid sa braso, pinipigilang umalis.
“Alam mo ang OA mo. Hindi ka cute, pwede? Umupo ka lang diyan. May beer ka pa.” Umupo si Andy at kinuha ang bote gamit ang kabilang kamay.
“Uuuy, nagpapahawak na siya. Step five!” tukso ni Sid.
“Gumaganti ka ha. Ano’ng step five?” Binawi ni Andy ang braso niya.
“Wala, may naalala lang ako.”
“Ano ‘yun?”
“Basta, hindi ka naman makakarelate.”
“Malay mo…”
“Basta, wag ka nang magulo. Ako yung host. Guest ka lang.”
“Ayos ka a.”
“Sandali, bakit mo ba ko hinihintay sa labas?”
“Ha? Ikaw kaya lumabas.”
“E bakit ka sumama dito sa loob?”
“E inaya mo ko e.”
“Kaya nga… haaay, ang pilosopo mo naman.”
“Ganun talaga.”
“Alam mo ihahampas ko sa’yo ‘tong bote ko.”
“Sayang may laman pa.”
“Wala akong pakialam.”
“O sige, i-straight mo ‘yan tapos sasagutin ko.”

May lawa na ng tubig sa lamesa ni Sid. Dinampot niya ang bote, mga lampas kalahati pa. Binottoms-up niya ang laman nito. Hindi na masyadong malamig. Tumutulo ang beer sa gilid ng pisngi niya. Pero hindi niya binaba ang bote hanggang sa bula na lang ang matira sa loob nito. Nakakadiri ang lasa ng beer foam. Parang ipis na napisa. Napangiwi si Sid. Pilit na pinipigil maduwal sa pakla ng beer.

“O ayan.” Lumunok ng laway si Sid para mapawi ang lasa. “Game, magpaliwanag ka na.”
“Natutuwa kasi ako sa itsura mo kanina.”
“Ha? Bakit?”
“Wala, parang wala kang problema.”
“E bakit naman ako–”
“Sandali, nagpapaliwanag ako,” sabat ni Andy. “Pero nung tiningnan ko yung mukha mo sa salamin, parang may nakita ako.”
“Multo?”
“Hindi. Ano ka ba? Hindi mo matiis na hindi magpatawa ‘no?”
Natigilan si Sid. “Hmp, o siya, anong nakita mo?”
“Parang malungkot ka pala.”
Step close.

Nagsindi pa ng yosi si Sid. At nag-offer kay Andy na kumuha rin ng isa.
“Ubusin na natin yung beer. Wala namang ibang iinom nun.” Tumayo na si Sid at nagpunta sa kusina.

Mabagal na ang lakad ni Sid pabalik sa sala nung ikalawang beses na magdala siya ng inumin. Iniisip niyang mabuti ang sinabi ni Andy. Mukha na pala siyang malungkot. Kailangan niya na ng eye gel.

“Namamaga na ba yung mata ko?” Tanong ni Sid habang binubuksan ang mga bote.
“Medyo. Parang lalo kang sumisingkit. Chinese ka ba?”
“Hmmm, sana. Pero hindi. Chinita lang talaga ako.”
“Chinita talaga ha.” Uminom si Andy mula sa boteng inabot ni Sid.
“Lagi akong tinatanong kung may lahi ako. Ewan. Dapat talaga naging Chinese na lang ako e.” Uminom si Sid ng beer. Hindi gaanong mapakla ito kasi tama lang ang lamig.
“Iba kasi yung features mo e. Para kang ano–”
“O ano na naman?”
“Para kang panda.”
“Leche. Puro ka kalokohan. Pero ang cute ng mga Panda ‘no? Sila lang yata yung hayop na cute ‘pag pinanganak at cute pa rin ‘pag tumanda.”
“Haha, kung anu-anong naiisip mo ‘no?”
“E sayang naman yung utak ko kung ipapalaman ko lang sa ulo ko diba?”
“Loko-loko ka talaga. Nakakaaliw kang kausap.”
“Lahat naman ng tao ganyan ang sinasabi. Mukha lang akong clown pero matalino talaga ko.”
“Matalino ka naman talaga e. Halata naman yun.”
“Asus, bolero.” Inom si Sid ng beer.
“O, tingnan mo ‘to. Pag kinokontra ka ayaw mo. Ngayon sumasang-ayon ako, ayaw mo pa rin.” si Andy naman.
“Gusto mo bang makita yung notebook ko?”
“Oo nga, ano bang laman niyan?”
“Wala, basura. Mga kung anu-ano lang.”

Tinabihan ni Andy si Sid sa sofa at binuklat nila ang notebook. Inabot ni Sid sa kanya ang notebook at hinayaan siyang basahin ito.

Maraming mga nakasulat sa mga pahina. May simula ng kuwento. Mga maiikling tula. Mga stanzang ginurihan ng sulat ng ballpen. Mga maliliit na drowing ng mata, isda, at kung anu-ano pa.

Nakadungaw si Sid sa ibabaw ng balikat ni Andy. Tinitingnan niya ang batok, likod, balikat, braso, at mga daliri nito.

“Alam mo, tama ako,” biglang sabi ni Andy. Nahuli ni Sid ang sarili at biglang umayos ng pagkakaupo. “Yung mga sinusulat mo, bakit kung hindi tapos, maraming bura? Tapos yung mga natatapos mo naman, lagi tungkol sa malungkot.”
“E nakocornihan ako sa gawa ko minsan e. Ayaw ko kasi nung masyadong cheesy. Siyempre kailangan i-edit nang i-edit.”
“Ah… e bakit yung isang ‘to parang wala kang binago?”
“Sinulat ko yan nung nagbreak kami ng ex ko. Ayaw ko nang baguhin, ‘yan na ‘yun e.”
“Okay. Itong isang ‘to gusto ko.”
“Hindi pa tapos yan e.”
“Oo nga. Bakit hindi mo tinapos?”
“E nawalan ako ng gana, masyado kasi siyang masaya. Alam mo yun?”
“Oo. Kaya nga dapat tinapos mo. Maganda siguro ‘to gawing kanta.”
“E di gawin mo. Tapusin mo. Ayaw ko ng mga ganyang gawa. Parang hindi ako. Kaya nga hindi ko matapos.”
“Nye, ayaw ko ngang tapusin ‘to. Dapat ikaw gumawa niyan. Tula mo ‘yan e. Ganito na lang. ‘Pag natapos mo gagawan ko ng tono.”
“Collaboration? Ang corny ha.”
“O di wag.”
“Bakit marunong ka ba gumawa ng kanta?”
“Konti. Basta tapusin mo ‘to tapos gawin nating kanta, ha?”
“Ewan, bahala na.”

Masyado namang concerned ‘to. E ano naman pakialam niya sa tulang ‘yon? Di ko na nga maaalala. Hindi naging style ni Sid na magsulat ng may kasama. Noong high school, pinagawa sila ng tula bulang group activity sa English. Binuo niya ang tula mag-isa habang nagkukuwentuhan ang mga groupmates niya. Binigyan sila ng teacher ng 96.

“Nako, wala na tayong beer,” sabi ni Sid.
“Haha, nawili yata tayo. Nako mag-uumaga na pala, nakabalandra pa yung tricycle sa labas.”
“Gagarahe pala ha.”
“E ang daldal mo e.” Inabot ni Andy ang notebook kay Sid at ipinatong ito ni Sid sa bag.
“Ikaw kaya.”
“Hahaha. Ewan, hindi naman ako ganito. Uy, may yosi pa ba?”
Kinuha ni Sid ang kaha, “dalawa, tig-isa tayo.”
“Sige, pasindi na lang tapos lakad na ko. Salamat ha.” Tumayo na si Andy, papalabas na ng bahay.
“Sige. Hatid na kita sa gate.”
“Ayos, yan ang gusto ko sa’yo, maalaga.”
“Adik!”
“Hahaha, sige na.”

Sumakay na si Andy sa tricycle at lumarga na. Sinundan ni Sid ng tingin ang tricycle hanggang sa pagliko nito sa kanto. Pumasok si Sid sa bahay at nagsara ng pinto. Kinuha niya ang natitirang yosi sa kaha. Ayaw lumabas. Sinundot niya ang pakete at may nakapang papel sa loob. Ang singkwenta pesos na binayad niya kanina.

Napangiti si Sid. Inipit niya sa notebook ang pera.

SOAP


 

You make for a hit

As you face the lens
Only enough so that they can see
(That you are looking but not at what
Nor) the pupils of your eyes,
Which are always elsewhere aimed
(at the nothing behind lights)
At the justification
That beyond this paper world
There is no more

Truth (is, that all is unreal):
The doors lead to no adjacent rooms
And the pupils of your eyes
Are really hollow.

So you linger,
Until the credits roll
And they look away.

And you pretend not to feel
The feelings you were pretending
When you feel like pretending
A pretend feeling is real.

There drops
A single tear
Born of your imagining.
You feel it sting
It streaks your cheek
And not unlike God

You created something.

Make You Fall for Me


I want to make a necklace
Of the dainty little drops

Of blood
That rest on the hairs
Of my arms like the morning dew-

A gift from your carotid,
Sprayed as you choke
On a muffled plea.

The skin on your neck is like
Butter-
That melts in the heat
Of the rage in my knife.

I liberate the life out of you.

I want you to look me in the eye,
As your vision fades,
As your world funnels into a tunnel.

I want to make you a memory.

You kept complaining
That I never took you places,

I wish that you’d enjoy this trip.

I see your love
Glisten down your throat
To the pool of your clavicle
To the river between your breasts.

You’ve never held on to me
As tightly as you do now.

Like you can’t live without me,
Like you can’t live

Any longer.

I can’t understand what you’re saying
Between gasps and gags.

It doesn’t matter now,

I forgive you.

I can feel your weight upon me
Collapsing.

Falling for me again

At last.

Poem for a Girl


I hold the train of your loveliness
In the breadth of my arms.
And my chest would start to effervesce,
With the magnitude of your charms.

The words they string themselves together
They hold my mind in reins.
And though I try so hard to sever
Their power never wanes.

So I walk steadily behind you
As in your wedding day.
To be with you I can’t aspire to
Because I’m flaming gay.

But even though I love cock
I can’t control my feelings.
I can’t imagine how we’ll fuck
But we can start from small beginnings.

A small dildo, a small strap-on
I’ll even get you one in pink.
We’ll never do it with the lights on
And never without a drink.

I’m slightly wishing I were straight
But darling I’m a queer.
And being a fag is just way too great
I’m really sorry, dear.

ELMA


She walks down the aisle of the office supply store. In the back of her mind seeps the irony of the situation, this could be her wedding. And the rows of adhesive tape, the tubs of paste and the jugs of glue might as well have been her friends and family, marveling at her, celebrating the day she found love. 

But woe, like the many trips she’d taken in the past few weeks to this same “secret” supply store, there is no air of celebration today. Only an odd sense of nostalgia, like seeing a friend you’ve abandoned for a few years and are revisiting now that you’ve hit rock bottom. 

———————— 

She remembers the first day they met… in the community nursery school. Between short gasps of air through her snotty nose, she surveys the shelf for anything—anything that will take her mind from the embarrassment of wetting herself. Her pants were soaked in urine. And her face was a painting of tears, dirt and mucus. It is getting dark. Her mother must have passed out again. All her friends have been fetched. She saw as they left, laughing at her, calling her a grease lady, an urchin off the streets. 

She opens a tub of crafting paste and opens her mouth. 

Halfway through the tub, the security guard comes into the room and catches her. His face opens in surprise, but quickly transforms to display a hybrid of interest and guile. 

“You like that?” 

She looks up at him innocently. She knows not to answer questions like that. She wipes her mouth with her forearm. 

“I have more of that if you like…”

He unzips his pants and pulls her face to his crotch.  Her tears wash the grime from her face. 

————————- 

It is a week before prom. She is a far cry from the snotty girl in nursery school. She is running for honors, president of the student body and girlfriend to the Captain of the Basketball Team. She might even be Prom Queen. That is if, she’d finish with the decorations. 

It’s a good thing her boyfriend is with her. It’s been almost a month since she first heard about the rumors between him and her best friend. She has nothing to worry about, despite remaining chaste with him all this time. Both parties denied the rumor when she confronted them that night they went to the mall. She even forced her boyfriend to take her best friend home after they dropped her off. 

The gym is empty except for the two of them—and the ménage of crepe paper, balloons and glitter that were strewn across the court. He throws a balloon which hits her on the head. 

“Stop it! Or we’ll never get done.” 

“Oh, we’ll get done alright…” 

He grabs her blouse and tugs it open. He pushes up her brassieres to expose her chest. He kneads and squeezes, too hard, too roughly. She is sprawled on the wood floor and he on top. He forces himself between her legs and pulls her panties from under her skirt.

His large hands explore the vagina she’s withheld from him. It belongs to him now. He rubs his fingers together in front of her face, toying with the moisture between them. She was wet. 

“You like that?” 

She knows not to answer questions like that. She merely looks away, into the darkest corner of the gym, hoping this painful ordeal would be over. 

A final thrust and she feels his body tense and shiver. And through his groaning and wheezing, she imagines she heard her best friend’s name. 

“Look at what you’ve done! You got blood all over me!” 

The same large hand that taunted her flew into and unstoppable trajectory towards her face. And as quickly and as randomly as it started, he is up and out of the gym, escorted by a chain of expletives. 

Her tears mix with the blood from her nose. And his semen mixes with the blood from the wounds on her vagina. Through the corner of her eye was a tube of glue. 

She unscrews the cap and opens her mouth.  

————————-  

He bought her a set of martini glasses and she makes them both a drink. She took up bartending classes because she knew she could be good at it. Plus, it took her mind off a lot of things. 

Her lychee martinis are perfect as expected. He showers her with compliments—as he always does—and with the same air of sincerity he showed her the first time he said “I love you.” It was extremely rare for any man to be able to be that true. She was, after all, an extremely rare woman. 

The long conversations they shared at home, on the couch, have included everything. He knows her backwards and forwards and loves her despite, and sometimes (more than either would like to admit), because of everything that has happened to her. 

Tonight, in another of those long conversations, he is acting more deliberately. It is as if he is twice himself… almost fidgety. A small Tiffany box replicates the lump on his throat. She gets up to mix another batch of drinks and he rehearses his lines. 

She walks into the living room and he is on one knee. 

“You like that?” 

Lychee martinis intoxicated the floor. She knows the answer to this question. 

“Yes.” 

————————— 

She waits in the dressing room, her dress—a perfect, milky white, they picked it together. She remembers his face when she first put on the dress. He was almost in tears. Both of them were. 

Fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, why hasn’t the ceremony started yet? 

She calls for her maid of honor to investigate. A few minutes later, she could hear a hushed argument seeping through the crack the door makes with the floor. 

“You tell her.” 

“But, how?” 

“I’ll tell her.”  

The door swings open. It is her mother. 

“The police are here. The car he was driving collided with a truck in the freeway. It was a freak accident. He was rushed to the hospital but he was no longer responding when they got him there.” 

————————– 

She takes the only martini glass left in the set he gave her as a present. She takes out the bag of supplies she got from the store and unscrews the cap off a liter of glue and poured. 

It was a perfect, milky white, like the dress she was going to marry her in.  

And she drank the entire glass of it as tears streaked her cheeks. 

How many liters will it take this time to get the pieces of her heart together?