Footnote to the Holidays

January 9, 2005 at 9:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
2004 came and went like a vague dream, the kind you remember when you wake up yet can’t seem to recall in its entirety.

In all the mad dash to the finish line, there were only lists to check and then re-check, bonuses went by as if money was just paper (which it is, come to think of it), the obligatory salutations were texted out, texted in, sent out in e-cards, bussed to exhaustion in parties, etc. Indeed, the frantic pace of 2004 made it all seem like a race – destination: unknown.

And speaking of parties, there we were again, in good old gate-crashing fashion at IPD, with the free booze and the lovely music of a band we didn’t even care to know the name of, and I was on the dancefloor like a madman shaking off a bad case of the doldrums. Which I was, really, since the last few weeks of the year involved me shelling out more money than I am supposed to for a wreck of a brother who can’t get his act together.

But it was fun.

2004 was fun. Yes, it was fun to think about the limits of my mortality, about escaping, of putting a stop to all the circumstances I felt were beyond my control. It was a year when I thought I had everything figured out, and then life drops a buick on top of my head and had my ego unhinged by a notch or two. It was a year of beautiful, but impalpable vagaries like the shit I just said.

So let me be precise.

2004 was fun. Yes, the very same year I went through (gasp) two heartaches in a row, a meltdown in my relationship with a couple of brothers, and a financial mess that made me think not once, not twice, but three times about ending it all with a bang and a blade.

2004 was fun. Yes, it was fun because 2004 was not a sexless year, thank heavens. It was a year of trying to figure out the nicest way out of someone else’s bed before sunrise, of cozy after-sex talk about things you don’t really mean, but you feel you have to say, all for the possibility of another go at it, or perhaps for something more than just the exchange of bodily fluids.

2004 was fun. Yes it was fun because I stopped myself in the nick of time before I crashed. It was the year I decided the rain is talking bullshit, and maybe I should converse more with the sun. It was the year I reconciled myself with the idea of liking somebody for the heck of it and not expecting anything in return, since, after all, I haven’t been dishing out affection to those who want it from me anyway.

2004 was fun. My talents were in full bloom, even if at times I doubted it. I shirked from compliments when I deserved it, but looked for approval when I didn’t see it. 2004 was the year I bargained with my job and got a good deal in return. It was also the year I found some extra ways to augment my increasing standard of living. The year in which I learned to capitalize on my strength – mainly with my words – instead of wallowing in my weaknesses.

2004 was fun. Because it was the year I realized I want a man, not a boy who thinks he can. Because, as I’ve realized, boys are just fucktoys. You give them/They give you blowjobs and then you’re supposed to throw them away. Maybe you can find a gem in the trash heap, but don’t hold your breath wishing. If you do, good for you. If you don’t, wellI’ve downloaded a guide to the fine art of oral sex, so

2004 was fun. I, myself, never dish out as much cash on any other holiday (including my own birthday!) as on Christmas and New Year, but it’s all in good spirit, I guess. There’s that intangible warmth to it even though the evening wind is fucking freezing and makes you hate solitude even more. But what can I say, it’s The Holidays of all holidays, so screw that budget and splurge.

And when I say splurge, yes, there were the recurrent trips to the mall. Nina and I made the rounds of the improved Cubao area once our respective budgets began to run short on funds, and found some really nice places to hang out. There was the relative cheapness of SM North, the flock of jologs everywhere and bastards and bitches blocking your way everywhere you turn, callboys hinting at pick-ups and children everywhere perhaps wondering in their tiny little minds where the fuck their parents had taken them with all the noise and the stench and the sound of cash registers raking it in for this Chinese bigshot.

2004 was fun. Because it was a year when I said to myself I needed to hide, but found myself laying it all bare online. It was the year I gained more friends and come to think of it, was a year when I didn’t subtract any. It was a year when my relationship with the likes of Nina, Eileen and Princess even deepened and entered new territory with more secrets being shared and respected. That was an excellent gift of the year that was.

2004 was fun, because Mom is still around fighting with all her best, against every shit that life throws her, and the shitty characters that go along with it. My mom is 68, and she doesn’t even look like she’s past 50.

2004 was fun, because it was a year when nobody wanted to shut up. Not Digs, not FPJ, not even GMA. It was a year when everybody kept talking above everybody else’s heads, and I figured, what the heck, might as well throw my two cents’ worth of crap in as well. And so my brand of politics was refined, and I knew I belong where I belonged.

2004 was fun, because I actually got to spend time with people I couldn’t really care much less about, and it turns out I do need them in my life. This year’s family reunion of the Santoses was more fun than all the previous years of reunions combined, mainly because the pathetic attempts of my uncle to proselytize all of us heathens was gone, replaced by parlor games and videoke singing.

2004 was fun, because I said I hate God and realized it was said only with the intensity of a lie. In fact it was only the realization that I did believe in God, and deep down inside I did care about God. It’s not a perfect relationship, but hey, that’s free will. My mistakes are my own, God’s business remains in making sure that the course of my decisions do not end in someone else’s misery.

2004 was fun, because it essentially boiled down to just two choices. I could be cowed by my fears, or I could face them head on. Screw it. I’m old enough to know what my natural choice should be.

2004 was fun, because it shoved the truth right in front of my face: Bilog ang putanginang mundo ko. No love, but plenty of sex. Shitty family, lovely family. Exhausting work, nice paycheck(s). Friends who are difficult to understand sometimes, but never absent in my life, even when I want them to disappear. How can I not be thankful for this balance, this delicate exchange between the good and the bad? One cannot hope to have everything.

Now if I say the same thing at the end of 2005, then that would mean my life was at a plateau. And that’s unacceptable. Which makes me wonder what adventures the next twelve months have in store for me. Exciting!

They say success is relative, that the smattering of miserable celebs and the fears and problems that millionaires constantly face should impart upon us the naivete behind attaching the meaning of the word to these old conventions of fame and fortune. They say we have to define success in our own little, private way. If I think out of the box, then the fact that I’m still here, breathing should be enough to celebrate 2004 as a successful year.

So what about the heartaches, romantic or from wherever they came from? I still have what is important: Life, in all its multi-layered complexities and challenges, its multi-colored rainbow of emotions and experiences, its intricate patterns and unpredictabilities, and the souls that inhabit it as it defines itself around me.

So yes, 2004 was fun. Because it was full of life.

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