December 2013 Diaries (2 of 2)
February 8-14 Edition
Jonathan Aquino's Journals
December 5, 2013
Thursday I came to the funeral of the grandfather of my friend N. A lot of people are afraid of peering into caskets.
I think it's normal in the same way that some people are afraid of snakes.
The wake is in the unpaved basketball court of a labyrinthine residential area tucked off Jones Avenue. We had to pass through a small opening in the wall that encloses the open court.
Once there, I felt a touch of rural serenity, while mixing a cup of instant coffee, looking at the large trees and the old houses beyond them. Maybe I'm romanticizing the place, perfectly natural if it's your first time. But in this small pocket of nature in the heart of the city, the air seems to be purified by the early morning stillness.
A man was sleeping in a wooden hammock on the outside free-throw line.
That's nice, I thought. I've always loved the outdoors.
My friend and I got a table under the trees. He taught me some card games as we waited for his girlfriend who was on the way. One was Monkey Monkey, where you plunk down all the pairs of you have, like two Jacks, two Queens and so on. Then, you take a card from another player, looking for a pair from your your remaining cards. The idea is: whoever first gets rid of all of his cards wins.
It's the same with Carcar De Boro, where you put down a card with the same suit as the starting card. If yours is higher, like an Ace Spade over a King Spade, then you get to choose the next suit. But if yours is lower, then you have to get a card from the deck til you find one. He chose a Diamond, which I don't have, so I began to collect cards as the newborn sun began to emerge from the infinite womb of the sky.
All around us, birds are singing madrigals like a celebration, reminding me that, even in the face of death, the world will still go on.
December 6, 2013
It was a beautiful early morning as I sat vaping at the balcony of the office building after my shift. The clouds are like the mountains of an enchanted land where sprites and fairies cavort. There was the feeling of anticipation for a new day even more full of hope. I then went to the gym and had two solid hours of cardio and full body workout.
My life is overflowing with blessings.
I was doing inclined bench presses when I heard the breaking news from the gym TV tuned to CNN: Nelson Mandela has died. He was one of the most inspiring figures in our generation, becoming a symbol of freedom againts apartheid and racial discrimination.
He spent almost three decades in prison but his spirit was never broken. That, to me, is the very essence of heroism. I'm going to write a story about Mandela in one of my next magazine articles- a timeless tribute that's worthy of one of the greatest men who ever lived.
December 7, 2013
Saturday. It's 5:43 in the morning. The sky is like a beautiful tapestry of the finest Persian rug. A coppery orange cloud forms a circle across the sky. It's the weekend I've been waiting for to rest my body, mind and spirit for my life outside work. Everything would have been perfect except that a friend of mine is sick. But with time comes healing.
In the horizon a mass of clouds emanates with the bright aura of the sun behind them. I can't see the sun, but I know its there. No matter how the world turns, it will always be there, and it will be waiting for me everytime I welcome the morning of each brand new day.
December 9, 2013
A teenage boy was sitting on the open back of the white minicab. He was leaning on the spare wheel attached to the customized steel railing at the back of the pick-up bed. There's a man standing beside the minicab, parked in the dark, his hand caressing the boy's thigh.
I went out past three in the morning, looking for food. I just finished cleaning and organizing my stuff in my little rented room in Cebu City.
It was fiesta in our street, with those traditional buntings hanging like multicolored clotheslines across the street.
The basketball court was turned into a disco with blinding strobe lights and mirror balls. Club music was blasting from giant speakers. A lot of people are out, just hanging around, waiting for nothing.
I found an open eatery on the adjacent corner. The radio was playing Pag-Ibig Ko Sa 'Yo 'Di Magbabago. That song is the "love theme" of one of my closest friends in Manila, dedicated for his lover.
Pag-Ibig Ko Sa'yo Di Magbabago
I have a total of five male friends in Manila who have confided in me that they're gay. I have no issues with that. But I take it as a sign of honor that people trust me to enter the inner sanctum of their lives.
“If you need somebody to share your pain, I’ll be there," as I wrote in my article The Courage of Your Convictions, which got published in Panorama on February 2011 and will appear on my upcoming third book. "And you’ll know that I’ll never break your trust, and no one will ever know your secrets,”
I went home, passing the minicab scene.