A Word From One of Our Sponsors (or How to Use a Condom Properly)

(Alice’s POV)

Instructions:

1. First, make sure you have one with you before doing anything. It is very difficult to stop in the middle of making out to go to a store to buy one. Hold the pack at its edge and open by tearing from a ribbed edge.                                                                             thcolorful-condoms_h200

2. Make sure the penis is erect before putting it on. You can make sure that the penis is erect by touching it. Put the condom on the erect penis before the penis touches its partner.

3. Pinch the reservoir at the tip of the condom. Unroll the condom all the way to the base of the penis. The condom should unroll easily. If it does not, it is probably backwards. As with a lot of things in life, practice will prevent this problem. (At this point the assumption is that we are dealing with a circumcised penis.)

4. After ejaculation, while the penis is still erect, withdraw the penis from its partner, holding onto the rim of the condom to help prevent it slipping off and the semen spilling into the vagina (or anus). When in doubt, remember that that there is always Plan B.

5. Throw away the condom in a pit latrine or trash container. Do not use the latex condom more than once (that would be so gross).

Image from deviantart.com

Image from deviantart.com

***

I am putting into paper stuff that I never thought I’d talk about in a million years. Jonas did say I’m a prude. Maybe he was right.

I am doing this for posterity. And for me, and for him.

I am hoping that by reliving the times we were together, my thoughts will somehow reach him and he’d come back to me.

***

It was January 16, nine years ago. Of course I remember. Girls pretend to forget things like this. But we don’t. Never. Not really.

I already knew I loved him then. But darn it! It was so difficult to say it out loud. I am like that. I regard words with fear, knowing that they will bind me, which I hate.

Since December, he had been an almost-permanent fixture in the apartment. Kim, at one time, jokingly asked him to pay rent. Jonas good-naturedly paid up; and Kim bought a futon with the money.

Kim would get almost teary-eyed like a doting mother-hen whenever she saw me with Jonas. That girl’s dream was to play matchmaker, and now her experiment /project seemed like a success.

As she was always in the hospital (she was on night-shift every 3 nights and everyday she had classes and other clinical work), I was left alone in our 32 square meter studio in Taft Avenue.

Jonas claimed that he liked hanging out in my place because of the convenience. The LRT is just outside our building, he would point out. He didn’t even have to bring his car.

He actually had a key to the apartment courtesy of Kim (the meddling chit!). And he once surprised me when I came home one Friday night and he was in a blue apron tinkering in the kitchen, looking very proud of himself.

“Why are you so happy?” I asked him putting down my bag, leaning against the lone sofa in the living room.

“Three reasons,” he said. “One, after a million years, Congress finally passed the bill that would regulate the mining industry; two, mom’s biopsy came out negative; and three,” he held up three fingers and gave me a look that can only be described as wicked. “you’re here and I have you all to myself.”

I had to laugh at that. Sometimes Jonas could say the most outrageous things!

“So what are you cooking exactly?” I went over to the 4-seater wooden table that Kim and I bought from BLIMS a year ago. On it was a tupperware containing some sauce that I am sure Jonas could not have possibly made. “Who made the marinara?” I asked.

“Marianne.”

“And does she know you’re stealing food from your house?”

“If you must know, Alice, it was Marianne who suggested that I bring some over. She attached a note on the container, I think.”

I peered at the yellow plastic and sure enough, there was a folded post-it taped on one side. I detached it and read the message from Jonas’s sister. “Hi Alice! I made a large batch of marinara, since I know my brother will be going to your place. Nahihiya na ako na lagi syang nakikikain sa inyo. I hope to see you soon. Marianne.”

I looked up and told Jonas, “I love your sister. At least she knows how to cook; unlike some people we know.”

“For the nth time, I didn’t mean to burn that rice. And besides, what I lack in cooking skills I make up for in other departments.”

“Such as? Do tell!”

“Do you really want to know?”

***

At this point, I want to reiterate that we have been sort of dating for almost a year. In general, I have learned that males and females who have been seeing each other in a romantic context for 3 months or more tend to get physical (you know what I mean). Otherwise, they are either ultra-conservative, a member of a fundamental religious sect, or they’re not real.

Jonas and I have been seeing each other for 10 months 4 weeks and 5 days.

The day before the above scene took place, our conversation went something like this:

“I really think Woody Allen is overrated … Uhh … don’t you think? His earlier movies are … uhh … boring … uhh … what are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay, anyway, I don’t really like … uhhh … Woody Allen … he gives me the creeps. Oh God … what are you doing?”

“Don’t you like it?”

“I do but … uhmmm … aren’t we going to watch this movie?”

“I want to make love to you.”

“O-kay. But do you have a condom?”

***

That’s the gist of it. Basically.

And no, at that time, he didn’t have a condom. So nothing happened. Then.

***

Now:

How do I describe the first time we made love? Had sex. Shagged each other. Fucked.

How do I say the correct words without sounding obscene or nauseatingly sentimental? How do I inject my prose with just the right amount of sweetness and honesty? Without sounding coy or vulgar.

The truth is, it was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life.

One moment you keep yourself at a distance, not giving anything away, self-preservation your middle name. Then the next, you are one rattled, frazzled, marshmallow. You know what marshmallow looks like after 30 seconds in a microwave, or in a camp fire? Well, that was me. Post-orgasm. Or something.

Afterwards, Jonas asked me if I was okay, if I was hurt, if I had any regrets. Of course now, I would say no. But right then, I had no fucking idea.

We just ruined Kim’s futon so we transferred to my bed. He wrapped me in my blanket and kissed my hair and held me until around 3 am. (He had to leave early because his flight to Davao was at 6 am.)

And he told me he loved me over and over. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I was considering the following responses:

1. (grateful) Thank you, now I won’t have to die a virgin.
2. (flippant) I had to lose that sooner or later.
3. (bitchy) I had a great time, now you can go.

I didn’t say any of those things, though.

He told me years later that he was worried at my reaction that night. That maybe I was turned off (yeah, right!) or traumatized (puh-leaze!) or that maybe I didn’t love him. I had to laugh at the third one, and teased him (years later) that really, I was just using him for his body.

He told me that that night changed him; and that then he knew that I was the one. Imagine that.

***

Now I look back and remember, staring at the picture of this man who loved me, above all others (or so he said).

I wonder if he is dead. I wonder if all the years I spent away from him were all wasted. I wonder if this dark heavy uncertainty, this limbo of worrying and searching, will ever end.

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