Indulging in Drama (Uncategorized)

Eponine was belting out On My Own and Alice felt like weeping; this is what the cliché on unrequited love is all about — it is wanting to jump and drown yourself into the river Seine.

In her case, the Pasig river would suffice, with all its muck and centuries-worth of neglect and degradation.

Alice, stop it. You chose this, live with it. Don’t be such a goddarned ninny.

In any case, if she did cry right now, Kim would think that it’s a natural reaction to watching such a tear-jerker Broadway extravaganza as Les Miserables.

A few years ago, back in Manila, she watched a play called “Walang Sugat” with him whose-name-she-won’t-even-think-lest-she-become-depressed.

Walang Sugat” was a Tagalog zarzuela by Severino Reyes, a love story about a soldier who went to battle and the girl he left behind. The play was of the ”happy-ever-after” category.

Alice would usually classify plays, novels or stories into 3 categories: 1. the “happy-ever-after” 2. the “and-they-all-suffer/die-or-spend-the-rest-of-their-lifetime-on-Prozac” variety or, 3. the “uncategorized” category.

She was now wondering: if her and Jonas’s story made it to Broadway (or to Hollywood … ha ha!), what type of script or screenplay would it have?

If your life were turned into a movie, who would play it?” she asked Kim once they got out of the theater.

Kim had a ready answer, “Nicole Kidman! What about you?”

I have no idea. I like Lindsay Lohan.”

They would have to lobotomise her first before she can play you,” Kim laughed, obviously enjoying the discussion. “Or maybe you should be played by a not so well-known actress. Like that girl they want to be Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey the movie? What’s her name, Dakota something?”

Melanie Griffith’s daughter.”


They passed by a homeless person and Alice thought, so this is not so different a world from the one I left, after all.

The big difference about New York and Manila,” she said, “is that everything here is … big. You don’t know if you want to swallow it before it can swallow you.”

Out of the blue, Kim remarked, “You miss him – Jonas.” There was no question mark after that statement.

Alice said, “Yeah, well … long distance relationships don’t work, quote unquote.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore! You can Skype or email or do Facebook or Twitter or blog or … you know, maybe even snail mail. I have an aunt who did that with her husband, a marine engineer who would be gone 10 months a year. They did snail mail for 18 years!”

Then what happened?”

He retired from the ship with a hefty bonus and retirement pay. And then he and my aunt went on a cruise, just the two of them. But he had a heart attack during that trip so he’s now dead.”

Are you trying to make me feel better or worse?”

I am just saying that for two people in love, time or distance shouldn’t matter.”

Kim, my friend, the operative word there is ‘should’ – something completely different from ‘would’.”

I think the two of you would end up together, no matter what,” Kim announced with conviction.

What makes you so confident?”

I set the two of you up. I wrote your story. I’ll be damned if it will end up to be anything less than a happy ending.”

In her heart, Alice was thinking: it could be Uncategorized.

A Friendly Get-Together

These days, Ana can’t stop thinking about her good fortune.

She and Christian are doing well both in financial matters and in the more personal aspects of their relationship.

The intensity that defined their first years together has mellowed and has settled into something like heated coals that glows toastily warm or blazing hot depending on one’s vantage point

dinner-with-friends-box-cover-posterLast night, they went out to dinner with Christian’s friends, a bunch of men and women that Ana is particularly fond of. This group has none of the affectations and city stiffness that defines their other friends from the school they met in. Provincial people is what these are, and Ana feels warm around them.

One of them, a thin tall man whose wife Ana occasionally sees in her work, has just returned home from his job in a foreign country. Let’s call him Aidan.

Aidan’s wife, a woman that he has known since high school and has courted during their college days when she was still in a relationship with another man, was laughing at her kids’s antics – a boy and a girl. The boy is impishly cute; the girl is as quiet as a reed and as thin as her father.

To this group comes (in his usual lateness) a fair skinned, slightly slanty eyed male in cargo pants. We will call him Jonah.

Ana imagines that Jonah must have some serious father issues. His dad left when he was small and his seeming brashness belies, Ana thinks, a huge chip (the size of a boulder) draping on his narrow shoulders. He has just gotten out off an “it’s complicated” type of relationship.

So today Ana was thinking: I think Jonah would hit it off with my friend from work, Madelyn.Who is a sometimes-separated mother-of-two, and is very pretty.

She floated this idea at Christian when they went home, but Christian was not too excited with this idea.

“Darling, your friend is married,” he told her with some tenderness and a whole lot of emphasis on the “m” word.

“Her husband is a jerk and she wants to leave him!”

“They are married and they have two children.”

She gave him an information that would get him to Madelyn’s side. “Her husband hits her.”

Christian was silent for about 5 seconds. “Okay, he’s a jerk. I agree.”

“So I think I’m setting her up with Jonah.”

“Ana, darling, for god’s sake, leave them alone.”

“Jonah is miserable. Madelyn is very miserable. Misery loves company.”
“I can’t believe you just threw that bumper sticker cliché at me.”

“Jonah is single and ready to mingle,” Ana continues with her clichés. “You said so. And Madelyn needs a sane steady guy with stable work to help her take care of her kids.”

“Do you realize what you just said?”

“Yep, I made it sound as if Jonah is a desperate DOM* and Madelyn is an opportunistic bitch. But then, we are also more than the two-word descriptions that people make of us – and you said that… darling.”

At this point, dear readers, Ana and Christian have gotten their clothes off and while they are not naked (we will call their states of undress en deshabille), they are currently eyeing each other wondering who between them will take off that last piece of underwear.

What Ana loves about making love with her husband: 1. He can touch her down there in a manner that she could never do with herself; 2. When he comes in her mouth, it gives her a feeling of accomplishment – like she just scaled a mountain. Or something; 3. When she comes with him inside her, she feels that she had come home to herself.

*DOM – dirty old man 🙂

One Morning at Starbucks (or The Problem with Men)

It is 6 am and Alice just got off from work. She proceeds to the Starbucks beside their building for her daily caffeine quota. Her backpack feels heavy and she is unbearably sleepy. She will proceed to her apartment and sleep the whole day. At 6 pm she will teach evening classes at the university. Work, school, home … the rhythms of her life.

She orders a cold capuccino, to jar her up. She needs the extra adrenaline for the commute home. She doesn’t really like Starbucks coffee, but it is convenient and fast.

It’s also obscenely expensive. He said that. Two weeks ago; when they were debating the merits and disadvantages of changing the Philippine constitution to give more ownership to foreign corporations.

These days, his voice would manifest in her head without warning, during times when she is most defenseless. Like at six in the morning when she is bone-tired and sleepy. The jerk hasn’t called, texted or even emailed in over a week! How dare he intrude in her thoughts.

He has been parachuting in and out of her life for the past – oh, 5 or 6 months. Each time she would see him was always like the first time. Initially, she would be indifferent (hostile, even, especially if he appeared after weeks of disappearing with no trace at all). But then he would say something, or touch her in some way, or smile – and she’s … gone. Alice would feel her heart do that hopping routine and she would just welcome Jonas like a long-lost friend … or something.

Two sips of cappuccino and Alice feels awake again. She checks her cellphone for messages; and there are two missed calls and a text. Speaking of the devil!

Hi! Are you still in at work?

She is tempted to put the cellphone back in her bag without answering. Let him freeze, she thought.

Hu u?

It’s Jonas. And I don’t believe that you lost my number. For god’s sake, are you still in Makati?

Her phone vibrated and the tune from the play “Rent” started humming.

“You don’t have to sound so grumpy, you know,” said Alice without preamble.

“I have been calling you for 30 minutes,” the male voice on the other line said grumpily.

“I was at work! I had to turn my text messages off.”

“Oh well, okay. I’m on my way to Makati.”

“Oh so now you want to meet up!”

“Alice I haven’t seen you for two weeks. I just got back from Mindanao.”

“Hold it right there. That. That is just the problem with men. They want to meet up and they want you to just drop everything. Like what am I? A geisha, or something?”

There was a pause and a loud sigh. “I am going there and I and I am meeting up with you. I assume that you’re at the Starbucks beside your building? Thirty minutes, wait for me.”

And that’s that.

Drats! Alice knew she would wait. Some geisha she was turning out to be.

The First Time She Said I Love You

It was a long weekend and the holidays stretched out before her. Alice decided to take a vacation and told their team leader of her plans.

“I am going on vacation,” she said without preamble. “I am leaving for a week starting Saturday. Which is tomorrow,” she added, just to be clear.

Melissa peered at her through her horn-rimmed glasses. There was a hint of amusement around her lips. “Is your boyfriend in Mindanao again?”

“Yes, Mel. And Jonas and I are just …”

“Dating, going out, seeing each other … whatever. Sweetie, you have got to loosen up. You have the makings of an old maid already and you are not yet 30.”

Alice stared at her boss, wondering if she should be insulted.

“Statement of fact, sweetie, no judgment at all,” Melissa said. “You can have one week, talk with HR regarding the paperwork.”

“That’s it? That’s all you will say?”

Melissa looked up, smiling (smirking?). “Alice, you’re 24 and your resume said that you graduated magna cum laude. What else can your 47 year old boss tell you that you don’t already know? Have a safe flight … and for god’s sake, safe sex okay. I don’t want you coming to me asking for maternity leave in two months.”


The cheesiest lines in the history of film, in Alice's opinion. Image from

The cheesiest lines in the history of film, in Alice’s opinion. Image from



Safe sex indeed! Alice was still bristling at that when her flight landed in the Davao airport Saturday.

She doesn’t know what in heavens made her clear her schedule and come scampering here after some guy. God, she is really some cliché. Like that Julia Roberts character that went after Hugh Grant and said: “I am just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.” Uggh!

It was Jonas who said the words first. Actually, he’s the one who keeps saying them. It’s not as if she asked him to.

When he left at dawn a week ago, what he said was: “I love you Alice. Hell, I can’t believe I’m leaving. I’ll miss you, honey.” Quote unquote.

And what she said was: “Okay.”


So now. She’s here. She texted him that she had arrived and that she will see him in Tagum and that don’t worry she knows how to commute and that the people can understand her Tagalog (thank God because she doesn’t know a word of Bisaya).

He texted back: Okay


She was grimy and weary by the time the bus stopped at the terminal. Jonas said that he’ll meet her there and to wait for him. A young girl selling native cakes greeted her as she stepped down. She went to sit down on a wooden bench beside the ticketing area and texted: “I’m here. Where are you?”

And then, (like in a movie) the crowds parted, a fresh amihan wind blew softly against her face, the hustle and bustle of the terminal seemed to quiet down and all she could hear was the thudding of her heart.

Alice grabbed her handbag, her backpack slung on her shoulders. And ran.

I love you,” she said when she reached him. “I don’t know why I couldn’t say that before. I really wanted to. When you left. Well even before that, actually. It just felt … weird and stupid. What is love anyway? It’s just a chemical reaction, right? Like endorphins and serotonin playing havoc in our hypothalamus. Even if I say that … what’s the difference if I say that or not? What will be the point?  I don’t even know why I’m here. It’s not as if you can’t come back to Manila in a few days as you said. I am just being weird and stupid and …”

Jonas kissed her on the lips. Which stopped her rapid-fire, manic ramblings. Kissed her right there in  front of all those people who must have been scandalized. It was Tagum, not Manila, after all. Kissed her like in a movie. Only, in this case, nobody clapped and nobody really paid attention. Save for the little girl who was selling native cakes – she was staring at them open mouthed – everybody just went on doing what they were doing.

So after about about 3 or 5 seconds, Jonas ended the kiss, took the backpack from Alice and hand in hand, they started walking towards a motorbike.

“You just did that to shut me up, didn’t you?”

“Yep,” he answered. “But you also looked so cute and I couldn’t help myself.”

So when he kissed her, it wasn't exactly like this. But it was close enough.  Image from

So when he kissed her, it wasn’t exactly like this. But it was close enough.         Image from


Consensual Sex: Then & Now

Oh those wonderful days when to rape and pillage are just all in a days work. Attila the Hun. Image from:

Oh those wonderful days when to rape and pillage are just all in a days work.
Attila the Hun. Image from:

If one were to ask me what I am most curious about, I would say: I would want to know how it is to be a man. How a man feels, how he thinks, how he processes stuff. There’s a whole dimension out there of information that I would only know superficially. Because I am not a man, will never be one … and has absolutely no interest in growing a penis. (I can hear G chuckling behind my back.)


“If a man thinks having sex with a woman who is stuporous or passed out is okay then he is on his way to being a rapist. Once he has sex with a woman who can’t consent he is a rapist.” — Dr. Jen Gunter, OB Gyn.

These are sweeping statements and I would understand if guys would think them as unfair. But I would have to agree with Dr. Gunter there. Her statement may be tantamount to saying: “The only way men can know that they haven’t raped a woman is if she said so.” That would hold guys to a high standard of behavior. And that. Is. Just. So … hard.

It is so difficult to be a man these days when these female bitches are just yammering on and on about what men can and cannot do. Blaming guys for their (women)  being confused, drunk or stupid. Woman, I thought you said you own your own body. How come you blame men when you get yourself drunk and then get raped?

I feel for you there, guys. However … would you rather that we go back to the time of Attila the Hun? Oh silly me … your answer may just be “yes” 😦 😦

Sex once upon a time. Attila's of foreplay. Image from

Sex once upon a time. Attila’s idea of foreplay. Image from

On a more sedate topic, I also wouldn’t want to go back to how medicine used to be just to make stuff easier for myself:

🙂 🙂




Notes to Myself: How to Write a Sex Scene

I no longer had money to splurge on food so I had to go home to Lucy’s vegetable stew my Aunt had taught her to cook. The maid was alone most of the time for my uncle and aunt worked the whole day. She had already finished cooking the vegetable stew. She was dark and a little chubby, but her face was warm, friendly. She had finished high school and had wanted to study in Manila, but she did not have enough money;  she worked instead as a maid for one of Aunt Betty’s co-teachers, but the teacher no longer needed her so she passed her on to my aunt who took her grudgingly although she often complained how difficult the housework was.

“You can eat now if you want to,” Lucy said at the door. I was warm and perspiring for though the rains had started and the brown weeds along the tracks had started greening, it was still humid.

The shower adjoined the kitchen and I started soaping myself with the laundry bar.  I was a virgin. Though I knew all that should be done, the most that had happened was a brief interlude with Marie; she was in section B in our senior year and I often danced with her in our high school parties, holding her so tight her breasts pressed close against my chest, and I could feel the smooth curve of her thighs. But there were few chances for us to be alone and though we had some sort of understanding that we would continue the relationship when she got to college in Manila, her family could not raise the money for her tuition and board.

Anyway, I was soaping myself and had to do it again. It did not take long really and, though I enjoyed it, I looked forward to the time when it would be for real.

When I got out, Lucy was at the bathroom door, her face lighted up with mischief. I was very embarrassed when she asked in a bantering manner, “What have you been doing?”

She was slightly older than I — maybe 25, and I asked angrily, “What do you do when you take a bath?”

“It depends,” she said. “I didn’t hear the shower for some time.”

“You do not rub off the dirt or soap yourself?”

“It was not soaping or rubbing,” she said, looking at me, the grin on her face telling me that she knew.

I  fumbled and did not know what to say.

Then, confirmation, the laughter crinkling the corners of her mouth.

“You peeped!” and I went after her.

I did not want to hurt her and I really was not angry — just embarrassed. I grabbed at her, but she was ready and we were soon wrestling like two children from the kitchen on to the living room. I pinched her buttocks and she yelped aloud, then she grabbed my  arm and bit it so hard, I cried at her to stop.  When she let go, I held her and dragged her to the floor then pinned her down, panting. She glared at me, her breasts heaving; and I had her legs wide apart, my torso between them. Her arms were pinned down and she could not move except to try too bring her head up. Then, suddenly, I felt this stirring and, bending down but still holding her wrists so that she could not hit back, I kissed her breasts. Almost immediately, her struggling ceased and when I looked at her face, the fight was no longer there — instead the unerring light of expectation, of wonder. Bending over, releasing her hand, I kissed her, thrust my tongue into her mouth.

I really did not care anymore if a sudden knock exploded on the door or if the windows were open, which they were not because they were always shut more as a matter of precaution against robbers than for privacy.

I thought conquest would be easy for, by then, the compulsion that were surging in me could no longer be leashed. But Lucy started pushing me, wriggling, and was all arms and elbows and pointed knees — but these, more than anything, served only to heighten my resolve and convinced me in afterthought that there was a latent ruffian and rapist in me. Her resistance, it turned out, was temporary; I do not know if it was just to show that she was no easy prey or she wanted to test how determined I was. Or maybe, she found out how physically strong and well beyond calming I was and there was no further sense in lengthening the struggle which, after all, I would soon vanquish.

My entry was gentle and smooth; through her gasps, she said: “Do not hurry … please. No one will be here … we have all the time.”

She did a lot of housework, but her hands were not rough. They were soft, beautiful hands, exquisitely expert and strong ; her breasts were  firm and after a time she cautioned me for, as she said, they began to hurt.

We went up to my room after we had lain for a delicious length of time on the tiles which were cold but which we had become impervious to, sweetly unconscious as we were  of the world except the rhythm and the warmth of our bodies. We took our time upstairs as she had suggested, savoring each other in the light of day, and then it was dusk, time for her to cook dinner. We were exhausted and it was an act of will for both of us to part.

Everything was not in the script, everything was not as I had read in those guidebooks that passed through our hands in high school — explicit American guidebooks to that mysterious domain which is woman. I had thought that I would be clear-minded and  would recall everything — the step-by-step preparation, the plateau and the peak, the cozy, cuddling type of talk and display of tenderness that would cap it all — but I had merely acted out the hasty and irrational beast. I did not forget, however, to ask her if she was happy and in reply she looked at me — those big, black eyes dreamy and half closed — and she nodded.

From “Mass”, pp. 20-22, F. Sionil Jose, Solidaridad Publishing House, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila, 1983.

Mass_FS Jose


I can’t remember if “Mass” was the first F. Sionil Jose (FSJ) book that I have ever read; or was it “The Pretenders”?

They are both parts of Mr. Jose’s Rosales saga, a 5-book epic spanning 100 years of Philippine history. They are very entertaining reading; especially “Mass”  whose hero Pepe Samson epitomizes the typical (in my opinion) Filipino lower-lower middle class male, virtues as well as faults.

“Mass” also has the hottest sex scenes.

My other favorite author, Lualhati Bautista (LB), wrote a Tagalog translation of “Mass” (she titled it “Masa”), also published by Solidaridad Publishing House which Mr. Jose owns.

Excited is an understatement to describe how I am looking forward to reading the Tagalog translation. I am itching to know how  LB managed to translate FSJ’s more, ehem, raunchy scenes 😉