About last night

I look at myself in the mirror. I had shaved off my beard and now I could see my pasty brown cheeks glistening from where black hair used to be. My eyes are a bit swollen. I had fallen asleep drunk on cheap rum and a pill of clonazepam. I don’t look like myself, I thought. I liked my beard. It gives me a Middle Eastern vibe which I think sets me apart from the crowd. But he likes me clean-shaven. He likes men to look a bit more feminine and I always aim to please. In some ways, I am like his wife. Last night we talked about my unpaid taxes and I agreed I should settle my BIR payments. After all, if I want to be with this man I should at least avoid getting pursued by the law and getting myself jailed. Then we briefly talked about cream pies. That made him laugh. I like making him laugh. I like teasing him although sometimes I go overboard and he ends up getting upset. I know I should play by the rules. By his rules. “You’re okay,” he told me. I thank him. “But you’ve got some issues.” I’ve heard about my issues a dozen times from men that I like. I’m a broken man, I guess, but then aren’t we all? After talking to him, I called my sister-in-law to borrow money and get more clonazepam. I got my bag stolen at the gym yesterday and lost my wallet along with my IDs and prescriptions. I need my prescriptions as a security blanket though I’ve already decided to find another psychiatrist and to stop depending on pills. There is no magic pill. There is only perseverance. Still, I popped in a pill before heading out because I knew I’ll be using the elevator to get to my sister-in-law’s unit. I had my friend wait for me at the lobby. While going up I kept talking. I needed to keep talking and counting to stop my mind from freaking out. 22… 23… 24… Ah talaga, so how was your breaststroke? My friend is taking swimming lessons. She’s been a longtime fan of Akiko Thompson. We reach the floor and I could still feel anxiety clinging on my back like a backpack. Inside, I started drinking at once and tried to relax by engaging my friends to various topics. I told them about my botched presentation to Cinema One where I was too hopped up on clonazepam to remember the entire thing. I tried to make that tragic experience into a comedy skit because what else can I do? My sister-in-law tells me that she doesn’t want to think about deep thoughts anymore. She doesn’t want to dive deep into the dark recesses of her subconscious. I tell her about Amy Hempel’s Rapture of the Deep. How divers who find the wonders of the deep too enchanting that they end up drowning. Is that how mermaids do it? Or am I just over-reading things? From what I know, mermaids came from succubus, demon in female form, who seduce men and destroy them. The male version is Incubus (yes, the name of that band that had a cute lead singer). I once told this to the guy I’m currently seeing. I’m surprised that he knows all about it. By 12 midnight, my friend wanted to go home already but I was drunk and I wanted to drink more. I thought I’d go out that night or perhaps buy a bottle before heading home. On my way out, I received a text from a friend and for a minute I thought of inviting him out. But my medication and the beer and the gin had already made its way to my brain. I was no longer thinking straight. I was still texting with him when I fell asleep. I dreamed that I was at a convenience store buying water but they were out of stock so instead I watched a video presentation about STI/STD projected on a white pillow. How apropos no? Then I woke up to several messages on my messenger. Dispatches from QC, Canada and Marikina. Briefly my friend and I talked about our favorite Season 2 episode of Girls. I told him I wanted to write something like Girls but not from the POV of privileged Pinoy kids. “Yun talaga ang problema sa neoliberal, they are insensitive to class struggle,” he tells me. Maybe the way to do it is be Ira Sachs instead? Then I got up and went to the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror. I have a new haircut and my beard has been shaved off. I feel naked. I don’t look like myself anymore. 


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