Greatest Bastard

I made you laugh, I made you cry
I made you open up your eyes
Didn’t I?

I helped you open out your wings,
your legs, and many other things
Didn’t I?

Am I the greatest bastard that you know?
The only one who let you go?
The one you hurt so much you cannot bear?

Well we were good, when we were good
When we were not misunderstood

You helped me love, you helped me live
You helped me learn how to forgive
Didn’t you?

I wish that I could say the same
But when you left, you left the blame
Didn’t you?

Am I the greatest bastard that you met?
The only one you can’t forget?
Am I the one your truth’s been waiting for?

Or am I just dreaming once again?
Some dreams are better when they end

Some make it, mistake it
Some force and some will fake it
I never meant to let you down
Some fret it, forget it
Some ruin and some regret it
I never meant to let you down

We learn to wag and tuck our tails
We learn to win and then to fail
Didn’t we?

We learn that lovers love to sing
And that losers love to cling
Didn’t we?

Am I the greatest bastard that you know?
When will we learn to let this go?
We fought so much, we’ve broken all the charm

But letting go is not the same
As pushing someone else away

So please don’t let on
You don’t know me
Please don’t let on
I’m not here
Please don’t let on
You don’t love me
‘Cause I know you do
I know

That some make it, mistake it
Some force and some will fake it
I never meant to let you down
Some fret it, forget it
Some ruin and some regret it
I never meant to let you down
I never meant to let you
I never meant to let you down
I never meant.

~ Damien Rice

Stop Calling My Name

I was walking back to the house, carrying my baby brother Marty. Earlier, I was watching my siblings play by a now dry creek. When I was younger, I remember being too scared to wander off by myself because I was always told of stories of bears and mountain lions that roam the hills. I also remember stories about duendes and water spirits, who would sit on the fence posts, luring children towards the river. I knew the kids would be fine, I just felt more comfortable watching over them as my dad and step-mom prepare dinner.

I was walking back to the house because I heard my father calling out my name. “Kiko, Kiko-man,” he said. I rounded up my little troopers, counted three little heads plus Marty in my arms. We headed back to the house, and marched up the kitchen. The kids sprawled on the living room floor, tired from running around the creek. Dad turned around and smiled. I asked what he needed. He gave me a puzzled look and asked “What do you mean?”

“You called,” I replied.

“No I didn’t,” he said, and turned back his attention on starting a fire in the old iron stove.

***

I had a bad habit of sleeping in on weekends. It was my second year in college, and I was still trying to get used to in my new school. I just transferred from a state university and now was in a Catholic college. The transition was hard.

My room did not get any sunlight. It used to be a huge kitchen that my mom decided to partition to have an extra room so I wouldn’t have to use the bedroom upstairs. It was the family ancestral house that Mom decided to take care of after selling our place in the city, and I was scared sleeping upstairs by myself. Silly, I know, but the house was older than me, it was where my grandfather lived and he passed away even before my mom got married to my dad. I usually imagine his ghost walking around this house, and him seeing me and wondering who I was and why was I in his room.

My room does has a window – it was just really an opening so you could get some air. The opening lead to an outside kitchen that lead to a bamboo thicket. Stories were told of how the natives would run through this area and head towards the river trying to get away from the Japanese soldiers that once occupied the town. History painted a bloody picture of the grassland behind our house. I never stepped my foot out there.

My mom has a bad habit of leaving her keys behind. She would usually go behind the house, and yell out and would ask to open the front door for her. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was napping the day away. I heard footsteps in the backyard. Footfalls on dried leaves. “Kix!” Mom yelled. “Ugh, she forgot her keys again,” I thought.

I begrudgingly got up and opened the front door. I dragged my feet back to bed. Minutes passed by. I thought Mom should have walked in by now. Maybe she shopped and she was grabbing the bags from the car. Maybe she needed help with the grocery.

I got up and walked to the front door. Mom wasn’t there.

I walked backed in and put on my shoes. I left the house and hopped on a jeepney heading towards my grandmother’s place.

Maybe she needed the company.

I Have a Confession

Been dating the same guy for over six years now and moving in together is one big issue we have talking about more seriously recently. It’s really late by “normal” standards. If we were any other couple, we’d be living together by now, either married or already on the second child, if not both. But we are taking things slow mainly because my boyfriend has issues at home he has to smooth out first and once things are okay, we can consider moving in. So basically I’m waiting on him, the ball is on his court. For now.

***

Ever since I moved here in New York late 2005, I’ve had the same roommate. Things are not only doing well between us, but they’re going so great that even despite getting married and having a child, we still live together. She found us the perfect place in Queens – three bedrooms, two on one side, and across is her room. We never had issues about food, money, cleanliness, noise or having people over. This is probably the best situation I could ask for, especially when I first moved here, completely broke and unemployed.
I pay for two rooms because half the year, my mom is in town. She needs to be here to keep her green card status. But the first sign of snow, she packs and bails and stay in the Philippines with my grandmother so she can stay warm. The room becomes available and if my roomie has visitors, or if her mom visits, she can use the spare room. It’s a system that works, and I really don’t want to mess with it.

***

When the time comes that my boyfriend is ready to move in with me, we would need to start looking for a place. Luckily, we are both employed – we can pretty much afford a place in the city. But between us, I am probably the cheap one. Even if we can afford it, I really don’t like the idea of putting all our income towards rent. It sounds stupid. Ideally, a two bedroom in Astoria or Williamsburg would be great. It’s close enough to the city. And if we decide to have kids, both our moms would be close enough to come over and baby sit, but still not too far that they would have to sleep over.
That means I would have to break this nice relationship I have with my roommate. Luckily, she knows a lot of people – she can find someone who’d want my room right away.
I’d like to think my mom would still want to keep that extra room. I honestly don’t mind paying for the rent, and it’s nice that she’ll be with people I know and trust.

***

So here’s the confession: once the ball is on my court, I know how ready I would be by then.

I Don’t Ask for Much

Well, maybe I do. I don’t know.

I’m 32, still unmarried with no kids while friends and family are popping babies left and right, and I keep hearing engagement announcements. It’s like when my mom told me about Longchamp handbags. Ever since she mentioned it to me, I keep seeing them. I like to think that since I do wanna get married and have kids, and it’s an itch I keep picking on, that I keep seeing it around me.

Wanting to get married one day, and slash or wanting to have kids are very personal decisions. Along the way, you wish you meet someone who has the same wants as you. The bf and I are still on a stand off on this issue. He hasn’t told me he does NOT want to get married, or he does NOT want kids. He’s pretty flippant about it, he has mentioned going the surrogate route, but there are days he would say he just can’t stand kids. And if the day comes he decides he does not want either and tells me about it, sure, it would break my heart – frankly, would probably kill my mother who’s pining for a grandchild – it would be hard, but I chose to be with this particular man, I’ll probably still stay with him. Love is being with him; Commitment on the other hand is staying with him.

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it to my boyfriend, that we are both reading the same book. Things are shaky at the moment not because we don’t love each other or because we always argue. It’s because we are just reading different chapters. Not only do I read fast, but I started reading the book ahead of him. He’s still catching up, and maybe he’s taking his time. If there’s anything I have to worry about, it’s if maybe he stops reading because he’s tired. Relationships can be tiring, I know because I am tired. I’m tired because I keep nagging him to read faster.

Maybe the reason marriage and having kids has always been important to me is because I put a lot of value on family. My family is bat shit crazy on both sides. I think all families are anyway. But the ones I have are my bat shit crazy. It’s the tribe I belong in. It’s my unit. And if anyone of them does not approve of my boyfriend, tough shit because this is what I’m bringing in to the tribe and they have to accept it inasmuch as I accept whoever they bring in. And here lies the dilemma: I am not accepted in his tribe. I look at my boyfriend and I see a man who loves me but can’t hold my hand to bring me in the drum circle. There is no lack of trying on my side. I’ve reached out to unanswered calls. I’ve watched from outside the edge of his family as they buried their dead. I’ve cried for their lost and they don’t even know it. I actually have the best relationship with my boyfriend’s dad who passed away a few months ago. I still visit him on some weekends to talk to him about his son. I like to think he listens to my inane monologues comprised of worries of failing to make his son happy and promises to take care of him. And a lot of begging for him to intervene for my sake.

There is still doubt. I still hope that my boyfriend wouldn’t know the pain of thinking of the way he should have held me closer. We have a love that neither of us had written in our plans, hence the uncertainty. And it’s ok. We will be eventually be on the same page of our book. I just have to wait.

Not Looking Good

It’s not looking good for us
What made it through the flood is now covered in rust
It’s not really working like I thought
But I can’t take it back
Like something I wish I’d never bought
I’m sorry that I dragged you all this way
For no one to call us back, no one you can play with
I could plant a thousand little seeds
But I can’t see a garden, just dirt up to my knees
Say it isn’t over, no, I need a second chance
I need a second chance

Nana’s Gone

Nana passed away last night.

Well, she’s not “nana” in that sense. She used to be dad’s neighbor back in Colorado City. They literally shared a wall. But that’s not all they shared.

She was very close to my family. She introduced my dad as her brother. It’s her on going joke. “This is my brother Fred. I know, we don’t look the same, but my mother doesn’t want to talk about it.”

I didn’t get the chance to see her often. But when I do, it’s always fun. She’d tell me crazy stories of her hay days. She was an accountant like me, but a fun accountant. We had talks about finding a difference of $1.80 in our books, and knew it a transpose error somewhere, and we’d laugh knowing no one else would understand what that meant. She would show me her tattoos and I’d she her mine. I once saw her passport. It was green. A diplomat’s passport. I still haven’t figured that out but this is one of the reasons why I’ve always thought she was cool.

I know she lived a full life. She did what she wanted. She corrected any mistakes she may have done along the way. One of her final acts was getting in touch with someone she needed to make amends with. She took off and came back happy.

And now, she left us. And she left us happy.