Tuesday, August 05, 2003

*Might be up for a re-edit...*

Thursday, 31 July, 2003:

After getting the stuff he needed from his house, Marcelle took a taxi to get to U.P. He decided to meet up with Maia again, seeing how he really felt he needed someone to talk to. Marcelle got there, and they were talking about how things were going. Marcelle was showing off the title belt he borrowed for his graduation picture, and it was a fun time for him. Maia was very much fine at this point, and it certainly seems as though it’s simply over already. She’s been feeling all the hurt and anger, yet she refused to acknowledge it. Marcelle feels that she is ready to move on, but it would be a good idea to have closure. Definitive closure.

Nonetheless, Marcelle was rather melodramatic regarding his last post. He knew he didn’t exactly say the nicest things there, but he had to put it that way, lest he keep it all bottled up within him. Marcelle certainly felt like he was about to explode with the curious mixture of pain and worry that enveloped him, but much as he wanted to just break down and cry already, he just couldn’t. He was doomed to hold it all back within him, and Maia was just there, looking at him with pity, knowing how much pain he is bearing and knowing how hard he wishes that he could actually do something about it. Alack and alas, this was not meant to be, even though Marcelle sincerely wanted to give himself a chance to unleash all the hurt he was feeling over the past few weeks from more than one front…

Marcelle has rarely bothered to shed tears over anything since his perspectives changed. He simply didn’t find the need of going all emotional on things that were actually trivial, and he realized that it was mostly a waste of energy to just let himself go with people whom he shouldn’t actually even trust… and in spite of D.T.A., Marcelle can say that Maia is a person who truly can be a shoulder to cry on… a great friend.

For what it’s worth, though Maia and Marcelle may not be the best of friends, it’s a comfort to know that one will always be there for the other, and one will always care for the other. That’s certainly one of the best things Marcelle has heard in months, and he can’t help but smile and appreciate it.

Friday, 01 August, 2003:

It was simply amazing. Marcelle was all packed and ready to go to Olongapo for his immersion, and he was completely underslept, having hit the sack at around twelve midnight the previous night. He had hoped that his last post on his LJ and weblog would help him go to Olongapo with a clear head, not a thought about his problem back in Manila, a problem that in spite of all his ruminations, still led him to merely sit on the fence. Anyways, he made it there with time to spare. It was pretty much amusing, actually… here were mostly a bunch of people whom he was meeting only for the second time in his life, and they all had no choice but to go and bond with one another, simply because three days of their lives will be spent in one another’s company. Of course, Marcelle didn’t put much stock in that, but he was an instant hit among the people there for taking a page out of Mac’s book, what with the Arabian pimp routine…

The bus ride to Olongapo was fairly uneventful in that since people didn’t really know one another at the time, interaction among each of them was limited to their immediate seatmates and actual friends/acquaintances. Marcelle got to know Ayessa, Jonel, and Erikka right off the bat, and Ayessa seemed to be a fairly nice person: intelligent, cute, and rather strong-willed. Jonel was actually a bit quiet at first, and Erikka was quiet, but she was also nice. She had that quite winsome smile that can only be described as… charismatic.

Without a doubt, getting to the Buklod center was a bit of an adjustment for them. While there wasn’t as much of a need to rough it in the center as there would’ve been in most of the other areas for immersion, there was certainly no question at all that the place certainly was an uprooting from most of the students’ respective comfort zones. Sleeping space was going to be quite an issue, what with over 20 people in the place, which was fairly small to begin with. Expectations were communicated, and Marcelle admitted that he got into that area with Elbert and the rest of their group by pure chance. After an orientation, and a bit of downtime which was used to get to know each other a bit better, the agenda then became the time for everyone to get ready for a gender-sensitivity lecture and bar-hopping. When ma’am Jean was talking there, Marcelle realized how marginalized either sex can be in different sectors of life, such as how people actually blame women for their being raped, which Marcelle believes is so ludicrous.

All throughout the trip to go bar-hopping; on the other hand, Marcelle and Elbert were taking turns initiating songs in the jeepney that everyone would sing along to. Some songs were “Stay”, “Huling El Bimbo, and “Harana”. Everyone was having fun, and at the first stop, everyone was divided into two. Marcelle went with what was mostly Ayessa’s group. The first bar was rather tame. In fact, it was only about people singing in the bar, and nothing more. There wasn’t anyone dancing, nor were there any hints of prostitution in the particular locale. What followed was meant to be embedded in their minds for the rest of their lives…

Marcelle’s particular group went to a bar called Pepe Kaka, while the other group, composed chiefly of Kat’s (A bunch of MECO people.) group, went to Chiquitita. This time around, there were dancers in the bar who went all the way. They were doing splits and rolls and all sorts of things there, and all of them were clearly drugged, most likely with shabu. They probably couldn’t have done the things they were doing had they been sober. It was a complete turnaround, as even if there was a really attractive Oriental-looking girl in the bar, it did absolutely nothing for Marcelle. How do you expect Marcelle to so much as be enjoying the show? He simply wasn’t twisted enough to take pleasure in what he was seeing, and it made him realize that he wasn’t as diabolical as he thought he truly was, when there is no clear reason to be. Marcelle downed only a single San Mig Light, so he was far from drunk, while Carlo Reyes was already on the way to that in the other group. Erikka was paired up with Marcelle, so he took it upon himself to simply try and protect her from all those guys trying to make passes at her, and for a person Marcelle has only gotten to actually know that day, he felt pretty worried on her behalf. Marcelle could only imagine how Erikka’s boyfriend was feeling… pretty soon, a fag walked behind Marcelle, and Erikka immediately got to return the favor to Marcelle… heh. Funny…

Nonetheless, after that, everyone went home and just talked a bit more, and Marcelle had to sleep on a table, which was going to be his makeshift bed for his entire stay there. Little did Marcelle know that instead of leaving behind some skeletons in his closet, they were in his travel bag all this time…

Saturday, 02 August, 2003:

This was a really busy day, come to think of it. After waking up, everyone got ready to visit people who worked in the bar, possibly one of them from last night’s bar-hopping session, though that didn’t happen to Marcelle’s group in particular. The story Marcelle heard was certainly very eye-opening, and even if their subject didn’t dance in any clubs but merely worked for them as a cashier, she sure knew what was happening, and she was a genuine person who had very reasonable grievances regarding the government’s shortcomings. After the interview, everyone got back and rested for a while, and enjoyed a round of Videoke. This singing business never got old with a good deal of the immersionists…

Afterwards, the Buklod staff shared how they got into the organization. There was no question about it: most of them were former bar women who really wanted to try and break the cycle. There was no need to doubt that few, if any, of the bar women in Olongapo would’ve been there if there was a better-paying or more respectable choice available to them.

The stories were pretty funny, but Nanay Smith and Ate Zeny took the cake. The former was talking about how great she was during her heyday, and even gladly demonstrated her techniques. This was disorienting, because she looked like the religious type who would go pray in church on a daily basis. The latter, on the other hand, was rambling on about her experiences while she was already tipsy. She didn’t hesitate to cuss or anything of the sort during her story, and it certainly proved to be very entertaining, all the same.

Not long afterwards, the solidarity night came along. There were three performances: Marcelle’s group performed “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, Kat’s group performed a version of “You’ve Got A Friend” with rather different lyrics, and Ayessa’s group performed a bunch of skits that used “Mickey” as transition music. Mickey, it must be said, was the transition music in the bar last night, and other songs of interest were J Lo’s “All I Have”, Nina’s “Jealous”, Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn To You”, and of course, the immortal bar song, Prince’s “Purple Rain”.

After the performances, there was a lot of drinking and dancing going around, the former of which Marcelle SPARINGLY participated in. Sex Bomb songs were being played, among other tracks, but Marcelle particularly decided to go and dance only to the Ketchup Song… he was beginning to be alone again, and someone in the group was already a bit tipsy, though it must be said he was earlier proving just how much he loves kids and how much kids love him… he was interacting really well with one of the kids that night, and it was very heartwarming to see all that. Of course, the kid ended up crying when it was time to go, but nonetheless…

People then started spilling secrets. Carlo, the one who got really really drunk had a severe problem that he didn’t know how to deal with, Ayessa and I were mildly debating on whether or not casual prostitutes, or those who go into such a business just because they want to (Read: They’re REALLY rich.), were actually ever justifiable. At the same time, people were happily getting drunk, while Marcelle received a text message from Grace, who was at birthday girl madame Fire’s party in madame Sky’s and Ichi’s house. The message essentially contained a friend’s unfavourable reaction to Marcelle’s last post, and of course, Marcelle went ahead and tried to troubleshoot it. Instead, Marcelle was really worse off than when he started. Elbert was no help (Perfectly understandable, though.), which essentially meant Marcelle had nobody he could possibly confide to. It looked like Marcelle’s purpose of leaving any baggage behind ended up following him all the same. He was already feeling really bad. Elbert was talking about someone he and Marcelle knew, and he was talking about the contempt this person had for Marcelle, deeming him pathetic for reasons back in the day. Worse, it’s not like she was alone in that notion, and that really ticked Marcelle off. Had they been thinking that, it would’ve been better if they either said it to his face, or better yet, simply never bothered paying any attention to him.

There was one person beyond Elbert whom he was about ready to confide in, but instead, he had to hold himself back because the guy started talking about how everyone breaks up, and he twice undermined Marcelle’s relationship with Grace, thinking it won’t last, and it so disturbed Marcelle he had to really go ahead and simply talk to Grace. Sigh. She was so wonderful. The guy would be freaking annoying to wonder why Marcelle didn’t appreciate any of his advice. Anyways, Marcelle was pretty much telling them how he felt everyone was so equal when they were all, regardless of any differences in race, class, or whatever, singing the same songs on the videoke. But that was way earlier on.

At this point, Marcelle was already frustrated, and he ended up snapping at Ayessa for her idea of a linear, determined world, citing that “There goes freedom”. Marcelle then gets a retort from her of how she knows how to strike a balance, and that Marcelle wasn’t part of the conversation. Marcelle profusely apologizes, Elbert tells him that he’s letting himself get way too affected by what’s happening, and Marcelle storms off in a raincoat, standing under the rain, letting the pain go. Or so he thought. It didn’t feel liberating at all… prolly because he didn’t really have anyone he can actually trust beside him at the time. At the same time, Marcelle could hear the back talk and discern that they felt sorry for Marcelle because he was all alone under the rain, but it’s his fault because he didn’t want to open up. Open up to them? They were the ones who wanted to burst Marcelle’s bubble and say that he was bound to break up with Grace. Fact is, Marcelle hoped that he wouldn’t need YET ANOTHER REMINDER that he was such a loner. He didn’t feel so ecstatic either about hearing a certain user-friendly person one of the people in the immersion knows of either…

Sunday, 03 August, 2003:

Finally, it was time for everyone to go back to Manila. This was preceded by a synthesis of everything that transpired, and between Elbert’s hilarious illustrations, and Marcelle’s (hopefully) witty commentary, Marcelle as the reporter for the group turned out pretty well. He acknowledged Ayesssa’s point that maybe casual prostitutes can be justified, plus the SFG thing for students, and clear movie examples of other forms of violence. The single teenage mom was a bit sensitive because Erikka is actually a single mom, but it seems she’s really mature enough to take it all in stride. Other reports were also entertaining, nonetheless.

On sharing everyone’s final feelings about the whole immersion, Marcelle had to agree with Ayessa’s point that there is no room for “what if’s” (Even after contradicting her the night before AND even though Marcelle is really fond of what if’s…) because just like in the Matrix Reloaded (That elicited a lot of laughs… heh.), the issue wasn’t really what choice one would make, because one already made his or her choices a long time before. What mattered was understanding WHY one made such a choice. Maybe going there wasn’t pure chance, after all.

Marcelle felt feverish already. Carlo went with him to U.P., since Carlo was on his way to Katipunan, and Marcelle passed by Maia’s dorm, where she was nowhere to be found. Afterwards, having gotten home proved to only open up a lot of troubleshooting Marcelle had to do. Marcelle had to show his emotions to someone. Someone betrayed him and robbed him of the chance of explaining things on HIS TIME. When he was ready to do a schizo routine of interjecting affirmations in between saying what’s going wrong with all of this. Marcelle had to go all emotional again because he was carrying such a burden upon his chest all this time, and again, it hurt so much because it was happening not in the presence of someone he can trust. It was really painful, and Marcelle had to talk with Grace, who, in spite of being argumentative, at least put things in perspective. Marcelle felt guilty about putting himself down so much, knowing how someone was bound to really be affected by it, but that’s how he felt. He was downright lethargic already.

Marcelle just wanted to really let go already. This was underlined by the fact that he was really acting rather differently towards someone. It wasn’t easy, mind you. Marcelle takes no pleasure in any of that happening. Still, all of this reminded Marcelle of how Abby once got herself involved in a fight she shouldn’t have gotten herself involved in, and how she emotionally blackmailed Marcelle to resolve it lest she never speak to him again. Marcelle was hurt. He even ended up recalling the pain when she (different one…) actually went and toyed with his emotions. It was very painful. And it wasn’t right. It was as though his feelings were being manipulated and it was simply unfair.

Monday, 4 August 2003:

Chris wanted to go and meet up with Marcelle today, because she wanted to try and resolve things with him. Marcelle was catching up on things said on his weblog and LJ over the weekend, and what got to him was how people were jumping the gun before he had the chance to speak his mind in the flesh. He was drained, and it was simply unfair to him. She was there, and Marcelle couldn’t help but feel that he was being such a lousy, even diabolical friend to them lately, as she ended up asking him if he even wanted to be friends with her, and why he was shutting people who care out of his life. She was telling him how much he loved him as a friend, and while Marcelle believes every word of it, he felt so hurt that he still had to be cold to her to some extent, lest he break down again, and he didn’t need that at all.

Was it so mean? Maybe. But Marcelle didn’t mean to be cruel to her, and all the time, he felt so bad about it. His only way to feel better about all of this was for him to put himself down all the time, especially now that his very sincerity has been questioned, when had he been given the time that he needed, he would’ve been able to work this out. In fact, if this weren’t made into such a fiasco, it wouldn’t have been a problem at all. Nobody had to react before there was any need to react. Marcelle had no idea how to work things out. Chris and Marcelle can talk things out all they want, but until the one concrened comes around, then there is no resolving this at all.

Marcelle then had his photo shoot, and it went along fine. His quizzes were fine. He had a good conversation with Mr. Bulaong, and it seems that they still manage to talk to each other quite well, even if they’re not really meeting one another often. Sach was amused with the title belt on Marcelle’s shoulder (For the photo shoot, that is.), and so were a lot of other people.

So many more things to do beyond that stuff, actually. It can only be hoped that things fall into place tomorrow. Nonetheless, Marcelle then spoke to Grace, who was extremely supportive of him, though she felt bad about what happened. She also felt bad with someone…

Marcelle then called Chris to talk to her about all of this. There is one ironic reversal that Marcelle never saw coming…

…The moment he let go, was the moment he realized that it was worth holding on to.

Doesn’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone? Marcelle would like to think that in spite of all the pain he has caused upon others and himself, people would just look and read between the lines and realize that Marcelle never wanted to lose a friend.

How ironic. But how… humbling.

And now, Marcelle leaves himself vulnerable. Because this is worth the wager, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

No comments: