My “gay” circle is very small. Aside from HE, I only have two other close gay friends.
D is academically accomplished: PhD and all.
R on the other hand was not able to finish college because he got bored. He works for multiple BPOs (I don’t know how he does it).
We meet like bongga at least once a year to celebrate our birthdays. Although we were born in different years and months, we celebrate together nearing the end of the year because that’s when all our birthdays are “done.”
D was hosting this year. D is your unico hijo who’s living in the ancestral house that nobody wants (because everyone else in his family is perfect abroad with their first-world lives).
ME went there alone.
I was there ahead of R, the door was opened by a twink who showed me to the kitchen where D was.
“Ang lakas maka-PBB Teens ng scholar mo ha.” ME to D
“Hahahahahaha. Naman!” D
“Legal na ba yan?” ME
“Oo naman! Last last month he turned 19 na - so we decided for him to move in na. And yes, 19 - mahirap na.” D
“Hahaha. But WE decided?” ME asked
“He consented - ganun na din un. Hahaha!” D laughed - half convinced of his reply.
“You know how these things work…” D added
“I don’t… How do THESE things work?" ME teased looking at Bagets 1 (Yeah, there’s a Bagets 2, even maybe Bagets 3).
B1 was a scholar in his freshmen year in the University D was teaching. He was D’s student assistant as all scholars were required to put-in time for the administration and faculty.
B1’s scholarship was lost in his sophomore year as his grades didn’t quite hit the mark. He was taking on two jobs and was in-charge of his two young nieces (his Ate went abroad and left the kids to him). D took on the school fees as B1 cannot possibly keep two jobs and take care of the kids. But with B1’s insistence, he got to at least keep one part-time job.
“Nahihiya kasing humingi, gusto niya meron saying sarili.” D explained
B1’s mom was there too but has substance abuse and was living with a “partner” who shares the same “substance.” With the recent war on drugs, B1’s mom (and partner) were “necessary” casualties.
“I insisted on paying the funeral services kasi hindi naman nila kaya. Sabi ko utang muna niya.” D said
B1’s Ate finished her contract overseas, so “they” decided to move-in as the nieces had someone to take care of them.
“Sabi ko nuon, pwede naman kami na mag-alaga para maka-abroad ulit yung ate niya. Pero sabi niya, ano naman daw sasabihin niya sa ate niya kung bakit ako yung mag-aalaga.” D said with just a hint of sadness in his voice.
B1 explains to his family and friends that he is working as a “boy” in a family in one of QC’s subdivisions. That it's the "family" paying for his school.
“THESE things… These relationships. I’m the sponsor, he’s the beneficiary.” D
“So the sponsor gets to decide for everything?” ME probed
“Necessarily, anyone who controls the resource - controls the man.” D
“Or bagets in this case.” ME smiled
“Chaka mo, bakit my interrogation ako? Asan si HE, este M?” D
“M has work bukas. Gaga ka. Hahahaha!” ME
“Anong tawanan ‘to?” It was R - finally
“Ay! Ang aga mo for next year ‘te.” D
“Hindi na kayo nasanay. Hinintay ko pa ‘to eh.” R pointing to Bagets 2
“Good evening po sir.” B2
pala, kapitbahay ko. Si ME at D - mga kaibigan ko since birth.” R
ME and D both waved to B2.
“Bago?” ME asked R
“Luma. Hahahaha. Ano ba.” R flirted
“K” ME and D said in unison rolling our eyes
“Asan si HE?” R asked
“Ewan - tanungin mo siya.” ME replied
“M kasi 'te. M. Hahaha!” D replied
“Ay. I forgot. Sorry na 'te. Hahaha. Asan si M?” R
“Nag-usap ba kayong dalawa? Kakaloka. Hahaha. M has work early tomorrow - yun na, last na ha.” ME
“K” D and R also said in unison - smirking
“Bigay mo kay B2 - legal na bang uminom yan?” D giving a bottle of beer to R
“Importante ba yun? Hahaha!” R
“Ayoko ng eskandalo o pulis ‘te.” D
“Hahaha. B2 is 20.” R
“Patingin ng birth certificate.” ME said to B2
“Hehehe. 20 na po ako sir - 21 na nga po next week.” B2
“Grabe kayo sa akin. Hahaha!” R
B2 recently became a father. Pregnancy and birthing package care of R. They have known each other for over 7 years (as they were neighbours).
B2 was introduced to R by a basketball teammate and they hit it off.
“Yung teammate niya talaga yung keme ko pero nagka-girlfriend kaya ayaw niya daw muna kaya sinama niya yang si B2. Substitute niya daw. Ang cute noh - pati sa keme parang basketball pa din. Hahaha!” R
He did not finish high school as he had to work like the rest of his family. He only has basketball as refuge from all the opportunities he had lost.
“Alam niyo naman yang area ko - Slum Republic. Banat-buto, tapos inom, tapos basketball tapos repeat hanggang makabuntis. Tapos kapag one year old na yung bata - repeat cycle ulit. Hahaha!” R
B1 and B2 were in-charge of the dishes. Actually B1 was, it was a domestic set-up he and D agreed on but B2 offered his help.
All three of us were smoking outside, doning a glass of whiskey each.
“Cute niyong dalawa.” ME said
R and D looked at ME.
“Tignan niyo mga bagets niyo - sisipag. Hahahaha!” ME continued
“Tsye! Mas okay na sila - sumusunod. Hindi ko na kaya ang stress ng relationships - at least kay bagets, kapag sinabi kong hindi - hindi, kung oo - oo. Simple lang lahat.” R
“And yes, power-relation siya. And I’d like to have the upper hand.” D
“R, eh pamilyado na yan. Saka D, until when?” ME
“Its a consequence naman with any straight guy eh. Pero ako din naman lalapitan niyan kapag nangangailangan.” R
“Until he leaves me. Pero sana kahit empowered na siya on his own, he, somehow, I am hoping, he stays because he loves me din pala. Ganun! That’s at least the story in my head.” D
“Ewan ko kung matutuwa ako kasi my friends are eternally hopeless unconditional lovers or to feel bad kasi tanga niyo lang sa mga ganito.” ME
“Oi, its not all unconditional. Hahahaha! Huwag magmalinis ’te.” R to D
“Hahaha. Tsye! Its the only currency they know. I mean, di ba, how else? Pero bonus na lang naman yun - it’s the company. Its being responsible for someone.” D
“O, etong corona ‘te.” R placing an invisible crown to D’s head and D eventually holding the crown in place.
All of us were laughing - we are eternal Miss Universe fans (who isn't?).
“Eh how is this different from rent boys kung ganun?” ME
“Ay ang bastos! Hahahaha!” R
“May relasyon - hindi lang transaksyon.” D
“Pwedeng motivational quote yan tapos si DJ Durano yung background!” R
We all laughed in unison again.
“So it’s really control and power ganun.” ME
“Yes, for me.” D
“Ako, mukhang ako yung kinokontrol at yung ginagamitan ng power. Hahahaha. Ma-bola eh, basketball player kasi. Nadadala naman ako.” R
“Just, take care of yourselves, you know how these things end. Yan lang sa akin - be cautious.” ME
We all cheered to that.
At the distance, B1 and B2 were now singing THAT Gary V. song:
Kung wala ka ng maintindihan
Kung wala ka ng makapitan
Kapit ka sa akin kapit ka sa akin
Hindi kita bibitawan
Charot ko lang yung song. But they were really singing.
I won't be the judge of my friends.
So here’s to whoever you decide to love!