R invited us (me and D) to come over about the same time last year to his place. It was Sto. Niño's feast and it was tradition that he celebrates - even though R was practically agnostic.
I never really obliged because it was faaarrrrrr. But since we were not able to meet last year for the group birthday celeb, D and I agreed to go.
We were already there before lunch to help R out on the preps. He had pancit, chicken, salad and biko (I swear he makes the best kakanin!). ME brought the cake and D brought brandy which R immediately commented as "Kulang yan, pupunta buong team" followed by the gayest "Hahahahahaha" I've heard.
Anong buong team? D asked
Si B2, nagsabing pupunta sila ng mga kasama niya. R explained.
No! This is not going to be a Fraternity X night! ME shouted.
'To naman, ang linis linis mo! R shouted back. Eh kung may gusto kayo eh di go, kung wala eh 'di wala! Hahahaha. R added
Ang lakas mong maka-bugaw noh? Hahahaha. D also laughed.
Pero hindi nga, pupunta din sila Nanay at si Kuya tapos si Aling Rosa sa kabila - it's not just us. Kala niyo sa 'kin?! Hahahahahaha. R said in his defense.
I and ME just looked at him with raised eyebrows and an "Ah uhm."
We all laughed.
It was a riot when R's family came - complete with the nieces running around, scraping their knees then back to running. And boy oh boy were they hungry. Hahahahaha.
I'm just glad there was some more barbecue after they left.
So there I was, grilling pork by the garage when B2 arrived with the "team." He opened the gate with familiarity and let himself and his friends in.
Happy fiesta po. He greeted when he saw me.
Happy fiesta sir. Said the rest.
I just smiled. Si R nasa kusina lang. May pagkain pa sa loob - kayo na bahala. ME said.
Opo. B2 said and ushered his friends inside.
Hindi siya nagbibiro nung sinabi niyang buong team. Hahahaha. D whispered when he came to me outside.
Oy, oy! May B1 ka na. San pala yun? Bakti di mo sinama? ME asked D.
Nasa probinsya pa yun. Sem's not started yet. D replied as he gave me glass of the brandy he brought.
Si R? I asked.
Yun, sa loob. Nagpapaka-mamasan. Hahahaha. D answered.
And true enough R was being the perfect host - like a wife when the husband's work colleagues come to visit their home. Or like a day care nanny. Hahahaha.
I have never really seen this side of R before. Hahaha. I commented to D.
Di ba? Lakas maka-asawa ng lola mo. Or pwede ding yaya. D read my thought.
Inggit lang kayo. It was R, out to get some barbecue from ME.
'Te, okay na ako. Quota na. Hahaha. ME said.
Weh? Talaga lang ba? Si N, tinatanong pangalan mo. Sasabihin ko ba? R was grinning.
Sinong N? D asked.
Huwag pahalata. Yung naka plain black shirt na kalbo. R described N.
Not interested. ME said.
He's looking o! D silently exclaimed.
At that time, really, ME was genuinely not interested. ME was more focused on the grilling of pork.
Ako na lang sir magtuloy niyan, kanina ka pa nagluluto eh. It was N.
Okay lang ako. Gusto kong may ginagawa. Pero salamat sa offer. ME
N went back inside.
Ayaw mo talaga? R asked.
Ayaw ang alin? ME was playing innocent.
Virgin 'te? R replied
Bakit mo ba pinipilit? Nag-down ka na ba diyan? Hahahaha. ME
Tsye! Nabanggit lang kita last time they were here. R
They're always here I bet. Hahaha. Paanong nabanggit? ME
Kasi sabi niya last time baka daw may "kagaya" ako, baka puwede ko daw bang ipakilala sa kanya. R
I just looked at R.
Alam mo na, benefactor to put it bluntly. Hindi naman pwede si D kasi may B1 na yun. Ikaw yung libre sa 'tin. Ikaw yung malungkot at walang pinagkakagastusan. Hahahahaha! R added.
I-barbecue kita gusto mo? ME threatening R with a barbecue stick.
Saka sinong may sabing malungkot ako? Okay akong mag-isa. Kaya ko. Empowered ako. ME
R just looked at ME.
At mahirap ako! Maraming gastusin! Hahahaha. ME added
I'm not your friend for nothing. I know. I see. I feel you're lonely friend. R
And kaysa you go on occasional paid sex or hook-ups, ito constant. R added like telemarketer selling me a set of knives.
Constant hanggang may nabibigay ka. ME rebutted
Eh may binibigay din naman siya. Quits kayo. R in his defense
I know you mean well. But that's you and D's thing. Isa pa, I don't know how to play this game. I'll end up losing eventually. ME
This is not about something deeper than what it is. You support him, he gives you great s*x and treat you like a girlfriend. That's it. Is love needed? No. But I tell you friend, there will be care and if you're lucky - loyalty. And with who we are now, these are all that matters. R
I gave a faint smile.
This is the only way I know how to look after you. And know that I only mean the best - based sa experience ko with B2. R said as he hugged me.
Alam ko friend. It's just that, I don't want to be the gay that boys or men treat and look at like an ATM. ME said carelessly.
Aray. Preno ka naman. R
You know what I mean - I'm okay with whatever it is so long as it's not me. ME clarified
I support B2. And B2 gives me the support that no money can buy. Hirap i-explain kaya nga nire-reto kita. Mukhang gamitan yung relasyon namin - at gamitan naman talaga pero there's something there that's just hard to explain. That something has been what kept me sane for these past years. R
Friend, I'm good. And i love you for being a bugaw for me. Hahaha. It's just not for me at this point. ME
Looking back at that day now and recounting the conversation I had with R makes me want to slap myself for not sticking with the things I said.
I'm so inconsistent that way.
But yes, everything R said was foretelling.