After the Life Altering Break-Up (henceforth dubbed LABU). I went through the mandatory soul-searching Activities.
I drank a lot of bad craft beer and a few good ones, a lot of whiskey, oodles of Black Label, and Double Black. I ran a 10k, tried a few new hobbies, and gave up some others.
Once, in an effort to acquire [redacted], I met up with L –, a good friend from Baguio at a nearby mall. L — played guitar very well, but also sold [redacted] on the side for extra cash. As I waited by the tiny Ferris Wheel, listened to the inane loop of children’s songs (these places always seem to have children nursery rhymes sung in little irritating voices). I thought. Hurrah! This is my life. My friend showed up next to me the way spies do in movies, materializing from the nether.
“Uy.” Followed by a friendly shove. L — was gaunt, but carried a beer belly around like a favorite kid.
“Beer tayo?” My treat, since I was buying.
Sometimes when I look back at periods in my life they come back like snapshots.
There was this one sad/happy day when I went to eat with A — at this cute little restaurant in Taft. It was raining, I think, but I don’t really remember. I don’t remember the food because I spent most of the meal with my head on the table, crying. I don’t remember why (we usually have a purpose, like a gig or an inuman) we met up, but that wasn’t really important.
A lot of the snapshots involve cab drivers. Mostly because I wasn’t driving in the city yet and Manila has snarly, horrid traffic that gets exponentially worse as the weather worsens.
I once sat through a terrific lecture from this old cab driver who happened to be probably the most devoted member of Iglesia ni Kristo. First, he tried to invite me to service. When I demurred, he said. “Iha, sa simbahan mo mahahanap true love mo.*” He proceeded to tell me about his first wife, who passed away and how he met his second wife, and how lucky he was in love.
I was really sad when I got home that day, let me tell you that.
The next week or so, I was stuck in three hour traffic with an utterly insane cab driver who told me how he caught his wife cheating.
He had been deeply suspicious of an affair between wifey and neighbor, who was also one of his closest friends. It was his birthday. They had a little celebration, which became a drinking session for the adults. In time, the number dwindled as various party goers said goodbye until only the three of them remained.
Kuya Driver feigned extreme drunkenness and told them that he was tired and needed to sleep, but that they could keep drinking if they wanted. His wife even tucked him into bed and gave him a good night kiss.
“Imaginin mo yun!”**
An hour later, he caught them in-flagrante delicto, on the sofa in the living room. The neighbor ran for his life, disappearing so fast he left his pants and shirt behind.
He then proceeded to drag his wife out of the house to beat her senseless in front of all their neighbors. So badly he knocked out most of her teeth! The guy was also their neighbor, and it turned out everybody knew about the affair except him.
During this cab ride, I was mostly quiet, except the horrified gasps that kept coming out of my mouth. I kept wishing that I hadn’t forgotten my headphones at the office or engaged this particular driver in conversation at all.
I think he noticed, because he tried to console me with: “I had her teeth fixed, don’t worry.”
* You will find your true love in a church. or more colloquially, I was mostly evil and wouldn’t find a good man in a bar, so I better like save myself by hanging around in a church.