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white roses

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“Next station, Katipunan Station.”


I know it’s crazy.


“Thank you for boarding the LRT.”


I know it’s stupid.


“Wishing you a safe and convenient journey.”


But, at every train stop, I still wait for you.


The train begins to move, and I hold on to the handrails.


I still wait for you, Andrew.


I stare at my reflection on the train door.


You were the best thing that ever happened to me, and forever will remain.


The scar on my nose is still fresh.


I remember every single memory, every single moment.


I remember that time we danced to your favorite record in the dim shade of your porch light. You played Now and Forever , and I could not , for the life of me, fathom just how lucky I was to have you. You spun me around and kissed me lightly. Your tender lips rested upon mine as we listened to the old vinyl spinning on the phonograph. I remember teasing you for having a phonograph on your porch, too, “That was dad’s idea, I could never get him to agree to place it inside.”


I remember running to the santan bushes around your front yard and hiding when your dad would suddenly open the front door. I remember you explaining to him how you just love listening to the phonograph in the middle of the night. I remember you going inside through your front door, without as much as a goodbye , without as much as a glance.


I remember that one movie date, when we watched Call Me By Your Name together. You bought me sour cream & onion fries, even though you hated the way it smelled. You remembered how much I love Mountain Dew, so you bought me that, too. I remember walking through the cinema door, 20 minutes late, whining how we missed so much of the plot, and you whispering in my ear how we ‘won’t be watching much of the movie, anyway’ , and me giggling like a little girl. I remember telling you we were seated 2 rows behind some of your old high school buddies, and you saying, “Shh, we’re in the movies, you really need to be quiet, babe.”


I remember you calling me your ‘cousin’ in front of your friends, telling me to ‘wait in the car, I’ll drive you home to Tía Grace’s, let me just catch up with my bros’ . I remember being speechless, but muttering a shy ‘yes, kuya ’, anyway. I remember the tears falling down my cheeks, making their way to my shirt as I walked as fast as I could to your car. I remember you getting in the car minutes later, without as much as an apology, without as much as an explanation, an acceptable reason.


I remember the night you told me you were tired. I thought you meant you wanted that day to end, but it turned out you wanted you to end. You told me how your parents went on a trip, and you were holding a bottle of out-of-date prescription pills, with a bottle of vodka on the bedside table. I remember you telling me you were ‘tired, so so so tired.’ , and that ‘one swallow is all it will take to end the pain’ . I remember panicking, running to my car in the garage, fumbling with the keys, tears in my eyes, with your voice on loudspeaker. I remember reassuring you ‘it will all be okay’ , because i was ‘on my way’ . I remember running through three red lights, almost getting my ass arrested. But, I kept thinking  ‘it’s fine’ . ‘It’s worth it’ . Because it was for you .


I remember coming to your house, sprinting through your front door, only to be greeted by your dad. I remember the first punch he lands on my nose, shouting how i managed to ‘turn his son gay’ , how i was ‘a disgrace to society’ , and how i ‘belong in hell together with all the other unpure and sinful souls’ . I remember the first few punches, but i don’t remember how he beat me senseless. I saw a glimpse of you on the staircase with bloodshot eyes and lips that were raw.


I remember thinking how that was the first time I saw you crying.


I also remember thinking you weren’t crying for me. Not at all. You knew Tío Mario was going to beat you up if he knew. So you made a whole story up. How I turned you gay. How I forced you into dates. How I made you suck my dick. How it was all my fault, and you had no choice.


But, Andrew, we both know that none of that was ever true.


“Attention all passengers, this train is approaching Katipunan Station. Please be mindful of your belongings.”


At least I do.


“Arriving at Katipunan Station.” 


Because I remember.


The train comes to a stop.


And yes, I know it’s crazy.


The doors open.


I know it’s stupid.


You walk through the door, a visible scar on your left eye.


But, at every train stop, I still wait for you.


You were looking at me.


I still wait for you, Andrew.


I was looking at you.


You were the best thing that ever happened to me, and forever will remain.


We were holding glances.


I remember every single memory, every single moment.


But we were tongue-tied.