Friday, January 26, 2007

interview

What follows is an interview I did with my very good friend Ed. Syempre hindi niya totoong pangalan. Ed is 45 years old. Gay, of course. Straight acting. As with most gays, achiever si Ed. Fashionable. Guwapo (naging artista siya for a time), despite his age. This Christmas, hindi magse-celebrate si Ed. Kahihiwalay lang kasi nila ng boyfriend niya. They were together for 15 years. Siyempre affected ako. Kasi bakla rin ako at nasa isang relasyon. Ed is now based in HK, 5 years na sila doon ng partner niya. Kaya madalas sa IM na lang kami nagkukwentuhan.

Anyway, mula nang makipaghiwalay si Ed, gabi-gabi ko na siyang ka-IM. Kino-console, pinapayuhan. Last night, bigla ko siyang tinanong kung pwedeng interbyuhin ko na lang siya at ipa-publish ko sa blog ko. What for? tanong niya. Sabi ko, wala na kasi akong maipayo sa kanya. At paikot-ikot na lang ang usapan namin. Baka magandang therapy if I assume the role of an interviewer, something good just might come out of it. Eto ang naging resulta. Ruminations on love and loss, growing old, and yes, being gay.

JL
In all the years you were together, were you ever unfaithful to your partner?

ED
Unfaithful in what way?

JL
Kunwari pa to. OK let me put it bluntly. Nakipag sex ka ba sa iba?

ED
Of course. Kahit siya.

JL
So open kayo about it?

ED
We never talked about it. Pero alam ko. Alam niya. We were together for almost 15 years, what do you expect? Besides, hindi naman tumigil ang pagmamahal ko sa kanya kahit nakikipag sex ako sa iba. And it’s not like I felt a compelling need to cheat. May certain needs lang ako na hindi na niya maibigay. And vice versa.

JL
But what’s the point of having a relationship if you’re just going to sleep with other people?

ED
Sleeping with other people was what kept our relationship going. Look, to each his own. Marami akong kaibigang babae, kasal, may mga anak na; kahit sila, at one point in their lives, nagkaroon din ng affair, hindi nalaman kahit kailan ng mga mister nila.

JL
Mandamay talaga ng iba.

ED
Ang point, babae, lalaki, o bakla, nangyayari yun.

JL
Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt lonely and alone?

ED
Maraming beses. The last two years of my relationship with Jerry (hindi totoong pangalan) were the loneliest. Lalo na noong madalas na akong kumain ng dinner mag-isa. Hindi kami ganun. We always made it a point to have our dinners together. Pero ang pinakamalungkot, noong kasama ko siyang nagdi-dinner, tapos na-realize ko na kahit magkasama kami, hindi na talaga ako masaya.

JL
Was that the moment when you realized the relationship was going nowhere?

ED
What broke my heart most was when it dawned on me that he didn’t look forward to coming home anymore. He didn’t look forward to our dinners together, our weekends at the movies. Having a relationship is about shared experiences. Oras na wala na kayong pinaghahatiang experience, mauubusan kayo ng pag-uusapan, at pag wala na kayong pinag-uusapan, that’s the death of a relationship.

JL
Tell me where you are at now, emotionally.

ED
Right now, I feel numb. Lost. Ako ang naiwan dito sa condo, lahat ng memories namin nandito, ultimo crack sa bathroom mirror reminds me of our time together. Gusto kong palitan ang mga kurtina, bumili ng bagong furniture, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to let go. It’s really, really tough.

JL
Maybe you should move out.

ED
You think so?

JL
That works for me. Pero ako yun. Do whatever gets you by.

ED
Mag drugs kaya ako?

JL
Gaga. Papangit ka pag nagdrugs ka.

ED
Saka ang tanda ko na para mag drugs. But I do tend to self-destruct so I’m just praying to God to save me from me.

JL
May joint account ba kayo?

ED
How did you know?

JL
A mistake I made with my first relationship. Most gays na nasa relasyon, may joint account ng partner nila, saving up for a future of togetherness. Ang romantic di ba? In place of a marriage contract, they open a joint account. Parang sign of commitment.

ED
It was only after our 10th anniversary that I brought it up with Jerry. And he also thought is was time na mag open na kami ng joint account. Afterall tumatanda na kami. We had to start thinking about our future.

JL
The problem with us gays, ang ideas natin ng couplehood masyadong straight. You live together. Open a joint account. Have kids. We over-romanticize the idea of having a family.

ED
Buti nga hindi kami natuloy mag-ampon. But I wouldn’t mind having kids.

JL
You think you’d be a good parent?

ED
Yes. I love kids. Ikaw?

JL
Not me. I’m too vain and self-centered to actually raise a kid. OK, last question. Saan ka mas nalulungkot? Yung nag-end ang relationship na inalagaan mo ng 15 years? O nung ma-realize mo na 45 yo ka na at mag-isa ka na naman?

ED
Puta ka. Ang sakit mo naman magtanong.

JL
Look at it this way. Hindi lahat ng bakla, mararanasan ang pinagdaanan mo. Hindi lahat, masasabing nagkaroon sila ng relasyon kung saan yung minahal nila, minahal din sila pabalik. Yung iba kailangan pang magbayad para mahalin sila. At hindi mo talaga matatawag na pagmamahal yun di ba?

ED
Siguro.

JL
Now, going back to my question…

(No response. A few minutes pass.)

JL
Hoy andiyan ka pa?

ED
Nag-iisip ako, pwede? Ewan ko. Hindi ko alam kung paano sasagutin ang tanong mo. This is what I know. Lilipas din ito. Makakalimutan ko rin siya. I will move on. But I’ll admit, I won’t be that OK. Kasi pagharap ko sa salamin, makikita ko, gurang na ako. Anong gagawin ko pag nalulungkot ako? Makikipagchat? I’ll pretend na 22 years old ako para may makipagchat sa akin? O kaya pumunta sa singles bar? Sa edad kong ito? In 5 years time, I’ll be 50. My god. 50. Gay men aren’t supposed to grow old. It’s just so… so…

(He doesn’t finish the sentense. Seconds pass.)

JL
Unfair? Sad?

ED
Unglamorous.