Bottle Me Up #3: One

April 2012, 1am, a grotty little office cubicle

A nameless face to think I see
To sit and watch the waves with me till they’re gone
A heart I’d swear I’d recognize is
Made out of my own devices

Could I be wrong?

Sara Bareilles pretty much scored the last three years. Right now, this song has been on loop for hours.

It’s past midnight and my day is just about to wind down. I’ve been working for fourteen hours straight; this project that I’m working on is quite massive. It has taken up large chunks of my time and my sanity, like a large looming (but luminous?) cloud. At this point in time, I’m not quite sure if I welcome the work as much as I claim.

But what is there to do anyway? Over the last 20 odd months, my life has been all about work (and the occasional magazine, which is all I can afford for leisure). My working hours basically mandate that I only see friends from work. (not that I mind, I love them!) And in case I haven’t loudly explained my deal to you over the pantry, I’ve been single for a while.

Ever since I’ve been dumped by my long-time boyfriend three years ago, I have not had a single serious relationship. I put on a smug brave face and tell everyone that this is by choice, but deep down I know it is because nobody expresses that kind of interest in me at all. There would be men to talk about  and to occasionally date and make bad decisions with, but these flimsy relations fizzle out almost as soon as they start but did they even start. I am essentially a goddamn working girl cliche.

Time that I’ve taken
Pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of
One sweet love?

Ugh, Sara kills me with that line. What if I have?

I keep telling myself that this is fine. I really don’t mind being alone at 28. Carrie Bradshaw did it. Monica Geller did it. Barbara Streisand in A Mirror Has Two Faces was in her forties, for crying out loud.

This is the problem with me, I think. I expect my life to be a romantic comedy.

August 2012, 3pm, a cubicle resembling a small mountain of garbage

No ordinary wings I’ll need
The sky itself will carry me back to you
The things I dream that I can do
I’ll open up the moon for you
Just come down soon

Victoria is so ecstatic, she is basically rattling my entire cubicle.

“Just add him on Facebook, please?” She pleads excitedly, clutching her bananacue dangerously close to her chest and my eye. I swear, if she pokes me with that stick I will cut her.

When V wants something to happen, she’ll make it happen. Some guy had initiated witty banter with me on her wall a few days ago, a former colleague of hers. She was determined to make something of it.

“He’s the same guy who asked about you last year.”

“When?”

“Last year. But you said you weren’t interested because he’s tisoy.”

“You have it wrong, it’s because tisoys don’t generally date me. It’s okay, I’m not such a huge fan of them either.”

“JUST ADD HIM.”

“NO.”

“V, you do know that I’m still seeing…” I trail off sheepishly.

She rolls her eyes. “You are NOT seeing him. You just think you are. Sige na. Bigyan mo naman ng kilig ang buhay ko.” (‘Come on, give my life happiness’) Clearly, she is not letting this go.

“Fine. But I’m not initiating contact. I don’t know this person.”

V rolls her eyes again. “Kaya mo nga i-a-add.” (‘That’s why you’re adding him.’)

I press Accept Invite.

October 2012, 11pm, a hotel in Makati

Savor the sorrow to soften the pain
Sip on the southern rain, as I do
I don’t look, don’t touch, don’t do anything
But hope that there is a you

What I’m feeling is the kind of exhaustion that has numbed my entire body, leaving only my mind to feel every minute I did not spend sleeping the past 6 months. Thank God that our boss allowed us a hotel room while this production is ongoing.

It’s been weeks of 14 to 16 hour days. Going home was just the aberration to this long series of unending tasks for this project. This will be over soon, I keep reminding myself. It feels great to be part of such a large assignment. The bump on my CV wouldn’t hurt, too.

I open the small box of pancakes that Jollibee delivered. We are eternally grateful  that the branch beneath the office delivers breakfast round the clock. I cannot remember the last time I ate fast-food pancakes in daylight. This moment needs to be immortalized in a post.
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 12.59.19 AM
I settle into my oddly-timed breakfast, and then an electronic ding breaks my silence.

A comment! From the guy V told me to add.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 12.26.52 AM

I have to hand it to him, he has a way with words.

Time for some shut-eye. Call time is at 4am.

October 2012, the very next day, before midnight 

The earth that is the space between
I’d banish it from under me to get to you

The phone wakes me up from my nap. I’m on my way back to the hotel. I am beyond exhausted.

“Are you coming back to the office?!”

“I wanted to go back to the room na sana, I’m really tired. Call time is at 6am tomorrow. Why? Anything I need to do?”

“Basta just come back here. The hotel’s 5 minutes away from the office anyway.”

I groan inwardly. Please Lord, let this not be some surprise tactical campaign we have to create overnight.

V is smiling from ear to ear, sitting at her desk like the Cheshire Cat. I gracelessly sit on the floor, parking my eyebags beside her table. “Lord, tell me this isn’t something to be rushed?”

She pauses dramatically. “He wants to see you in person.”

“Who?”

“JP. The guy I asked you to add on Facebook.”

“YOU MADE ME COME BACK TO THE OFFICE FOR THIS?”

She is jumping up and down. “Oh please, oh please? I’ve never set up anyone before. And you can’t say no to a pregnant woman.” She rubs her belly for emphasis. I can’t believe my unborn godchild is being used to blackmail me.

“Fine. But only after that event in Cebu. Which reminds me, I need to check where we are on that.” V shoos me away and I sit at my desk to check my email. Out of the corner of my eye, I see V whispering to the Pancake Facebook Guy on the phone.

I can’t hear what she is saying, but she looks happy.

April 2016, A Hotel in Manila

Your unexpected love provides
My solitary’s suicide oh I wish I knew

V enters the room ceremoniously, gorgeous in white. Her son Vitto is looking quite dapper in a bowtie and suspenders. She is either shaking with excitement, or she is about to cry.

“Omigod, omigod. I can’t believe this is happening.”

“I know, V. I know.”

“The cake looks perfect, by the way.”

“It should be! The pastry chef we asked to make it is wonderful.”

Photo-584.jpg

She turns to my godson. “Doesn’t Ninang look like a bride?” He nods.

I can’t believe it. I’m a bride.

in the name of
One sweet love
One sweet love

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