#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

Epilogue

Earlier today, I ended things with Six. We tried to make it work, we really, really did. There is no regret though. There should never be any regret. I loved him for a week and that is one week longer than some people have known love.

***

A few days ago, in a fit of laryngitis-induced delirium, I accidentally spoke Filipino to the cashier at A&W, while waiting for my burger. I also accidentally spoke Filipino lying in bed with a guy last week (to be fair, it was way past midnight and I was really sleepy.)

***

A week ago, I went to see a doctor for my throat. I also decided to ask him about an STI check because #EndTheStigma. He asked me what I needed it for.

“Because when I was in the Phlippines, I slept with a lot of men,” I said. After a quick pause I took it back: “Well, I mean, not a loooot.”

***

It was Thanksgiving when I got back — thankfully, so I didn’t have to work that Monday. I had to call in sick quite a few times though. Had I known, I would probably have extended my trip but, hey, we do need time to recuperate. And this was something I had to rest from.

***

Do I have regrets? To an extent. I regret not being able to go to a beach. To not get a massage. To not explore further than Bicol and Metro Manila. To not see as many friends as I could. To not go to more cultural places than I wanted.

This was the worst trip I’ve ever taken. It was horribly planned, the plane ride was insufferable, and the timing couldn’t have been worst.

That said, if I could do it all over again, I would still go on it.

***

Here I am. Back home. Back to my life.

I needed this trip. For so many reasons.

I needed closure with my grandmother, who did have a huge hand in raising me and a huge part of who I am. I needed closure with family members.

I needed to see friends. I needed to see how they’ve grown and changed over the years. I needed to feel proud of them. I needed to realize that I need people.

I needed love in my life. I needed to be assured that who I am wasn’t reduced to a race fetish. I needed to know what it felt to be a couple, to walk hand-in-hand, to kiss.

I needed to see art. I needed to be reminded that I am an artist for a reason. I needed to be reminded that Filipino art is world-class.

I needed to be Filipino. I needed to experience the hustle of Manila. I needed to feel the fear of the Duterte dictatorship. I needed to know what it is I’m fighting for.

I needed to laugh, to drink, to party, to share stories, to reveal secrets, to reminisce, to hug, to cuddle, to embrace, to cry, to be annoyed, to be delighted, to feel sad, to feel kilig, to catch up, to be safe, to love, and to be loved.

I needed to grow up. I needed to realize that my memories of the Philippines are golden and they belong to me, but that no one lives in memories. I need to march forward with everything inside me, with my friends and families and all the boys I’ve ever loved seeping through me, with the memory of my grandmother, of my mother driving me, and go forward, only forward, only forward.

 

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