Ernica de Guzman's web floordrobe
Queen, courtesan, and patron of the arts
So I didn’t like him at first.
The first time I saw him at the art fair, I thought, “Hey, Nicai, you up for one last mistake?”
Sure, I told myself.
"Another artist, eh?"
Oh babe, we know how those end.
So later that night I asked our common friend for his number and it came months later. I was at a conference at that time in which I was in a team with another common friend. Found this out by coincidence when I was searching him on Facebook. She told me about him, his ex, his past.
"He’s good-looking but insane," said this common friend.
"Should I be worried?" I asked.
"No. He’s nice. Go ahead and date him," she urged.
After the conference, I texted him. I introduced myself and when I didn’t get a reply right away, I thought, Oh well that’s it.
The reply came hours later. He told me he was on the night shift. We haven’t stopped talking since.
At first I didn’t like him. He was clingy. He was over-sharing. He was sending me kissing emoticons even if we weren’t that close yet. He was telling me violent bits from his problematic past and it scared me. The first time I went to his apartment, where he lives by himself, I was expecting to see mangled corpses strewn on the floor or possibly hidden in a locked room.
He was eager. He brought me lunch he cooked himself and never failed to see me at least once a day. I found eager weird. I never met an eager boy in my life. It was different and he was different.
I thought I misheard him during some of the times he said goodbye. Did I hear him say “I love you?”
Then one night I texted him that I dreamt that he cheated on me. He gave me a call right away. He was drunk. Apparently he was out drinking with friends. He told me that he would never do that and that he loves me.
"You know that already, right?"
"Yes, I do."
I slept again and forgot about it. Just several days later we had a fight because I thought he still had a thing with his ex.
"I’m not really verbal about it so I just show it through my actions… but I love you. Just you."
Give him a chance, a part of me said.
He was cute, had a nice body (really nice shoulders and arms) he had an appeal but not as good-looking as A.
Give him a chance. He really likes you. He’s nice and maybe you deserve nice, for once.
So I did. He wanted to be exclusive and I agreed. I told him that I loved him too.
At first I was just faking it. I think I started to really like him when he told me he was a cheater — that he had so many girls and he hurt all of them, one way or the other. Weird, I know. But I think that time I was searching for something familiar and I thought his behavior was familiar.
Aha, this has an end… And he’s not really nice! This is turning out exactly how I predicted it.
So I felt safe in that familiar ground.
And of course, the sex was amazing. At least on the first night it was. Or maybe I haven’t gotten properly laid for months which is why I thought it was amazing. It was the dirtiest, most brutal sex I’ve ever had but I liked it. And he can give oral like… Okay I should stop here with the descriptions.
Though he did pass the entrance exam to an Ivy and even managed to pass the hardest law aptitude exam in the country, he’s taking calls for a business process outsource company because he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do with his life.
He wanted to be an action star. He wanted to take up masters in Philosophy. He wanted to be a teacher. He wanted to be a professional musician. He wanted to cook and have his own restaurant. He wanted to be a detective. He wanted to travel the world. He wanted to write. And like me, he wanted his own mafia.
He told me that we should visit his family in the province so he can introduce me to his folks. He told me a lot of stories about his family and the life of a farmer. I found it fascinating. It was like he was from another world or another era. I spent my childhood smiling in front of the camera and patronizing cable. He spent his growing vegetables and swimming in the lake.
I met his cousin who sporadically spends his nights at his place and his aunt who lives nearby. She dropped in unannounced when we were having dinner.
"So what are you? Are you his girlfriend?" she asked.
He hasn’t really formally asked me and I told him my disgust for labels so I nervously told her that I was just a friend.
I was actually hoping he’d told her I was his girlfriend. I think it started there. I wasn’t as happy anymore and I started to doubt. He swore he wasn’t cheating. I believed him. He had depressing posts on his Facebook account. When I asked him about them, he dismissed it and told me that I should know by now he was depressed.
Sometimes he told me he thought of killing himself. He told me he has nightmares. He wanted me to start living with him so bad because he wanted someone to hold him at night.
"I can’t," I told him. "I’m still on suicide watch myself."
He said his parents don’t know about his situation and how everything he experienced has fucked him up — like how they weren’t able to give him a grand seventh birthday party because his brother had a brain surgery, or when he wasn’t able to go to the Ivy League school of his choice because they were left with almost nothing after a road accident that involved his father, or how he was forced into some sort of private army and was forced to do things he never wanted to do.
I told him to pray. He said he’d try.
One time when we had a fight he said he doesn’t want me to let me go because I have a good influence on him and that I make him want to be better. At some point, he said he wanted to give up smoking and swearing.
I also told him about my life — about growing up in a broken home and working early to escape everything and also provide for myself. I told him about the two boys and Elizabeth and how I still wake up screaming in the middle of the night after dreaming of blood loss.
I think he grew paranoid after I told him about the boys and how I lived my life before — with many endless nights and Godless mornings. He was cheated on by a long-term girlfriend and his friends said he was still damaged from it.
"You’re going to leave me for someone more good-looking, aren’t you?" he asked during the later days.
"Are you contented with just me?"
"Do you really love me?"
The questions grew frequent. I tried to assure him as best as I could. The truth was, I’ve gotten over A because of the love and attention he showed me. I thought, hey a guy could treat me nice like this so I shouldn’t settle with someone who drops by only when he wants to.
Sometimes he told me stories about his exes so I thought it was okay to tell anecdotes about some exes, too.
And then one night, after a karaoke session with friends, he texted that he was going to tell me something important. We were supposed to meet the next day. I went to his house as scheduled, had sex, watched a film, and talked.
"What was it you were going to tell me?" I asked.
"Nothing. I was just messing with you," he said.
Then we had dinner and something came up and I ended up telling him the story about the carpet burns. He zoned out. He got his cigarette and smoked outside for a while.
When he sat down, he told me he was going crazy again.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, the last time this happened, I went away. I disappeared. I let go of everything, of everyone," he said.
I felt my chest tighten and my stomach drop. My hands began to shake.
"I wanted to let you know that the next time it happens, don’t wait for me. When I go away this time, I won’t be coming back."
I managed to control the shaking of my hands but my lips were now quivering. My vision blurred from tears. I tried very hard not to cry, not in front of him.
Then he told me of the the time he blacked out during one of his days in the pseudo private army where he belonged.
"I think I have a split personality," he said.
Then his tone changed abruptly. He was cheerful again and he told me of the time he was caught in a cross fire in the jungle and managed to survive.
"Hey why aren’t you talking?" He noticed my silence.
"I’m eating," I said.
"But you talk when you’re eating."
When he was in the bathroom to take his evening shower, I gathered my stuff — all the books I lent him, save for two which I couldn’t find. My slippers, clothes I still had with him, everything.
When he came out I told him I was going.
He wanted to drop me off but I said I can go alone.
"What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking to me?"
I told him I just needed to go. He insisted that he sees me off, at least but I told him I could manage on my own.
He got pissed. “Okay whatever you say.”
When I got home I asked if I can call. He said we should just text because he was watching a TV series. So I texted him.
I told him that I couldn’t handle being left again.
He replied that I shouldn’t think too much.
I told him that I couldn’t ignore his threat about going away.
He said it had nothing to do with me but his demons and ghosts are catching up with him.
I asked him to go to church with me.
He said he didn’t want to. He said he was beyond salvation.
I said I thought he was serious with me.
He said I was okay.
I said that he should still consider going to church.
Then he said he was not feeling well and that he should rest now.
That was the last message I ever got from him.
I tried calling him. I texted him. I messaged him on Facebook. I was supposed to go to his place but I caught fever. I talked to our common friend. I told him his threat was a call for help because the last time I made a threat like that, I just wanted someone to help me. She said I may be right and should assure him that I’ll always be around. He wasn’t answering his phone so I just sent him messages. I told him that like me, he can fight his past without escaping it. I told him that his family and friends love him and that he can always get help.
I was worried. I was crying for the whole day. A part of me is also sad that it’s over. It was nice. A boy was nice to me. It felt nice being in a relationship again, to be loved and cared for. It was nice not playing games. It was nice hearing “I love you,” and “I miss you.” It was nice having a default going-out buddy. It was nice getting frequently laid again. It was nice having someone to talk to and the feeling of coming home to someone.
This time, I told my friends and my mom. They were helpful and the stuff I learned to chant in rehab worked.
I still don’t know his whereabouts. Whatever he may be doing is his responsibility and not mine. If whatever we had was over, then I should learn to accept it. It was doomed from the start. I knew it was going to end. I wanted one last mistake and I had it.
He still isn’t replying but I sent him one last message:
Love, please don’t harm yourself, ok? Even if you asked me not to, I’ll be waiting for you. If not as your partner, then maybe as your friend. I love you. Take care of yourself.
So the exiled queen saw that the leakage in the damn and ordered the royal guards to cover it up.
"Build a bigger, stronger fence around the damn, goddamnit!"
She was fuming. “I don’t care if you empty the treasury.”
And the poor farmer boy who punched the hole in the damn was also punished — tortured and kept in captivity until he served his sentence.
I liken my feelings to this big fucking dam that’s been covered completely and sealed tight shut. Every now and then, there are ripples on the surface of the water and rain hits the cover. That’s basically my range of emotions. You’re the sole trigger to the deluge… The only one capable of making the big fucking dam burst.
But now, someone punctured a hole in the same, stupid dam.
He dresses like you, fucks like you… Heck, he even sounds like you.