24 Hours With You Made Me Reevaluate Everything

David Mao

6:25 I woke up, listening to your voice, unusually soothing for a Monday morning. I tossed and turned over my bed, and found you staring at me with those dreamy eyes, smiling like an angel before me. I’ve never seen heaven close enough until now.

7:15 I drank the coffee you’ve prepared for me while I try to stop myself from staring so hard at your unkempt hair, curls jutting out from all direction, a mess—such an irony to a life you actually have. You read the morning paper as if your life depended on it, eyebrows magnetized to the bridge of your nose. Twice you had caught me staring, and you gave me a smile so naughty I almost touched myself (again).

8:00 You got ready for work. You’re late, you’re late, you’re late; and yet you move as if you have all the time in the world. Eventually, you asked me if I have anywhere to go. I said I don’tβ€”I lied, I’m late for class. But looking at those eyes made me say that one little lie. You said you won’t go to work today, surprising me. A boisterous laugh coming from your mouth then followed.

8:47 I washed the dishes while you made the bed we slept in last night. (I learned later that it was yours.) You asked me to go to bed again, watch some TV, and eat something (verbatim: we can eat anything you want) with not a flick of malice in your eyes; it brimmed of kindness, once again surprising me.

10:15 The food we ordered finally came. We watched and watched and watched. Movies, random videos that both made us laugh so hard that light (and tears) literally spilled from our eyes, a delight for so long I’ve never felt.

12:48 You asked me if I could cook. I said no, I didn’t lie this time. You brought out two aprons, and opened up a cookbook that looked hundreds of years old. I’d teach you then, you said. I smiled faintly but on the inside it was so wide I felt like my heart would spasm and I’d be left dead on that exact moment. You prepared all the ingredients, and the equipment we need. And then we started.

12:58 Our skin had brushed a thousand times as we baked a recipe that came from your grandfather. You held my hand twenty-five times.

13:25 The cake was done. It was a real delight to actually taste something I made (or at least became a part of). I was so used to destroying things, that it surprised me that I actually can create something this good, even just a simple cake. We ate, we played and we laughed.

14:12 We slept on your bed after we had sex for the third time. Good time, nap time.

16:12 I woke up with your arms enveloping my fragile body. The way your face looked on that moment was more than enough to make me stay, but I knew that I didn’t have much time and I had to go. I had to leave, because that’s the only way to keep moving in life. Staying a little bit more could lead to attachment, and to be emotionally unstable is a no-no for what I do for a living. Also, leaving meant saving you from the same thing. All would go well, I knew that. I started to get dressed.

16:34 My eyes turned once again to look at this body before me, so vulnerable, so different from what I actually am. The best thing I did was planting a kiss on your forehead, an act I haven’t done for the last eleven years.

17:10 I reached the apartment I’ve been living in for five years now. I looked at myself in the mirror and realized what my lying had done to me. Fresh tears warmed my cheeks covered in make-up. I washed up and scolded myself for even believing that maybe this time it could change, that this time it would be different. I took a bath and readied myself for the night.

18:01 I stepped out of my apartment, and into the cold, windy night. The city could do a lot of things, mostly to people, mostly cruel enough that the easier choice for them would be to blend in with the city, and worse, live like the city. These go unnoticed to most people, not unless you really look them in the eye, where mostly tiny hints of hope still flicker under piled curtains of grief and sorrow. This is what the city had done to me. Turned me just like the way it lived—cold, bitter, running low with hope.

21:30 My show’s about to start. The first sound of an erotic song blaring from the speakers was my cue. I waited for a few more minutes, and it finally sounded. Tonight, though, my mind ran with thoughts. When I danced, I close my mind, but this time, it wouldn’t turn off. It envisioned a future that sounded impossible: an aisle waiting for me to walk on, and a man wearing the usual suit-and-tie wedding attire, waits for me as well at the end of the oddly long aisle. The man was you. I erased the imagination ruining my show. I went on; I went on, as I try to erase the in-betweens that happened today, commercials from the tragic movie which is my life. I continued to dance.

22:17 I was sitting in front of the bar counter, drinking what seemed like vodka, when a man walked up to me and asked for a private dance. He was old, but otherwise, I said yes. He paid me 250 pesos.

22:46 The man wanted to bring me home. I asked how much. Would 2000 be enough? No, I lied. He looked rich, I had to savor the moment and use it on my own advantage. At 5000, I made a deal.

23:17 We checked in a motel not far from my apartment.

23:20 I looked in the bathroom mirror as I ready myself. Your voice was in my ears. Your eyes kept popping up inside my mind. I closed my eyes and tried to think of nothing. It won’t work.

23:35 I was fucking a married man who’s dissatisfied and exhausted all his wife’s ability to make love to him, and all I could think of was you, you, you. There was nothing in my mind but you. The in-betweens. Today at your house, I was happy. And that was an emotion too rare for me, for people like us. I was genuinely happy. (He’s talking dirty and I was not listening.) I was wondering if maybe this time, a risk would be enough: that this possibility would be enough to save me from what I’ve become. I let the thought linger for a while. (He released his fluids over my naked body, as he took on this big, devilish grin.) The thought wouldn’t go away, so I let it. This time, I won’t leave. Maybe I’ll stay.

00:25 I looked at the ceiling, my naked body being crushed by a pathetic old man, asleep. I tried thinking.

00:53 I stepped out of the motel and embraced my own body as the midnight breeze landed on my bare skin. (Why did I not bring a sweater?) I went back to the bar and another man came up to me. He asked if he could take me out. He was handsome just like you. But full of malice and devoid of the emotions I was looking for. For 10 000, he took me out.

00:57 We went out into the cold night. He held my hand as he walked me to his own car. He said he’d take me to his house.

1:00 As we drove, all I could think of was this: on some other night, as cold as this, I hope it would be you taking me away from that wretched place, and hopefully, at that night, you would be taking me to a place I’ve never known my whole life, a home.

1:02 The hopes were piling up inside me, but I was not afraid. This, whatever it is, truly is something different.

1:03 This thing that’s happening within me is really, really surprising; but for once, I wish it would stay this way. TC mark

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