Friday, March 12, 2004

Gel in My Hair

Missing Adinda
The first "Gel" I met was my Development Communication advisor way back in '91, in UPLB. Well, okay, I wanted him to be my advisor. He was laid back, showed little ambition (and thus none of the frantic zeal and paranoia ambition is heir to), looked as if he'd gotten living down pat and had long curly hair to boot. I'd like to think that he liked having me as a student.

I remember comforting a classmate who had just inadvertently ticked him off. She (my classmate) was a warm, laid back Indonesian gal whom I grew to like very much. When I'd caught up with her that day, she and our adviser were avoiding each other like the plague. Only, that's hard to do in a small crowded canteen, where the patrons couldn't help but see each other over their meals.

Lucky for Advisor Gel, he had company with which to distract himself. Lucky for Adinda, I happened to walk in. True to form, after hours of drinking water and talk about (her) life on the road, I'd told her that I liked her. True to form, she thought I was kidding and laughed in my face. But it was a kind, if uncertain, laugh that didn't mock... too much.(C'est la vie.)

I hear she's married to a good man now, and that's that.

Missing Hilda
The second "Gel" I crossed paths with was a big man with a big heart and a big mouth. He was a UPLB freshman in '92, well versed in the rules Battletech and 1st and 2nd Edition AD&D. He was also his batch's best dancer. Starved for company and wanting to make his mark on the world, he attached himself forthwith, like a hungry squid, to my roleplaying peer group. Initially, I couldn't stand him-- loud, lumbering and socially inept despite his dancing skills-- though he would later prove himself to be one of my closest, wisest friends.

I had just succesfully ducked Big Gel(I also call him Squiddy-- another story) and was racing toward a pre-arranged appointment with a girl named Hilda. We were to take the death bus (then known as BLTB) to Metro Manila, with a mutual friend. Somehow Hilda and I wound up in adjacent seats, tucked in our own pocket dimension for the two-and-a-half hours it would take for the death bus to traverse the distance between Los Banos and Pasay City.

True to form, after hours of lowered barriers and open talk, I hinted very subtly that I liked her-- hinted with my attention, with eyes that took in every detail of her face, ears that took in everything she said. True to form, she complained about having to fend off male admirers when she was at a stage in her life where she didn't need any. And why were all her admiring males such weirdos, Dex...?

This girl I prayed novenas to, in violation of my Catholic upbringing. I was besotted with this girl for six. long. years. And much of my self-inflicted suffering for her sake, she knew very little about. I burdened friends with her, won myself awards writing poetry for her (much of which she didn't get to read until year five). She aroused in me a fierce need to protect her even if I knew she was capable in her own right.

I remember asking her once, in '97, if I could speak with her in private. She agreed, but took a friend with her to our meeting place. Looking back, I found much prudence in what she did, what with all the date-rape incidences these days. But it shocked me that she'd even think of that happening here, on campus, in broad daylight, with clusters of people far enough not to overhear but near enough to be viable court witnesses. I guess beauty has its price.

There I told her, voice breaking, that I loved her. I didn't want to change anything between us--I didn't have a right to-- but I wanted to let her know. She had answered with a sharp intake of breath (not good!) followed by a quick "Don't say that!" (Oh the humanityyyyyyy!) There is little pain in writing about her now, though some tough-love advocates would argue that there is also little point. I mean to, though, one day. If only as an integral part of my ongoing study of myself.

Missing Honey's Laptop
The Gel of my latest acquaintance is a shy homosexual relative of my cousin's. He's very good at keeping house (my cousin's), is honest, trustworthy, very polite and considerate to guests and friends. This soft-spoken Gel is a good man. It's on his and my cousin's suffrance that I'm here, typing my writeup and blog entires.

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