are you happy? are you? are you?

last saturday night, i decidedly went out for a drink and straight into the drunken arms of my alcohol-overloaded acquaintances. i wasn’t expecting a large group of twenty people or so. but i have been gone from the metro manila bar scene too long i do not have any idea who my friends-and acquaintances- are hanging out with anymore.

i was not surprised almost 3/4 of them were already sloshed; these are the men who can drink as if beer supply would be entirely gone tomorrow. they smoke like crazy, too.

they have been asking me where the hell i was the past year. i haven’t realized i was gone from that peergroup circle for far too long. but then, besides the pub-like experience with dani during the worldcup 06 season, i haven’t really been into any city bar at all. perhaps, i was too busy getting sloshed at the bars in Puerto Galera, Boracay, Bohol, and god-knows-where-else then.

as i was sipping my tequila sunrise while watching bitoy gave his rendition of eraserhead’s immortal “pare ko” song, it brought me back to the friday nights (and saturday dawns) at makati republic. it was fun; hell, it was more than fun. sure, most of the time we complained so much about work and love and life. but it was fun. looking back at it now, i do not think there was any other way we could have managed our lives (then) better.

nothing much has changed with this group. except that yves is now dating a phenomenal guy (i swear i am happy for her; i totally understand what she meant when she said to the bunch of us working people, “he’s from another world, and its not our world.” i swear i thought of david there and then.). and yes, except that marc is now working on paying the last downpayment so he and his brother and his mum can move into their new three-bedroom house and lot in Taytay, Rizal. and oh, except for the fact that deo has chosen the path of being single and decided to continue his spiritual pursuits.

hours after, seven of us left the noisy bar and transferred to a best-kept secret coffeeshop somewhere in pasong tamo. nothing much has changed; we all still like to argue. we all still ponder about work and love and life (and sex). we all still challenge each other’s view in the hope that somehow upon hearing the other’s opinion, we can find more valid sense on what it is we are actually doing and why we are doing (it) in our lives.

“tell me, are you happy?” giov asked each one of us.

“yes, i am happy.”

“i am fucking happy.”

of course i am happy.”

“i am convinced i am happy.”

“are you happy?” i forgot who asked him that now.

“i am happy. should i convince myself i am happy? i am happy.” he replied.

“of course not,” we chorused in unison.

“then why do we look like we all need convincing?” giov blurted out.

i remember what david once told me upon the aftermath of a heated argument, “i am not like you, rona. i am very simple. i am either this or that. the truth is either this or that. i do not segregate a piece of it and dissect it and put it under a microscope and psycho-analyze it. because the truth is, some things are just what some things are. there’s no mystery to uncover there.”

he’s not from my world. no, he is definitely not one of us. and that truth makes me feel better.

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