Day 8: denmark bids goodbye


3:22 PM


I woke up today and found my face peeling off.  I thought to myself, the prelude of winter, and then grabbed my Celeteque moisturizer and daubed it nicely around my coarse face and almost considered eating it too.  I can’t get through the day looking like a week-old baby snake. Well, it is understandable.  The winter gust can dry up the skin.

Then I went to the scale.  Lost 2 kilos in one week.  My rash Burger King and jasmine rice regime worked.  Yahooooo.

Pulling one of my black shirts, I head off to work feeling well slept (I slept 4 AM) and cheery until one repulsive-looking girl told me, “Sir Jon, your face is . . . melting!”  I could’ve strangled her right there and almost told her to consider plastic surgery and change her entire face, but I smiled back and said, ” The prelude of winter, girl”

Just as I was on the phone I found myself scratching my head and before I knew it, I was fishing out flakes of dandruff from my forest of hair and I turned my black shirt into a black dalmatian.  The f*cking prelude of winter indeed !!!

My green tea was bad today but I drank four cups throughout the day, knowing that dandruff is a whiff away and my face can run down to my chest for all I care.  I am happy.

The prelude of winter.

5:35 PM

Arrived home.  I went straight to the terrace (my favorite place in the house these days) and thought about my friend Denmark, who passed away last Thursday at 4 AM, in the Philippines, from prostate cancer that ruptured his kidney.  I found out about this death this afternoon. He has been struggling with the disease for the past four months.

Yes, the universe prepared me the whole day to be psychologically self-assured to welcome this desolation in the evening.

I couldn’t cry because it hasn’t sunk in.  Yet.

I couldn’t do anything else.  I can’t think of anything else to do, so, I took my phone cam and took a shot of my view from the terrace.  I wanted to tell Denmark that this is what I am looking at right now and I wish I could share it with you.  But I can’t. The last time we spoke, last month, he was telling me the throbbing pain of peeing.  He even told me that if that was going to be the last conversation we will ever have, I have to remember that he was happy that I placed that call and that he was ever grateful that he found a friend in me.  Amid my optimism of thought during that night, he was, by all means, right.  That became our last conversation.  I cried to my friend Catherine that night feeling sorry for Den.

It is funny I can’t cry now.  I am even writing mechanically here, cerebral and emotionally plausible.

I called my friend Issabel and I told her about the news.  Amid my cluster of words telling her about Den’s last call, his operation, his friend Mico running after everybody to declare the sad news . . . I began telling her that when a friend dies, you end up crying in bars, discoteques and anywhere where there is alcohol, preferably tequila.  Death is so momentary, I said, but the aftermath can be venomous because the death of a friend is like the death of laughter.  It will always come down to a point when you need to ask your friend who passed;  Where did all the laughter go?

Denmark and I have only been friends for one year but it was all fun.  He was a very serious guy, a good Moslem and I will never forget our discourses on Islam – that was archetypal in all sense as we squabbled through it most of the time.

I lost Gracie last April and now, Denmark.  Two friends in one year.  I want to pause for today and simply be with them in mourning.  I love you Gracie.  I love you Den.  Be happy and keep laughing wherever you are.

G O D,

Bless his fire, in a satellite I pronounced dormant all this time

where I light using my own matches.

My fingers quivering as

I light them one by one, each flame repairing one bad day

To the next.

I ride the elevator today,

on my way to work,  to meet

The afternoon, my index finger creating galaxies all over

My face while I light my godly matches to summon him . . .

In the name of the Father,

to Beg for an unborn baby to speak to me – for sweetness

To cover my sleeve against bowed hate – to tell Him

That he deserved a life.  That my friend had to leave me be, even after his deep tongue kiss,

That my heart is filled with lies that are born out of dissatisfaction,

That I might die not making my mother proud of me and denials

That will make me realize that I really do not know myself.


This is for Denmark Vargas, 1986 – 2009.


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