Day 50: along came paolo, along came an end


1.  If you have known a person for quite some time not knowing that this person would blast into your life at a given time, then that replicates magic in luxuriant colors.  Colors that scatter like light in and across your waking hours and colors that brings you to sleep at night.  An interlacing of yellows and greens that brings forth the food of the gods and combines both philosophy and peacefulness to two people who are both hungry to explore a little bit more.  And give in to risk a little bit more.

2.  My good friend from Australia, Joon Tacio, my guru, gave me a color and numerology reading and this is what he had to say:

” You asked if you are a celestial being? You don’t need colors to point you in that direction. Let your numbers answer that question for you. It is actually staring you in the face. Your destiny number 3 is a triad, a trinity. Your birth date, as I pointed out earlier, is 1/10/73 = 1/1/1, “1” is the only number contained in all numbers, the origin of all things, the diety in monotheistic faiths. This means you are a god!  No wonder, you live in a house with number “1” , literally!

Looking at your numbers and colors, you have the makings of being self-centered or self absorbed. You may not be able to put this under full control. You will try, but lurking inside you is that gnawing feeling that shouts for attention almost for your own destruction. It is this same ‘attention-seeking’ trait that will drive away the people you long to be with. So, watch out for this in your ‘love’ relationships. Now that you know, be aware.

The good thing is you have the color yellow.

Yellow is like a magnet for people. This color draws people close. This is a very good color for creative and artistic people as well as for communicators, public figures and even presidents. Your number “1” goes well with this color. People who have this combination should consider running for a public office or a more prominent role. A movie star, maybe?

Whether you like it or not, the yellow color gives you the energy for hard work and confidence. No wonder you are always busy. Yellow also makes you have an overall positive disposition. You communicate well but resist opposition (again that character that makes you “always right”). You are philosophical and extravagant at the same time. Resilient yet emotionally vulnerable. You experience betrayal more often than not, both at work and in relationships. Yellow persons excel in all they do and don’t like being challenged.

Yellow works well with amber and ruby colors. Again, it comes up in your reading, the red color which is associated with number “1”.

Green means growth, a new hope, blossoming of spring. It also means prosperity. People with this color attracts wealth and abundance. They also feel, more often than not, that the world is on their shoulder. They feel they are responsible for the whole family, if not for the whole community, if not the world!

Honestly, Jon, I’m not joking when I say you should run for president because not only does your numbers point you to that direction, your colors are also complimentary to that aspect. And you know what, green color also refers to peace. So what better attribute a president should have than a desire for world peace?

Or better still, aspire for a commanding position in a work that you love to do most. I don’t know what sort of work you love to do most, but if you choose that direction, then nothing will be able to stop you.

Again, I noticed throughout this reading, is the character of being isolated. The downside of green is exactly that! ”

A day before New Year, I bought anything that I can think of that came in yellow, red and green.  From mirrors, to bedsheets, tee shirts and socks.  I may have been hooked on Joon’s testimonies but deep down inside, I knew that he was worth putting my money on.  Besides, he was the one who introduced me to new age philosophy that I am currently going down on all fours for.  Completely worth it.

After the New Year, I was promoted at work and unexpectedly, had much much more . .  .

3.  When I began writing MY LIFE IN 5o DAYS back in November, I actually did not know how to do it. Or why.  All I know was the fact that I have not written anything in years and it was time to reunite with an old valentine:  writing.

I told myself in Day 1: Creative Suicide that instead of killing myself, I would go back to writing and maybe kill myself later. Of course, that statement turned out to be the initial bout of controversy of what was then a small sentence that eventually spawned 49 syrupy articles that spoke of my days, parables of late and of the past, anthologized chapters of my existence and the dark comedy of living in Dubai and surviving that as well.

Looking back, I still cannot fathom how I did it with my day job, a very constraining day job, very  much active, how I woke up at 3 in the morning to write, how I maneuvered the stories and how I did my research in articles where I found most challenging (and doing these either drunk, underslept or desolated at times), how I recovered lost drafts because I never drafted anything!,  and how I scheduled interviews for a story to come alive.  I do not remember much of the past three months.  All I can remember was the smile on my face each time I am done writing them as I smoked my way through the morning with my black coffee.

Today, I say goodbye to MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS.  It was both a journey and a companion that I had to take in and live with and all it took was believing that I can do it.  And I did in the midst of late nights, distractions that came in many shapes, colors and sizes and throughout the illuminations and a thousand choked tears from laughing my way outside my well-being.

And so along came an end.

It is bittersweet.


My life is so funny.

Half-way through this book, I decided I should do something outrageous after writing the last chapter.  I told friends that I will quit drinking.  Or quit smoking.  Get a love life.  Get a real life.  Writing this now, I wished I stuck on quitting smoking and drinking because 2 weeks before this writing, I unconsciously chose getting a love life – getting love and getting life – and it was such a great ending to this 50-day odyssey.  I fancied it as a 50-day voyage and my newly-chiseled heart was the island I was destined to have as a reward for being literarily obedient and for sculpting my own pilgrimage in 49 intermixtured catastrophes of my life, designed to make me laugh and cry at the same time.  Today, I embarked on this island.  The stop.  The celebration.  Needless to say, it felt so good to be “gotten”.

And so, along came Paolo.

Paolo is a bartender.

I am an impatient habitué.

It was mid-lunch.  I was wolfing my Tuesday alfredos and catching an important meeting when a nugget of meat got stuck somewhere between my throat and oblivion.  I realized that my iced tea was not yet served and so I hand signalled The Hunchback from the Bar to give me my drink, blue as I was from barely breathing.  Quasimodo, from the bar, his pout longer than the Burj Khalifa, came to my table after and handed me my drink without even looking at me.  I mumbled my very sarcastic, “Thanks,”  and drowned the garb nestling somewhere down there.  But doing all that, I could not take my eyes off Quasimodo.  I began eyeing him walk to and fro his kingdom for the next 15 minutes.

I can probably describe an impression of how he looked like that day, the red red lips, the pale, unsunned skin and uncorrupted hair, but it was actually the way he did not smile, the way his eyes would not look into the eyes of anyone but would sharply look at you straight away if necessary that caught my attention.  I looked at him and wondered how many times did he ever fall in love?  At the same time, I asked myself why I was drawn to his eremitic ways.  I even noticed how he solely polished his glasses not asking any assistance from anyone and found that, well, venereal.

This happened around September of last year.

Last December, I saw myself having the same alfredos and iced tea, at mid-lunch, at the same restaurant where Quasimodo works.  I almost did not see his standoffish form that day because I came in on a Thursday and it was busy.  I almost choked myself to death to get an access for an iced-tea refill until someone from behind me called out, “Your take out, Sir.  And refill?”

I have forgotten I actually ordered a take away for my boss which Quasimodo delivered to me with his pitcher of iced tea.  Tori Amos’ song Sugar came to mind suddenly,  “Sugaaaaaaaar, bring me sugaaaaaaar . . . I know the robbins bring . . . bring me many things but sugaaaaaaar . . . “

Before I even considered banging my fingers on the wooden table and make a makeshift piano out of it, I said, “Thanks, Paolo.”  reading his name out from his name badge.  Quasimodo had a name.

“Your welcome.”  he answered, his voice trailing off to virtual caves because it was the kind of voice that was both deep and withdrawn but at the same time, responsive and, well, pretty warm.  Was it his voice or was it just me?

I could not help it.  As he dropped the plastic bag full of victuals for my boss, he turned his back on me but looked back.  And then he smiled.  The lights above me broke into smithereens and the glass cut my face beautifully until blood poured out of my forehead down to my neck, my chest and towards the innards of my violent heart.  I stood there, feeling loved, and ignorantly asked him, “What is your secret?”

I think a century passed before anything went by after my stupidly deep or deeply stupid question was answered while oxygen thinned out by the second and I was ready to be cremated alive anytime.

Then I caught my drift in time for Paolo to drag me to the death oven, ” Your skin!  I mean, your impeccable . . . skin?”

Paolo looked at me, not quite freaked but absolutely hauled out from his safeguarding and said bluntly, “Dove?”

I almost wished I did not ask the question.  But that started everything.

Two weeks later, we were going out.

And having the best time of our lives laughing our damndest and nursing each other’s broken wings.

A few days ago, I thought about my friend Joon: the guiding light to my dark tunnel vacations, my grand shaman of a friend and absolutely my big brother who induced me to believe in the magic that I can do with my life, and remembered the way the color yellow was interblended with my celestial existence on earth.  I smiled, almost in tears, and whispered a silent prayer for my friend who did not just instruct me to play with my stars and to open my mind to impossible possibilities just by using my imagination, but also taught me to love myself to be able to love suitably.  Some people were simply born lazy not having friends and a closed heart because of failure or emotional defeat.  I am lucky to have friends who told me that I sucked sometimes and a self who befriended misery and have remained close to it only because we understood each other.  Lucky.

Tonight, before writing this, I was at the Dubai Mall with Paolo.  An interlacing of yellows and greens that brings forth the food of the gods and combines both philosophy and peacefulness to two people who are both hungry to explore a little bit more.  And give in to risk a little bit more.

We sat at The Promenade, had dinner and coffee and talked about MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS.  I told him, “It feels sad closing the book, Pao.  I absolutely don’t know how to feel.”

He looked and me with those perforating eyes of his and perked up an idea, “Babe, you just need to write a whole new different book.  Another concept perhaps . . . or say, a bi-weekly column, whatever, relax, celebrate your 5oth article and drink your coffee . . . ”

“You are Day 50!”

Paolo laughed and said, “I knew it.”

“You know what,”  I said, ” it is funny.  I never realized how funny my life was until today.  When I started writing MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS I actually did not have a fool’s notion of what I was really up to.  And then one thing led to another.  Can you imagine, I started with 14 readers and most of them were family and friends I coerced just to have an audience and now I even have “fans”, can you believe that?  The universe have a funny way of inspiring people, I guess.  Imagine? Me? An ex-junkie?”

“Oh you are flattering yourself!”  Paolo joked and shook his head.

No, actually, he meant it.  I like him so.  He was so forthright and smart.

“I am not!  No, really.  My life is funny.  My throat aches saying goodbye to MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS but I had you just in time.  A perfect ending.  That is so comedy! ”

Both of us roared in laughter and then Paolo held my hand.  I looked at him and smiled.  After 3 seconds, I looked away and watched the fountain show across from where we were sitting happily.  My thoughts drowning momentarily to the voice of Luciano Pavarotti serenading the tall, dancing waters in front of us.

My life has just begun.

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