Tuesday, February 28, 2017

six years overdue

The streets are familiar. Even the quaint light from the sporadic convenient stores are familiar. "The convenient store! I know that one convenient store there." I was supposed to visit the place a year after 2011, but it took me only in 2017, and a chance encounter, to be there. There was no pain anymore. Chills, maybe. But I needed this. It was six years overdue.

Mike sent me an SMS and asked if he could get his book back. Of course, he can. I just loaned it from him and it's been a while since I kept on saying "yes" but wouldn't go. If it weren't for the seemingly irritated undertone in his messages, I would still be thick-skinned as to delay the return of the book.

Even during the first time I visited Mike's home, I was already acutely aware that somewhere around his neighborhood was the complex of dormitories. I tried to look for it last December when I went home on foot from Mike's with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings clutched in my pit. But that time, I was not looking harder. I thought, if I'd see the house, I'd see it. If I don't, then I don't.

February. Mike texted. I was ambling down to his place on the back streets of Sampaloc, away from EspaƱa Blvd. The familiar ruckus of people, the train tracks of PNR, and suddenly UST is coming to view. From the house, I took on Florentino St. to reach M. dela Fuente. The night wind allowed me to think through the 17 blocks of street: "I guess I'll try harder this time around."

Almost half an hour passed when I returned the book, thanked Mike, and saluted off. "I'll try harder this time around." I took a turn on Piy Margal, as if some metaphysical hand pushed me offtrack. Finally, the streets became familiar. The quaint lights from the sporadic convenient stores became recognizable like a dusty case folder taken from my mental cabinet. I could not be wrong about the convenient store. There is no mistaking about it.

I walked to a slow, hoping to make sense of the small block from my six-year-old memory. It felt like deliberately touching a scar at the back of my head wanting to recall how I figured in the accident and got the wound. It was both dangerous and liberating: to be at the place where I spent that one night that will redound to an error of a lifetime.

I saw the convenient store. I knew that back in February 2011, a boy named Jerome hissed from the other side of the street to signal me to enter into a complex of dormitory units. I should remember too well that store like a lifeline on the palm of my hand, some thing that's ought to be there. It was the store where I bought a Mountain Dew as I texted him where exactly his place is. From the right bank of the road I saw the sari-sari store. I saw my 22-year-old self crossed the street and entered into a gate. "Where the fuck is the gate?" I was already directly across the store when I reminded myself "I'll try harder this time around. This memory is overdue. I'll try harder and find it." I turned around and paced, redraw my steps. It's should be somewhere around here, I thought. There's a tree: Too insignificant. There's a salon: I don't recall. And then suddenly, like a sleeping prisoner in the dark jail, the green gate appeared. I stopped.

I stood there. For good 15 seconds I allowed my inner eye to resurrect what I should have not done in 2011. I saw myself entered the gate. It could only take a while when I and Jerome were already undressed, I thought. If only there was a way to stop me, I would. But memories are ghosts with bloodshot eyes. They stare at you without remorse, and only then you'd know if you have grown accustomed to bringing the Crucifix out into the streets.

I stood for a good time, allowed myself to immerse, to marinate into the thought of that night. From the gate, I saw the imposing old house. It looks haunted from the outside. I thought that should have been enough to scare me off already. But I was stupid then. From what happened, the orbit of my memory moved to Jerome. Is he still there? Or had moved to another dorm? Or if he's still alive and here on Earth in the first place. I remembered how he led me through the snaking stairways to his room. How he asked me to shush and to carry my feet so as not to rouse the others to wake. I remembered how we sat awkward, watching but not watching the TV. I remembered them all. Those were enough for a six-year overdue memory. I walked away.

I don't know how to make out of it now that six years passed and one too many bottles of ARVs went to the trash bin. If you'd ask if there was a sense of regret in me, there's nothing--not even a dint of it. I always believed in the concept of happy accidents. For an existentialist, how I love to blame my faulty wiring to fate. I and Jerome still got to talk after my diagnosis in May 2011. It was that time when he told me he's already suspected that he had it but was just afraid. If only killing was legal, I would have bloodied my hand of his crimson at that time. But wherever he is, I still want to thank him, I guess. If it weren't for my stupidity and what he caused me, I would have not been where I am. Cheesy I know, cliche even, but that's how we romanticize pain to legitimize where we are right now.

Ever since the family moved from Sta Mesa to Sampaloc, I already thought of revisiting that place again. You know, sometimes it's good to return to those old barns in your life just to find out if they scare you still. I guess that old barn of a dormitory, where angels cried during that fateful night, doesn't hurt now as much as I thought it will. Sure, there was that chill that crossed my spine. Sure, there was that utter disbelief that I'd get to see the place years after (I was secretly hoping that it was already razed to the ground and a new building stood erect there). Sure, there was the sudden confluence of memories flashing before my eyes. But I guess those were just but natural. After all, you do not look at a ghost and welcome him with unfolded hands.

I was flooded with what-if's and the could've-been's on my way back home. I was looking at the street and not looking at it at the same time. I just snapped out of the daze when this young man--probably around my age--walking towards my direction was giving me a sticky stare. And, as we came shoulder-to-shoulder, a bated "Hello." He passed by and I surreptitiously turned around. I saw him cross the street towards the dormitory.

I turned away, and didn't look back.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

HIV screening and the hiring process

Bestfriend called up a while ago to just ask about things and update me on his job search. He's in the restaurant management industry and aiming for higher position.

Throughout the conversation, he told me that this one classy cafe asked him to do an HIV test during the hiring process. I stopped him short and asked to repeat what he said. Apparently, even if he knows my condition, he doesn't know that what he underwent was illegal. So I told him to go in with how he went through the process. In sum, it went like this:

He was asked to do a medical test with HIV test in it. It was done outside (I'm not sure if it was the diagnostics laboratory affiliate of the cafe with its hiring process). The HIV counselor did the routine interrogation as regards his last sexual contact. My bestfriend answered. He was told that if the medical staff won't give him a text message the following day, it meant that he was non-reactive; that if he received a text, then that was it. Following day, no text received. Just to make sure, he called the laboratory and indeed the counselor, through phone, told him that it was non-reactive.

I could not but stress that what he went through was--under clear provisions of the law--illegal; that's clear under Sec. 35 of RA 8504. Bestfriend could not believe that it was illegal. I reassured him that it was unfair and illegal and I could not just imagine the emotional rollercoaster any applicant had to go through with that kind of policy. True enough, he was nerve-wracked during the testing because if the result comes out as reactive, he wouldn't know what to do and how to go on with the the employment process.

I told him different scenarios--to attack and to defend--the cafe's policy on HIV screening during the hiring process.

TO ATTACK
1. It's no brainer under the law that what is prohibited and set down in clear words should not be done directly or indirectly. RA 8504 has a prohibitive provision, which means "Bawal gawin" (the antonym is "positive provision").  And I quote, Sec. 35: "Discrimination in any form from pre-employment to post-employment, including hiring, promotion or assignment, based on the actual, perceived or suspected HIV status of an individual IS PROHIBITED." (Emphasis supplied)

2. It does not matter if the result of the prospective employee is non-reactive. Even if the result turns out negative, it is not an argument that no law was violated. Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemus. Where the law does not distinguish, we ought not to distinguish. Since there is nothing set down in the law which provides for distinction, we should not create arguments that since bestfriend was found negative, then no law was trespassed. The only thing that the law prohibits is when there is discrimination.

3. As regards, discrimination. One may argue that it is not the HIV testing during the hiring process that is prohibited. It is actually discrimination. Point taken. But that creates a confusion when the law is applied. Sec 3 of RA 8504 does not define what "discrimination" is, which makes things confusing. Because if, for example, X was found to be reactive after submitting himself to the medical test, and he was denied application to the job, since the law does not define what discrimination is in connection to HIV testing, it creates a legal loophole. The employer may reason out that the employee is not accepted because he fails in certain qualifications, when in truth and in fact, it was his status that was the basis of his non-acceptance. This is what we call in law as, "What cannot be legally done directly cannot be done indirectly."


TO DEFEND
1. The cafe is in the food and beverage industry. Perhaps the only reason they wanted to enforce such policy is not to discriminate but to actually enforce higher protection in food preparation. Since not all food requires exposure to fire which kills the virus (e.g. salad, drinks, etc) the cafe may have been only be well-meaning when it enforced HIV screening in its hiring process; this is to make sure that if a PLHIV will be employed, he will be given the best area to work on with lower risk of being wounded (i.e. knife cuts).

2. The cafe may also be providing higher premiums to its PLHIV employees. The only course though that they may know who is positive from who is not is by subjecting its applicants to a screening. This is highly a conjecture and supposition. So even if my bestfriend is not applying for a position in the kitchen (he is applying a managerial/supervisory position), still he is asked to undergo the screening.

The only reason that I can see where HIV testing in hiring procedure is defensible is when the HIV status imposes high risk on the job. The "rational connection" as the Labor Code provides. If there is higher risk of exposure to other people because of the job's nature, then HIV screening may be argued as to why it is needed. For example, when the job requires to deal with sharp instruments or food preparation or in healthcare or even in some industries, like bars or clubs or brothels, that is, the "entertainment" officers.


WHAT IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU?
Always remember that you have a choice to back out from the hiring process if it comes along with HIV testing. Once you submit to the testing knowing fully well that you are already positive and that the position you are applying for does not have any connection with HIV exposure, the employer may argue (if in case in the future you complain) that you WAIVED your right to privacy. Waiver of a right is a direct and voluntary loss of any future claims against someone. Ginusto mo eh. Bakit ka magrereklamo ngayon? So when it appears to you that you have higher risk of being detected as PLHIV, weigh your pros and cons. And when you believe that being undetected is more important than a job in that company, stop and discontinue the process. There may be loss of job opportunity on your part, but you still did exercise your right to privacy and confidentiality.


P.S. I was surprised and disappointed to know that that cafe is employing HIV screening in its hiring process. Okay pa naman doon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

abandonment to death

Yesterday, I read Kuya Drew’s blog (click here) where he recounted the death of a PLHIV who was abandoned by his family and taken care of by the hospital staff until his death. The first idea that struck me is how could people, (relatives for that matter, and relatives by blood to underscore) turn their back against their own? Obviously, it was distressing.

I guess part and parcel of my confusion is my own question. I was asking if there's a way, at least legally, for that to not happen again or at least for the people to be reminded that it’s a bad case of familial treachery.

There is nothing in Republic Act 8504 (HIV/AIDS Law) that speaks of penalties as regards abandonment. I turned to my Criminal Law books and remembered the crime of “abandonment,” which is Art. 275, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code and which provides:

Any one who shall fail to render assistance to any person whom he shall find in an uninhabited place wounded or in danger of dying, when he can render such assistance without detriment to himself, unless such omission shall constitute a more serious offense.

To my appreciation, the case of M cannot be a simple case of abandonment. The elements of the crime do not fit the situation. If Art. 275 will be used, the prosecutors will look at Nurse Ann, because it was she who found M. But she rendered assistance--heroically, I must say--so that takes off Art. 275 from possible crimes that can be charged.

Also, a grand defense that may come to light is, “Is a hospital an ‘uninhabited’ place? How will we define ‘uninhabited’ place?” The wording of the law is clear. “Uninhabited” imports the idea that the place was not dwelled upon permanently or temporarily.

We scratch out Art. 275. How about murder?

This is where the situation becomes sticky because I assume there is no previous case of abandoning a PLHIV has been filed against those who abandoned the person. Meaning, there is no “test case.” There is no precedent. (At least that which I know).

Art. 248 of the RPC is murder. But before a person can file a case of murder, the prosecutor will first “assess” the situation to check if any of the six qualifying circumstances is present, to wit:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity;
2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin;
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity;
5. With evident premeditation; or,
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

Any of these six qualifying circumstance must be attendant to the situation before murder can be charged against the person who left M.

Criminal law experts and opinion-makers will tell that “cruelty” is not attendant to the case. Cruelty involves unnecessary physical harm--injuries or wounds to be exact--inflicted against the person which led to his death.

I would say that if a person leaves a PLHIV in a hospital for the latter to die, the complainants can use either “with treachery” (par. 1) or “with evident premeditation” (par. 5). Depending on the situation, I’d see “evident premeditation” more fitting.

“Evident premeditation” has 3 elements which must be fulfilled before prosecutors can use that to qualify the death of a person and to file a murder case against the accused, to wit:
1. The time when the offender determined to commit the crime;
2. An act manifestly indicating that the culprit has clung to his determination; or
3. A sufficient lapse of time between the determination and execution (to allow him to reflect on its consequences).

One by one, let’s do this.
1.      First element: The offenders can be argued to have committed the crime at the time when the PLHIV patient was left in the hospital. For lack of any information about the case, it can be argued that at the moment M was admitted in the hospital, the persons have already known that M’s condition was a situation that the relatives cannot admit; hence, death by intentionally leaving M was the only way for the family. It is at the point when the persons who left M were determined to commit the crime.
2.      Second element: The offenders can be argued that they clung to their determination in leaving M to die (as harsh at that). We can look at hospital records or even have Nurse Ann file an affidavit to show if the hospital truly followed up the situation of M to his parents or relatives after they had him admitted in the hospital. If the relatives never bothered acting upon the hospital’s follow-up, it can signify that they want to abandon him. It is at this stage that the hospital will be instrumental in proving that there was "intention" on the part of those who abandoned to truly say that M was indeed "left to die" despite calls of attention from the medical staff.
3.      Third element: The offenders can be argued to have left M for a sufficient time. Case laws opine that three hours is enough to check if the offender indeed wanted to carry out intention to kill towards fruition. In this case, if hospital records will bear that there was time--sufficient and long enough--for prosecutors to opine that indeed those who abandoned M was acting on an impulse to leave him languishing in his death bed, then it follows that the intention to kill is present.

At present, my position is to use the fullest extent of law to give the death of a PLHIV a semblance of justice here on Earth; and that is to file a murder case against those who recklessly abandoned him. If a murder case will not prosper, the prosecutor can always use homicide as a resort. (Homicide and murder are cognate crimes.) I could be that cold-hearted as well.

One may ask, “Well, the relatives of M do not really want him to die. Why should we file a murder case?” The death of a person under the hands of those who abandoned him (even if there are people, like Nurse Ann, who helped along the way) disregards “intent to kill.” The law provides that only “by means of inundation, fire, poison… (Art. 248, par. 3)” must intent to kill be present. In other qualifying circumstances such as evident premeditation, the intent to kill may not even be an issue for the trial court to explore.

As for who should file the case, it can be argued that under the doctrine of parens patriae, the State (in the case, the People of the Philippines) can initiate the complaint in behalf of M. The parens patriae rule is used in rape cases and child abuse cases. It should be sufficient to argue that it must equally apply in murder cases, especially in the stunning case of M who was abandoned to death.

But the moral question here is will we allow an eye for eye to turn us all blind? For leaving M to die, in what sense do we want those who abandoned M to possibly languish behind bars? The law can be cold, especially criminal law which is frigid. But where do we draw the line between giving the death of the PLHIV justice and correcting the possible maleducation of those who abandoned which also needs equal attention. 

Then again, what really bothers me is (arguably, family dynamics, knowledge of HIV, and knowledge to access of healthcare considered) why do we still have to use the threat of law as a motivation to help? Shouldn't helping a person, who is already in the autumn of his life, a core of our humanity?

I slept at 11 p.m. yesterday partly because of the weight that clung to my chest. I woke up at 3 a.m. still figuring out an evasive answer.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

from deathbed and beyond

I was going boing boing boing at 4 a.m. a while ago because efavirenz high is taking over me. Until a fellow pozzie (let's call him A, hereafter) messaged me, "Si partner na stroke."

There was a sudden stop to whatever fantasizing I'm having in my head. It turned out that what I read was real and A's non-positive partner is in the hospital's ICU--already revived twice.

If that is not already heartbreaking, what was more devastating is that A (as I grasped it from his story) could be somewhere in the waiting room of the hospital because of a "family-only" policy. Sakit 'di ba? For eight years of love and bliss, still you are not a "family."

At 4 a.m., while I am floating in my head with stupid ideations, here I have a friend whose heart is crushed when he told me: "I don't know what to do without him." The weight of those words decimated my entirety.

It didn't take too long when I recalled this one discussion the class had in Persons and Family Law--area of civil law where we discuss relations of the family from cradle to grave. We were already at the last stretch of the course, talking about "Provisions on Funerals" when I, in my curiosity and operating from a same-sex point of view, asked my professor if only legal spouses are allowed to have the finaly say about the funeral rites of their beloved.

My professor agreed. Jurisprudence-wise, the Supreme Court in the recent case of Valino v. Adriano (G.R. No. 182894, 2014), the Court said that "Even if a deceased person has validly expressed his wish to be buried at the mausoleum of his paramour’s family, the deceased’s legal wife has the legal right to bury the deceased elsewhere, because the deceased’s wishes are compulsory only with respect to the ‘form’ of his funeral" (Link here).

The reason is simple: Philippine family law does not recognize common law unions, except in the case of co-ownership. But in the sentimental and often highly emotional area of funeral and last wishes, it will be the legal spouse which will have the final say.

At this rate, who are those who should fix the funerals? In the strict order given by the Civil Code (Art. 305 in relation to Art. 199), the following are: (1) The spouse; (2) The descendants in the nearest degree; (3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and (4) The brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately, the "spouse" there must be the legitimate civil spouse, not the common-law spouse. So imagine yourself being entrusted with your lover's final words and after your lover's passing, you tell his mother (your "mother-in-law), "Tita, gusto daw po niyang ipa-cremate." With a blink of an eye, you can expect that what you just said will be thrown at the backburner because being only the gay lover of your gay husband, you are not the legal spouse. Sounds like, Mano Po, right? Yes'm.

It's not a stretch of thought to consider that two men living under one roof beneath the banner of eternal love is still common law union. Common law unions are those only consented between two people without the benefit of any law. Short to say, they just shacked up; cannot avail of tax breaks, the surviving spouse do not have the strong right to enforce what the deceased spouse said in articulo mortis (at the point of death), and other benefits accorded to man and woman who tied the knot with the sanctity of law (i.e. civil union). Nil. Nada. Zilch. Because they're only common law and the law still looks at their civil statuses as "single" persons.

The few slivers of my wakefulness went out to A and his partner on the context of civil unions. I've had too many what if's that tired my brain and fortunately lulled me to sleep. But the fact remains that sometimes, even if no matter how proud we are to put into Twitter trending #LoveWins, still Love is short when the might of Law is flexed.

For common law unions (and here is where same-sex unions are right now because we don't have same-sex marriage or civil unions yet) even if, say, I can attest to the truth that my hubby wants to be cremated, I have no right if my words are pitched against the family of my lover, who may want the body of my hubby otherwise like buried in their family lot or wherever.

My point being is, factor in the sentimentality of "til death do us apart" in most marriage vows, same-sex unions cannot fully have this advantage because Philippine laws do not recognize them. And I think that let alone the squabbling over tax, co-ownership, adoption and whathaveyou's, the bitter end of it all is that, isn't it human nature to leave our final words about what to do with our corpse to the person who has this infinite and immeasurable respect and love for us from deathbed and beyond?

Let's not quibble over what it's supposed to be called: same-sex marriage, legal partnerships, civil unions. The lawmakers are off to that debate. But what we need just about now is the protective mantle of law so that at the end, whatever happen to our bodies, that one great love in our lifetime is honored enough to do it for us--respected by the people around us and supported with what the law vests.

P.S. A's partner is now in a better condition. And his story is posted here with proper permission.

P.P.S. Dami kong feels while writing this. Shet.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

drunken ambition

I talked to a poz who was a former law student and somehow all the stress that I endured since the start of law school was validated. As much as misery loves company, blood brothers are thicker than water. Short of it, all this studying is really a CD4-count stressor. It's literally draining

Just about right now, my lymph nodes are swollen again. No illness. No colds. No cough. I just figured while I was taking a bath that my nodes were swollen. I’m way past hypochondriac already. It’s wasn’t yesterday when I just submitted to the heaven that for whatever I have to endure, may the Heaven provide where I am falling short of.

But this semester is just unbelievable pressure. Worth it, but stressful. As much as I’m keeping up with my academic demands, my insomnia has gotten worse from 4 a.m. to a sorry breaking dawn. I kind of pity-partied one afternoon when I had to absent for Civil Procedure because I really cannot get up. And that one time, also during a Monday, when I was awake for 40 hours straight.

I told A that I have high regards for him for not bargaining his health. As for me, I do not know yet. I do not know the source of this illusory confidence that makes me overwhelmingly confident to put my health at the brink of what is also a noble pursuit to finish my legal studies. I just don’t want to feel cheated on an opportunity, I guess.

I am in love with what I am doing. And in the advice of a good professor, I think I am still built for this because I cannot see myself elsewhere anymore. Even my gift for words kowtow with this study. Then again, as I told A (and as I am equally surprised for having said it) I hope this won’t be, in the end, a drunken ambition.

2.13 a.m.
Somewhere in Manila

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

unsent letter #1009

I stand here before the acrid smell of flame as I watch in dismay your red flag hoisted over the horizon. A heart belonging to everyone; hence, to no one. What led me to this cleansing fire was a semblance of bliss. You, who are forever engulfed by the whirlwind of failed attempts, who caressed hearts because of your faulty devices--and mine too. Whitewashed walls insulating the entire forbidding of the city noise, the tolling of a portentous omen. Even my own conscience gone unheard against the faint ticking of these ungodly hours. But we were atheists; without god, just men, and our hands that snaked through each other's valleys which appeared to have been traversed a million times--well, a million it was, but by different snakes.

I would have prayed and finally asked for God's forgiveness before making the leap of faith. I could have. I would have. I was willing. And still to this day I am. But as I stand before this pyre that will forgive my penchant to break hearts, and as well, will beatify the bottles of glue I turned inside out for putting mine back to its peace, still I am never too sure. Trust was something so inspirational it's priceless. But ours came in a box of three. Or at least, a better brand of it.

4:09 p.m. Somewhere on Taft Avenue.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

re-stacked

One plus one is two. Two plus one will not always be three.

I was reading Resident Marine Mammals v. Reyes during a date* because somehow he made me feel secure that even if I would go back to my reading in what is supposed to be a date, it doesn't matter to him. Somehow though, I feel queasy because I never learned how to divide my time between a person who I like who's just sitting across me and my work. Felt like every underline I make, I was moving towards the edge of my seat. I was gaining track in my reading when he said, I'm not sure if this is the right time to tell you this.

From those words alone, that seems to be a bad news. And bad news does not have any good time. I felt a cold fire draining in me. That "arctic perspiration, bugs in your feet, shovels in your guts" kind of self-awareness and said: "Okay, c'mon let's hear it," I said. He fumbled for a while and guess what, I was thinking to myself, "Please, tell me your positive too." But of course that's long shot because I knew since that he was not.

I and my boyfriend are not yet technically off.

"RIGHT." I placed back the cap of the pen, rested it in front of me, and God I was looking at him and at the same time can't see him. I rested for a good second trying to marinade myself through the words he just uttered. And somehow it felt like if I did one more underline on that paper right at that moment of revelation, the end of that stroke will push me off the edge of the universe.

I'm no scene maker. In every problems I face I try to be very diplomatic, compromising and level-headed. Like every obviously nerve-wracked guy but trying to calm and compose himself, the first question is why. Finally, he opened up like a book. He toured me around the edges of his scars. He showed his vulnerable side (or at least he tried to because he said he never like looking like a vulnerable saint to anybody) and somehow I got it. But I saw how we both pined. How our pains showed in our forced smiles. Truly, not all smiles are happy ones.

Of course, for someone like me who's really attracted to this sweet guy, I have to protect my lot. But it's no brainer. I saw the line, and being the would-be lawyer, right-versus-wrong, black-versus-white kind of guy that I am, I have to observe proper formalities. There is no dude in distress in this setup. There's no knight in shining armor. Only men who are trapped in what is a confusing and sad mid- to late-twenties dilemma.

(Don't ask about us right now. I invoke my right to privacy and to be let alone.)

Looking back, what actually makes me chuckle as I write this is that, somehow the order of problems that I can take has be shuffled. When he told me that he had something to tell me, the first thing that crossed my mind is he could have my condition too. But I was wrong. There was a far more unnerving problem that I could only imagine.

I guess that's the beauty of time healing us. For one person, he's much equipped to handle a third wheel dilemma than the guy he likes having HIV. But since it's been years that I have this condition, it's like the order of the "problems-I-can-handle" has been re-stacked. Imagine every kind of problem as a piece of wood in Jenga and HIV is now at the topmost. It's not as crushing as it was before. It's not hard for me to accept someone who has HIV anymore.

But surely, there are more problems to this world. I still can figure in a sideswipe accident as if I'm walking on the blind side of the road.

====

Yesterday night, I'm reading Ui v. Bonifacio. I know the story from before because it was already used as a reading in one of our classes. I laugh at the humor the world is telling me.

Essentially, what happened is Carlos Ui told Atty. Iris Bonifacio that he is single so they hit it off and had two kids. Later on, here comes now Leslie Ui confronting Atty Bonifacio and revealing to the lawyer that Carlos is a married man. Upon knowing the truth, broken and damned Iris fled to Hawaii and cut off all his relations and connections with Carlos, save it for the necessary support and filiation over her two daughters with Carlos. On the other side of the world, Leslie, a woman as hurt as Iris is, filed a disbarment case against Atty Bonifacio for immorality.

The Supreme Court ruled that Iris needed more compassion than condemnation. Reminds me of Haruki Murakami's line in Kafka on the Shore: "In travel, companion. In life, compassion."


Now tell me: should I head now for Hawaii and clear my head? Haha!


*Date /n/ : I am all about semantics. I don't call the first meet-up as "date." It's only a meet-up. So since I used the word "date" it's not the first time we went out. The connection is somehow there. We're just trying to figure things out.