Hi everyone! Love Is illustrates different expressions of same-sex love and everything else that comes with it. Don't expect a continuous narrative for the series, though. Each tale is stand-alone and may or may not contain homoeroticism. If you don't like this kind of stuff or if you're not supposed to read this kind of stuff, then go find something else to read.
This is a story I wrote years ago. I hope you like it.
by Cyrus on Nifty
Just One Night
Guide to a New Life
I walked away from hell today and decided to go heaven.
Well... not exactly. Actually, I walked away from my parents and decided to be a hermit in Mount Banahaw. Silence they say that it was a sacred mountain and all, I figured it's the farthest place from hell. So, I packed up my stuff and left the hell that I'd been living in for 19 years to go someplace sacred.
I rode a bus from Cubao to this town in Quezon Province called Tiaong. Then, from there, I got on a jeepney going to a small town called Dolores on the foot of the mountain. The locals pointed me the way to Kinabuhayan and Sta. Lucia, the places where most pilgrims and tourists go during the Holy Week. There were jeepneys that go to these places, but I decided to take a walk... a long, long walk.
A couple of hours later, I was sweating profusely, my mouth was dry as the desert, and my face was burning like hell. I had a feeling that the sun was trying to kill me before I could reach sacred grounds.
My head felt heavier and heavier; and my knees started shaking. The ground seemed to rotate right in front of me... I fell on the ground, my vision blurred until there was nothing.
When I opened my eyes, I saw leaves rustling in the winds. I was under a huge tree in a small clearing on the side of the road. My head was pounding like hell, and my whole body was sore. There was a slick, red convertible about two meters away from me, and there was a young guy standing beside it, looking down on me.
"Ooooh!" I groaned while I was trying to get up.
"Hey, you're awake! The guy said. He helped me get up and he guided me to his car.
"How did I get here?" I asked.
"I saw you lying on the road," he replied. "I figured you must have fainted because of the heat, so I carried you here under the shade.
"Here, have some water," he handed me a cold bottle of mineral water.
"Thanks," I said, taking the bottle from him. I gobbled down the water like I haven't drunk for a year; well, it felt like it.
"Want some more?" he asked smiling after I drained the bottle.
"Yes, please," I said shyly. He opened the cooler on the backseat of his car and got another bottle of cold water. I drank it up a little slower this time.
"Are you going to the mountain, too?" I asked in between gulps.
"I was supposed to meet some people in Sta. Lucia. We were supposed to go on a three-day hike up and around the mountain," he said.
"So, what happened?"
"I saw you lying on the road," he chuckled.
"They left you?" I said, feeling guilty as hell. "I'm so sorry."
"That's okay. I was running late anyway."
"How long was I unconscious?" I said after a while.
"About an hour since I saw you. I don't know how long were out before that."
"Hey, thanks a lot for saving my ass, man," I said sincerely.
"No problem," he smiled again.
"If there's anything I can do..." I offered.
"Well, I was supposed to go camping, and I have my gears packed in the trunk... and it's gonna be dark soon... so, if you're interested, maybe you'd like to keep me company for three days. We'll camp out at Kinabuhayan. So, what do you say?"
"You're on!" I smiled. What a stroke of luck!
We drove to Kinabuhayan after a few minutes. We found a great spot right beside the creek, and we set up his tent there.
"Hey man, you haven't told me your name yet," he said while we were eating the canned beans that he brought.
"Oh yeah... My name's Nathan," I said. " And you are...?"
"Colby. Nice to meet you Nathan", he smiled and extended his hand.
"Same here," I smiled back and took his hand.
We spent the whole day exploring the sights in Kinabuhayan. We also swam in the deeper part of the creek, near the caves. By nightfall, we made a bonfire near the tent and cooked another set of canned beans for dinner.
We sat near the fire after dinner because it was getting a little chilly. Colby didn't seem to run out of things to say. I just sat there listening to him, observing him.
"What's wrong with you, Nate? He asked me when he noticed that I wasn't talking much. "You seem awfully quiet tonight."
"Something just occurred to me..." I said looking at him intently. "You're gay, aren't you?"
He looked down and chuckled. "How did you know?" He looked back at me. "Is it that obvious?"
"Not really," I replied. "But I knew a lot of gays back home, and you have the same look in your eyes."
"Oh," he said. " Uh... do you feel uncomfortable now sleeping in the same tent with me? I mean, I'm not gonna try anything stupid, if that's what you're thinking."
"Nah, it's okay; I'm not uncomfortable," I said smiling. "As long as you understand that I'm not gay and I'm not really into that," I added after a pause.
"I perfectly understand," he said sincerely.
We both fell silent; it seemed like he finally ran out of things to say.
"I guess you think I'm not so cool after all, huh? he said after a while.
"Nah. I don't judge people by their sexuality," I told him.
"Then, how do you judge people?"
"I don't," I said with a grin and he smiled back.
This time, we explored the sights in Sta. Lucia. We hiked up to the Bundok ng Kalbaryo to look at the three crosses on top of the summit. We went back to our tent before dusk and ate still another set of canned beans. (Colby really liked them, I didn't.)
"It's our last night out here," Colby said as we were sitting near the bonfire.
"So tell me... what's your story ?" he asked me.
"Huh?" I said puzzled.
"Why did you come up here?" he clarified.
"I was trying to escape from hell," I said evasively. He just stared at me, waiting for more.
I sighed. "I've had it with my parents. They've been fighting since I can remember. My dad has another family in Pampanga. My mom spends her time having one affair after another. The only reason why they are staying together is that they're afraid of what others in their society would say if they separated. They're just a couple of hypocrites."
"If you're not going back there, where are you gonna go?" he asked me after a moment, concerned.
"I figured I'd just stay here... You know, explore the mountain... be a hermit," I laughed.
"Tell you what," he said after a while. I'll hire you as my assistant. You can stay in my house and your only job is to assist me in my personal affairs -- sort in my personal secretary, only more personal. It won't pay much, but at least you'll have some place to crash and you'll earn at the same time."
"I don't know..." I said skeptically.
"C'mon man, take it. You have nothing to lose," he urged.
"Well... okay," I smiled.
We fell silent again.
"So, what's your story?" I asked him afterwards. "Why did you come up here?"
"I was asking for a miracle," he said.
We packed up Colby's camping gear early in the
morning, and then we drove to his house in
He had a huge house! I mean, our house in Cubao was big; but Colby's house was even bigger!
"You live here alone? I asked him while we were unloading the car.
"Yeah," he replied. " A maid comes in to clean up and get the laundry once a week."
"And your parents?"
"My dad died when I was only five. My mom joined him four years ago, right before my college graduation," he said without any expression.
"I'm sorry," was all I could say.
"Don't be," he smiled. "It's not your fault."
I woke up late. Colby was knocking on my door.
"Yeah?" I asked him.
"Take out your laundry; the maid's here," he said.
I gathered up all my dirty clothes and gave them to the maid. Then, I walked to the kitchen where Colby was munching on his cereals on breakfast table.
"Here have some," he said, handling me the box of cereals. "I'm not going anywhere today, so you're free to go anywhere you want. You can borrow my car if you want."
"Thanks, but I have nowhere to go anyway."
"Don't you have any friends you wanna meet up with?" he asked.
"What -- no friends or nobody you wanna meet up with?" he probed.
"Both," I answered. "What about you?"
"I used to have friends."
"So, what happened?"
"I woke up," he smiled.
"Where are we going?" I asked Colby as he drove the car out of the garage.
"Makati Med," he replied.
"What're we gonna do there?"
"You'll wait for me while I have my weekly check-up," he chuckled.
"Weekly?" I said incredulously. "What're you, terminally ill or something?"
He looked at me and then he laughed.
"Nate, this is Dr. Carla Uy, my doctor," he introduced me when we got there. "Dr. Uy, this is Nathan."
I shook hands with Dr. Uy.
"If I didn't know better, I'd tell you to curb down your activities," Dr. Uy told Colby after examining him. " But then again, I know you won't listen to me anyway.
Colby laughed out loud.
"This is serious, Colby," she said sternly. "You know, you could just drop dead on the streets."
"Well, at least I'd die happy," Colby smiled at her.
"Yeah... whatever," she said. "It was nice meeting you, Nathan. And take care of your friend here. Maybe he'd listen to you."
Colby laughed out loud again.
"What's the matter with you, Nate?" Colby complained. "You barely said a word to me since we got back from the hospital yesterday."
We were eating dinner (not beans this time -- thank God!), and I just sat there silently.
"You're dying aren't you?" I finally asked him. I looked him in the eye and read his answer there.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't know how..." he smiled sadly.
"Well, you could start by telling me what you got," I said.
He took a deep breath and said: AIDS."
"Oh," I said, trying to hide my surprise.
"Don't worry, it can only be transmitted through exchanges of bodily fluids," he tried to act nonchalant.
"I know, and I'm not worried about me at all. It's just that... well, you look so good that I'd never guess in a million years that you've got AIDS."
"I'll take that as a compliment," he chuckled.
"It is," I said. " How did you get it, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Not at all," he smiled. "I got myself injected with a big, bad needle."
"Where?" I asked curiously.
"In the ass, where else?" he laughed out loud.
"But why would you inject a big needle in your... ooh," I said, finally getting what he meant.
He laughed out louder.
"I was barely 18 then," he said seriously afterwards. I was just beginning to explore my sexuality. I went with this guy who picked me up in a movie house. I don't even remember his name, or his face; and he was the first and only guy that I ever agreed to do that with," he laughed to himself silently.
"I guess you could say I really got screwed," he joked with a tone of sadness.
We went barhopping in
The first two nights, we partied until it was almost daybreak. But on the third night, Colby asked me to take him home at around 11. He said he wasn't feeling well.
I panicked. I drove the car like a maniac.
"You're gonna kill me before AIDS could," he said. He told me to relax because he was fine and he just needed to rest.
I took him to his room and I sat on his bedside watching him until he fell asleep.
I went into Colby's room right after I woke up to check up on him. He didn't look good and he was breathing heavily. I grabbed his address book and looked for Dr. Uy's number.
"You should've called me last night," she scolded me when she got there.
"I know, but he told me he was fine and that he just needed some rest," I said defensively.
"Well, at least now you know that when he says he's fine, he actually means that he may die but it's okay," she sighed.
I just watched there, worried sick, as she injected him with something. Then she gave me some pills for Colby and told me the dosage.
"I'll come back tomorrow to check up on him. If he gets any worse, we may have to bring him to the hospital," she said before she left.
Dr. Uy came in everyday to check up on Colby. I got to know her a little better during those daily visits. I found out that she was actually Colby's godmother; that explained why she was so concerned about him.
Luckily, Colby slowly recovered; we didn't have to bring him to the hospital. But... it wasn't without hardships; mine, to be exact. I mean, Colby was a real pain in the ass when it came to drinking his pills. I had to constantly fight with him before he took a pill.
Well, at least it paid off, because after five days of caring for him, he was bask on his feet.
I didn't know what I was thinking.
I was in the kitchen trying to cook my specialty: Adobo. While I was slicing the meet into cubes, I found my self staring at the knife. The next thing I knew, I was holding up my wrist and I had the knife pushed against it.
"Can't you think of a more creative way to commit suicide?" Colby walked in. I was startled. "You've tried that before and it didn't work."
"Huh?" I tried to look puzzled.
"Don't play dumb. I know you tried to slash your wrist before. You have scars to prove it."
"Well, I'm sorry," I said sarcastically. "I'm not that imaginative."
"Don't give me that crap. You know you're smart. I just don't understand why you prefer playing dumb."
"What the fuck do you know about me?" I yelled. "You know nothing!"
"I know you more than you think so; just like you know me more than I give you credit for," he said calmly.
Tears began to fall out from my eyes. I turned around, trying to hide my tears from him. I wiped them off with my sleeves.
"You know, if you're gonna kill yourself, at least try to be original," he said sardonically. "At least try to exit with a bang -- not literally, of course."
"What -- like, maybe, bungee-jump with the cord around my neck?" I chuckled.
"That would be good," he smiled.
"Why do you wanna die, anyway?" he asked seriously after a few moments.
"Because life sucks."
"My life sucks far worse than yours. I mean, I have no friends or family, and I'm dying in the worst possible way. And when I die, the world will forget that I ever existed. I'll just be another AIDS statistic."
"Didn't you ever think of ending it all?" I asked him.
"I didn't have to, he smiled sadly. I'm dying remember?"
Dr. Uy told Colby to stay home and rest for a couple more days. He tried to tell me that he was fine already, but he wasn't gonna sucker me again into believing that.
I guarded him -- doctor's orders.
"So can I go out and have some fun now?" Colby asked Dr. Uy when I took him to her for his weekly check-up.
"Well..." she said, uncertain.
"Please... I'm gonna turn into stone if you make me stay home for one more day," he begged.
"Okay, I guess you can go out. But no strenuous activities," she said firmly." And don't forget to take your pills."
"I promise," he held up his right hand, but I saw him crossing his fingers on his left.
He drove me to the southern part of
We took a rest in the afternoon until the early evening. He took me near the railroad just before midnight.
"A train passes by here at around midnight," he said. "Wanna play chicken?" he smiled mischievously.
"What's that?" I asked.
"Well, we stand here in the tracks as the rain approaches and the first one who jumps out is a chicken."
"I don't know... that sounds dangerous," I said uncertain.
"Why? Are you afraid to die?" he teased. " Are you chicken?"
I don't know if it was because he called me a chicken or if it was to prove that I wasn't afraid to die, but I accepted his dare.
Just then, we heard the faint sound of the approaching train.
Colby stood inside the tracks; I followed and stood less than a meter in front of him.
I saw the train's light as it turned about a hundred meters straight ahead of us. The light rapidly grew; the sound of train approaching was getting louder and louder.
70 meters. My heart was beating so fast. Cold sweat trickled down my body.
50 meters. The light was blinding me. I started to see my whole life flashing before my eyes.
30 meters. With a loud scream, I jumped out of the railway; I couldn't take it anymore.
20 meters. "Goddamit, Colby!" I yelled as I scrambled to my feet. "You win! Now get out there!" But he didn't budge. The light was rapidly enfolding him. I saw a sick grin creeping across his face.
10 meters. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?!?" I yelled again. He didn't seem to hear me. "Shit!" I cursed under my breath. I sprinted and threw myself at him; we both landed on the dirt a couple of meters from the railroad tracks.
I could hear the train like roaring thunder as it passed us by, I had my arms around Colby, covering his body with mine.
I stood up and brushed away the dirt from my clothes.
"What the fuck was that all about?" I blurted out, mad as hell.
Colby just laughed.
"You see, Nate," he said smiling slyly as he sat up straight on the dirt, "you didn't wanna die after all."
"Well maybe I wanna die in my own way!"
"Nah... deep inside you, you know there's a reason to live," he said seriously.
"Yeah... maybe," I admitted as I sat beside him. "But why the hell didn't you jump out after I chickened out?"
"I dunno," he said. "I guess I was tempted to end it right there."
"Weren't you even a little scared?" I asked.
He smiled at me and said, "When you have death looming on you for more than six years, the fear just runs out."
He paused for a while. "I'm not afraid to die anymore," he continued. "What I'm afraid of is dying lone and forgotten."
We stayed in the rest house for five more days
before we had to head back to
Every day, the caretaker brought us fresh food: fish, fresh out of the bay nearby; meat, fresh out of the slaughterhouse; vegetables, fresh from the garden; and we drank a lot of fresh buko juice, too.
"Don't you ever think about your parents?" he asked
me from out of the blue while we were packing our stuff the day that we
would go back to
"I'm sure they're not thinking about me," I replied.
"Aha! So you are thinking about them."
"From time to time, yeah," I admitted.
"Why don't you visit them?"
"Why should I?"
"Nate, they are still your parents you know," he said.
"Well, they should act like it."
He sighed. "I don't know about you, but I'd kill for a chance to have my mom and dad at this time of my life."
"Really?" I said. "Well, then kill my parents... I won't mind," I laughed.
"Asshole," he mumbled.
"It's not looking very good," Dr. Uy told Colby when we went to her for his check-up. "Your T-cells are down. You should take it easy for a while."
"Aw, c'mon!" Colby complained. "You know I'd rather die tomorrow enjoying myself than live for six more years locked up at home."
Dr. Uy sighed. Well, at least don't miss on taking your pills."
"Nathan is change of that department," he laughed.
"Yeah, and with that job, I should be paid three times more," I muttered.
The weather was extremely bad. It was pouring down really hard from morning 'till night. Colby and I were stuck in the house whether we liked it or not. Good thing I rented a few DVDs the night before.
Colby was so bored by nightfall. He just looked out the window helplessly.
"Jeesh! It's not showing any signs of letting up," he muttered.
"There's still tomorrow, you know," I said, trying to lift up his spirit.
"Maybe for you," he said sadly. "I may not have that, you know."
"What're you talking about? You're not gonna die that easily; bad weeds die hard," I chuckled.
He smiled. "Yeah..." he said. "But I'm still not spending one more minute in here!"
With that, he quickly stripped off all his clothes and ran out in the rain. I ran after him, grumbling a few obscenities.
"Goddammit, Colby!" I yelled at him when I finally caught up with him in the empty street. "What the fuck is wrong with you?'
He was jumping up and down; he was like a child playing in the rain. I was shivering; it was so cold out there.
He spread his arms and looked up in the sky. Then, he started spinning around, slowly at first, then faster and faster. Then, he just dropped down on his ass on the pavement.
I quickly ran up to him, thinking that he was hurt. He was crying; the first time I ever saw him break down.
"Why do I have to die?" he cried out. "I have so much life to live... why does it have to be me? What the hell did I do to deserve this?"
I kneeled down beside him. I wrapped my arms around him, trying to comfort him... not knowing what to say. He pulled away and quickly stood up. He looked up in the sky. Rage was burning in his eyes.
"Why? Goddammit, why?" he yelled out. "Answer me!" A lightning ripped through the sky and its thunder loudly rumbled right after it flashed.
I stood up behind him helplessly, not knowing what to do. I felt warm teardrops falling down my cold cheeks.
"Goddamn you, God!" he cried out so loud. He fell down on his knees.
I put my hands on his shoulders and guide him home. I took off my shirt and put around his back.
He was shivering so hard when we got back to the
house. I quickly ran for towels and dried him up. I put him to bed
afterwards, putting double blankets on him,. but he was still shivering
I got nervous, so I called up Dr. Uy.
She told me she'd be over as soon as the rain lets up.
Colby was in bad shape. Dr. Uy said do. We had to bring him to the hospital. So we did. And I stayed there with him, feeling battered, physically and emotionally.
I brought some board game ("Do you know why they call them board games? It's because you get bored while playing it," he told me once) and some DVDs in Colby hospital room.
"God, I'm dying with boredom!" he complained. "Can't we just get outta here?"
"You can't even stand up on your own, how can you get outta here?"
"I guess this is what I get for cursing God, huh?" he said while Dr. Uy was taking a look at him.
"No," she countered. "This is what you get for dancing in the rain naked in the middle of the night."
Colby spent more and more of the day unconscious, and everyday it became harder and harder for him to speak. He got weaker and weaker, and I couldn't do anything but try to make it comfortable for him.
God! I was having a hard time even just to crack a smile from him. he was getting thinner and thinner, and he was becoming as pale as a ghost.
Sometimes, I'd play monopoly with him, but he'd have a hard time throwing the dice and moving his token; I'd have to move it for him.
"We can't do anything for him now," Dr. Uy informed me when I cornered her outside of Colby's room.
"What -- you're just gonna let him die?"
"Look, this isn't easy for me, either. I love that boy like one of my own. But medical science can just do as much... it's God's hands now,"
"Then, we're really just waiting for him to die," I sighed.
"Yes... we need to let him go," she said sadly. "You know, you're the best friend he's ever had, and I've never seen him happier than this past month since you met."
I turned away. Tears welled out my eyes; I couldn't hold them any longer.
I slept sitting on a chair beside Colby's bed, with my head on his bedside. I woke up feeling his fingers running through my hair.
"Hey, you're awake," I said. " How're you feeling?"
He smiled and slowly nodded his head.
"I'm so tired," he said with barely any sound coming out of his mouth... just air.
I held his hand. My eyes began to get moist with tears.
"It's okay to go now," I said, tears falling down my face. "You have nothing to be afraid of. I'm here; you're not alone. And you will never be forgotten... I won't allow it."
I tried to smile... it was so damn hard. "My kids will know all about their Uncle Colby, and so will my grandchildren. I'll even build a monument for you, if you want," I chuckled softly.
"You're the best friend I've ever had, Colby, my only friend in this world. You're the only person in this world damn world who gave a damn about me. I want you to know that, and I want to thank you for everything."
"Do you love me?" he asked, almost inaudibly.
"Yes! Of course I do," I was crying so hard. "I do love you."
I looked into his eyes as I gradually lowered my face towards his. I closed my eyes as I gently pressed my lips against his. He smiled as I moved away to look into his eyes again.
"I love you, too," he mouthed again. "I have to go sleep now."
"Okay," I said. He fell unconscious right after that.
I wiped away my tears. I stood up and stretched out a little bit. I decided to get coffee from the vending machine in the hallway around the corner from Colby's room. It felt good as the hot coffee warmed up my body.
I was walking back to Colby's room when I saw a lot of nurses rushing into the room. I was a couple of yards away when I saw Dr. Uy coming out of Colby's room.
She looked at me sadly, and I knew that he was gone. I just leaned against the wall. I felt so weak, I didn't think my knees could support me. But I couldn't cry anymore; my eyes were dried up.
I didn't need to do a lot for Colby's funeral. Everything was taken cared of; he got it ready a long time ago. Dr. Uy helped out a lot, too.
I didn't know anybody who went there. Dr. Uy told me that most of them were people living with HIV who might or might not have known Colby, and the rest were their families.
They were there because they were connected to Colby by their condition, not by personal affiliation.
I went to visit my parents in the afternoon. My dad was probably with his other family and mom was alone in the house with the maids again.
"Look who's come crawling back," said my mother.
"I just came for a visit, mother,"
"Uhhuh... and some money, I bet."
I shook my head. "I don't need your money. My friend just died and what I need is emotional support. And just as I thought, I'm getting tons of that here."
The sarcasm didn't escape her.
"You ungrateful son of a bitch!" she shouted at me... very typical of my mom.
I chuckled. "You know, you're right... I am a son of a bitch."
I turned around and walked away. And I never looked back.
Colby's remains were cremated. They put his ashes in a jar and gave it to me. I took it to Colby's house and put it in his room.
Colby's lawyer came in the afternoon with Dr. Uy. They told me that Colby had put all his assets in my name before he died, and that I needed to sign some papers.
I didn't know what to think... or do... I'm even richer than my parents now!
I kept Colby's ashes for a few days. But then, I remembered what he told me once:
I don't wanna be locked up in a wooden box and buried six feet under the ground. I wanna be free, rooming the world forever!
So I drove his slick, red convertible down to Quezon Province, where he once took me. When the highway came near the bay, I held up the jar and tilted it a little as I put on some more speed. I let the wind take Colby's ashes to wherever it would take him.
Roam Freely, Colby... goodbye.
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