The Tenor of These Delusions - Chapter 2
Rumors, too wild to believe, of her later depravity in NDKC would reach National’s Science Curriculum students in his high school years – losing her virginity in a school restroom at first year high school to some jock, five-rounding with college students at second, someone even claimed they saw her coming out from some shady clinic in Kabacan, abortion capital of North Cotabato, when they were in third year. Impossible rumors, really. But since that afternoon not a glimpse, only sympathetic words from his father from time to time of the Bacchuses continued decline – Yana’s alcoholic father had died, and her once proud mother has had to be a sales lady in a local mall just to pay off their debts. The last thing he heard of her before last week was that she had moved with her mother to faraway Panabo and that she had become a call center agent in Davao.
And yet in that long span of time he had kept his memories of her, his soul an altar for the perpetual veneration of that purity and promise he had ascribed to her, victim of the world’s perversions, distant star shining in murky dark space–
Delusions, nothing but miserable delusions.
He had met up with some high school batch mates in Kidapawan some weeks ago, and over some bottles of rum two of them ended up revealing that they both experienced Yana’s dexterity with her fingers and tongue on separate occasions.
One of the most beautiful girls in Kidapawan was now a nympho hungry for men, one of them had said half convivially and half cynically. She had slept with over half the people in her call center in Matina, including married men. It was, said the other batch mate, as if she was trying to fill an emptiness inside her by literally filling her holes.
They did not even know Jess once knew her, let alone once asked her to marry him, so jovially they enjoined him to catch her whenever he was in Davao to get a go at her too. Over there, they said, she’d take any man if he was from Kidapawan.
These two were not prone to bragging, nor did they have any reason to malign her, and the sharing had the air of almost hushed confessions: he had no choice but to believe it...
'Listen, Ivan,' he said on the taxi after some silence, his voice faltering with the sudden rush of emotions born by these thoughts. They were nearing the Esplanade, and he could get a glimpse of beautiful Marina Bay.
'That neighbor of yours...'
Ivan nodded with a smile.
'Wait for me outside the hotel, I'll tell you my room number. Tell her to be there at around 3 if she can.'
Jess was surprised at how calm he was with this transaction. Had those two school mates – had every single man been this calm when he was about to take her…?
'Room 800,' he told Ivan as he returned from the front desk, and he gave him a tip. The bell boy had just taken his bags to the room. Ivan nodded, thanked him for the night, told him to contact him if he needed a cab, and left.
On the elevator, he could do nothing but imagine how it was supposed to be done. With the fingers, with the tongue, with skin touching against skin. He felt a powerfully tickling sensation below his navel – excitement felt very similar to the most intense of miseries.
Thankfully the elevator was empty – at the thought of what he was about to do, of what Yana could have gone around doing in all these years, of how her memories of him must have been so easily washed away by the sweat of all the men whose chests she had pressed against, he could no longer hold back his tears.
The elevator lights swam in his eyes as it went up. In agony, he muttered her name.
But he stopped himself, stifling his sobbing. No, he will not be weak anymore.
Purity, innocence, defilement – were they all nothing but delusions, mere delusions one put into this world to fill its emptiness?
The view of the city from the room's window was spectacular. Marina Bay, and all the dazzling streetlights that constellated by its banks reflected in the water, sparkled like a galaxy studded with earthbound and floating stars. The queen sized bed was soft and pristine, the sheets immaculately folded. There was a faint and pleasant tinge of mint in the room's air conditioning. He put his briefcase on the desk and untied his necktie.
There was something luxurious about hot showers. It allowed one to sin in sensual calm, as if nothing bad one did could hurt anything. And it allowed one to ruminate in the hovering steam of dreams.
No. He was not going to sin. Tonight he was going to wash himself of the very concepts of sin and goodness. He was going to man up and face the world as it was. He was going to stop seeing his youth in skies bleeding cloud. He was going to stop seeing love in roses, exiled flowers in butterflies, continents in rubber seeds.
He was going to liberate himself from dreams of mists, of rubber trellis smoke, and of this shower's consoling steam. This steam will cease to be dreams. It will condense to the just cold, indifferent droplets of sordid reality.
He was going to silence the noise of these dead hopes. He was going to silence and break free from the very tenor of these delusions.
As he finished drying himself, the doorbell rang. He wrapped himself in a bathrobe and opened the door, his hands colder than the aircon could make them.
The young girl on Ivan's phone was outside, much prettier in person, a sweet, rose-flavoured smile on her beautiful face. He let her into the room.
As she made herself comfortable seated on the bed, he faced the window, started taking off the bathrobe, and naked he faced her. Then, with a faint smile but in almost sepulchral ceremony, she began taking off her clothes.
Outside the windows, the urban galaxy of slow moving comets and orange and white stars floating on the Marina, sprawling out into the horizon from its banks – they were all reverting back to mere neon signs, car lights and streetlamps.
Artwork by Maya Angelou Nievares