by Lucille de Mesa, Baz Grimm-Pitch, Celestine Trinidad, Ibyang Riot, Sarah Bulalacao, Mikki Shiu, Maria Criselda Santos and BJ Medina
Click here to read the previous episode.
It’s barely even a year after John died.
And Phil still remembers every bit of it all—how they were lounging by the small terrace of their apartment that afternoon, the sun settling below the horizon. John was telling him a news story about a gay couple from Laguna who are now proud parents of a baby girl via surrogacy.
“Maybe we can also have one,” John said.
They had been arguing for months about having a baby. Phil had been adamant, not because he wasn’t ready to have one, but because he felt he wasn’t ready to start a family with John. Sure, they’d been going steady for three years. And John had been going on and on about commitment and true love. But Phil, who had just came out to his family and co-workers as gay, felt there’s so much more he needed to discover about himself.
“You should’ve seen the pictures! The baby has only one leg, but still!” John said.
At the time, it felt like John was just using the adoption to tie Phil down. John was in his late 40s. Phil was 12 years his junior. Phil wanted to travel and party and meet new people. John wanted a quiet home away from the city with a small garden he could tend to.
“Are you sure that’s what you really want?” Phil asked.
And that’s when John started crying and shouting and accusing Phil of not being serious about their relationship. Having unsuccessfully pacified John, Phil helplessly walked away from the terrace.
By then, they had already attracted the attention of the neighbors and the security guard manning the compound gate six floors below. Phil was already by the kitchen when he heard a loud crash. Below, he can hear Manong Jerwin, the guard, shouting and cursing. John, in an angry fit, had thrown out the potted herbs and orchids lined up on the sill of the terrace.
Phil immediately grabbed his keys and walked out of the apartment.
“Nabuang na, sir?” Manong Jerwin said as Phil passed by.
It was nearly midnight when Phil decided to go home. He had gone to a nearby pub and drank his ass off. He vowed to break it off with John in the morning, at breakfast. He wasn’t scared about what would happen after. He knew John would be ballistic—might get physical, even. But he wasn’t scared anymore. He felt a dead kind of calm while driving home.
But he never got that chance to talk to John one last time.
Just as soon as Phil parked and got out of his car, John came crashing down to the ground. John had been waiting for Phil. He wanted Phil to see everything. The apartment compound instantly became chaotic, people running and shouting and taking pictures. And amidst the chaos, Phil just stood there, in the center of it all, calm with no feelings of sadness or remorse.