And what do you know—I actually had fun.
I was snug in my bed, dreaming of a world without clocks, when a call girl who lived down on the tenth floor was helping her American lover commit suicide before dawn. Not really sure if she’s a call girl or he was American; to my neighbors on whom I eavesdropped while we were crammed in the elevator, every Caucasian is an American and every American’s dark-skinned companion with a harsh accent is a prostitute. The roving security guard had discovered the American’s leather shoes littered behind the building, one shoe on the pavement, the other lounging atop a parked car’s hood. A resident had opened his window to throw out a cigarette butt, and saw the body sprawled on the roof of the next-door warehouse that was our only line of defense against the sight and stench of the Pasig. The woman had shown the police his suicide note. She said all she did was help push him through the narrow window. His heft could barely squeeze through the steel frame, and she had heaved and strained at the effort.
If we were still talking to each other, you’d tell me assisted suicide is nonetheless punishable, like homicide or murder. Seventeen years out of law school, and you still cannot get over your Juris Doctor. Esq. remains appended to your name, perhaps now more of a consolation when no man has given you his name to use.
So subterranean of the inamorata, you’d sniff. That is so you. You have to use words mangled beyond recognition when there are other terms more imaginative for those you do not wish to associate with: troglodytes, hoi polloi, the great unwashed. Once, you mispronounced Worcestershire to the waiter, and I wanted to correct you like I did when you confused unconscious with subconscious, but I didn’t, and suggested you get ketchup instead. It was then I knew for sure I was no longer your friend.
It wasn’t a question of compatibility. We share the same seamstress, the same distaste for the thin, pinched voice of CSI Miami’s Emily Procter, the same acid test for our dates. I am halfway deaf in my left ear and you in your right so when we couldn’t catch the dialogue on TV, we’d lean forward and demand in unison: What?!