Patience had never been one of my friend’s strongest suits, but he discovered that it could be learned when it came to a young man he was seeing, whom we shall know simply as Idol.
Idol, who looked, sa biglang tingin, like an older Daniel Padilla, wanted my friend to praise him each time he accomplished such monumental feats as waking up and getting up from the bed or turning the TV on.
Loathing the icky feeling of public transportation, Idol insisted on being picked up and brought home by my friend. When Idol had to travel up North for work, he wouldn’t go on a bus because you know hell is other people, and my friend drove him, with no audible complaints, just a soft ‘Hay’ after Idol had fallen asleep just a little past Malinta Exit and given my friend the gift of silence for the rest of the drive. ‘I sometimes feel like I’m just his driver,” my friend would sigh to me.
My friend smilingly paid for majority of their dinners, Idol’s haircut, his expensive Crème de la Mer pore-minimising facial toner-cum-cleanser-cum-moisturiser, and his internet subscription.
Most of the time, Idol didn’t want to be seen in public with my friend, preferring to meet with him mostly at waiting sheds and on street corners with minimal lighting, like they were dealing in drugs. When in a public place, an invisible line would be drawn that could not be crossed by my friend suggesting that they were not strangers to one another. It could have been the perfect set-up for someone who wants to be a spy, but my friend had a simpler aspiration, namely being the significant other of Idol, who to his credit can be counted on to be sweet (he sent butterfly kisses my friend’s way) on the rare occassion he was on a good mood.
My friend also did not mind that Idol was a father of twins (but separated from his wife), which meant my friend would probably look after the occassional needs of not one but three human beings. The colors of conffetti for a joint Jolibee children’s party loomed on his horizon like a temperamental rainbow.
He noticed Idol made putting people down, especially women, into an art. Idol called former girlfriends the B-word at every opportunity, and pinned the failure of their relationship on the girls’ shoulders in the vein of “Umiitim ang siko niya” or “Malakas siya kumain for a girl.”
Once, Idol invited an ex-girlfriend (!) and my friend to cheer for him at an invitational football game, after which Idol showered the ex with expletives (and saliva) because she failed to compliment him for trying his best to make a goal but had not. My friend, by then informed in the ways of Idol worship, reassured Idol that he’d been A-plus-mazing! and that the obviously closeted referee had called far too many fouls in favor of the tall, sculpted and half-British members of the opposing team, the Philippine Mongrelles.
But one day my friend reached the end of his rope.
Things came to a head when Idol made my friend look for him ala Amazing Race, although this happened in a mall in Mandaluyong. Just when my friend thought he was about to reach their meeting place, Idol told him to make a detour as Idol decided to go somewhere else, making my friend start all over again. When my friend finally found him after several detours, he gave Idol a dressing down, the delivery of which was comparable to Maricel Soriano’s immortal “Huwag mo akong ma-Teri-Teri!” to a shaking Zsa Zsa Padilla in Minsang Lang Kita Iibigin. My friend, who not once had brought up Idol’s character flaws with him, told him off, and was ready to sever their ties.
Although that was the first time my friend took Idol to task for an infraction, it was not the end just yet of their almost-relationship. The day after, my friend would meet and talk with Idol, still under a waiting shed, but miraculously during the day. Idol did not apologize – “Aminin mo, nakakatawa yung pa-ikot-ikot sa Starmall di ba?”-, but my friend, in a manner consistent with people who aren’t through with love, found that patience is virtue he was going to be good at.