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I like our fishball dates and sago’t gulaman hits; when for a moment, we forget the niceties of our health, and candidly poke the deep-fried goodness of ill-prepared street food; when between the sweet and spicy sauces, and spiced vinegar dips, you share to me the obscure songs you’ve been playing on repeat – what is it this time, Tame Impala or Goldroom – while you laugh heartily and affectionately at my pop music obsession as I am prone to putting the diva (Beyonce! Mariah! Madonna!) at a pedestal; when we can be busied by our food fanaticism, and consequently, be unafraid of the occasional silence; when during those idle seconds I can look at you – bespectacled, stubble-d, and pensive – with admiration as you drink the gulaman like a shot of cheap brandy; when the simplicity of the moment, suffices, and you, drenched under the lampposts, look even more beautiful in the ordinariness of scene; when we can find ourselves lost in something so local, so authentic, so fleeting.

It’s during these little food trips that I realize how fresh, moist, and permeable my desires are; when I can have everything I desire just as I am sensing the desire; when I can, like a pianist, touch and press the keys, the ivories and ebonies, and hear the sound, the music instantaneously. You always laugh when I end up consuming one too many kwek-kweks, or two blocks more betamax, or maybe an extra stick of isaw. You always end up teasing me, scolding me, flattering me, flirting with me – almost out of duty. And when you do, I always find myself discouraged trying to be fancy with our evening trysts, because whether it’s some thousand-peso dinner for two at a posh restaurant, or an under fifty-peso corner street gastronomic conquest, you always manage to be sophisticated enough to avoid any effects, yet simple enough to remind me you also wake up in hurt.

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