The dancer fellow.

There are two birthday reminders with the guy’s name in my phone’s calendar. One from Facebook and another which I manually created — one of the few birthday reminders I actually setting myself, usually reserved for a few people I am fond of. I was very fond of the guy, you see.

He was a dancer, someone I met randomly through an SMS hookup service years back. Normally, I don’t fall for guys I meet that way.

He was very particular with his hygiene, I noticed the first time he came to my apartment years ago. There was a large bottle of mouthwash in his bag, among other toiletries; he wanted to make sure his breath was fresh when he kisses a guy. His kissed sweetly, with a slight hesitation. His lips tasted pleasantly of spearmint. There was affection there, even warmth, despite that encounter being a casual hook-up. We were gentle with each other during sex.

I was smitten.

I invited him to stay over for dinner, even brought him with me to meet my co-workers that night when we went for drinks. He had an aura of ease and unpretentious kindness. My female companions were charmed, occasionally asking about him days later. It’s his way of smiling, the same comforting smile you see in young children.

He called me “Dee”, a nickname he came up with; the only person who did so. He was not a geek, and not one to intellectualize things. He was not book smart and his text messages were very jeje. It surprised me how quickly I learned not to mind. He was a beautiful person and a beautiful soul.

But he didn’t live in Manila so I didn’t see him often. I never saw him dance — a shame because he sometimes walked as if he was gliding; like he was merely half how he really weighed.

Carl Cancino

Several years back, when I still could disappear during my birthday, I spent my birthday with him. He toured me around Angeles, and we spent the night drinking. That was the last time we made love: it was quick and cut short when we heard his cousins open the door of the next bedroom. Soon after, he went to culinary school, stopped using his phone, then finally left the country. He even stopped using Facebook. His profile only occasionally updated by tagged photos from relatives, a mute reminder of his absence.

Most of the guys I loved fit a certain mold: eloquent intellectuals with brash personalities. He was a stark exception. We never became boyfriends and we probably never will.

But today is his birthday and even if we’re no longer in contact, I still wish him a happy birthday and hope that it’s as happy as that birthday I spent with him.

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