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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

entry arrow5:40 AM | The Players -- A Continuation

One of the last things he said before we left Qyosko to go home at 4:30 in the morning was: "The only thing to learn from life is this -- how well you must learn to play the game. Or you will be played," then he paused. "You can never ever trust anyone, but yourself."

I thought about what he said, and I felt the dread truth of all those words finding space in the gnawing hollow suddenly inside me. You might think what he said was something quite generic, wisdom from the commonplace. But I thought of those words in the context of what had transpired in the last five hours -- the sudden confessions, the inadvertent revelations, the stories of what lies beneath all our tranquility: the drugs, the violence, the frenetic sexual musical chairs of people we know.

What he said came at the end of a very long night that started at 10 pm.

In the beginning of this night, I had thought of myself as someone who has seen and heard and done everything in Dumaguete. I had thought I was no longer capable of being shocked. I've had my days of riding the wild side, after all. And in the past six months, in pursuit of gritty research for my novel "The Players" (a reworking and expansion on a short story I once wrote for the Philippines Free Press that depicted the casual sex lives of the young and bored in Dumaguete in the 1990s), I'd been living the life to get first hand knowledge of the dark negotiations of my book's characters.

At the very end, I realized how stupidly naive I was. How blind, how I knew about nothing at all.

This night will come to haunt me as the time I've lost truly the last vestiges of innocence. And for that I am thankful.

I don't think I can divulge the details. The details are too raw, too shocking. But the night began with me receiving a note from a social networking site, asking me if I was open to do a "live sex act" in a particular establishment that will lead to ... something. That was only the start. By the time I finished the night, I saw pictures and heard stories of murders, of drugs, of casual prostitution, of sexual escapades that shocked even me.

And finally there was this one revelation that truly broke me.

How do you sleep after this?

I see the dawn breaking now. It's 5:30 AM.

I still can't sleep.

I have knowledge of the game now. I have been played.

And I could only wish I weren't so naive.

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