“I want you to burn/burn for me, baby/like a candle in the night,” Tina Arena sings on my IDock. These fiery lyrics somehow spark a contrast to the changing weather outside. Morning showers have left the skies overcast, the ground wet and the air crisp and cool. I have closed my windows after weeks of indulging in summer’s breeze. People outside now walk in their sweaters. I have brought out my plaid Hilfiger robe and have used it for the first time this season. It is the first day of fall.

I have always been a sucker for symbol. I find any cause I can for every milestone there is that becomes reason for a more thoughtful reflection. The dual edge in a change of season is especially poignant since it is both ending and beginning at the same time. I know it’s a very elementary realization and yet, I find this paradox not diminished in any way. I continue to be fascinated by it. Never mind that I am giddy at every hello and am always bad at goodbyes. I trudge on with this propensity for self-indulgent poetry.

Time always seems to have flown by when recalled from memory. This summer was gone in a flicker, along with a lot of other things in my life.

My life as a single nyc homo is now over. I already have a fantastic bf, Tim, whom I’ve been with for over 5 months. My work routine of slow afternoons and early Fridays has since stopped. I have again started having longer days spent in the office as the nights also get longer outside. My friend, Kevin, who has been living in DC, is now flying back to Manila. I saw him 2 nights ago for the last time in what will be a long while.

It is this most recent event that hits me quite hardly (probably owing to its place in time among other things). I feel a kinship with Kevin in the sense that we both share similar histories in Manila — school, friends, a sense of vocation in what we did that went beyond the notion of work as a paycheck — as well as parallel immigrant stories that highlight a coming-out story here in the US. I moved here so many years ago and began school in NYU. He moved a year after I did and went to Columbia. We have since drifted apart as I went on to sell my soul out to corporate America while he pursued his vision doing volunteer work in Africa. I was initially shocked and yet deeply comforted when he came out to me over a visit earlier this year in DC. It is this watershed moment that my kinship finds itself deeply rooted in. I don’t think I will ever find a similar person to share such a conspiracy of time, space, biology and, ultimately, fate with.

I was having dinner with him at Spice, the Thai joint in Chelsea, Thursday night and I just peppered him with questions I would have otherwise asked myself if I were in the same situation. (We both have surely gone a long way since wearing tattered jeans and plain white shirts doing development work among the tribesfolk in the boondocks in the Philippines. I was wearing a suit coming straight off work and he was wearing his preppy polo shirt underneath his chic casual blazer that still seems to say grad student.) Are you going to come out to your parents? How are you going to tell them? your friends? What are you going to do socially? Are you going to hit the gay scene? Where are you going to find a boyfriend realizing now that you’re such a potato queen? (Apparently, he’s been dating this Italian-American cop from Baltimore and it seems they’re trying to make a transpacific relationship work. I can’t help but be a cynic.) Are you going to rise up to the challenge of establishing a more sensible, intelligent discussion of homosexuality in Manila given the constrictions of a seemingly infallible church and a heavily patriarchal and macho society?

Kevin answered in sketches of phrases. Understandably so since these relevant questions simply cannot be resolved over duck dinner and even after many rounds of vodka tonics (since we hit Urge, this East Village bar, after taking him out to see [title of show] that night — where we both oggled at go-go boys and flirted with this Long Island boy who now lives in Murray Hill). Ultimately, the only answers that matter are the ones that lie in the future which are not waiting to be articulated but acted upon. The delivery that is most substantial is in its doing.

I am sad to see him leave. It would have been interesting and, moreso, reassuring, to know someone really closely live a seemingly parallel life. But, in a Joan Didion moment, life, as you know it, changes in an instant. Kevin is leaving and I am but happy in my many hopes for him as I saw him off.

The beginning of fall also pushes me to reflect on my many hopes for myself. I hope that my relationship with Tim continues to blossom. I hope that I find what I really want to do, career-wise, but, in the meantime, also wish that my days in the office get to be a lot more manageable and a lot less hellish (whether self-inflicted or not.) I hope that my friends grow into whatever home they have made for themselves wherever they are. I hope that I ultimately find all the joy I desire and all the love I deserve.

This rush of an unadulterated sense of hope (that goes far and beyond any brazen expectation) at this instant moves me to declare that fall has risen.