By: Ramon Gregorio


9:18 pm


Can you name that  one pillar of happiness you’ve experienced?  I had a cousin who came out of the closet years ago when I was still in college, no kids, and our weekend past time was to go out clubbing in San Francisco.  My cousin Patrick was from Vancouver, Canada and would visit us from time to time whenever he started missing his family from the Bay Area, but he truly loved San Francisco because it was the sister city of Vancouver.  


We would do the typical cousin stuff. This time it was  Patrick, myself and our other first cousin Yvette, who came down with him for vacation.  We’d watch a really good dramatic movie, eat dinner at some unusual and bizarre trendy restaurant in downtown, and then go out dancing in the hottest dance club in the city. Most happening place to ‘get down’ is of course the gay clubs. They had friendly people and the music was always off the chain. Do they even still use that word? I can only imagine my baby girl’s look when she reads this blog. The embarrassment,” I yayay que horror!!”


Forget about what my daughter thinks and let’s get back to this story I’m trying to get across. Anyway, so the cousins would live the night away after talking and criticizing the ‘tear jerker’ movie we just watched over dinner, and how it pertains to our innocent young lives. Then off we go to the club and just dance until we got ugly from sweat and what have you.


As we were driving home we started talking about deep personal stuff. You know, self realization, relationships, that sort of kind of thing. I would always initiate it because I’m the extrovert of the crew and I was very transparent about my personal situation, I’ve got nothing to hide and if you can’t take it. Go to the next room and keep it to yourself. That was my personal policy at the time. I was young, dumb, and full of crumbs so I talked it out and made it engaging.


This is how it went. At that time my girlfriend Angela, who is now my wife, would break up and get back together.  Because I cannot commit back then. My cousin Yvette and her boyfriend at the time, Bernard were a ‘steady freddy’ couple and their relationship to us at the time was solid. My cousin Patrick however, never seem to have girlfriends? Patrick was tall and handsome, dances real well and dresses even better. He dresses so well that when I visited him in Vancouver, I’d end up with his hand me downs. So what’s up, why no girlfriends? The unusual thing was all his female friends looked like models! How does he pull that? But no relationships. Hmmm?


You probably know where I’m going with this but stick around I have to get this thought out, so grab a wine glass and pour yourself a chardonnay and get engrossed with this thought. So, we were driving back to the suburbs of Northern California when I asked Patrick,” Hey courins, “ what do you like about yourself?”  He replied, “that’s easy my courins, but I have to think about it first.” I told him, I can tell you ten personal characters you have and that is why I love you so much, my courins (I did not misspell the word ‘cousin’, that is what we called each other, okay?).


I love you because you’re; kind, generous, patient, talented, funny, friendly, easy to talk to, humble, good taste in clothes, and you have style my dear courins. Then after my cousin Yvette chimed in and told him why she loves him.  After fifteen minutes I said the same exact traits in the order I originally stated to him. Patrick still did not tell us what he likes about himself and we drove home talking about the movie we just watched. Yvette and I felt that our dear cousin Patrick was not comfortable with it and we left it at that. I hope I did not ruin his night I just wanted to express how much I appreciate him as my courins….


After that vacation I did not hear anything from my cousin Patrick for almost six months. Even my cousin Yvette hasn’t heard anything from him and they both live in Vancouver. Until one day I called my aunt Lydia (courin Patrick’s mom) and asked if he was okay. She said no. Patrick had a nervous breakdown after that vacation and kept himself in the room for weeks until he confessed he was, ‘gay’.  


You know, we always knew Patrick was a bit colorful and that’s what made it fun whenever we had a family gathering. Providing that everyone in my family is a comedian. Have you ever been to a typical Filipino party? Well, that’s for another story but right now let’s stick to the topic, shall we? No one was judging Patrick, but himself. We all knew and loved him still anyway; because he’s Patrick.


After that I felt bad because  Patrick’s good looks and personality helped Three Pillars of Happinessme to pull chicks wherever we went. He’d stand around and participate while I made the girls laugh. It was the most perfect act. His clothes made me look good even though they were slightly bigger, because he’s almost six foot and I’m barely half that.  Most of all, when it came to other people he was such a good person to be around and talk to you about anything you were going through at the time. He was such a positive person, for others, My cousin was great when it came to building a relationship with other people.


Unfortunately, he didn’t see it for himself  at the time. A few years went by and everybody in the family was okay with it, because we all knew and was just waiting for him to admit who and what he is. The moral of this story is our relationship with others is the most important factor in our lives. It is something that no one can ever take from us, and even if they did. The memories you had with each other is the most treasured one of all. It’s what makes you laugh, cry, and talk to the Man above who died for your sins in order for you to see Him again.