Losing and Gaining

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


 


Dear self,


How are you holding up? You're still alive but many people close to you has left for good. Now you can imagine how Edward Cullen must have felt. If you can recall, the first few seconds of the first minute of the first day of 2020, you were eager to greet your college best buddy a happy new year only to discover that he is three months gone. The culprit: Stage 4 lung cancer and no one had a single clue. What a way to start the year! And you weren't even in his funeral to bid him goodbye. No videos or pictures of you together or even a record of his voice (except for a single class picture with him). Zero​, zilch, zip, nada, nothing. The only thing remaining are memories, aside from your Facebook messenger chat that you keep on reading again and again. 

Memories with him


That's way back in 1996 when Marimar was aired on TV which started a string of Telenovelas. You wondered why a guy like him was watching soap operas but then you got hooked yourself. He's someone you've met on the first day of your freshman year in University. A calm, collected guy. "Hey, he's exactly like me", you said to yourself. You knew at that very moment you'll be friends for a lifetime. You spent almost every single minute of first year college life with him. 


Those were the times when the FEU library was the perfect place to kill time. Those were your last memories of a library. You couldn't fathom how hard it was to research for information. You didn't know Google back then and had to search books using cards. You both explored the malls around the area to walk endlessly and enjoyed street food as it was what your budgets could afford. It's true what they say that the friends you meet in college are the best ones you'll ever have. 


You've proven it yourself; you left him after a year to look for a better school and never called each other again even after graduation.  Almost two decades of no contact but you still consider each other the best of friends. Sure you've seen him in 2000 and was about to catch up with him again in 2019...that's almost 20 years and yet, you made excuses not to meet him. It's one of those things you truly regret. Probably, he wanted to see you after a really long time because he knew his time was up. Unforgivable. What's even worse is, you've postponed visiting his grieving mother in Pampanga until the pandemic finally put a halt to your plans. 


Changes during the pandemic


Yes, the pandemic. You realized that your grandparents has gone through worse; that's two world wars and the worldwide spread of the Spanish flu. If they made it through, then you should be able to do so too. Look at you! Not a single tear has been shed again after the first time you've heard of your friend's demise. You have crafted your way out of it by learning how to survive physically, financially, and most of all, mentally. Spending time with friends and family members is out of the question, hence, your world revolved around cyberspace. Almost everything has shifted online. 




You got lucky to be working at home as an online English teacher.  Buying cooked food is not a healthy option, at least according to you, that's why you had to learn to cook. Panlasangpinoy and Kawalingpinoy became your gurus. You also opted to buy groceries online which is kind of neat. You even tried doing laundry without a washing machine until you gave up and let the laundromat do the hard work for you. 


Taking on a new role


You became the man of the house. Well, you're living alone. Didn't you wonder who's going to take that role? The roof needed fixing and the pipes were clogged but you eventually learned how to fix them yourself after a while. It made you felt how alone you truly are because there's no one else to depend on. Not that it's lonely but there's a realization that one can survive by himself. Hmm, not really. As the Beatles song goes... "I get by with a little help from my friends".  Keeping oneself busy suspends or better yet prevents depression, however, sometimes you just miss your best pal and feel really down.


Scar that would not heal


You're still holding on to that Space Jam figurine of Sylvester holding Tweety bird that he's given you on your 17th birthday. Hey, you even watched that movie with him at the then newly installed mall in U-belt. Isn't it a coincidence? The same movie is having a revival this year and it's like the world is grieving with you. You really miss him, don't you? 



It's almost two years since he's left. What would it be like if he were still here with us?


Comco-Write-to-ignite_Dear-survivor

This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.


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