I have been meaning to write this since I got wind of the news that a dear friend passed away most recently, succumbed to the big C last Monday. She has been a very dear friend from way back and our friendship together with the entire gang of 5 was by far the most memorable I had in my life. It has been more than 20 years I guess that we haven’t seen each other but the news struck me like a freight train. Suddenly, fond memories of her came rushing back like it was yesterday all over again. I guess there is truth to the saying that “people will forget what you have done or what you have said, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
I can’t really recall how I came to meet her or when our friendship started. All I remember was that the gang frequented their house to hang out and together with her older sister and two brothers was most accommodating to our noisy and at times very boisterous group. She was the personification of “class” and the very first lady I came to know which defined “breeding” (quotes mine) as a way of life. Classy because she doesn’t go for ordinary brands and wears her own style of fashion, not outlandish, nothing fancy but classy. She was likewise smart and intelligent… our conversations would almost always come to a debate not to see who was smarter but rather to pick on each others brain. And it was a great many instances where we would all end up laughing our hearts out. And this lady sure has her way of getting what she wants by an instant big slap on your back or a punch on the arm or worst that dreaded pinch which we boys are all so afraid of, kasi talagang masakit! Another trait that she has was her big heart, she was very generous not just of her resources but of her time, her talents and most especially, her love. I recall our “Galactica” days. ‘Twas one of the foremost discos of our time which we use to frequent back in the days and we all had great fun dancing and drinking our hearts out. She was not a dancer really but she loves the sounds and the music and mind y’all… the 80’s music was by far the best era of it all. We also loved hanging out at Tia Maria’s and San Mig Pub and at one time pigged out at Le Poulet, a fine dining French restaurant in the old Ali Mall. It was all during those days that a great bundle of joy named Maegan came into this world and added a whole new chapter in her life… all of a sudden her life changed as her daughter became the center of everything. We all doted on her, a bubbly and smart kid like her mother was. It was also in those days that I have seen her resiliency to the point of stubbornness. But she was that, a fighter and later on a great mom to her only daughter. Then the time came when they all had to migrate to America. Saw each other on her first balikbayan trip home. She even gave me a San Francisco baseball cap as pasalubong which I still have to this day. Was starting to lose the top then and she would affectionately call me as ‘bo, short for kalbo (bald). And then she went back and never got the chance to connect again after that… heard on a couple of instances that she visited the Phils. but that was that… then Facebook came... Her daughter was one of the very first friends that I had on FB. Thought we could somehow connect thru the social media but unfortunately, she didn’t have an FB account. It was only later that her daughter created an account for her. Don’t know if she ever posted something herself or was it just her daughter who did all the posts. Nevertheless, was happy to see her again through the pics that were posted on her daughter’s page and was so glad to see that she did a fantastic job raising her only child.
I will forever cherish in my heart all the happy memories I had of her especially her advises and the love of an older sister which I never had in my life being the eldest of my own family. Likewise, I do have fond memories of their former home in Dominga because that was where I and the greatest love of my life would meet up at most days…
Ate Beng, you will always be in my heart... thank you for being a dear friend to me and to all of us. I will not say that this is goodbye but rather, we’ll see each other again someday… in the meantime, please keep an eye out for me and my kids.