Bedroom, Mandaue, May 30, 2010
I arrived, slightly trembling, at my new school. During orientation, before the first day of classes began, an old old grade school classmate, who’s name and face did not register from my memory back then, plucked me from the very back of the queue to stand behind her at the Flag Ceremony. Meanwhile a boy at a parallel line, who would become my first childhood love, said “Hi!”.
Mid-year at the Senior’s “Crack” section, you came over and started chatting with me. We bonded over Matchbox 20 and Linkin Park. We had heated discussions about music and I flatly refused to accept your vehement declarations that Linkin Park is a boyband instead of an alternative band.
First semestral break as College Freshmen, we met over a classmate’s house to offer our sympathies for his dearly departed brother. At the wake, you told the rest of the classmates the “Legend of the Blue Moon”. You said whoever we were sitting/standing with at that point would become our “Soulmate” for the rest of lives. Janice sat to my left and you occupied my immediate right. I knew from that moment on that you would become my Guy Best-friend.
Years later at another college semestral break, I tricked you into going to your “then” crush’s house. How I bawled with laughter when I heard that you presented Annabelle with a single Anthurium and she asked if you plucked it from their garden.
One summer vacation, I came home and my Aunt told you a certain “Jacer” called. Later that day, you called me again and everyday for that entire summer. Hours before you had to go back to enroll for the next semester, you promised to call me as soon as you got to Cebu. True to your word, you called Long-Distance from Cebu a few minutes after you were done enrolling. You said you were going back home the following day.
On my 18th birthday, you, Janice, Jocelyn, Joan and I went to Flairmart for some ice cream. A year later, you and a bunch of high-school classmates came to my 19th birthday-slash-college graduation party for my Sister & Brother. You shyly shook my hand as I greeted you at the door.
While I was studying in Davao, you frequently borrowed your board-mate and neighbor’s cellphone to text me. One time I lent my sister my phone and she lividly asked me why her friend, Ray Ladroma would send me, “I miss you!” text messages. I calmly explained that it was from you, my best friend.
I came home from Davao and you were leaving me calls. That summer, your best-friend Juan drunkenly called me and told me you have a “thing” for me. I told him it’s impossible since you confided to me that you liked Annabelle. At Juan’s birthday, you avoided my gaze for most of the night. In the middle of Juan’ garden before midnight, you finally confessed that what Juan declared was true. I shook my head in disbelief.
The next time I saw you, Mayang invited us over to “Hacienda Ocio” for some “Butong” and “Tuba”. You were avoiding me again until you took a picture while I was grating coconuts and Jolly Vic lamented, “Basin background ra mi sa picture ha?”, when you asked him to move over so I could be in the shot. Hours later, you finally told me you liked me. I remembered asking you “Why?”.
I was now studying in Butuan and you were in Cebu when “Drop Calls” became trendy. During those numerous 5-second calls, you would often tell me your current favorite songs and made me listen to India Arie and Ska music. You told me you wanted to “court” me officially. I told you to listen to Bob Marley’s “Wait in Vain” playing over the radio in my room.
A few months later, I told you I was going to Cebu with my Dad for a check-up. At the Inn my Dad and I were staying after my Doctor’s appointment, you insisted that I should go to SM to meet you and to take a Taxi if I needed to. I only had Php500 in my pocket that time. My brother and Daddy went with me to SM. We met over at McDonald’s and I introduced you to my family. Dad and Kuya run off to watch a movie and you took me to see “Lilo & Stitch”. After the movie, I invited you to dinner with my cousins and you said you had to leave. As soon as we got back to Butuan, you immediately called me and asked if we were “together”. I told you I would only accept if you come home for SemBreak.
On your next birthday, I waited until 12 midnight to greet you, to which you curtly replied, “Thanks”. A month later, I found out you and Mik-Mik are now a couple. I was happy for you and Mik but hurt that you did not tell me yourself. I expected better from my best-friend, if not reluctant suitor. You apologized profusely but you still would not look me in the eye out of shame. I was hurt not because I was in-love with you but because I treated you as my best-friend. The one guy from our Batch that I felt most comfortable talking to about anything under the sun and I trusted to care about me.
One Alumni night, you kept whisking me to the dance floor, completely determined against my weak protests. And while you were holding me tight as we danced, commented that “Patyon ko ni J*** **c ani!”. If I have known this was one of the last times that I will see ever you again, I would’ve held on tighter.
Years later, you made it to Saudi. We chat often and you were always too shy for my liking. Two weeks before you left us, you made me promise to forgive you for the Mik-Mik incident. I laughed it off and told you I forgave you years ago and still think of you as my friend. You thanked me and told me over and over again how sorry you were.
One day as I was hanging new curtains in my room, I got a text message from Nonon that you passed away that morning from apparent heat stroke. Being a known prankster, I thought Nonon was just kidding until I got another text from Mayang confirming it. I ran downstairs and called Jolly Vic. I felt my body go numb. After what seemed like forever, I hung up and dragged myself up to my room where I hurled myself on the bed and bawled my eyes out.
Now, 2 years later, I’m still crying over you, best-friend. I cry for the lost times and all the happy memories. I cry because I would never see your smiling face again. I still cry because our Alumni gatherings will never be the same without you. And mostly I cry because, even though your obvious best-friend is Juan since diaper-hood and you were also close with all our high-school classmates and batchmates, you will always be the very bestest guy friend I’ve ever had.
One fine summer in the year 2000, under the light of that Blue Moon, I sat next to a “Soulmate” that I probably would never have again for as long as I live.
I miss you, best-friend. Rest in peace!