The last I heard from you was a few weeks before the May 2010 elections. We were exchanging texts on politics, a world you half-heartedly live in and I sometimes write about on the national level.
I have been trying to reach you since your birthday, a few days after your dad won another term as a local official. But my calls to your mobile phone and landlines went unanswered. My birthday gift to you remains unsent, just like my gift for Christmas.
Initially, I shrugged it off, thinking the rigors of the campaign must have made you ill again, as did the previous ones. But I started to really get concerned a month after. Nothing from you, a text, a call, nada. It was an eerie silence.
I called your dad’s office, the tourism office, your previous house in the other city (if your uncle complains about constant pestering, yes, that’s me), even your cousin whose nickname sounds like yours. Nada. I kept texting your old number, crazily hoping for a miracle that you’ll reply. I emailed whatever addresses I could get hold of, or mobile numbers of whoever officials I ran into.
I cannot give up, not on you.
I miss my best friend, the one I can just call anytime when I need wisdom or deep insights, or just someone I can let my hair down with. You always had a ready quote or anecdote when I was seeking comfort the whole time I was getting over a boy–for 5 long years! You let me rant and rave on all things important or petty. When I’m full of myself, you have this uncanny way of bringing me down to earth, then lifting me up when I need affirmation.
Ah, and remember how we reminisce about Boracay in the 1990’s? Your mom ardently asked me to keep a close eye on you and you-know-who. I break into a smile whenever I remember that sperm-count issue.
You always had a steely front when faced with adversities. I remember in college, where we first met, everyone in class was teary eyed over an issue that escapes me now. You were the talk of the town for keeping your eyes dry the whole gruesome time.
What most don’t know is that there are also occasions – and there are few of them – when you also allow yourself to melt. You always do it in private, away from the prying eyes of people who misunderstand your inner strength, which was faithfully nurtured and pressured by people and the circumstances around you when growing up, for something else.
That strength was one of the many great virtues I learned first hand about you during the whole 4 years we spend as college classmates and dorm room mates. Heck, we even did our thesis together. We fought each other, then shaped up to assert ourselves against a common foe. That, I think, was our tipping point. There was no breaking our friendship since then. Not even distance nor relationships have made a dent on it.
I truly hope and pray you are in good hands and happy — and that I was just crazy to have even imagined otherwise.
Stay healthy and wise!