Friday, March 23, 2007

a chronicle on friendship

Back in 1993, as a college freshman at the University of San Carlos, I met a bunch of girls whom I shared one full semester of fun. It would have been a lot more wonderful had we, under circumstances beyond our control, stayed together in one school and enjoyed 3 more years of college together. But incredibly, we spent five amazing months as barkada, and it was one of the most meaningful friendships I’ve ever had.

Typically bubbly sixteen and seventeen year olds back then, we shared many unforgettable and happy times - shopping trips, movies, Friday night dinners, joyrides, sleepovers, attending one P.E. class, hanging out, endless talks and laughter. I loved every moment of it because they are the nicest girls I’ve met in my whole life- cheerful, nonjudgmental, persuasive, beautiful inside and out, and totally honest and confident. And so even after so many years of not seeing each other, they’re always on my mind and I wish all the time that one day, we’ll see each other again.

Claire, is the most exuberant of the bunch. She’s always in a happy mode and had this very infectious laugh. She’s sweet, thoughtful and caring, too. Ching, is very demure and the most ladylike among us. She is generous and doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable at all times. Anna Leah, is the most assertive and the most independent. She’s very nice, too, and she always has fun stories to tell. Keith (her real name is Mirabelle), is our no-nonsense girl. She’s active and she had pretty nice ideas to share, too. I love them to bits.

The last time I saw Claire was that summer in 1994 before I moved to XU. And then I saw Anna Leah for the last time in 1996 when they visited XU on a class trip. She brought me a card from Claire, telling me about the birth of her daughter Anya and that she misses me a lot. I saw Ching, too, when she came to XU one time but we lost touch pretty much after that. Keith was the person I never saw again after our “freshman-year-is-over” dinner. But I remember all of them so vividly and I will always wonder about them.

Last year, Ching and I were able to connect again online and it was one of the most exciting things. My hopes were high again, finding them seems like not a hopeless case, after all. And so I knew that Claire is now based in Manila and works for PAL, and Anna Leah is in Belgium. Just yesterday, Anna Leah had a chance to chat online and we were squealing like school girls again! It’s such a joy to find and connect with old friends once more. Sadly, nobody knew about Keith’s whereabouts now. But I’m still hopeful that she’s out there somewhere, and she’d stumble upon us online one day.

Five months is not too long a time for togetherness, but we squeezed a lot of memories in those months. We’ve had too many deep, substantial conversations and more hilarious and childish exchanges, too. We never fought with each other, but shared the sadness of the other. We teased each other mercilessly, but we are jealously cozy with each other, too. Sometimes I wonder what could’ve happened had I not moved to XU, or Claire had not chosen to attend another school, or Keith had not switched to another course. Would we endure BS Psychology together, and find jobs under the same discipline? Would we take vacations together? Would we influence each other in our relationship and career choices?

I guess, I’d reserve these questions to answer when we meet each other again one day. It would be so much fun talking to them again…

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