May 17, 2006, Philippines: My Smart SIM card wasn’t purchased and activated for more than 1 hour and yet my cellphone was continuously ringing because of the two-word text message I sent my friends: I’m here. My dear friends started calling/texting me and asking how I was doing, how was the trip, and when they can see me. Despite of the circumstances that brought us back to my homeland before we were supposed to, namely my Lolo’s critical condition, I felt a sigh of relief.
When it was planned early this year that we were going back to the Philippines, I felt both excited and scared at the same time. I was excited because, well, it’s been 6 long years and I think it was time to come back. But I was also anxious. I was thinking of my friends. Would they be the same? Who was I kidding anyway, people do change. I guess I was more scared that they would change so much and that they won’t be my friends anymore. That’s why when I talked to them and felt how eager they were to see me again in person, I’ve proven myself wrong. And I always wanted to right, but not this time.
I told them that I couldn’t really go out with them yet. My Lolo was seriously ill and It did not feel right to go gallivanting at that time. Of course, as always, they understood and they were very supposrtive. Everyday they would call and text me to see how were things going. They even offered to go to where we were staying (at my aunt’s, few houses ayaw from my Lolo’s house), although I wanted to see them so bad, I declined. I just thought it would be best if we would meet under happier environment around us.
But of course, that did not happen. Ten days after we arrived, my Lolo passed away. I texted one of my friends, Ailyn, and told her what happened and asked her to just tell my other friends about it. A few minutes later, my phone was, again, ringing like crazy. I was heartbroken and they were there to sympathize.
What was planned to meet at a happier place became the opposite; we met for the first time in six years, at my Lolo’s wake. Devastated as I was, I felt so happy to see them again. I temporarily forgot that I was mourning. For a few moments, it felt like we were at the highschool cafeteria gossiping. We talked as we haven’t seen each other for so long, as if we just saw each other yesterday. Except now, two of us have kids — both to be my god sons.
We parted ways that day with the promise to see each other again.