I WOKE up, not with a jolt, but with a kind of serenity that one feels after a truly restful sleep. I realized I was all alone; my roommates were probably home for the weekend. The lights in my apartment were all unlit, it was eerily quiet (just the way I liked it), and Taft Avenue, which I could see from my study, did not harbor heavy traffic. Where I would have dinner was my first concern, until it occurred to me to check my phone. Many missed calls and a text message asking me where I was. And then I hurried. I was 30 minutes late for a despedida I had promised to attend.
Jaylord, whom I had not seen for more than a year, is leaving for Japan to pursue graduate studies. He'll take his masters and, hopefully, his doctorate in the next three years or so at the University of Tokyo, one of the world's best. He's a civil engineer and a college lecturer. I am proud of him and the work that he does.
Our friends Paul and Luther (and the love of their lives, Jacq and Mau) organized a send off party of sorts for him—a Jollibee kiddie party. Many of our close friends were invited. The event turned out to be a reunion, and as with reunions, the conversations were dotted with reminiscences of the past and updates about the lives of our other friends who did not make it to the party.
After dinner we were supposed to go to a reputable bar—“a wholesome place,” my friends reassured me, where Noel Cabangon was performing for the night. I trust them to know where to have clean fun. I love Noel Cabangon; I listen to his songs, especially on rainy days. Luther drove us to the venue, but the place was packed. Maybe we can go there the next time. We proceeded with plan B—coffee in a rather quiet shop along Matalino Street, perfect for late-night catching up.
I love talking to and being with my friends. I couldn't agree more with CS Lewis when he wrote this in The Four Loves: “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ." Listening to my friends exposes so much of my own immaturity. They have mature people concerns (Hazel, for instance, just acquired her own place—she has her own house, and I'm still in school). They're wise and godly and passionate for the Lord. I also learn a lot from them. They're a minefield of random information, and they don't mind my jokes—they have cornier ones.
One of my favorite photos, taken when Luther was still single.
So Jaylord is leaving this April. I wish him the best and will keep praying that God sustain him in his endeavors. We'll all miss him.
Jeiel (who didn't make it tonight) and Jaylord, 2012.