Tuesday, January 18, 2005

stay awake

I was having a case of insomnia last week and decided to dig up my old palancas from my DWTL. Not a few letters kept me amused that evening. I was particularly engrossed in reading those from my sister, my best friend and an old flame.

My sister's palanca was such a delight to read as it was just a bunch of nonsensical nostalgia exclusive to us two! It was a feat to keep my laughter muffled throughout the night and not rouse her in our room with her kajologan that only she could pull with confident humor...at the same time it was comforting to realise that she and I are friends close enough to be sisters, and sisters indeed that are close enough to be called friends.

My best friend's letter startled me a bit as I almost imagined her suddenly appearing in front of me and rattling off in her usual pessimistic voice about how difficult life is but how great it is to live nonetheless (and I thought she started complaining as a habit only in our post-college years...). But it was a revelation of sorts when she implored me to not leave her, which she wrote every so often in that letter. I feel that was when our drifting apart started kicking in; we started going out with other friends in our last year of high school, but were too busy to mind how alienated we have been to each other. I could almost feel her arm hooking to mine as she used to in school corridors, begging me to stay with her until her mom picked her up (knowing very well my driver was already waiting in the parking lot). She wrote about finishing my iced tea during recess time; I remembered how it was and how my barkada used to drink from my water jug and leave nothing for me (which probably reinforced my habit of not drinking enough fluids!). She also disclosed how tiring it was to keep laughing and making people laugh because that's how people knew your personality to be and you couldn't exactly afford to be quiet and not be left alone; and how I was one of the few she could be her true, imperfect, unhappy self. Over the years she has mastered the art of keeping her emotions to herself and/or translating these frustrations into petty vices and managed to go through each time without having to divulge anything to me; we barely call each other up (in stark contrast to our telebabad phase which infamously disturbed every exam week); and perhaps, we have outgrown the need to stick to a single best friend. We both have other people who probably know more of ourselves right now, but what remains is the memory of knowing who we used to be and the longing to look back on those times with someone who understands how we were then. I decided to email her after this and we've started sending letters (albeit the electronic way) again.

My ex (who was my boyfriend at the time) wrote the sweetest letter for me. He was vacationing in another country then and sent an email to me that served as his palanca. It had none of the bitterness that we both felt a few months into our relationship's demise; it was at its peak, we were in love, we were contented, we believed so much in what we had and that was what kept us going. To this day I still can't point to an exact cause of our breakup; it just crumbled apart till I woke up and found it not there anymore. Nevertheless, I have nothing ill to speak of him and we are on good terms, albeit on a lower level of closeness. This is probably the only letter I have left that came from him; all the others were burned in an act of closure and commitment to move on. I haven't heard from him lately and neither has he replied to invitations from our mutual friends to meet again and catch up on each other. All I hear from friends who see him once in a while is that he has gained a few pounds and appears to be happy. I sincerely hope he is. Happy, I mean. :)

So many things have happened since that retreat; some people and things I hold dearest now barely mattered then, while a few remain to be important yet don't quite tip the scales the same way. Looking back, I realise how my crises then seemed bigger then they were; it comforts me to find that my problems today won't matter as much in the future too. Amazing how a sleepleess night that revived old memories could bring so much insight.

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