He was in his usual naughty-playful-self before he got his father’s text message. It’s funny how it changed the mood. His mood. For a moment, there were silence. He wasn’t laughing anymore. Nor smiling.
And then we arrived at a convenient store. He told a few friends. Two, actually. He laughed a forced laugh and smiled a fake smile, while staring at the sandwich he bought when they told him how sorry they are for his loss.
You see, his lola passed away. And he didn’t have a chance to see her before or even on the day of the funeral.
“I’m busy,” he said.
But in his eyes, I see pain and regret. I know he wanted to go. But he didn’t. He had plans. And I felt sorry. I wanted so bad to comfort him. But he was so affixed at looking so easy and nonchalant that I never had the chance to express it.
I hugged him before we rode the jeepney but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t long enough. It wasn’t tight enough.
He kept looking outside. Rubbing his eyes. Telling me how he wished he could go and visit her. No. He did not cry. Or maybe he did but did not let me see.
He rubbed his eyes twice. And I had a feeling they were tears.
It breaks my heart whenever I see him like this. I was helpless. It was the worst feeling in the world.
I didn’t say anything. I just looked at him and held his hand with mine as tight as I could knowing that that was the only thing I can do to help ease his pain at that moment.
No. I haven’t seen her since their visit after the New Year’s Day.
And I wonder if she’s pulling through.
I haven’t given much attention to her or her siblings or her mother when they came her. Maybe because we were four when she left. I remembered her vaguely. But I know, I know her from somewhere. I know we played together before. I know, I know her. I know I remember.
When I saw her again the other week, I thought of her as someone who’s strong, motivated, inspired, and confident. The kind of person who’ll never show meekness and vulnerability. The kind who you’ll never see cry.
And today, I wonder if she’s the same person that I thought she was.
Her mother passed away early this morning. They tried to save her, but it was too late. It was a peaceful death, though. She died in her sleep.
Neighbors said she came here just to say good bye. Maybe. Or maybe not.
I am not close to her. But I felt a sudden rage of sadness enveloping me when Mom told me what happened. And then I wonder…
How is my friend dealing with this? Is she still the person I knew she was?