I knew something was going on. The class was a little restless, our teacher was unusually excited and strangers went in and out of the classroom bringing boxes and food containers. When the cake came in, I realized someone was celebrating hi/ her birthday. When one is four years old, you seldom remember other people’s birthday. That day, I found out, it was Era Joy’s my best friend’s.
|Era Joy's 5th Birthday in Nursery class|
She came in to class in a pretty pink dress while the rest of us were in our uniforms. I don’t remember if we like each other but I remember very well that we often say ‘miga ko na sya’ (she’s my friend) when asked about each other. We were in Kindergarten School then and who you call your friends matter. I just knew I had someone nice to call my friend.
The old lady with swept up hair and thick glasses gave me a newsprint booklet with colorless pictures. I ran my fingers on them while taking glances at the other seven-year olds who were excited to take the test. If we passed, we can enroll in the first grade in elementary.
Suddenly, the short-haired girl beside me pointed at the picture, “ That’s the answer” she said in a condescending voice. I looked at her and sarcastically replied, “Kabalo ko!” (I know!) I did not forget her face, nor her grandmother’s who was all made-up like a retired beauty-queen. They called her Jaja. Little did I know that for most of my school years, she will be my seatmate.
|Us with Lola Sonia, Jaja's grandmother.|
So it is a surprise why in the years that followed, we called ourselves Best Friends. Yes, the 3 of us eventually became friends and went through elementary and high school together.
Until today, I wonder how we became friends since there’s so little that’s common between us. Era Joy is very prim, proper, and is careful about things. She was good at taking down notes during classes. Jaja and I were parasites, we would just photocopy her notebook. She is very loyal and enjoys studying very much.
Jaja (who was named Kathryn Anne by her parents) is the athletic type. She swims, plays table tennis, goes on biking. She was always like of the boys. So she surprised us all when she joined a beauty contest. She’s very good in math and is a born leader. And yeah, she is in every bit choleric. She was very vocal of her passion for God too.
Meanwhile, I, was not into note-taking, nor any sport…nor any beauty contest. I was into school activities and, writing. I took my journal seriously and loved sending and receiving love notes. I wrote my friends almost every day. So I guess I can say I was into relationships. Today, these notes are still with me. Precious!
Jaja, Era Joy and I, though we call each other friends, never became ‘exclusive friends’. In fact, most of the time, we went with other people . Like, Era Joy has a group of girls that takes the same route going home. Jaja went with the boys most times and I was always with my best boy friend Jong. But, we still call each other best friends.
|The three of us with our high school classmates.|
In high school we had so many fights. In the years that followed, we had months when we didn’t talk. Sometimes, misunderstanding overtook us. But, as each year concluded, when we had to show up for the annual class reunion, we still call ourselves best friend.
Last Sunday, after a long time of not spending time together because of geography, our time and location plotted. We had a wonderful time talking about stuff, mostly things that don’t concern us. Hahahaha! Over Chicken Inasal and Calea cakes, we thanked God that we have each other to call our vey own friend.
It wasn’t because of what we have done for each other that we call ourselves the best of friends. It is because we call ourselves ‘Best Friends’ that we make an effort to be there for each other. We have vowed not to stop calling ourselves that. Therefore, we are under obligation to prove it everytime.
And the proving part has always been a pleasure!
|Sunday afternoon at The Ruins|
Note: I intend to write about the people I call friends. I pray that as I share to you how they have changed my life, you will also come to appreciate your own friends.