When Childhood Friends Say Goodbye
Back in the 1970s, we lived on Cuangco St,. Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati, Metro Manila. I had a number of best friends in those days; they were usually my neighborhood playmates, among whom were the brothers Merilles (Joel, Aldrin, Jonathan, and Jeffrey). Their family lived just about three houses away from ours. The eldest of the brood, Joel was my batchmate; we were quite inseparable in those days, especially when we were in Grade Four. However, in 1980, their family relocated to somewhere in Sucat. In those pre-Internet and even pre-cellphone days, when childhood friends transfer residence, that was it--you usually didn't see each other again. After several years more, it was my family's turn to transfer residence; and we never saw each other again.
In those days, when childhood friends said goodbye, it usually meant farewell.
A few years ago, I started searching on Facebook Joel until I stumbled upon someone who knew the brothers. In short, I got in touch with Aldrin again. I felt really sad and surprised when he told me about the death of his Kuya Joel in 1995 because of an illness which rendered Joel bedridden at a hospital for months.
Last week, I messaged Aldrin to invite him to our gig in Sucat. To my delight, he with his friend Joseph Pama showed up. Seeing each other after 33 years was really wonderful especially to someone like me who has a vivid memory of my childhood and who values friendship highly.
Of course, in the passing of time, long-separated childhood bestfriends could never be that close again. That's a reality. But just the fact that we've seen each other again and learning what happened to each other's life was enough to satisfy your sense of wonder about long-lost friends.
To Aldrin: I felt really good meeting you in person after more than three decades. For a fleeting moment we were face to face and talking lively with each other, I felt as if I was back in the 1970s when we were not even 10 years old.
Thanks also to your friend Joseph Pama for expressing delight and appreciation for the music of my band.
May you, guys, continue to live a fairly good life.
Here's to our childhood memories!
I with my '70s childhood friend Aldrin Merilles (in red/white shirt) with his friend Joseph Pama (blue shirt)