So what’s up? It’s been a while, huh? Ahmm, does it feel awkward now? I mean, we haven’t talked or chatted or dropped hi’s for some time now. It’s almost been a year since we saw each other last; and it’s been way longer since we drank beer together, or slept on the same bed, or cried our asses off, or stalked people side by side, or cursed and shouted and danced and sang and took photos and screamed and watched the world unfold from the best veranda in Manila, ever! When I enumerate stuff this way, days and months passing seem so quick that it already feels like decades of me being here and you being there. Well, your birthday is coming up; Teacher G’s, Claire’s, Ma’am Paula’s, and Joey’s have passed and mine is fast approaching (again) too… How unbelievably fast seconds and minutes and hours tick… how surreal our lives just go… Heck, this post shouldn’t end up sad! I guess this is to inform you that yeah, I’m still here, with my “unclingy” approach to coping with the changes life throws at me; meaning, I barely contact people I love so, so much including my sister and father and aunts! And you, and our friends. You know me, how hard I try to put on that brave face. But you would also know how it is for me. Who would better know my ‘sadnesses’ and ‘lonelinesses’ than you, dear C. Makes me kinda wonder now, if there’s anything you don’t know about me. I would sometimes sit alone somewhere and stare at spaces and think, what would C and J think of this? What funny stuff will come out of their mouths? How weird or gross or awful would the conversation turn out? Just thinking of possible answers crack me up (if they don’t end up making me sad). It’s crazy. I wish I could tell you things, like how work today went sooo freaking bad, and how I remembered my supposed 7th year anniversary with ____________, and how beautiful and depressing “Her” is that it reminded me of that love piece J made us read before, and much, much more. I simply want to blabber with you, dear C, ’till we are both silent and staring at the sky again. Both dreamy, both scared, both excited, if not depressed! All the things we would do, huh? All the topics we would cover in minutes. To happier times, C, to future times. Hang in there, while I try to do that here too. Don’t freak out on your birthday. Don’t forget “the plan” and don’t allow yourself to be confused with the outcome. You know what I’m talking about!!! Don’t quit on God’s Best and what you deserve. Hope against hope against hope. Stay vibrant, stay fierce, stay gentle at heart. And above all, just remind yourself that even if years take away from our friendship, we won’t love each other any less. For not everyone gets to see you down deep, stripped bare, or at your worst, and still choose to stay. We are the type of people who stay. We are the type of people who keep what matters. We are the type of people who endure when things suck. We stick to our person or people without being overly dramatic about absence or separation. You are my person, C. You will always be that to me. So, ’til our next veranda session. I miss you back. Lots and lots.