GILBERT MIRANDA, QES CLASSMATE, FRIEND, GONER
Gilbert Miranda never invented anything except stories he made up to please his wife. He led a very typical life much like those in the community where he resided. While he dreamt to be a successful engineer one day, he never reached it for practical reasons. For him there was no need for a diploma if one is already adept and skilled. But his skills did not take the form of genius. It never even became extra ordinary to merit some kind of award. He was merely a notch higher in the department of industry and punctuality. Gilbert was Sonny to most of his friends, especially those he rubbed elbows with during his elementary days.
To a nation struggling for survival, for a spot in the sun, Sonny never mattered at all. He was even ignored in the community where he belonged. He was just a common man, a pedestrian so to speak.
But Sonny was a good friend, a very patient guy. He enjoyed the company of his former classmates. He was bookish sometime past, quite resourceful and would even feign sickness just so he would not be bothered by his friends when reviewing for a quiz. His efforts gave him that advantage. He would rather show the mettle of what he learned than wait for the school to declare it.
At a time when he was supposed to haggle with semestral units like his contemporaries, he was already gainfully employed. And because he had a job, the next thing necessary was for him to have a family of his own. He married ahead of his peers. He was easily the toast of his company. He was young, industrious, dexterous and disciplined. For a number of years, he was living the life of a charmed person.
When his peers graduated and started hunting for employment, he was already making something. He may not have arrived yet in the corporate sense but he was almost there. Meanwhile, his peers were catching up. They were slowly crawling and warming up. The succeeding generation was just behind. But expertise entered the picture. The junior workers were more technology savvy and digitally oriented. They had the schooling, the credentials, the high definition exposures. They barged into the corporate world and aggressively pushed those with lesser credentials. Sonny was one among those side swept in the process. Sonny had no benefit of receiving a diploma and that was what floored him down. He was forced to resign at a time when he was about to reach the top. There was just a glut of eager graduates with similar persuasions like that of Sonny. And this youthful entrants were cheaper to maintain.
His former classmate was there when it happened and he was immediately rescued. He was given another task but it was in (Davao Penal Colony) based in a far flung province of Mindanao. He could not bear the thought of leaving his family for a stretch of time. He merely spent a couple of months in the area. He wanted to be physically close to his loved ones. He bided his friend eventually , folded up his work, and then flew back to his community of orientation, back into the embrace of his wife and kids.
And so, he began to trek in another dimension, this time back on the starting line. Meanwhile, his peers had already overtaken the obstacles of challenge, had proven their mettle too and about to take greater challenges on top of their respective organizations. Those who rose instantly diversified and founded their own businesses, others left the country for greener pastures. The pressure of domestic requirements and the tension of seeking fiduciary succor through work had a telling mark on his health. He was diagnosed with hypertension and that would virtually, with fledging supply of costly medication, disturb his performance. In no time, he would suffer one mild stroke after another until finally his health would deteriorate. For a time he could no longer bear the travails of recuperation, seeing his family forced to eke for a living. The wife would likewise be enjoined, late in life as it were, to look for some work to keep their skin and bones together. Worst, they were also sustaining the medical and physical needs of their children, one of them physically disabled since birth.
It was then that his classmate, his closest friend would lend a succor. Sonny was facing adversity in capital letters but pride dictates that he must have to bear it alone. His neighborhood friends however were still fledging except for a handful of former classmates. But his requirements would increase as his health condition would worsen.
One day, sometime ago, three years to date to be exact, Sonny would succumb. He died of complications brought about by high blood pressure. He departed at the age of 58, leaving behind his wife and three children, all grown-ups already.
There was no fire and brimstone, no drama and hysterics during the time of his internment. His community remained normal. When he was buried, not even the heavens showed any sign.
But as his closest and best friend, I grieved fervently at his passing.