Greetings my dear brethren,
Actually, I am at a loss if at all I would be asked to describe a friend. There are so many description of what it is. Accordingly, there are good friends, fair weather friends, accidental friends, instant friends, etc. At first glance, there are also best friends and friends of your friends. This generation has defined friendship in a narrow sense by introducing the so-called BFF or best friend forever as if there is no limit or challenge to encounter.
There is also a new friend in contrast with an old friend; a young friend with that of an elderly friend. There is also the ex-friend, one who once was a part of you but money or jealousy set you apart. And then, the boss friend, one whom you look up to similar to a parent but is more protective of your turf or interest.
As there are so many classification and categories of friendship, so is my relation to my friends. Although I would rather not arrange them in batch or column but would rather accept them, as they come, as they really are—as plain and simple—friend.
I don’t really care if friendship is used to exploit or explore someone. I don’t really care if I encounter hardship or penury because of it. I don’t give a damn if there is curse appended to it. For me, a friend is a friend is a friend.
History reveals that betrayals are more of a natural response among friends. Treachery is almost an element. Disloyalty and perfidy can only be expressed in the course of friendship gone haywire. In friendship, there is danger and pain. But it is also in friendship where salvation and deliverance is sweeter.
I grew up in an environment that makes a person whole. My orientation is more renaissance than romantic. I learned early that one could survive and be an island all by himself. It is easier to be alone than with someone. You are not only forced to work for the success of a relationship, you also do not impose or expect someone to adjust to your idiosyncrasies. It is fair for everyone.
If at all I would be enjoined to live in a group, I would rather present myself as a friend, rather than move around looking for one. I see myself as complement rather than an accessory; a counterpart more than a decoration. I am never in search of friendship if it would only reduce someone. I would rather have someone improving as a consequence of my existence.
And so alone I hop from one genre to another. Adjusting from one field onwards another. Brokering plans, entering into various areas in search of dreams, formulating opportunities and in the process creating friends along the way. The more I move around, the more friends I make, the more people I meet, the more occasion to be acquainted with humanity.
I project myself as friendly as I can, I share ideas, I share experiences, I share almost everything I have. I am neither discriminating nor astute. I am never envious or covetous. I can relate with a bum and collaborate with a genius. I can live in a cave and be at ease in a palace. I can be pleasant in prison and be amiable inside a church. I can be anywhere. I am never choosy. I believe in the dictum “bloom where you are planted.”
Wherever I am I feel fulfilled. I can already count my blessings. But there are instances when I would find myself surrounded by people. It is at times incumbent in my stars that wherever I find myself in a particular area, there are people who would later constitute a circle where I always would wind up. They navigate on the same stream I would find myself paddling. My association with them would later be seen as a friendly overture for collaboration. Some would find my cause and would find it similar to them. We co-exist precisely because of it. As I move, so they would also. Any error committed along the way would likewise be seen as a collective error with me at the top. That would also be a realization that despite my keen understanding of danger, of skillfully eluding hazards, here I am confronted with scores of them, which at times are brought about by careless acts.
I am also never given to blaming others. Neither would I retreat for being undiscriminating. I would just shrug my shoulders and analyze things with a view of changing strategies as events unfold never to be shortchanged or fooled by incidents ahead of me. The problem, I dare say, is not mine or from those who are close to me. The problem is the inability to act, inability to understand and inability to skip a sink hole. While I have such readiness, the company I keep has no orientation about it. As they fail and crash, so does my own prestige also.
But there is no rancor on my part. I along with my friends are subject to any trial and tribulation. I can be a part of failure, I can join a painful struggle, I can also withstand difficulty along with the great masses. After all, I am but a bit player in the universe, very mortal and naturally corporeal. Like any other living creature, I bleed, I get hurt, I am subject to Father Time. I get sick and experience frustration. I exhibit every weakness of a human being except one quality which I disdain and has completely ignored, that of cowardice. But just like any other man who believes in luck, I could only sit back, smile and be contented in contemplation, thinking that I can succeed in any endeavor at any given time whenever I set my mind into.
That is one area I wish my friends would internalize too.
Time flies fast. Life is just a moment. Memories linger longer but after a few headlines, it flicker into oblivion. In the end, names, accomplishments, records, affairs are completely forgotten.
A bubbly healthy and cute person hugging life would one day transform into a crawling, ageing specie courting death. That’s the cycle. That is inevitable. There are no side streets; the path is straight, narrow as it were, and without traffic. The end is always there.
But there are two places where time is frozen but these are more artificial than real. It may be a bit surreal but it is better than nothing at all. One is prison. A person locked down to serve time, say for 20 years, may have carried the flaws of his behavior that pushed him to commit infraction, the very passport to imprisonment, yet his time remains the same.
During the period, time would be ignored. It must be wasted literally. Freedom should be achieved by disregarding reality. Until finally, liberty is handed over. It looks more of a rebirth than reinvention.
In a digital world, there is another space where time can be frozen aside from a penal facility. There is Facebook. One’s timeline within this page captures the essence of existence.
There is more functional movement in FB. One can post as many comments he can express—emotional or hilarious, philosophical or pedestrian, quotable or foolish. He can even copy and paste on his wall every angle of his face, adventures and misadventures for all he cares.
Unlike in prison where most of the time a person buries himself out of pain and humiliation, in FB he is there open, enjoining even the world, inviting everyone, to share positive and negative images directly from his mind. Both suspends an instance and at the same time measures a person’s condition. In both situations, the person can express everything he intends to impress to his universe. Meanwhile, he remains in command of his time, in command further of how he wanted to be viewed in time.
But there is a difference in terms of understanding. When I saw a client in prison after three decades, I was surprised to find the fellow hale, sharp and upbeat. He must have adjusted well in a very restrictive environment. Except for a few age related wrinkles, the fellow is physically fit and about to enter the mainstream of free society.
In my FB account, I was also surprised to receive an unexpected link. It came from a classmate from way back the Jurassic period! I could no longer reconcile how my friend looked like. In my mind, while I know he was my classroom buddy, his recent photo, assuming it was his real picture, there was a marked difference. He has changed except that his language, his nostalgic reminders remain static and frozen in time.
Three decades or thirty years may have been a generation already. It could have been an ordinary period used and wasted, spent and used, consumed and recycled, but it remains the same even by stretching another sequence.
Serving time in prison may have stopped a spell after a while, but in FB the spell continues—even when the person is in life hereafter.
Dear Tata Romy,
You are probably in heaven already after months in the purgatory. It has been a year since you passed away. Your sins may have been laundered and you wished, as you prayed before and tried to be good, to gain entrance in the Pearly Gates one day. You never intended to leave the rest of the mortals but it was an accident waiting for you. You never bothered to tell me that you have a faulty eyesight. I knew it before but I was expecting you to come forward to complain. You never did. Worst, everytime you take the wheel and drive for me, you had difficulty in negotiating anything on the left side. But knowing you, such deficiency was of no import.
Besides, you believed, as you always maintained, that with me around, there was no difficulties to confront and that everything is surmountable.
I am not telling you this by way of scolding. You were smart enough to die early so that you won’t hear anything negative from me. You never wanted to hear anything unsavory from me in the first place. You would rather join me in accosting others, scolding and chastising them. You felt that your association, close association with me had conferred on you enough authority. Well, I am amused everythime you display such attitude. As a matter of fact, I was even prodding you to read every book I have completed so that the snippets of wisdom, the wits and ideas derived from the exercise would dawn on you. And I tell you my friend that I am impressed with your audacity.
I wrote you because while rummaging through my personal things I saw this compact disc which contained the recording of our radio broadcast sometime last year. I took you in as my co-pilot in that radio broadcast because you have the proper voice timber. By exposing you to the medium, you probably would be able to get the timing, the resources, the materials which I am also using and in the process, in the long run rather, I may be able to bequeath to you the slot and you would be on your own as an anchor man.
Our radio slot was an enjoyable experience. We had fun. We poke on each other, joking and exchanging thoughts, amusing ones. The two hours alloted for us would merely fade out without us even expecting that we have consumed the time already. I intentionally left radio broadcasting so that it would dawn upon you to continue with the craft. But you left also as soon I took my leave.
You never wanted to be alone. You always wanted to be at my side. You always expected some funny story, a gag or a yarn from me to begin your day. And I would never let you down. As a matter of fact, I also rejoiced at those tales I would share to you because your laughter was my barometer in delivering the same to others.
Together we enjoyed the bounties of wisdom. We even explored the possibility of leading an immortal life. We knew that science was closing in on such possibilities. You were prepared to become a centenarian and so was I. We were passing notes on the merits of herbal and some incantations so that we will not be affected by limitations of mortality. I knew that those doctrines I shared with you would not be wasted by trivial considerations.
But on that day, you chose to be on your own. Although I know that it would just be an instance but that space, that limited period could have meant so much. You had a freak, an unnecessary accident, for which it cost you so much—your safety and eventually your life.
It’s a pity that you are the only friend I had who stuck with me for close to two decades, without complaining, no grumbling, not even to whine nor submit any protest. You are an ideal buddy, a great partner. One who worship friendship and almost treat it as something sacred.
And yes, I thought of writing you also not only by way of reminding me of your loyalty but also because on this month, the universe claimed you as its part. My parents and recently my sister had gone also and I just hope that you will meet them all on your way to paradise.
Take care my friend and please don’t use my doctrine in getting privileges up there!
Your constant counsel,