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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reunions (2): Boy-He-Man rhapsody

Arguably, the last time I saw him in the flesh was a decade a half ago. We were both in the cusp then of adolescence and friendships were a dime a dozen.

We were in the first team to constitute our school’s elementary student council under the H.I.P. H.O.P. Party (Honest and Intelligent People for High and Outstanding Performance). We campaigned furiously, replete with bookmarks and homemade popcorn bearing our inimitable smiling frog logo. Of course we won, sweeping all seats except one. Whether or not we “governed” well- I’ll let history judge.

We were together the Jorge B. Vargas Centennial Jamboree in Tagaytay City, August 19-26th, 1991. The song of the hour then was More Than Words. During that jamboree, our scouting adviser cooked dinner for us. It was a muddy, muggy, damp time of the year; certain combination of scents and smells bring me to that place still 15 years hence. We learned in that short period of time that Tagaytay had more underground denizens that those living atop. It was in this camping that I heard a ghost shackled in chains walk around our tent. It was in this camping that I almost ceased to be had it not been for a wayward trunk of felled banana tree that halted my skid into a ravine.

But I digress.

He was my sister’s circle of friends’ mascot. He was this small, precocious kid that was not hard to endure and enjoy. He seemed wise for his age then, with a characteristic toothy smile to offset his high-cut spiky hair reminiscent of an ROTC cadet. (If you’re reading this, forgive the foggy traipse down memory lane. This is how I remember you back in the day so just bear it and grin.)

And then life happened. I transferred schools. We lost touch. One of those people you meet along the way, I suppose.

Then, Friendster.

After a decade and a half, I get to re-encounter this… Person… I hardly know him anymore. Life happened to him too.

Reading his Friendster profile was like rifling through a menagerie of things dissident. Lest he takes this as an absolution or a pat on the back (not that he needs any from me!), I’d rather not make a litany of his (mis)adventures. Suffice it to say… Life happened to him.

After a series of failed meet ups masked as invitations to watch his band play, we finally did meet up that faithful Saturday of March 31st during the launch of our LomoManila photo exhibit. To be honest, I didn’t recognize him initially. Must have been the Mohawk he was sporting. Or the plump cheeks. Or that bottle of Red Horse he was clutching. Or the ciggie he was puffing away.

But then that childlike signature demeanor was brought to the fore as he slammed away at the songs, snug in his corner behind the drumset. Nifty playing, by the way. SO MUCH better that the all-chick band who performed before you did. The Outlaws rocked the LomoManila Lomo Revolution Party!

T’was great shooting the breeze with you! Man, life happened to us, hasn’t it? Talking like two fogeys about the elections, the environment, being teachers, being unmarried, art-as-activism, dreams of Palanca glory (or the sheer terror that accompanies winning one)…

T’was great seeing you. I don’t want to sound like a total wuss, but it sure is a treat seeing you again. Next up, reunion with the old boys from that Tagaytay jamboree? A thousand bucks for anyone who can bring along Miss Pulido- call?

See you in a few, Carl.


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