I barely remember his name, his face or his voice. But a few years back, we were friends –and there was one sweet gesture he did I’d never forget the rest of my life.
I just turned 17 that very day, and I was terribly homesick. Good thing my roommie was someone I knew from the campus I transferred from. Back then, I had separation anxiety —I left my closest friends and the life I was starting to build at that mountainous-but beach-y campus to pursue the course (I wanted above anything else) in an unfamiliar campus give or take 187 miles away from home.
It was starting to get late and we were inside our cramped, almost-windowless room preparing for a battle that took years to end –schoolwork, when my phone rang. My dorm mates from the old campus were all-giggly and high-pitched when I punched the answer button. After a few ‘happy birthdays’ and ‘we miss you bigtime’, I was teary-eyed. But the surprise didn’t end there.
I punched the loudspeaker button which caught my roommie’s attention –someone was playing a guitar on the other end while I can hear my girls screaming.
And I just knew right then and there who was playing from the other end. Then the giggles were drowned by his voice. He was singing that song he would always play by the stairs before you enter the dorm lobby. That moment, I felt like I was back in my dorm room, looking out the window and seeing him hangout with our other friends by the concrete stairs. I’m not sure if the girls coerced him to sing for me or if he did it voluntarily. All I know is, it was a great birthday gift –one that money couldn’t buy and something I would surely remember forever. After all, it was the first time someone serenaded me. I surely hope it was not the last.
Every time I’d hear that song, I’d equate it with that memory. Though I vaguely remember him, the warm and happy feeling that encased me while I listened to him sing doesn’t really feel so distant. As I try to put into words this memory, it’s as if it’s my 17th birthday again –but I had to ask a friend for the guy’s name. And though I’m quite certain he would not really dedicate that specific song to me (I mean, I wasn’t his type and we were just friends so the lyrics that went like “puso’y laging nasasaktan pag may kasama kang iba, di ba nila alam, tayong nagsumpaan na ako’y sayo at ika’y akin lamang” didn’t really apply for us then,) I’ll still and will always be thankful.