A couple of days ago, I started reading Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things” again for the third time. It’s a collection of short stories and poems created by Neil Gaiman. When I got to the poem The Fairy Reel – it made me stop short. And think.
It made me think about this guy, this friend of mine that disappeared on me so suddenly two and a half years before.
Anyway, Fragile Things was given to me by this very friend who share the same insights about things and thoughts about the mundane as me, who I just suddenly thought of after all these years just by opening Neil Gaiman’s book. And after reading The Fairy Reel (which was his favorite poem in the book, by the way). Some might even say he’s someone real special and close to my heart.
Well, actually – he really is. If you would be able to see how we interact with each other even with just written words – you would be able to witness what a wonderful thing we have or rather, in this case – had.
He was my elementary classmate back when my whole family was still living at Saudi Arabia. He was my first crush, come to think of it. We were classmates from 2nd to 4th grade before my dad decided to go back to the Philippines and stay there for good. We weren’t really friends, we don’t even run around the same circle of friends (not that there were many back then) – but we rarely talk – except for when the class calls for it. But he made an impact on me for some reason. A lot of my other girl classmates were crushing on this other guy, but me? No, I had to go crushing on him. Probably because there’s some strange deeper connection that we have that would actually go on until we’re adults? Hmmm… Maybe. Not that I was really thinking of that at that time.
Anyway – when my family went back to the home country – I lost all contact I had with him. With him and the rest of my other friends back in Saudi. Honestly, I never thought about him for a very VERY long time after that.
Until that one fateful day during college. I remember that day very vividly…
It was my first class of the day, that was a Thursday, 7:00AM at the 4th floor of Palma Hall (AS to most UP Diliman students). My class then was SocSci1. One of my classmates and I were waiting for most of our classmates to arrive as well as for our professor. So we were hanging out in the corridor just talking when she suddenly squealed. I raised my eyebrows at her thinking, what the hell was that for? When she explained that she just saw one of her cute blockmates across the hallway coming our way, the same blockmate that she was telling me that she wanted to introduce to me. I got psyched all of a sudden. Who wouldn’t after being told that you would be introduced to a “cute” college boy?
So my classmate called her blockmate to come over to us. When he was already at my back, I turned around to be introduced only to get shocked. It was him. I was speechless to say the least. It was definitely him. Only taller, lankier and much more good looking. I guess he was shocked too since he didn’t say anything until my classmate introduced him to me. That’s when we shook hands and I told him, “I know you. You’re a classmate from PESA way way back…" He nodded and replied that yes, he knew me too but he needed to run or he’ll be late for his first class.
That was the year 2000 and I didn’t hear back from him again until 2006. 6 years. 6 long years before I hear from him again.
All throughout college – he kept popping back into my mind. Very seldom but still he pops up. What ifs were always forming. What if we talked longer. What if we met again. What if we were classmates in one of our GE subjects. These things never did happen though.
Graduated 2004. Started to work immediately after that in the advertising world. Worked for a couple of years before deciding to migrate abroad, in the US to be exact.
October 8, 2006. After work, going back to my place and getting myself a microwaveable dinner – I opened my laptop to check on emails, do some social networking stuff etc. etc. When I opened my personal email, I was shocked to say the least when I saw an email from him. From him of all people after all these years.
He was telling me that he found my email address from one of his friends’ yearbook (our college yearbook). He saw me and thought that he’ll try and keep in touch, hoping against hope that I would answer.
And I did.
And so a love story of emails back and forth began. We were each other’s confidante. We were each other’s listening ear, each other’s virtual shoulder to lean on, each other’s virtual significant other, if I may call it that.
We had something in there. Even with just the emails. That connection. That deep connection that you couldn’t really deny. It was like you know that with him, he will be able to understand you no matter how dull or humdrum your everyday life is or the way you talk about it with him. It was something with meaning. Something of importance.
But all of a sudden, again I know – July 16, 2007 – after my last reply to his July 14th email, he stopped and disappeared on me. Again. After a year of getting to know each other. After a year of getting intimate virtually. After just a year – he disappeared. Once more.
And now, almost three years later – here I am, thinking of him again. Just because I’m reading a book that he gave to me.
I am halfway through my book. Halfway done. And I thought of trying to contact him again. Who knows – we might be able to find that connection again even just through friendship. I just hope this time, I find him. And this time once I find him, I hope he doesn’t disappear on me.