Anj, Chubby, Jella
February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
This post is dedicated to Danielle Junella E. Balisi & Anjeli A. Alejandre.
In the beginning, we were 3. Jella, Reg, and me. We struck up a friendship because we were all seated beside each other and knew how to play the piano. I was Asuncion, Jella was Balisi, and Reg was Cuevas. It was our first year in high school, and though I was in the same school I went to for grade school, you could probably say I was quiet enough to pass off as a new comer. I hated the unnerving feeling of first days then. Jella and Reg, on the other hand, were actual new comers. They both recited like crazy in class and the first impressions I had of them were both annoying Ms. Congenialities. On the first day of our General Science meeting, our teacher was running late. I found myself listening to Jella’s continuous story about her peculiarly named school (Mother Goose Learning Center, or something) and her adventures in Pangasinan. I listened quietly and thanked fate that I got seated with a really talkative specimen because I was awkwardly shy. To further emphasize how talkative she was, I found myself at times staring at her mouth already because she was right about the most talkative person I had ever encountered. That’s one of my most vivid memories of our first encounter. haha. Thank goodness her stories were funny or I would have had a hard time feigning interest. haha. Since we were seatmates, we had to talk to each other. And eventually I did like talking to her. (We also spent a considerable amount of time on the phone every day). Reg often butted in our conversations as well, and we soon found ourselves taking recess and lunch together. Our posse became more formalized as we went to the College of Music together to take piano lessons and try out the deserted piano rooms reserved for college students on the 2nd floor. After some time, I got to know another newcomer who was my busmate and seatmate -on-the-other-side, Angge Blasa. Being my constant “uwian” companion and because we had a lot in common, the 3 of us became 4. By some twist of teenage fate, Reg found a better friend in her seatmate, Marda (we just didn’t have much in common, I guess), and Anj, who was seated near us as well being Alejandre, gradually replaced Reg. Anj’s inclusion to our posse was also a result of some adolescent drama with her friend. (oh, high school) Anj had more things in common with Jella , actually. They were both insanely creative and even had identical, clean handwriting, whereas Angge had these fat curls for penmanship and I had illegible scribbles. :)) The next year in highschool, Jella, Anj and I were still classmates but Angge got separated into a different class. (That’s like one of the worst verdicts in a set of friends when you’re in high school). Eventually, the inevitable happened and Angge spent less time with us and more time with her new classmates. Now being 3 in a group was more difficult because things usually happened in pairs. You lined up in pairs, groups often divided into even numbers, seat rows were divided by twos, and neither of us had 3-way calling on our telephones. Without Angge, I was more or less the odd one out. My inclinations were a bit different and my very conservative upbringing restricted me from going out on adventures with Jella and Anj. Their sorties to Robinson’s Galleria, Harrison Plaza and photo studios (they were addicted to studio pictures…and I still have all of the evidences hahaha) after class simply struck me as crimes against my conscience (because going to the mall in your uniform was sort of not allowed). They were both more girly, were both thin whereas I was, yes, chubby, haha. They went home the same way together, and in general had more freedom to do things I was prohibited from doing. They also had this skill in packing small bags while I couldn’t figure out what to leave and what not to leave at home. hahaha. In our entire 2nd year, they only successfully convinced me to go with them to the mall 1 time; and on that 1 time we had to get spotted by our PE teacher. Buti na lang PE teacher lang. hahaha. He didn’t care, but it was enough for me to want to go home. On our 3rd year in high school, I was the next one who got the same verdict as Angge, and though I still tried to maintain the same friendship with Anj and Jella, I too found myself with a new set of friends. Jella and Anj’s interest in the opposite gender (notice I cannot use the word “boys” only hahaha) was also something I could barely relate to at that time. The fact that I wasn’t bothered by my “Chubby” nickname said a lot about how disinterested I was in things like that. On our last year in high school, Jella and Anj didn’t end up in the same class either, and we all had separate friends as well. But this is not to say that we didn’t hang out anymore. We still maintained eating recess and lunch with all our other 1st year friends. We called each other sometimes, and gave each other presents and letters.
It’s probably here that I want to say Jella was the one who taught me to write letters to my friends. And she was the one who taught me how to make sure it was extra special and not just some letter on a card. It was because of Jella that on our (Jella, Anj & my) every birthday, there evolved a tradition that we had to make the celebrant a special card. It was never an emphasis on the gift, but on the letter. Jella was my first friend who gave me a large birthday card for my birthday. I still have it with me, and it has the large word “Tigritude” on it. It was our topic on our report in Speech and I don’t even know what the hell it means until now. It’s not in the encyclopedia for crying out loud. So I actually owe to Jella a big part of my thoughtfulness now. :) I will also forever admire how creative she is. No hyperbole there. She just didn’t know it then but her talent in art was unbelievable. For the art-handicapped like me, Jella was a demigod. She was always in charge of the bulletin board, and I was always proud to show off the drawings she did for me. Even if she spent a lot of our first year crying on me how frustrating her academics was, I knew deep inside that even if she failed that aspect she would still go far because she always had great ideas. But she didn’t fail that aspect, mind you. :) She had the talent and the confidence to make things happen. And of course, the talkativeness (slash PR skills) for it. :)) And now she’s a physical therapist with apparently the best boyfriend/future husband who loves her dearly, ready to conquer the East Coast with her double license. :’) I’m very happy for you Jella, I know you’ll make it big. :) Please continue tapering down your smoking and start learning how to cook so we can all eat sinigang and adobo when we go visit you. :)
Anj, on the other hand, to be honest was my least close among Angge and Jella. She was the prettiest of the 4 of us (and still is, some things never change :D) and on that note you could probably say the most popular in classic high school social class. I usually deemed myself undeserving of her attention. Not that we barely talked, but I kept my opinions to a minimum sometimes thinking I might bore her with all my childish ideas. In our letters, she was usually the one who wrote the shortest. You could say she didn’t look like the sentimental type. But I eventually realized I thought wrong. Up to this day, the only letter that can make me cry (even after reading it repeatedly for a lot of times already), is Anj’s graduation letter to me. :’) And that graduation letter (which is in .ppt format) was the only file that I saved from all of my countless high school files when I changed my laptop. Literally. When I transferred my files, I decided to let go of everything else before college, except that. As I’ve said, Anj and I didn’t have a lot in common. But I knew then that she tries hard to talk to me, and I do try my best not to kill the conversation. She always admonishes my jokes as corny and “auti”, and I know it’s a genuine term of endearment because she always laughs hard anyway. Siguro sa sobrang corny na din ng joke ko. hahahaha. I used to think she was the least affectionate, but in retrospect I realized she just wasn’t a touchy-showy kind of person. And that it was in the things that she did for me that she showed her thoughtfulness, albeit non-emotional as much as possible hahaha. During our 4th year, she was surprisingly sweeter than Jella (who was engrossed with “Romeo” then HAHAHAHA…JOKE!). Anyway, what she wrote in that letter, I guess, made us realize the same thing: that we do like each other and we’ll definitely miss each other’s idiosyncrasies. In fact, during the years in college that we didn’t see each other, I found myself keeping contact with Anj much more often than with Jella. My friendship with Anj made me realize that realizing you value a friendship is never too late. :) Anj is soon finishing med school, and though she claims she’s getting tired, I know she’ll succeed in her childhood dream, and she’ll be the prettiest & coolest doctor that I know. I hope that when your time comes to do a 1-on-1 with a future med student, you’ll tell her that the sacrifices are worth it and that you never regretted choosing to be a doctor. You’ll make us proud, I know it. :)
Me, Jella & Anj 2013
So 7 years after, we finally managed to set a real date for the 3 of us. I was 2 hours early and they were both half an hour late. The wait not only bored me hahaha, but it made me worry if we’d manage to talk about anything. I tried to think of what to say if dead air floats but the excitement to see them muddled my effort and I just left it to fate to see if we’ll still click.
And we still do. :) We never had an idle moment (thanks to Jella :)) ). Any awkwardness vanished the moment we started talking, and even if a lot of things have changed in all of us, there’s still that feeling that we were all still the same. That what we saw in each other when we became friends in high school was still there and always will be. When you’re in a conversation without the feeling that you need to prove or defend anything, you know you’re with old friends. I love you Anj and Jella. :) And I wrote this very long blog post dahil para habang bum ka pa Jella mabasa mo, and para pag napagod ka na sa trans Anj, basahin mo to. hahahaha. And because during those years that I was always M.I.A., you might have thought I never missed you. See, absence makes the heart grow fonder! :) hahaha. Reunion sa Jersey in 2 years sa bahay ng mga Bianes!!! :D wooohoooooo!!!! :D