A Friend of 41 Years Is An Undisputed Relationship A World Apart

Melette Celis, Aylesbury, England

This Saturday will be a convergence of wonderful friends and community allies as heir to my father's luminous public life and Advocacies. An inherited legacy of a man who put the poor and the needy ahead of his family. But he was a good and excellent father. His time to respond to those who came for help were his free time from his school teachings as one of the best educators of his time and family.

My roommate has prepared for this milestone for the last 10 years as promised when my life's  sun turned yellow. I thought she'd be burdened much on this Saturday's event, but no, as friends are coming together to help her piece together an evening of friendship and camaraderie. The cake, the lechon and other dishes, the banner, the centrepieces, entertainments like Jasmine Flores perhaps or Kate Mohan or Sammy Gavin, or the top TO musician couple or Merecyl Cauton, DFCS ladies, other artists that may come....like a star from Hamilton if she comes with her mom and friends who will take care of the music. It's all coming into place as if a magic wand has been waved to make things go on smoothly. And I will acknowledge them one by one post the celebration.

And the most beautiful floral arrangement as instructed by the giver from Aylesbury, England. My roommate hates surprises so she has to tell me that my friend in Aylesbury, England is giving me the best flowers we can find. Mamacita is put to task to create the floral arrangement.

I was touched by the many people that are working silently for this Saturday's event and trust all those you find in the room, played significant roles in my journeys in life. No matter how fleeting we met, as long as you leave a mark, a private invitation must have been sent.  There could be that we missed without intentions, I will apologize in advance if I can't reach you.

I met my friend in England in 1977 in college. We both grew up in Bohol. We took up the same course in UB. There were three of us who became inseparable back in college. Recently, one retired as a police major with the PNP and is enjoying her retirement. Meaning, retirement money by the millions. But she has drifted from us while me and my friend in England continued burning internet  connections once in a while. We stayed connected by distance.

We both dropped out of college on our final semester for personal reasons. Then we drifted apart. I went home to my hometown and I didn't know where she went. For many years we lost track of each other. We heard brief news and I knew that she went to Singapore as a domestic helper. I was also working overseas.

In one of my homecomings,  I travelled two hours from my town to visit her place where her family feels like my own. She wasn't there. She was in Manila because she married an Englishman and was processing her papers to follow him. Ironically, it was my first cousin who was a City Judge in Tagbilaran that wedded them.  I stayed for a day and went back home to my town late that afternoon.

For what maybe a joke of fate, my friend arrived from Manila few hours after I left and when her family told her I just left, I remembered she said she threw all her luggages in the porch and took a bus to follow me.

When my mother died in 1996, my friend was already in England with her husband that I hadn't met. After the funeral and I went back overseas, she called. She knew how closed I was with my mother. His husband talked to me too and comforted me as I was sobbing on the phone. I would forever remember that moment of how this friend reaches out to me with her husband in my life's darkest moment.

And that's what we are....sometimes we don't talk for months. We are like asteroids appearing and disappearing in our lives. But when special and significant moments happened to either of us, we suddenly come together, physically or in spirit.

I think I was already a Canadian when I came home and made sure I visited her ailing father who rose from his bed and we talked for hours. He was like a second father to me.

This Saturday, she has us ordered the flowers, the best floral arrangement we can find to fill the void of her absence on this one milestone as I look forward to my twilight's last gleaming or it may never even come. But wait...I haven't put off my father's torch just yet. 


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