For Old Time's Sake
Whoever said that you're lucky if you have 5 close friends by the time you're old was right. Last weekend was a painful reminder of that. I met up with some classmates from college for lunch at Makati last Saturday. It felt like before, as if no time had passed since we last met - although I was embarassed to walk in 1 1/2 hours late (came from a wedding in Antipolo).
The same jokes, banter and laughter was there. It would have been ok, except that there were two guys from my block that, by the time we graduated, I was on bad (non-speaking) terms with. The rift occured approximately the same time with both of these guys, whom I shall name B1 and B2 respectively, sometime during our senior year. They were both good friends that I used to hang out with, until they were pissed at me for different reasons and decided to consolidate their rage towards me.
Now fast foward to a few years later: there I was, having lunch with them as if nothing happened between us. B2 greeted me with a "pare" and a buddy-buddy high-five as I sat down, and again when I settled into my seat. B1 was sitting a few seats away from me, but greeted me just the same (sans the high-five). It was surreal to be in their company once again after all the issues and years that passed between us. I dryly mentioned what work I was doing now, and showed some pictures of my son stored in my digital camera. They were swapping stories and teasing each other usual, with me as the quiet one commenting occasionally. I was comfortable with this kind of thing back at our tambayan, but now it's different since I was silent because of how surreal and awkward things were. It should have been a fun time, catching up on the latest stuff about my friends, but sad to say, it was a tense and complex affair for me. I bet B1 and B2 saw how sad and uneasy my downcast expression was.
I don't get it. Are they thinking that they've "found it in their hearts" to forgive me? Or they honestly just decided to let bygones be bygones? I remember back in college when I tried to talk to both of them about the ever-growing gap between us. I honestly tried to salvage our friendship by opening a dialogue between us. The thing is B1 was my thesis partner who did have the right to get mad at me for slacking off big time. I've since then made the necessary amends and have done everything, short of cutting off my pinky yakuza style to let him know I was sorry. I even wrote him a letter telling him that I didn't want to lose our friendship over something like that. A goddamn letter. Shit, you only do that crap for your girlfriend. But oh no, he wouldn't have any of that. The guy even called me garbage behind my back, the nerve.
And for B2? Well, he had entirely different and invalid reasons for getting mad - at least the reasons I heard from other people. He never had the guts to tell me himself. I'd rather not get into the details of why he was upset, but take my word for it, it was silly and childish.
Of course being the spineless twit that I am, I never brought up the pent-up feelings I had during that lunch. I was afraid to ruin the occasion, considering that we (the rest of my blockmates) never get together at all. Seeing them happy and chattering cheerfully, I painfully felt out of place trying to grasp the weirdness of the situation. If B1 and B2 can act normal about it, I can't. Not at least until we clear the air about our past diffrences. The fact of the matter is, they left me out to dry back then. Tangina nila, tinabla nila ako...iniwan sa ako ere.
The last half of my college days were not happy ones, as far as the ones I could remember. It was not only a low point of my undergraduate life, but my life in general. Where the hell were they when I was down in the dumps? Acting like coy motherfuckers, snickering behind my back. What kind of friend would do that to you? I have a lot of hang-ups from that time I guess, and they were part of that.
As it stands, we can be civil with each other as from what I saw last Saturday. But friends again? That remains to be seen. Should I try yet again to get them to open up and talk about what happened? Or would that be another pandora's box for my sanity, and leave things as they are?
I shouldn't have come. I could've spent time with my wife or son instead. Read a book. Watched a movie. Anything else.