we interrupt regular (translation: shallow and narcissistic ramblings) in this blog with me remembering one of my closest guy friends, chio.
chio passed away unexpectedly on 3 march 2004. i skipped work that day since i got home late from my birthday dinner the night before and was rudely awakened by a text message from him.
prior to that eventful day, he had surprised me with a text message on 24 february, telling me he was home from jeddah, and asked me if we could meet up. i was on a bus bound for cabanatuan; there was no way i could go back to manila at 9 in the evening. i told him that he could either take a bus bound for cabanatuan too or we could meet when i get back. he opted for the latter.
when i got back, though, he was somewhere -- ilocos or something like that. he told me he was okay. the day before my birthday, he sent a great number of text messages, once more frantically asking if we could meet up. i was on my way to a date, i told him, and tried to set up a meeting on the third instead. he told me, he would be flying back on that day. maybe tomorrow, he offered.
i didn't hear a peep from him on my birthday. or if i did, it was a perfunctory happy birthday text message. nothing like what i've come to expect from the person who'd drive all the way to UP on tuesdays just to hang out, or the person who played chess with me notwithstanding my non-existent skills. certainly this wasn't the same person who did everything in his power to revive a friendship i tried killing just cause i was uber-pissed with him over something crazy shallow.
so back to 3 march. it was around 6:30 a.m. he was texting me stuff that forced me to wake up and text furiously back. "let's meet, now!" i told him. he assured me he was on his way to taal, and that his sister was on the back seat, sleeping. he told me he was on his way home. he told me he was going to be fine. we must've exchanged billions of texts that morning. his last message: i'm home now. thanks for everything.
i didn't realize that when he used the word "home", he meant a home not on this dimension.
a little more than six hours later, i got a call that changed my life: chio, my best bud, was gone.
to this day, no one really knows what happened. the girl refused to talk about it, and fed us the line that they were fine. chio's last instruction to his sister (in an email he apparently sent before they left for taal) was to take care of the girl. chio's last words were posted on his blog, in a post i read after i was informed by his sister that he was already gone. the post basically said the same thing -- it wasn't her fault, it was his fault cause he was too weak.
i can't imagine him weak. he was my confidante, my big brother and my baby brother rolled into one. he was someone who knew me inside out. once, he loved me so much till i said no, and once i loved him till he said no. at the end of the day, we realized we were better off as friends, although we had a running joke that no one would be better for him than me, and no one would be better for me than him.
seven years later, i still don't think i can forgive the girl who caused him so much pain and misery. in my most evil moments, i wish that she'd continue to suffer guilt each and every single day of her life. i stumbled onto her blog once, reading how she coped after he left, except that the posts stopped after a bit. maybe she moved on, i wish she didn't though.
i pray that chio got to ask for forgiveness before he left this world, and i pray that chio is in a better place now. in good times, i imagine chio riding around heaven in that blue green toyota corolla that's coding on tuesdays, driving to heaven's version of ilang-ilang residence hall, waiting for the time when we could bond once more over inane movies, flat tops, and ghosts.