Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Act 26: Departure (Part 1)

October  5, 2010.

I stared at the date on my planner like a freak. Aside from the fact that I look like a zombie at work, I haven’t been doing anything since I got in the office, and it’s already half past 11 in the morning.

Today was his birthday. Today was Kuya BJ’s birthday. And it just dawned on me… I won’t be able to see him anymore. He just left the country 18 hours ago.

The message he sent me was still in my inbox. The second message to be exact. It was that same message that bore the fact that he was bound to work, and probably reside in Saudi… for good. And I just received it… yesterday.

No Mark, I’m leaving soon. I’ll be going to the Middle East to work. Mark, I’ll finally be able to be with my mom after a long time. This is what I had been waiting for since mom left to work abroad. I guess this would also open more opportunities for me. And I might stay there, for good...
Sender: Kuya BJ

Leaving soon… Yeah right Kuya BJ. How soon is soon? Like a few hours away? I tried to set up a date with him. I wanted to see him badly. To talk to him. To settle our unfinished business. But the next message brought uncontrollable tears that even I could not contain.

I’m leaving now Marky... In fact, I’m already at the airport. It’s better this way. No tears... No sad good-byes... Take care my little bro. Remember this, you’ll always be my baby bro no matter what happens. I love you.
Sender: Kuya BJ

I was at the office and I can’t help but cry. I was shedding tears like mad. How could he do this? How could he leave me this way? Am I that easy to leave and forget? Why didn’t he tell me earlier? His message was too short for me to accept. Just like that? Just because he hates goodbyes and tears? Damn, I just shed buckets for him. Wasn’t that enough sacrifice on my part? He’s just saving his butt from the misery that he had placed upon me. He had just left a curse which I probably would bring for the rest of my life.

This was one of the saddest part of my life, being left behind by someone I learned to love… For good.

Have you ever felt that feeling of being separated from someone very imporatant yet you know there’s always another chance for you to see each other? You know that there is a definite time that you can again meet? That way of knowing how you can easily see someone whenever you feel like seeing the person? That was not what I felt when Kuya BJ left.

I’ve left people before and I knew I had been left as well, and those experiences totally took a part of my heart away. But I knew they’re there when I need them. I can always bring back that part of me that I had lost in the process. But it was different when you know that you’ll forever be separated from that person. It’s different when you know that you can’t anymore bring back that missing piece.

A lot of things remained unanswered between the two of us. A lot of what-ifs. And along with these questions are the memories that might probably be forgotten.

It was as if yesterday that we were together at the kitchen, me helping him cook his specialty, which was truly my favorite. It was as if yesterday that he bought me this cute little stuff toy of a puppy which we fondly called Venice. Those were the days.

And now, as I sat on my desk, staring at the planner, tears again cascaded down my cheeks. I know Kuya BJ and I had never been a couple but what we’ve shared is far more precious than that of two lovers.

I wanted to shout, to scream, but I was too weak to do so. It was as if all the energy had been sucked out of my life. I’m too tired of all the drama in my life? Why does this always happen to me? Every time I’m about to be happy, something bad will surely steal the show.

Lately, everything had been turning against me. Sometimes, I ask myself, had I been the worst person in the world to be experiencing all these hardships in life? Why can’t it be some random evil guy walking along the streets of Manila? Of all people, why does it have to be me?

Aside from the fact that I’m starting to hate my job and the sudden departure of Kuya BJ, I’m about to fall into the deep abyss of perpetual misery. Gian and I are not doing well so to speak.

After that ceremonious day of Graduation, it finally occurred to me that I am officially a bum. After all the laughter and sadness that enveloped the wondrous occasion, I just found myself at a lost. I don’t know where to go next.

Gone are the times when I knew which path to take. I knew that I need to enroll after graduation and I knew I just need to study and pass every year. But now that I already graduated, I’m surely confused.

“You need to get a job!” Gian said with a smile on his face.

I was looking at him with fear in my eyes. Of course, I knew this day will come and all, but I had never prepared well for it. I knew far greater challenges lie ahead, but I’m too afraid that I might not be able to survive. But Gian had been there all along. Through thick and thin. And at this very scary phase of my life, Gian stayed by my side.

Gian that time was already working part-time for an online job which he discovered from a classmate. Since I was out of work back then, he tried to ask me if I wanted to have a part-time job as well, for the meantime.

I got interested with the job, but after knowing what I need to do, I hesitated. Teaching is not my forte. And I know I’m not good at it. I was on the verge of backing out when he told me that he believed I can do it.

“C’mon Beshie, I know you can do it! You have the potential to nail this, and well, teaching is enjoyable, I’m sure you’ll get to meet different people and you’ll learn from the experience.” Gian said to me, flashing his signature smile while holding my hands and squeezing it.

I thought for the whole day what he said, and honestly, I know I can do it. I was just afraid that I might screw up. Most of the time, I have that certain fear of not being able to succeed in my endeavors. But well, I guess my pride and my fears are overtaken by my desperate need for income. And so there I was, in front of my computer trying to input my credentials and sending it to the email Gian gave me.

True as it was, I got a call the following day from the company and I was scheduled for a screening interview, and the rest was history. Since Gian and I are now working for the same company, we usually use the time before and after our work to communicate and talk. It was one of the good times where we enjoy what we do, even if we got tired from working.

A day became a week, and a week became a month. I was able to get the hang of it, but unfortunately, as months passed by, something bothered me.

I looked at the picture hanging on the wall in front of me and there I saw my graduation picture. Is this what I get from all those painstaking years of study?

I know I should not be companing, but eventually, I got bored with the routine. I felt like I wanted to go out and do more; to explore the world out there. I’m getting fed up being locked up in my room and working. Yes, I know I get compensated without being taxed and without the hassles of the traffic, expenses and all, but that was what I miss. As ironic as it sounds, I wanted to experience that. I wanted a working environment where I can communicate with people; an office where I go to every day and that certain place where I can socialize in person, not in cyberspace.

So one night, after my work, I sent a chat message to Gian.

“Gian, I’m tired. I’m quitting.”

Short, plain… simple.

I tried to apply to some companies which often joined the job fairs in our college. Without much of a clue, I printed out a very generic resume and submitted it to prospective employers. After getting the status of inactive from my online work, I allotted a day or two just for this endeavor and I wasn’t expecting that it would be that tiring.

Apparently, Gian was a little shocked with my decision, but he understood me. He knew that I wanted to discover and find a job that would best fit me. As always, he was very supportive.

I was joined by Danny and Rina as we visited each and every booth in a job fair specifically held by an organization catering to students and graduates off to hunt for a job.

We were getting different marketing paraphernalia from the companies, ranging from the cheap plasticky ballpens and bag tags carrying the company’s insignia and name, to the more expensive jackets and leather bags, and you can notice that we are enjoying the goodies from the looks of our faces. At least, we are getting something out of the tiring walk.

I went to almost all the local companies I can think of and registered, but there was this certain area where foreign companies were located. I looked at my peers and waved at them saying I’m going to check the booths in that section and I saw a look in Danny’s eyes which I usually see whenever she’s thinking about something. She probably knew where I was headed and she thought about something I had said to her a few months back during one of our conversations.


“So Marky, since Graduation is just around the corner, what are your plans?”

I was a little taken aback by Danny’s question because we have never talked about this stuff before. Then it dawned on me, what do I really want to do with my life as I step out of this comfort zone known as the University?

To be honest, I have no effin idea. I looked at Danny and I turned to look far.

“You know, I’ll pursue that simple dream of mine. Remember? The one I told you when we we’re still in our freshemen year?”

Danny looked at me, bewildered.

“SIMPLE dream! Don’t you remember?” I repeated the statement, making sure that I put a stress on the word ‘simple’.

Danny finally got it and smirked.

“Yeah right, that very SIMPLE dream of yours. That dream of owning fifty mansions all across the globe, building twenty helipads, operating your own airline and airport, buying all the gadgets in the world ahead of everyone else, and… what are the other things that were part of your SIMPLE dream again?” She finished, grinning. We were both laughing after. She was always great in describing my simple dream, which changes everytime we talk about it (we rarely remember all the things in that ambition so we tend to just choose a big number and a luxurious object to go with it, so it was always random. It should just always have to be very extravagant and almost out of reach).

Yes, it was that simple. Very straightforward. No buts, just purely a dream. But as what they say, dreaming is free so might as well dream big.

“Seriously Mark, what do you want to do after we graduate?” Danny looked at me intently, waiting for my answer.

“Honestly Danny, I don’t know yet. I’ll probably work my ass off in a company. Be a corporate slave for a while. When I earn enough money, I could start my own business. And from there, I want to still reach my simple dream.” I looked at her from the side and smiled. She just stared far in front of her.

“How about you Danny, what are you going to do?” I asked.

“Me? Well, I still want to provide my mom a house of her own.” She sounded serious, but she didn’t look at me. I felt that sudden rush of emotions from her voice.

“Even if she disowns me for not being able to accomplish her dreams for me, I would still want to provide the house for her.”

Danny was a failure in her mom’s eyes. When she shifted out of our former course, her mom wasn’t aware, and she made sure she won’t find out, at least until she graduates. But life plays tricks on all of us and eventually, her mom found out, and from then on, they are not anymore in speaking terms so Danny had to provide for her own studies.

“Do you still want to work abroad, like what your mom wants you to do after graduation?” I asked her, as if all the laughter had been sucked out from the world.

“I don’t know Mark. I don’t want to leave the country. I want to stay here, but I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future… How about you? Do you have plans working somewhere else?” That was the only time she looked at me.

“No.” It was the only word that escaped my mouth that time. Danny was still looking at me, probably waiting for an explanation, but when none came, we just kept silent the whole time.

Actually, those words just came out without me thinking. It was like I was on autopilot. Whenever going out of the country and staying there for a long time is the topic, I usually don’t consider it as an option for me. Well, I used to, but after meeting Gian and being with him, I finally dismissed all the thoughts of ever going abroad and living there. I can never leave my heart somewhere far. And never will I.


As I walk the aisle of booths, I slowed down and stared at all the posters and advertisements adorning each stall. I started getting brochures and giveaways and when I reached some random company offering jobs somewhere in EU, I suddenly stopped and checked.

I had a talk with the people manning the booth. They were very nice and accomodating and most of my questions were answered. I left the booth with a smile on my face, but at the back of my mind, something just worried me.

As I was about to exit the venue to take a breather, I was surprised to see someone waiting by the entrance. He was wearing the usual shirt-jeans getup with a backpack which was very familiar to me.

“Gian!” I screeched in my head to my utter surprise. What was he doing here? He was smiling broadly as I approached him, but as I came nearer, his smile suddenly vanished.

“Hi Beshie! What are you doing here?” I was all-smiles after seeing him and honestly, I was very glad to see him there.

“What else? I came here to surprise you! Apparently, I didn’t know I would be the one surprised…”

He looked at me with a serious look on his face which gave me a confused look. After seeing my puzzled expression, he quickly pointed to the brochure I unconsciouly carried in my arms. Only then did my smile fade and I stared at him in a very uncomfortable way. He shouldn’t have seen that brochure, he shouldn’t have.

“Gian! Let me explain!” I shouted as he turned his back on me and started walking away.

Again, I smelled trouble. I ran after him as the brochure from the foreign company just slipped away, vanishing from the crowd of people.