Taming This Tyke's Voice Since 2007

Writers Island

30’s And Still Single

My first attempt with oil on canvas, 2004

“Una” (First), my initial attempt with oil on canvas, By Jeques B. Jamora, 2004

 

When you’re still single at your 30’s

You’re apt to be asked with some questions.

Like I’m always asked during weddings by my Aunties:

“So, are you next in line?” (to get married)

I oft find this question so annoying,

But I don’t get mad, I just get even.

So during funerals When I meet them,

Please don’t dare me ask them that same question:

“So, are you next in line?” (to be burried)

For I’ll surely get a slap on my face.

~

 “Solitude” oil on canvas, By: Jeques B. Jamora, 2005


His Name Is Ethan

His name is Ethan

His name is Ethan

 Yes, I gave him a name and his name is Ethan.

I was called once to priesthood when I was in highschool, but I was expelled from the seminary after a year. Many are called, they said, but only a few are chosen; I was not. It was my first taste of rejection, and it was how my story with Ethan started.

 

His name is ethanI would like to tell you about my first bonsai tree, Ethan. I mentioned the seminary because I planted Ethan the summer after I was kicked out. I was 13 years old with wings broken. Nobody really cared to listen to my side of the story especially my father. My mother, as always, was there to console me ~ in silence. I was left alone in the corner to leak my own wound to heal. At that lowest point of my life, for a reason that I’m just beginning to understand now, God sent me Ethan to care. I always had some loner tendencies as a kid. That His name is Ethansummer and years after that I became withdrawn, misunderstood. Gone was the child full of life, I fell down so low I never thought I could ever rise again.

I found Ethan still a seedling just starting to grow wild under the coconut tree in our backyard. He is a rare specie from the Balete(Rubber tree) family often found only in the forests. He must be a seed from those trees brought here by birds’ droppings. My natural liking for plants His name is Ethaninstantly draw me to his 5 verdant leaves. I replanted him and his first home was an empty tin can of milk.

Quietly, I spent my summer wondering where to go, reaching the end of my road, while I watch Ethan grow new leaves. To him, I was a broken guardian; and him a soothing green that healed my broken soul.

~

What now with my broken wings?

I wonder now if I could fly again.

Will the winds of time save me from falling?

Tell me, where will I go from here?

~

What now with my wounded spirit?

I wonder now if I could rise from here.

Is there a pill that can mend this pain,

Would I ever have the courage to fight again?

~

His name is EthanMy highschool years was a mess. I lost interest in everything. Like a seedling uprooted, I drifted with the uncertain currents of my young life. I slept my way through highschool, I was in section F of our batch,  a picture of defeat at 15. Looking back now, I feel I only did one thing right those years ~ I planted Ethan. 

God always have his way to pull our strings and bring us back to shores when we lost our ways His name is Ethanin the ocean. He did and he put me in a nursing school. The least I thought I would become for a profession, but the course served me double purpose: I got a degree while I nursed my heart’s scars through college. Ethan grew into a maniature tree with dense leaves and 2 main branches by now. We practically grew up together. I trimmed his roots and leaves year after year, trained his trunk to lean to the direction it would look best, molding him into a lovely tree in a pot that he had become. While I became a nurse.

His name is EthanIt was sad to leave him home when it was time for me to go to find my place in the real world after college. But I had to do what I needed to do. And for the first time he was out of my life. I have risen and had moved on from my previous defeat. I never saw him for 5 long years. When I went home, we already moved to a new house in the city and then I remembered Ethan.

It was a sad reunion for us. He lost his beautiful form the last time I saw him. My mother cut His name is Ethanone of his main branches the previous year not knowing what to do with his uncontrolled growth. He was like an old friend with over grown mustache and beard unrecognizable when I saw him during my home-coming. He has a scar in the heart of his trunk from the branch that was cut off. I bleed inside seeing this friend who was once there for me  to soothe my pain with his green silence.

His name is Ethan I started trimming, grooming, molding him again making the best out of the one branch that was left. His cecatrix added beauty to his new form. 3 years after he surprised me with abundant fruits in his branches to show me that he is a full grown tree now. He inspired me to grow more bonsai trees and he became a big brother to all of them. I was home for 8 years spending every day moments with him sitted in that quiet side of our garden with the pond under.

His name is EthanWhen I moved to Chicago in 2006, he’s one thing in my life back home that’s hard to let go. He is part of our conversations over the phone whenever I call home. I made sure my nephews and nieces are taking care of him. I left him to their care for I know it is time for him to touch their young life like he did to me.

During my home-coming, I always have a blast reunioniting with family. But in my His name is Ethansolitude, I have a silent reunion with Ethan. I spend quiet moments in the garden with him  towering over me when I’m sitted ~ God, how he has grown sturdy like a seasoned tree. I  took shelter in his canopy of green leaves, I felt the cool breeze of his breath in the wind ~ he has grown to become the guardian of my once broken soul. 

It is when the seed is almost destroyed that it is about to grow. I understand that better now with Ethan. I went through the lowest point in my life and manage to rise like a seed. Yes, our cicatrix add beauty to our forms.

Ethan and I ~ time healed our wounds and left us marks adding beauty to our forms ~ we stand firm and sturdy.


“1sts” (#3 Plant)

Some live to hunt; I came to life to plant.”

~

The first living thing I planted is a stem cutting from a “Camote”(sweet potato). My mother uses the shoot tips for her fish stew. I observe her while she’s preparing the food, when my child-like curiosity made me ask her how the vegetable is grown?

“The cuttings,” she replied.

What happened next, she picked and handed me one cutting from the waste box and there I was, 3 years old, planting my first farm of potato in a pot. I would visit my new potted friend each morning patiently waiting for any sign of life from the stem partly covered with earth. I can still recall my surprise one morning finding some changes during my regular check. It was magical to my young eyes seeing tiny greens sprouting from a seem lifeless piece of stem. The sprig grew long with the passing of day, as new leaves replaced the pared parts my mother used for her stew.

The progress are exciting source of story I told my sibling everytime they arrive from school. I have learned from them later on that the  steamed“camote” (sweet potato) we ate for snacks are “over-grown” roots of the plant. My curiousity of the leaves waned as I become more interested with the roots, observing the soil closely, digging its roots to check for any growth thinking of the sweetest potato produce from my potted farm.

My childhood curiosity killed my first plant – that same curiosity that once breath life to it. I woke up one morning finding my wilted plant, and no amount of water can bring it back to life – or perhaps I over watered it – and for the first time, I grieved for the first living thing I lost.

“You have touched its roots prematurely,” my mother told me. I know better about plants since then..

This is where my love for plants started. The garden brings back beautiful childhood memories. The passion remains in me to these days, the roots has grown deep in me. I have to mention that at thirteen, I planted my first bonsai tree, I gave it a name: Ethan. I am 35 now, which makes Ethan my 22-year old potted friend. My story with Ethan is still on going. It is crazy, but I miss my plants back home.

~

Shepherds Of Life (Senryu)

Hunters live to take

While planters exist to give

They’re shepherds of life.

~Ethan, my 22-year-old bonsai

Ethan, my 22-year-old bonsai. I’ll write about him next time.

 


To The Deeps

 At midnight

When half the world is asleep,

The prying eyes of the nocturnal owl

Stay alert for mice dozing undergrownds.

.

A turtle slowly prowls in a swamp

Disturbing the resting fishes

On the shallow waters.

.

Somewhere, you are confined

Asleep in your room dreaming.

While I stay awake questioning.

.

Am I part of your dreams tonight?

Would I take part in your life

When you awake in the morning?

.

The night ends

With the owl catching no mice.

The fishes has gone to The deeps,

But the turtle hasn’t reach where ’tis going.

Just like me with my doubts never fading.

.

But nevertheless always wishing

That one day I’d stop questioning

And to The deeps I’d just let the fishes

Swim.

Jeques B. Jamora, 2007

Fish Of Mind, oil on canvas, 30×38 By: Jeques B. Jamora, 2007

The Deeps is the English term for the Hebrew Tehom, found in the opening verses of the Book of Genesis. It is believed by Biblical scholars to come from the Sumerian word Tiamat, the name given to the Salt Water, and means “The Mother of All Life”, (from Sumerian “Ti” = Life, “Ama” = Mother), a title that in the Bible was later given to Eve. (“And the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” – (Genesis 3:20).

               

Jeques B. Jamora
Love, “Fish,” Hope, oil on canvas By: Jeques B. Jamora, 2005
 —

Turn Of Events Unexpected

After many months of long hours work, my request for three days off was approved last week. I feel fortunate. The three days were initially set for me to attend my friend’s graduation from Med school, but something else came out and the initial plan was changed. I instead went for the written exam for driver’s license. Though I have a professional driver’s license in the Philippines, and I’ve been driving for years, I still need to go through the process and start from step one: I got my permit to drive. So the 3 days away from work started really so well. I was with friends I’ve not seen for awhile, we had a grand day malling. I got some books from Barnes while they get their hair cut. I was so sleepy, but I tried to fight it, I don’t want to miss a thing. God I missed doing this!

We extended the day, got some coffee and decided to have a walk in the lake shore late evening. It was foggy, the temperature dropped but it was fun. I am a night shift nurse, I lack sleep, I was a walking zombie. When I got to my apartment and my back hit the bed I slept like a baby. It’s been long since I slept this way in a night time, so it’s a luxury for me.

The next day, it was all fixing things and cleaning up the mess in my apartment. I started by washing the loundry, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning the whole day and went to bed. I am grateful, everything seem to fall in the right places. I wanted to freeze time and stay in that moment forever but I am mature enough to understand that I need to work to pay the bills and the next night would be back to work.

I spent my last free day browsing and reading the books I bought. Great day chilling out, good read.

After a brief nap in the afternoon, the turn of events unexpected started when I woke up discovering something that made me sweat profusely: I CAN’T FIND MY WALLET! The last time I remember having it was wednesday evening when I bought something from seven-eleven. It’s friday, I learned my lost after two days. I have all my cards in the wallet. I don’t usually bring them but that day because I went to apply for my driver’s license, I have with me my Social Security ID, Green Card,  and State ID. I immediately checked on-line the activities in my credit cards. Nothing unusual really, one of my cards still has that last transaction I did at seven-eleven, so I was able to breath a little better. I gathered myself together and took action for damage control from my lost. I first cancelled my credit cards, then went to the nearest police station to report the incident so they could notify the credit bureaus. The question that was hard for me to answer was where and when I lost it? I just claimed I must have dropped it in the lakeshore that evening we had a walk becuase that was the last time I remember having it, but I was not really sure. 

I was back to work that night worried. My mother sent me a message to pray that whoever has my wallet return it, my friends told me the same thing. But I am more skeptical and distrustful of people. I didn’t expect nor pray for that. What I was only asking is for me to understand why it has to happen. I know there’s something to learn even from this turn of events unexpected. If there’s one thing I prayed to gain from this, that’s just it. 

The next day, I cancelled and changed all my bank accounts and get the consolation finding no problem when I checked my account balance. Less worried and less expecting to recover my wallet, I’m still searching in my mind the answer to my “WHY.”

Time made me accept my misfortune. Monday morning, after working double shift, I went straight to Social Security Office to get a new card. But I found my misfortunes was not over, after a long and tiring trip , I discovered I left my lunch bag in the bus and I have my keys to my apartment in it. What more? I arrived in a closed office for renovation. JINX!

I went home feeling tired and sleepy and I don’t have my keys. I waited for almost an hour for the apartment’s care taker to open the door for me. I slept exhausted, my body gave up to any positive thoughts left of me.

After only 2 hours of sleep I got my strength re-charged, got up to find solution to my recent added problem. I called the the CTA office to check if my bag was returned and luck started to send me signal as I see series of little spark of hope. I recovered my bag that afternoon, and when I returned the key I borrowed from the apartment’s care taker, she handed me one of my lost credit cards she found in the loundry. Now I got a lead where I lost my wallet. But Who has it? I remember there was somebody with me in the loundry that day, but I don’t know who he was.

Questions overflowed, playing in my mind that night at work and the next day. I found the answers at 10:00 P.M. of tuesday with a knock in my door that ended all my misfortunes. A boy and his father was outside my door asking me if I was looking for something. There was no doubt in my mind in that instance that their question was the answer to my “WHY.”  He handed me my wallet with everything in it crampled by the washing machine but intact nevertheless. God, I could kiss the child! He found my wallet in the loundry. They live in the next building and since I work night shift it was hard for them to see me and they’re not really sure where I live. It was only that afternoon when they got the chance to talk and confirm with the care taker who knew my lost and handed me one of my card the previous day. The boy was even hesitant to accept a small amount I handed him as token of appreciation for his kindness, I heard his father said I don’t need to give him anything but I said I’m just really very grateful and I should have even spent more than that if they did not return my cards.

Now the answer to my “WHY.” I have to admit that since I came to America almost 2 years ago I became distrustful of people and less friendly. I am always cautious and in my more than a year stay here in my apartment I didn’t reach out to my neighbors. The incident opened my eyes, changed my mind and opened my heart to the truth that there are good people out there. It took me lossing something to find that truth again. It reminded me of the power of prayer that my mother told me in her message which I disregard being too skeptical. I wasted many days and nights worrying instead.

God has a sealed message in everything that happen. In this instance, I realized I have hardened my heart which made it difficult for me to open and understand His message. Should I have been friendlier to my neighbors, I could have recovered my wallet faster if they know who I was and where I live. But I was not. I kept my doors locked and my heart shut to the possibilities of friendship.

And It took God to let a boy knock in my door for me to realize that.


Reconciling With Poetry (Reposted for WI)

     Here’s an old post that I thought perfect for Writer’s Island matinee muse this week: “Reconciliation”

       My love for poetry traces back to my childhood, When I vaguely understood what I was chanting. I started reciting poems before I learned to read or write. Memorization came not from reading, but from listening; not from understanding the words or the message of the verse with the mind, but with the heart. It was primarily the sound of its rhythmical composition, more than anything, which lured me to it. Grasping the metaphors and absorbing the meaning concealed between the lines came much later. It captured my heart before it conquered my mind. This is probably the reason for my enduring love affair with poetry.

       As a tyke, I liked listening to the rhythmic tone of my high-pitched voice as I would parrot poems – joining and winning contests – before I entered school. What sounds good to the ears of a child feels good to the heart:

…The shepherd came to worship; the tiny baby smiled.

It is an old, old story; old yet forever new.

Watch for the little star tonight;

It will shine for me and you.”

And just like most of the singers learning their first song, I, too, learned my first poem by listening.

        Poetry for me then, as it is still to me now, like love, needs no extra ordinary thoughts to touch the heart. Purity speaks the truth. I can now tell when a poem was written using blood-stained ink from the heart:

“Don’t forget me; make a shrine to hold me

Safe and warm within your faithful heart;

Weave a web of happy thoughts to fold me

In all remembrance, when we part…”

       Now, if it was not the heart of Rafael Dimayuga that wrote this lines, what could it possibly be? Those lovely words were finely entwined, undoubtedly, by love. Reading this poem leads me to the re-discovery of a treasure box I feared to open for a very long time. It was the key that re-opened something in me that I locked from the inside. It unleashed the dormant would-be poet in me, an inclination I lost with my first taste of rejection, when I was expelled from seminary at the age of thirteen. I have outgrown the trauma, but the scar remains – God knows it still hurts. The seminary produced many success stories of priests; mine was a sad story of defeat. My english teacher, a priest, dropped me from a poetry recital contest in favor of his pet student(it is a long story, I’ll wrote about that in a separate post). I felt bad, so did some of my classmates who thought I was more deserving. I lost interest in everything after that incident, my vocation included. By the end of the school year, I was kicked out.

       Something in me died. It was my lowest point that inchoate my long detachment from anything poetic. There were times when I felt it resurfaced for some brief moments, whenever something or someone whisks my heart with gentle strokes or reckless blows. My lack of the resources of language to speak my mind and the fear of confronting my too sensitive feelings quelled it even more. I was unaware, though, that I channeled my creativity into other mediums: There’s poetry in my sketches and paintings, and my bonsai in the garden. I now understand.

       Love and rejection, indeed, gets in the same route into, and out of our hearts. Rejection locked my heart once, and it was love that reopened it years later. It started with meager and petty journal entries:

… i thought we have it, but somewhere along the way we lost it. Shall we ever regain it, perhaps at least i still hope, in the end?”

Then it progressed into short vignettes;

I am forever tracing in my mind
The creases in your palms,
When you pressed it close to mine
~

Your last strong grip,
Our last hand shake ~

Then we bade goodbye.”

       Moving further,  I progressed and tried free verse:

“At night, I light a lamp

So even in the long dark hours

The little spark of my thoughts of you

Could light the moment

As I read my life’s pages back

To the times

When you were still with me.”

       I heard that strangely familiar voice of the child again. And there he was, just like the last time I heard him. Albeit mellowed, and unlike before, he now demands to deliver not somebody else’s thoughts but his own. So I listned. Listning I did in the placidity of early mornings, when silence utters messages that we can understand if we listen with an open mind and a quiet heart:

If you need a quiet place,
A perfect haven to rest;
Come let me be,
You can lie on my chest.

There you will hear a single sound,
A love song at its best;
‘Tis there that you will hear,
The whisper of my heartbeats.

Hey, stay with me
And let me be
Your quiet place to rest.

       I wrote this poem, “A Quiet Place To Rest,” just about the same time I was rediscovering my love for poetry. I wrote this then for someone who I eventually lost. But  reading it, I know now that this poem is actually for me. And that is how we reconciled, and began our journey together again.

       It was hard to believe and convince myself initially that I could write and I am a poet. But we all are. For every literate person, according to David Kirby, has it in himself to be a good poet. The good news is each of us is a poet already, or at least used to be, it’s just that most of us have gone into early retirement. It is relaxing – like a balm to the heart – to read and write poetry. I read poems to find more of its secrets and to be reminded that poems can be written. Books of poetry gives me a simple surprise that more poems are there and that the magic is available. One poet said that most of us are poets on-call because poetry only comes when it wants to. So we should always make ourselves available. E.E. Cummings also said that “a poet is only a poet during a few hours of his lifetime. The rest of the time he is a would-be poet.” So here I am reconciled with my first love. Our years apart makes a good plot for my works. I promised my self not to let go of poetry again.

       I do not know where my life’s journey with poetry is going to take me. I always have this incessant vision of me in my mind: standing on the bank of a river, I watch the waters flow, and wonder where the river came, and where life goes. I can only look as far as my eyes can see and my heart can imagine.

~ Jeques

http://writersislnd.wordpress.com


Behind The Glass Window

behind that glass window

 

I still don’t know what love means the first time I saw you many months of June ago. From above, behind the glass window, I watched your every move below. I studied your every detail storing the moment in my memory which I kept all these years inside my heart. It would be a surprise for you to know that I still remember the clothes, the shoes you were wearing and the person you were with that day when my concealed tales of you started and endured many years. I opted to stay behind that glass window, I’m better off this way, you will never know my secrets for I will continue to watch you from afar and admire your every detail from the distance. In silence.

Something happened inside me that day. I fear losing the magical feeling so I kept it to myself ~ Somehow I have triumphed for the feeling always remains. Returning to memories, feeling that feeling again, reminiscing, opening the glass window of my heart, I still get a blush and my heart still beats faster everytime. It grows with me, it evolves as I go on, surviving the seasons, re-surfacing, re-emerging from my highs and lows in love. My safe place, my refuge and everytime I fall, I run back behind that glass window to watch my photographs of thoughts and I would feel better. The feeling endured many years of triumphs and defeats, of joys and sorrows. You are my true bliss, only I celebrate you alone. You are with me wherever I go, I have pronounced my vow to you in silence, I have kept that promise.

The world ’tis vast, ‘

tis graced with too many faces.

Many wouldn’t last and some few just leave some traces.

You are the face that I longed for and missed.

‘Tis your cheeks, your lips that I dreamt

To plant my first

Kiss.

The sun will continue to rise and set,  the days would continue to bring forth the cycles of the seasons that would grow new sprig of life, of hope and I will continue to believe, returning to memories celebrating my love behind the glass window.

new hope

Wherever time would take us in the face of the planet the sun would continue to shine upon us, at night the moon would keep the mystery of my secrets as I whisper my wishes upon the stars behind the glass window hoping one day my feeling would become transparent to you and you would see what’s inside this heart.

If forever means falling in love to the same person over and over again, then I must have found forever.

___

For Writers Island prompt this week: “The Return”

http://writersisland.wordpress.com

 Behind The Glass Window is part of my “Love Stories (Well, Almost)” collection.

https://jeques.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/love-stories-well-almost/


The Mother’s Lullaby

I love you my precious child, my bliss. You carry the sweetest juice of my veins. My costliest joys come from you. You deserve the fullness of my affection. The brightest and the loveliest of all the fruits I bear in my womb and grew on my branches season after season.

Even when you were just about to bloom out of the bud I conceived from a leaf I shed in october, I knew by maternal instinct, that your fate would be different. You attracted a bizarre mob of insects: bees, bugs, ants, butterflies. They all feasted on your sweet nectar. The wind stole you kisses morning and night, and along carried your fragrance too distant. Perhaps, your spirit had reached faraway lands and shores even as a tyke. You were destined to travel, you will go places.

I cling to you the longest. You mellow in my nourishement. I wanted to embrace you forever, but I know, I could not. The hardest of all my tasks is knowing that I have to let you go when I’m done with my duty with you. I fear that that day, I dread the thought. I stayed awake day and night to guard you. I loath the winds for they might snatch you out of my grip. I curse the insects for they are taking too much of you. I resent their carelessand harsh advances. Because I know, being your mother, that you would live a life far more than all that.

But you are already sturdy as the tree that you would become early on. I am relieve from all my anxieties as you surpass, surviving your initial tribulations. I am proud watching you metamorphose into a tiny precious fruit. I cherished our moments together.

We danced and flirted with the winds. At night, we counted and wished upon every stars. We revered the beauty of wild flowers and sniff their exotic perfumes that permeate the gardens and the fields. I welcome the birds that serenade you on my branches. I nourish you with crystal clear water of springs that my roots sip from the nearby streams. I catch and gathered the dew in my leaves to bathe you in the morning. We are cleansed by the cool ppristine showers of the rain. The sun keeps us warmth and dry. I ask the sun to smile at you, but at noon, I leaned over a canopy of my leaves to shield you from the scorching heat of midday rays.

We marvel at the gifts of every sunrise. The sunset blesses us with tranquility and peace. On quiet moonlit nights, I rock you on my cradle to sleep. I watch you close in you slumber, as I sung you lullabies. My soul feels glad at your existence, my heart leaps. I caress your face tenderly with my leaves. One touch, and I felt bliss.

You’re more than everything I asked for,

More than anything I need.

You are my son, my beloved.

Her lullaby fades as she kiss her angel goodnight. She closes her eyes wanting to freeze the moment, but then she, too, falls into a deep blissful sleep.

You breathe me life, so I may live,

You’re the reason that I exist.

You are my mother,

My life, to you I am indebted.

—–

To my mother and all the mothers of writers island and the world.

Happy Mothers Day!

For Writers Island prompt: “Fantasy”

http://writersisland.wordpress.com


Lavish Summer Inspirations

It is summer morning,

Armed with note pads, a pen

And a mind ready for take off,

I fasten my seatbelt

In a corner

underneath the bower of trees

At our home’s secret garden.

 

The dainty sunshine lights my face,

And the spider webs

On the twigs in front of me.

There’s really nothing in my head to write,

So I opened the windows of my mind

And the door of my heart

To weave glossy web of thoughts

To invite and capture

Lavish summer inspirations.

 

I listen to the rustling sounds

Of leaves as the winds blow

Through the garden’s green roofs ~

Their reflections move on the pads

Like mystic shadows tracing my writings,

Flirting with my thoughts.

Scents of ilang-ilang flowers wafting in the air.

Enticing incessant winged bystanders ~

Bees, butterflies, grasshoppers ~

They signal summer!

 

Random summer thoughts swarm my mind,

So I open the draperies of my heart

And tie the curtains apart

To welcome showers of summer inspirations

Bathing my fiery soul with cool emotions.

 

The birds’ repertoire are unusually merry.

They seem to rejoice with my company,

Or perhaps ’tis my heart I’m hearing

In tune with the beats of summer.

 

Outrageous blooms of bougainvilleas

Against the white wooden verandas

Festive contrasting colors

Treat the eyes with priceless raptures

Make one crave for summer flavors ~

Buko juice, fruit shake, iced cola

Water melon, pineapple, mangoes, papaya

Garnished with flowers of gumamela.

 

‘Tis the season for lavish summer fiesta!

 

The writers island invites us to write on the prompt this week: “Outrageous,” I thought of using the word in a more positive note. Please visit http://writersisland.wordpress.com to be inspired.


The Narrowed Road

Life taught me the hard lessons of parting early on. My first best friend was a classmate from childhood I met during my first day in grade school. I’m not sure how his name was spelled, but I remember it sounded like “Hanibal.” My memory of his name is as bleak as my memory of how he looks – I only have a blur image of a boy my age with a new haircut. But I remember the joy finding another young soul to share my thoughts when we first entered the door of education.

Our friendship begun as soon as our first class in grade one started. We met in a classroom that smelled of the mixed scents of fresh pads, newly plastic covered notebooks encased in our new school bags like our minds ready to be filled with knowledge. The smell of freshly sharpened pencil and scented eraser would always bring me back to that moment. I remember the fresh scent of soap when I bathed that morning excited for my first day in school. I forgot the color of the clothes I wore, but I still remember how my new shirt smells. The scents of these things always conjure nostalgic thoughts, reminding me of my first best friend I lost with the passing of time.  The places we reached and continually explore widen the spaces between us, and narrowed the road that once put us together at one moment in time. But in my mind we always share the desk, in that corner of our grade one classroom.

I was seated in the front row at the right side of the room next to him, a stranger just like all the other faces around me. It was fate that placed us seated next to each other, but it was our choice to become friends. The feeling of being left alone for the first time, drew us together. I feel at ease with his presence the moment we first introduced our names. We became friends before our first recess, and by the end of our first day in school, we have found in each other’s company the joy of real friendship. I cannot remember any other details of our days together, like I cannot recall anything more about him. I just know that he made my first day in school less scary to the surprise of my mother who anticipated the worse. I easily got over my separation anxieties and fear of strangers. I looked forward being back in school and always take home fun-filled stories at dinner time, telling my family about my newly found friend.

 

Morning comes and off it goes.

Like people come and (ouch!) they go.

For some brief moment they come my way,

But few are meant to stay.

Life’s lesson of letting go,

And memories remain with me.

Days passed. Our school activities progressed, school became my second home. But one day, I found myself unusually seated alone in our desk. My friend was absent when our teacher checked our attendance. I waited for him until recess, but lunch and afternoon classes came and gone without him. The same thing happened the next day and the days after. Our teacher some few weeks later changed our seating arrangement, making me vacate the desk we shared in our classroom where the emblems of our friendship vanished. I later heard their family moved to another place and he transferred to another school far away that my young mind then was incapable of reaching. I was assigned a new desk in the second row at the center aisle of the room after that and had new seatmates. From time to time I would glace to our desk wishing him back. My new seatmates are faceless and left my memory insignificant traces so were the other friends I had after we parted. I only remember one friend from my first day in school and he is my first real best friend.

 Life taught me early on that some perfect moments could go wrong. Friends come, but I could not expect them to stay, for like me, they too, have lives to live and journeys to complete. I am not sure if my friend remembers or would have the same thoughts. My friend may forget, but as long as I still know how the classroom desk smells he will always be remembered.

"Solitude" oil on canvas 24x30, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2007