sworn enemies

Don called so that we could test whether our landline was really working already after having been busted for a few days.

“Oh, it’s working!” he said, as he had rang and I picked up. It was already 11 in the evening, and I had been studying and was glad too, like him, for a break.

He told me that he had just finished reading Estrada v. Escritor and I asked him to narrate to me the case. He told me about how this one party had discovered that the other, who was working as a clerk in the judiciary, was having an affair and thought it conduct unbecoming of a person working in the judicial department of the government of the Philippines. (Okay, now, please don’t quote me on this. See the case for yourself. My recollection is four years rusty and dusty.)

“What?” I reacted to this piece of information. “MYOB.”

“Exactly,” he agreed.

(At this point, I would like to make another disclaimer and that is that I had merely been asking him about the case and had not read the principle as yet on which depended the contention. So please excuse my remarks.)

We went on to gab on the line for a few more hours, and it was 2 am when I hung up the phone. It was phone conversations like that which allowed other kinds of conversation to take place.

Like the time I asked mildly, out of natural curiosity, “So when’s your birthday? Wait! Let me guess. Is it September 21?” I was trying to divine it from his given name, for he was christened after a late dictator.

"No," he said, a smile in his voice. "September 11. How about you? Wait, let me guess: February 22?" For I was so nicknamed after an already late president.

It was my turn to smile. "Nope. January 27."

I would kid him that we were sworn enemies.

I love the first conversations with someone, when you feel a fascination for the other person, and you are naturally curious about their inner worlds. I was particularly curious about Don’s world. I liked the peek he would give me. It surprised me sometimes that he could also be as open as a book regarding himself for he struck me as someone quiet, reserved and private.

And sometimes, in the space of two hours, I would learn some simple things about him. Like I would learn about our fathers and that once in their lifetimes, they had both worked as janitors, and that our mothers had taken the same course in college – education. While my mother went on to become a public school administrator though, his had found occupation in another field.

I remember other things that I doubt he even remembers. Time is frozen when it’s something special for you. And while I can’t for the life of me keep track of umbrellas and paper bags I take with me, I am a natural at keeping track of the people who enter my heart and leave their marks. I remember so much more than I write.


  1. i loved the last paragraph. that was very poetic. and true.


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