I had forgotten so many things about my previous life, whether purposefully or just because of brain cells that have long expired. But in my feeble mind’s effort to leave the past behind it had also erased some of the wistful memories that I should have kept. The kind that when someone reminds you of it you absolutely do not remember, and even deny ever happening. Then it comes back to you, gently but constantly as a sudden drizzle on a summer morning.
My eldest son had taken the UPCAT too, nine years ago. He had conjunctivitis on exams day, but he took it anyway, the proctor allowed him to keep his sunglasses on to protect his pride. He reminded me of this when he was here last week, after having heard the news that his kid brother had taken it as well. I had forgotten about it completely, and so he reminded me that I had waited outside UP Cebu campus until he came out. He passed that exam, but his chosen campus was UP Diliman, and after considering the expenses his going away was to incur, it was decided that he stay in Cebu and attend the University of San Carlos instead.
And I suppose memories such as these are the particular ones my mind blocks out, because they remind me of all the other wrong decisions I had made as a parent. Decisions that my children suffered for because I had, at the time, thought they were the best thing to do.
Along with these memories I suppose I had also forgotten friends mainly because I didn’t want to be reminded of that previous life. I can count those that remained friends to this day on one hand.
One of those friends is Danton Remoto. I first met Danton in the mid-80s at the Silliman University Summer Writers Workshop. I was this insignificant writer from Cebu and he was the up and coming poet from Manila. I knew little about him then, other than the fact that he was from the Ateneo. A few years later our paths crossed again at a literary gathering in Cebu. This was shortly after my uncle Amando F. Kapauan passed away, and Danton told me that their tables faced each other at the Ateneo de Loyola Faculty Lounge, and that he could still feel Kap’s presence when he sat there. A couple of more years after that I ran into him quite by accident at the Cafe Adriatico in Remedios. I was with my cousin’s banking friends and was trying not to look baffled by all the in-house jokes they were cracking, and I saw Danton floating up the stairs.
I do remember what he told me while I sat at his table. “Girl na girl ang aura mo kung hindi mo kasama asawa mo.” I remember pondering that remark when I went back to Cebu when my business trip was over. I suppose it was one of the things that firmed my resolve to sever my ties to the old life and start a new one.
Now Danton himself has embarked on a new life, from academic to politician. And we’ve crossed paths again, as I have volunteered my services in his quest for a seat in the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines in 2010. My post on the February 29 rally on Ayala has another photo of Danton and myself, when we happened to walk the same path towards the hub. That was when he told me he was running for the Senate, and when I told him he could count on my help for whatever he may need.