The clock ticks to forever

30 Dec

I wrote this eight years ago for my best friend, a few days before the end of the last century. Many years later, this still says everything I feel for this person, so allow me to share with you our friendship’s journey to forever.

At The Turn Of The Century

I remember the day I started on my life’s journey. I was nervous, yet determined. There was no logic, no order, no preconceived plans for what was to come after, but the absolute rightness of the decision overshadowed any qualms or indecision there might have been.

I stood there, in front of a judge, holding on to my best friend’s hand. With a few chosen words here and there, a wave of a hand, a beckoning gesture, it was over in minutes. I was so woozy I almost fainted twice. To this day, all I remember is the continuous reassurance of my best friend’s hand in mine. Nothing else.

The first time I met my best friend, I had no inkling we were destined for anything extraordinary. It was an innocuous day, one just like many others before it. We were high school students in a debate team. He was an excellent speaker, fluent and quick of thought. A thin, wiry snip of a boy, he held himself in a manner that seemed almost haughty. Yet, when he spoke, his voice loomed large over our heads, obliterating any formed idea in our opponents’ midst. He was a devastating adversary in any debate team, and that first day, I counted myself fortunate to be on his side. In the years that followed, we would end up on opposing sides, and our scorecards would almost always be even. Still, win or lose, the best debater’s award almost always went to him.

We didn’t start out as friends, I suppose. He was too small to be noticed easily then. At fourteen, I thought myself a woman of the world, a veritable poster girl for the eighties. I thought myself too old for friendships with little children and sought the company of more mature friends. Through some twist of circumstance, I found myself alone with him. We started talking. The longer I listened, the more I found out how amazing this intelligent, opinionated, assertive young man was. I found myself drifting towards him more and more often, until I would hold off a part of my day just to spend a few minutes in conversation with him. In no time at all, we became best friends.

The first years of friendship
(an old and faded photograph of the first years of friendship)

The friendship didn’t come too easily at times. In junior year, he and I had a severe falling out that left me hurting for a long time. We spent a few months apart, in silence, each tending to our wounds. One day he held out his hand to me and on that day of reconciliation, it was as if all those months of icy silence melted away and we were still all that was of the friendship.

We nursed each other through broken relationships. We wrote long letters to each other. We would hand them over in between classes as we passed long corridors. We read books together, some parts aloud, and savored the words as they fleeted between us. We shared our amateurish attempts at poetry with each other – all that was precious to us bound in two thick spiral notebooks. We would meet often and spend hours gabbing away, talking about our futures.

In college, he would trek all the way to Manila from the cozy enclave of the Jesuits in Quezon City just to spend a few hours with me in school, a sacrifice not even my boyfriend back then was willing to make. Of course, I should mention that his ex-girlfriend was my classmate in the university, and so, while he visited me, he also kept an eye in a reunion with her. This, however, became an exercise in futility as neither one was willing to budge from their stances. A year after they broke up, both gave up for good. At around the same time, I parted ways with my boyfriend. Once more, as in the past, we nursed our broken hearts and consoled each other with our friendship. “You are too good for him anyway” became his chosen mantra for me. Somehow his words seemed to ease the pain I felt.

My best friend left for the United States shortly thereafter. I had known that there were plans for his family to move abroad, but I hadn’t really thought it would be that soon. For the second time in our friendship, he and I parted ways. His stay in a foreign land left me disoriented, as if I had lost the other half of myself, but I was too proud to let him know that I missed him. I kept silent for a long time, afraid to reach out to him. And he, in his temporary life, kept his distance too, hurt as he was by my silence and seeming nonchalance.  

Almost a year passed before he returned. I found out from a mutual friend that he had been asking about me. That day, I knocked at his door and welcomed him with a warm embrace and a chocolate cake. It was really like coming home for me.

From then on, letters flew between us and the lines of friendship started to blur. We burned the phone lines with late-night talks, each one trying to make up for past mistakes. One day, we learned that we needed each other more that we should have. Rational beings that we were, we discussed our feelings objectively and tried to create new rules for ourselves. We realized that we could not be merely friends, though we were still afraid to move on to a different level. And so, for half a year, we referred to each other as “more-than-friends,” as if this absurd appellation would somehow cure us of our dreaded feelings.

Four years to that day, I started my life’s journey. With my best friend.

My life with this man, my best friend, is a life of blessings and joys. Yes, I admit we have gone through some bad times, times when I thought we would break from the strain, but we went through them hand in hand, together. Eight years to the day I started my journey, I can speak with pride and happiness of the life we built. Two young boys, the love of our lives, remain our testaments to friendship and love.

To this day, my best friend nurses the wounds of my heart and calms the discontent of my soul. He still whips my life in a frenzy. In his hands, I have found all that I have sought for in my lifetime. In his hands, I have found the courage to soar and to fly. In his hands, I have found love.

And so here I am, at the turn on the century, still holding his hand.

This is real life.


My best friend, my love, my husband, turns 40 today. More than just a numerical milestone of the passing of time, his birthday is a gift, a special reminder of the past, present, and future days of our lives together…as the clock ticks to forever.

Happy birthday, my love.  


3 Responses to “The clock ticks to forever”

  1. leira December 30, 2007 at 2:15 am #

    that is soo sweet… very touching .. I was so moved. He is so lucky to have you..

  2. TeacherJulie January 8, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    What a beautiful post! More than the words wonderfully woven, beyond the thoughts and the form, I can feel my heart swell with joy, reading about you and your husband’s destiny to be together. I guess nothing can stand in between two persons meant for each other.

  3. okasaneko January 8, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    Leirs, I think it’s the other way around- I am lucky to have him. 🙂

    And teacher J, not very many people can lay claim to both friendship and love, and I am deeply grateful to the Lord that he deemed me worthy to have both.


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