(14 February 2010)
The aerial memories of seasons passed have again swept me. It rode with the scents in the supermarket’s meat section, in the ethers in the fruit section, and in the julienned pieces of veggies in the vegetable section. Windswept in the cloud of reminiscences, I strolled aimlessly forgetting the details of the present. I reminisced about my very first month in Cebu, a month full of kindness.
Rhodora, Joe, Joy and Jessie were not my classmates. What we have in common is that we were graduates of the same university in the same year. While my classmates were making the final arrangements for our six month review for the board exams, I was still trying to make arrangements for a one night stay in Cebu to enroll for the review and to look for a boarding house. One of my best friends told me to contact Rhodora. She and her friends were in Cebu looking for work. And so, throwing all shame to the wind due to the clear and present need, I called her. I was glad she recognized me. And true to my best friend’s words, she was kind enough to offer their place for a one night stay.
My stay in their place turned out to be longer than one night. When I returned for the review classes, I have no other place to stay but in their boarding house. The four of them treated me as a long time friend. I never felt, even for one moment, out of place. The three ladies even included my clothes in their regular laundry. And I fondly remember Joy ironing my clothes. Joe is the group’s comic relief, while Jessie is the source of sweetness – she always has chocolates. Growing up independent, I was touched by their welcoming arms and unreserved kindness.
After about two weeks since my arrival, I prepared to go home to Bacolod to get my books and my allowance. Joe and I were the ones left in the boarding house the day before I went home. I asked him to accompany me to the nearest mall to buy some groceries. I told him I will cook dinner. We roamed the supermarket for ingredients, and we were in the fresh produce section when he joked that I am preparing for my “last supper”. I have associated Joe’s joke about the “last supper” to the meat, fruit, and vegetable sections, and eventually to his and his friends’ acts of kindness.
After about a month, we parted ways. They have decided to leave Cebu after two to three months of job hunting. When they told me this, I felt deeply sad and unsure. But Rhodora, in her confident and assuring words, told me that she will see to it that I am properly settled in another place before they leave. And true to her promise, they accompanied me when I went to see my new boarding house.
I seldom linger long in the fresh produce section or even in the meat section of grocery stores and supermarkets. I do not cook nowadays. But today, the strong scents have particularly attracted me and nostalgia has once again caught up with me. The scents in the supermarket’s meat section, in the ethers in the fruit section, and in the julienned pieces of veggies in the vegetable section have reminded me of these remarkable people I am forever indebted to…
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