Over pizza and beer at a little past midnight, we talked about how it's probably becoming some kind of a trend already to make one's presence felt with a power outage soon after one passes away: it happened when Santi went, it happened last night soon after Christine passed away.
Padma called last night just as we were having dinner - Christine was at the Notre Dame Hospital and wasn't doing well. I had to end the alread prolonged stand off between me Aeneas about slinky and how to take care of her properly and rush to the hospital.
It wasn't easy seeing her struggling with every breath, I closed my eyes and tried to picture her the way I knew her...
It took a while for me to get comfortable around Christine, I only met her when I moved to Baguio ten years ago. She wasn't really sociable - she wouldn't pretend to be anything she's not. It was only later that I would admire her sincerity: sitting at the Cafe by the Ruins' office laying out the menu. I remember us laughing it off when I made that typo error on one item in the menu - something that I think should've cost 70 pesos but I mistakenly typed 270 and yet that item still got ordered a lot. We joked about splitting the extra profits. I would be her computer geek for the next couple of years - how does one send an email? Make attachments? Open attachments? How to play the Baguio scandal video?
She'd try to watch all our plays, and I particularly remember the time when she brought Andre, who was I think about 7 or 8 years old then. The play was Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, a performance-art piece overflowing with cuss words and provocative scenes... when I saw her the next day at the Cafe, the first things she said was, "Gago ka talaga!" Said with a big smile on her face. Then she complained about having to spend all night explaining a lot of things that Andre saw in that performance that same night. I believe Christine Arvisu liked the show.
And then we had Leon. I was really touched by how much she loved Leon and the way she showed this - the way she took care of him when he's at her house, or when he spends the night there for an all-night PS2 binge with Andre. I loved bringing Leon to her, and Leon loved being around her: he just felt so welcome and at ease with Christine and in her home.
Yup, we became friends, I can say that now; we became really good friends, I believe that.
Thank you, Christine, for not saying hi when you didn't feel like it, and asking how we've been when you really meant it, when you sincerely wanted to know how we've been. Thank you for all the happy moments Leon and the rest of my children had with you and your family. Thanks for being a real friend, and being there for us no matter what, and for having us as your friends. Thanks for being a part of our lives. And thank you for showing us what courage was up until your last moment with us. And forgive us if we bothered you a bit too much last night by disturbing the beginning of your journey out there with our hugs, kisses, and words of love: though we knew it was time, it just wasn't easy to let go of a friend like you.
On our way home last night, after a few pizzas and a beer with Mitos and her kids at Volante figuring out if the power outage was city-wide or just downtown, but being so sure that the blackout was your way of letting us know that you're ok, that you're well on your way, peacefully, quietly, RL showed me a text message you sent her last month: Take care guys. Be happy.
We'll do all we can, Christine, thank you. And we love you too.