A paragon of grace, femininity and beauty.
This is what has been imprinted on my mind about this woman even when we lost contact in 1984. A consistent muse and beauty pageant contestant, she became my constant reminder how a real lady should be in words and in actions.
However, in spite of the evolution of communication technology in the 1990’s, we still failed to know each other’s whereabouts. Now, I may be hailing Mark Zuckerberg as a “hero” here since it was his Facebook which reconnected us in July 2010. The virtual reunion led to lots of reminiscing and updating. We were taken back to that far-off epoch of our lives when everything seemed uncomplicated for us teenagers. This was also our topic when our meeting finally pushed through on May 6, 2018.
Jemaina Mahusay (nee Jemaina Briones), is one person who left an amazing mark in me. A childhood best friend/grade schoolmate, she helped in painting bright colors to my young life. Thus, allow me to pen this open letter for her.
It was a marvelous day seeing you after ages! Thank you for coming to Bigg’s Diner in so short notice. I just tried my luck before leaving Bicol that evening for I know you’re a busy person. I was mighty glad you made it!
At this juncture, let me do a little flashback and confession.😉
I could not just delete from my bank of memories our great time together as teammates in our inter-barangay volleyball tourney during one summer. Even if we lost in that game, we showed what teamwork is.
Up to now, I treasure the warm welcome your family would extend to me every visit I made. I had the clearest memory of the soap opera “Anna Liza” which I would sometimes watch in your house since we didn’t own a television set.
Should I forget our giggles every Aurora celebration (a version of Flores De Mayo but varied lanterns were the ones paraded)? I wonder if you’d recall that one of the reasons why I would join the Aurora is because of wanting to catch a glimpse of my crush! Whoa! Now, if you’ve forgotten this episode, don’t let me tell you who that boy is for I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself to you. Hahahaha… Imagine, I would brave the unlit rough road from Bagumbayan to your place in Ilawod just to regularly attend the procession?🤪 Tee-hee!🤣☺️
Summer break was always looked forward to because it was the only time we could be together. After graduating from the same school, Bicol University Pilot Elementary School (BUPES), our choice for our secondary education was poles apart. You went to St. Agnes Academy (the same alma mater you shared with our local showbiz personalities, Dina Bonnevie and the Loyzada sisters 😊) while I went to Bicol University High School. Our communication became irregular until I uprooted myself from Albay for my tertiary education and particular destiny in Manila.
A long silence ensued between us, but after more than three decades I sensed the same feeling of trust, support, honesty, and loyalty in our friendship. From our conversation that Sunday afternoon, I could deduce that what we had gone through had almost a semblance. But, your sharing and revelation had me concluding that you’re one hell of a lady, Jem. This may be far from how I pictured you in our childhood days, but I love what has become of you. You embody the modern women with all your toughness within. I doff my hat to you!
Sayang! This is what I uttered when you told me I could have been the godmother of one of your lovely daughters whom you named after me (with a variant spelling of her “Mauryn”) if you succeeded in contacting me. We could have been addressing each other as “madi”. Well, there would surely be a future event when this angle in our relationship would push through.
I now have to cut short this missive for you may not be comfortable reading my thoughts about you in public. My sincerest apologies. I hope you understand why I had to resort to this.
With a small number of very extraordinary friendships I have forged with people who came into my life and either were in oblivion or left, ours will last. And why is that so? Our unwritten rules in sustaining our genuine friendship have guided the both of us that distance and time won’t matter to those who are connected heart-to-heart.
Thank you for being true to your sobriquet. You are a gem that can never be replicated nor be created synthetically, my perennial queen.
Thank you for being a beautiful memento from my impoverished but treasurable childhood.
I remain in friendship,
Mau aka WJ