10/06/2005
It is the thought that matters

I remember my childhood pet peeves. It was my birthday, and since I was somewhat of a popular kid all of my classmates gave my birthday cards they made themselves. I, however, felt underappreciated, and went to my teacher, Miss Rochelle. "Bakit walang gift?" I asked her. I don't remember what she replied, but it went something like this: "Henrik, it's the thought that matters."

I don't know who Charmie Garcia is. I don't think anyone from the block knows her, or even passed by her along the corridors of the Miguel building. I was personally puzzled as why Les would tell me about her surprising and untimely death one Saturday in the middle of the term break. "She died of a heart attack," the text message said. "Please pray for her."

Forty days after her death, I find myself attending the mass the batch assembly has organized in her memory. Although I was thirty minutes late, I still made it a point to attend, if to at least remember a life that was surprisingly, if not rudely, taken away at such an early and opportune time. It wasn't to represent the block, nor to show off that I care. I don't know - something must've moved me to go.

Again, I don't know Charmie. She was then a little detail in an otherwise complicated college life. Now, however, her passing has made us think of our places and our bets in the next three years. It seems her death has given us time to reconsider. Why it had to happen like that, I still cannot understand.

The mass ended at around 18.30, and I saw some of those who attended from the block go out in tears. I can't further ram down the point that she is a stranger among us, but still we were visibly moved. (I didn't cry, but I did feel really sad.) There was Jackie, Jaja, Tracy and Les - the officers - plus Kaymee, who is also part of one of the commitees, and John, who attended as well. I gave away copies of the readings for Rizal class - which I felt wasn't the right thing to do - and almost complained of the heavy bag and the late departure, and Jaja tried to make me feel good. "Okay lang yan," she said. "Something good will happen sometime."

Truly, it is the thought that matters. Why, after all of the hardships, we still find time to reminisce and remember the good things? We've been sentimental enough - and we seem to be happy about it.

Thoughts form an essential part of the world; without it, then nothing could have happened in the first place. As for Charmie, my words to Jackie summed it all up: "She's in a better place now." Somewhere where, for once, she wouldn't feel any hardships, looking down at us and, through some way, guide us through the three years or so we would have to hurdle - something she never got to do.

Turns out, that is what she is asked to do.

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