Six people were huddled together on one desk one Thursday afternoon. The food was at the table; six packs of similar lunches, somehownot perfectly cooked - and then there were six whatever-you-really-call-it that were actually individually-wrapped slices of bread. (I couldn't really perfectly describe it.) All six were wearing either white or green - they were asked to, they couldn't do anything about it - and one was opening up about his past, when conversations switched to high schools.
The circumstances actually seemed awkward. That guy came from what seemed to be an awkward location to come from - not impossible, just awkward. That guy came from the Ateneo, and has been there all his school life, until he had to move houses and, consequently, move schools.
Then the girl beside him began to tease the mere fact that he came from the Ateneo, a rival of DLSU which basically only rounds up to basketball games.
Martin would later be hit with speculations among blockmates, without decent introductions still the term was barely open, that he isn't who he seems to be. He later reasoned out in his blog that his manner - let's just be straightforward, some thought he was gay - was due to being raised with his sisters, and thus attitudes somehow came to be. But personally, I didn't think he was one.
That scene at the first day of LPEP - me, Martin, Icka, Malia, Huey and Isah huddled around one table at the Gokongwei lobby bearing through tough pieces of chicken - was my first encounter with Martin. Obviously the first thing that stamped in my head was his being from that campus at Katipunan, and that description became my excuse for initially forgetting his name as I traversed through adjusting in college. I'll admit that we weren't really close afterwards, despite me wishing that us six at the table would be us six going through everything. We were in different sections during English 1 and Chemistry lab class. We weren't groupmates in anything, as long as I can remember. The closest I probably got from him through technicality was in seating arrangements, especially in Art Appreciation class when he was seated a few seats away, sometimes asking me questions. And, of course, there was Algebra class, where he silently made me grit my tongue over the matter that he can talk to Ale but I can't, but that's for some different entry.
Later on, though, Martin became, for me at least, de facto leader of the party animals. Somehow, connections forged within the block during LPEP evolved into a group so close-knit you couldn't even see a way to get in and join. The group was composed of six like-minded people, and their rapport seems to have been predestined before they could even meet. I couldn't possibly speak about what they've been up to - of course, I just said that the closeness has become some barrier - but I could say that he was closest with Kizia, with which a lot of conversations have been shared - not to mention always-them grouping.
(Side note: I'm at the risk of sounding bitter, but I'm losing descriptive words.)
Which is not to say that Martin hasn't been talking to anybody else. Among the block in general he's been really fun to be with. I would obviously call him fun-loving, or that could be a result of his exposures when growing up. There's something with the way he speaks that exudes that, and consequently results in people liking his company and, for some, misunderstanding his very identity. Everyone, afterwards, took the former stance and were starting to laugh with him. You can just see that in volleyball games at night. And, as Clarence said, "you'll never get out inside a room with him without losing 290 calories dahil sa kakatawa."
Me and Martin - we've talked a few times, usually about school stuff, and my inattentive self fails to take note about his attitude. But personally, I've also enjoyed his company, even wanting to enjoy that further, to no avail, probably.
At Kim's debut, Martin simply said that he was indeed moving back to the Ateneo. He said he was to take up Interdisciplinary Studies but he hinted at shifting to another course. Speculation was strong in the past term that he was moving back - indeed, in January he announced that he took the entrance tests, but was still unsure about the entire thing. I don't know what propelled him to move back - did they move back to Marikina? - but I'm sure he enjoyed his school year as a Lasallian, finding new friends, making most out of the opportunity.
After the customary thank-you-for-the-company handshake, I grabbed the camera - I don't really remember the details - and we had a photo together. Before that, I think, Ale had a photo. The next thing I know Ariane was with Martin again, and she left the umbrella at his home. But - of course, photos are a must-have. In fact it was him who said it the best, at one of our visits to Barangay Tagumpay: "hindi kumpleto ang lahat kung walang pictures."
Memories, snapshots, even more memories - simply said, then.