The past several months had me meeting one after the other two former comrades–good friends from my revolutionary years. Evan returned to Cebu after years of living in Hawaii with her family. She was with her child and, I think, her husband, a Japanese American. Also, I finally got to talk with Tition, who is a prime mover of a non-government organization, more than two decades after we last met.
Evan knew me better personally than Tition. She knew my family and many of the people in the old Sitio Kawayan in Sambag 2 where I grew up. That was why when she invited me for lunch and a talk, I brought with me Anol, who used to live in nearby B. Rodriguez St., and Oscar, my kababata. Meeting with old friends is always an occasion for reminiscing.
Evan was also close to me in a personal sense. I don’t know, but I think that had our past been tinkered with a bit, we would have ended up becoming more than just friends. Among my old comrades, I always enjoyed talking with her and our conversations were always animated. But it looks like we were not really destined for each other. What is comforting is that even if we now have our own families and we are in different continents, there is still some contact of sorts.
What surprised me was Tition. Like Evan, she was once a student of St. Theresa’s College. Perhaps that played a lot in her religious stance now. Still, there was a time in our younger years when we tried to jettison religion and embraced atheism and dialectical materialism. I’d like to believe that our ideological levels were almost the same at that time. Thus, it was surprising that we both are embracing God again more tightly now.
Tition has a child but is separated from her husband. The tragedy of relationships forged in the anvil of the revolution is that when couples go back to the mainstream, they eventually separate. Without the political unity that formed the main basis of the relationship, the couple end up lost. But Tition is happy where she is now and with her NGO work. In a way, I envy her because she is still directly linked with workers and the urban poor aside from the middle class. She is still in a struggle, although no longer armed.
I told Tition that I consider those years of struggle as still the best years of my life. The one I am leading now is monotonous because it is repetitive, unlike in the past when everyday offered something new and you constantly thank your lucky stars that you have managed to survive. More importantly, you were part of the building of utopia, in the process forging close relationships with ordinary people like workers and peasants.
That is why meeting people from those years and recalling memorable events is satisfying.