When my paisano Boboy told me months ago that Reca, wife of old friend Earl, was sick with cancer, I was momentarily speechless. I decided not to text Earl to ask for more information because I considered how awkward it would have been for him to do so. And I am not good at discussing matters like this.
It was only weeks after, when I got a chance to talk with Tition, that I gathered enough courage to text Earl. Reca’s illness had gotten worse and she needed our prayers. It’s just unfortunate that unlike Tition, Malel and Reca’s cousin Carol, I am not Manila-based. So I am not given the chance to visit her.
Any youth-student activist would be lying if they will say that part of the lure of the movement was being able to interact with the opposite sex. On our part (my close friends and I), we were not vocal about it but our actions, in those golden years of student activism in Cebu (1979-1984), betrayed what was on our minds (or okay, hearts).
We were from Southwestern University, which had our own pretty activists. But us boys were also attracted to those from St. Theresa’s College and University of San Carlos. One of them was Reca, who was not only beautiful and soft-spoken, but at that time were ideologically advanced than us. Thus, at least for me, Reca conjured both admiration and respect.
Of course, as activists’ understanding of the cause deepens, they go beyond sexual concerns and becomes obsessed with the struggle. I would meet Reca for the last time at a particular life-changing period for me, when I decided to work full-time for the movement. It was during that time when I stayed in a rented house somewhere in Inayawan, Cebu City.
I didn’t have a chance to work with Reca for long because our paths diverged. But we products of that wave of activism, when we held rallies and other protest actions under the shadow of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law, have developed a bond that time and tumultuous events could not break. Thus, I feel for Reca, although I am confident of her inner strength. And Earl’s too.