The week former Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo passed away, you wrote what remains to be my most favorite Amer Amor quote of all time:
What does [death] tell us about life? That it is indeed fleeting. That we should always be grateful. That a life well-lived and well-served will be remembered long after we’re gone. And that we should not delay love. We should not delay love.
You simultaneously touched on loving and living a full life and being grateful for everything – things we relentlessly talked about whenever and wherever we wanted to indulge our patriotic, hopeful, dream-big selves. It didn’t matter whether we were exploring the cobblestone streets of Intramuros together or simply exchanging messages on Facebook or WordPress at two in the morning; we’d find a way to feed off of each other’s positive energy, love of travel, and addiction to stunning sunsets.
But I don’t know how to proceed from here, now that it’s you who’s gone. I’m sorry, but right now, I couldn’t care less about all the prose and positivity in the world.
Alam mo, I just find myself really, really stumped.
I was so certain I’d see you again sometime this month or the next, you know. So much so that I had the gall to repeatedly say no whenever you asked for details when you found out I’ve fallen for this awesome guy while I was living overseas.
Anuba! ikuwento mo na kasi, Donna. May malalim kang pinaghuhugutan.
Saka na ‘pag nagkita na lang tayo, Amer. Wala namang masyadong ikukuwento. I think hinayaan ko siyang matapos bago pa man masimulan.
Kahit na. ‘Yan ang mga the best na love story.
And so to make you stop, I’d laugh and tell you I miss you and I love you and I’d tell you about it in time. It was the only time I remember saying no to you because for the most part, ours had been a giving relationship, of supporting each other’s dreams and simply letting the other be. Of not sweating the small stuff whenever meet-ups got cancelled or promises weren’t kept. Of poking fun at each other’s quirks and sharing our intense hatred for incorrectly used expressions and phrasal verbs. (I can still hear you ranting about why people keep using “touchdown” to announce their arrival in a city or town when they didn’t even take the plane to get there. Wala namang gulong ng eroplano na nag-touchdown, ano kaya ‘yon?)
I don’t even know why I said no and chose to delay love that one time, Amer. But if telling you all about it now could bring you back, I’d bore you with everything I can remember about that non-love story. I’d break our journalism code of ethics even and throw in some details that never happened if that would mean I’d get to hear you laugh and see your face light up again. Anything to undo the motorcycle accident that took you. Anything to keep me from having to grapple with the reality that you are gone too soon, and for good.
Because in all honesty, of all the plot twists that could ever happen in this life, this having to dream and do and explore and love without you from here on out was something I never saw coming.
Which is also why exactly a week after you’ve left, I’m still bereft of whatever life skill or mindset can get me through this grief. I’m just really, really sad that you had to go.
I still can’t bring myself to say goodbye, Amer. And I’m not sure how long it’d take until things start to make sense. But I’m hoping you’re happy and at peace wheresoever you are Juandering now. I imagine the sunsets we’re so crazy about look even more magnificent from where you’re now watching them.
Also, I bet there’s no one there to infuriate you anymore by using “touchdown” incorrectly. And because I love you, I’m going to try very, very hard to at least be happy about that.
In memory of Amer Amor aka Juanderkid (23 Oct 1982 – 15 May 2014)