Laura, I miss you.
Posted September 16, 2008on:
I know, someday I’ll see you again…
“…Babalik na kami ng Mindoro, dun na ako mag-aaral ulit…,” she shared as we were trying to draw our dream houses in a piece of primary pad paper. I was concentrating so hard in my “artwork” that I merely glanced at her and never said anything.
I wish I did.
I was in Grade IV when I met Laura. She was a transferee student from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. With our family names both starting in “G”, she was assigned to sit beside me. We were both skinny, I was only a tinny bit taller than her and a bit bigger. She was a gentle girl who tries so hard to adjust in a new environment, away from her parents and living only with her aunt and her elder sister Ethel [who was then in HS], or at least, this is what I have realized so late.
If I close my eyes I could still picture her out, sitting beside me and singing her favorite song or talking about her crush. Sometimes, she does both. She would sing “Dr. Jones” at the top of her lungs with her arteries bulging in her neck. There are times when she would belt out so much that I would imagine her arteries bursting from too much energy she exerts.
She’s a Baptist just like me and oftentimes, she would give me tracks and leaflets from their church. We would read it together or otherwise, I would stash it in my bag and forget about it. She often talks about her life, and I wish I paid attention.
I could only remember her telling me about their life in Mindoro, her sister, and how much she wanted to be with her parents. I wish I did listen to her though. I wish I did pay attention to what she was saying. She was the first person to make me feel what “losing a friend” means.
Laura Angela is a girl who, sometimes, because of her difficulty with the dialect tend to say things she did not actually mean. One time, she said something that one of our classmates misinterpreted. She was challenged in a catfight and the other girl was bigger than her. Bigger and stronger.
I was there. I saw how she was hurt and insulted by the girl but I did not do anything. One of the many regrets in my life. If only I could turn back the time, I would have helped her. I wanted to, but I opted to stand and watch like what the others did.
I guess it was the reason why Laura was sent back to Mindoro. Laura’s aunt was so angry at her that she was hit by an umbrella in the head in front of the whole class. Again, i merely stood watching while she pleads and cries. I merely gazed at her as her aunt made her gather her things and pushed her with the same umbrella outside the door.
I know she cried all the way home.
The next day, she was full of scratches and her eyes were puffy and reddish. Her aunt might have hit her so hard that she even got scratches and bruises in her eyelids. The next day she brought to school the wip used by her aunt. It looked like a plastic stem for a decorative plant only that, it has a thin wire inside. I pitied her so much but I couldn’t do anything.
Still, days after the incident, Laura started singing her favorite “Dr. Jones” again at the top of her voice. She sings while writing, while working, playing or simply sitting beside me.
Then March came. She told me that she’s going back to Mindoro to live with her dad. I never heard her tell about her mom, it was always her dad. I don’t know how I felt that time but I never stopped thinking about her even when I was on vacation. I was hoping that she would still be my seatmate in Grade V.
She wasn’t there when the school year opens and I found out that her dad took her and her sister back to Mindoro during the summer. I never saw Laura again.
And that was almost 10 years ago when I last saw her. I wonder how she is right now. Will she still remember me? I doubt it…but I still remember her.
If I would see her again, I would tell her how much I enjoyed sitting beside her, playing with her and hearing her sing Dr. Jones at the top of her lungs. Never mind if her arteries are about to break. I would tell her how much I valued her as a person, how much she mean to me.
I tried scouring the World Wide Web for her but I never found anything. I never even had a picture of her.
I hope she is somewhere safe and happy. There is a part of me that still hopes that someday I will see her again and hear her voice again. There is this part of me which keeps on believing that one of these days, the optimistic Laura will find me in cyberworld and we could be friends again.
and of course, I could only hope that somewhere out there exists a Laura Angela Gela who still remembers the seatmate who almost never gave her attention.
I’m sorry Laura, I hope I could make it up to you.
I miss you.
It’s been ten years…
and it’s never easy.