“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out”.-Walter Winchell

Illustration by Matthew Niel J. Hebrona

I HAD once thought vacations mean detaching myself from people around me in school. But college life proved me wrong, when it made me realize that distance is never a hindrance to keep bonds established on the campus.

I finished my first year in college with a different note from my previous school year-enders. Surprisingly, I am now anticipating what would happen when classes resume. Even though another school year will mean a barrage of lessons and scientific terms, the thought of my friends and classmates compels me to return to school, which I previously considered to be meant for academic honing alone.

Before college, my high school friends would always invite me to places like Boracay and Punta Fuego at the end of every school year. After those outings, which I had ignored, they would happily narrate what happened in those summer getaways. And when they would ask me about my summer vacation, I would just sarcastically answer that it was fine.

I had isolated myself from my friends and classmates. Although I made attempts to ask permission from my parents, I gradually lost interest in escapades since their initial answer was “no.”

Perhaps, that built my indifference, which resulted in concentrating too much on my “wellbeing.” But still I felt that there was something missing, which I cannot find in myself alone.

Maybe I was looking for someone who I could be comfortable with—like a person who could understand things like how I would explain my failing grades to my parents, how I would convince them that the course I am taking is not for me, and that I was really meant for the arts.

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I have many regrets concerning my failure as a student and a son. Sadly, I still brood on them at times. I keep them locked up inside me, making it hard for me to show my true self.

When I entered college, I thought that it would have the same scenario in high school. The people in college were too diverse to the point that I could have had a collection of different personalities. But I chose to go with only a handful from my class. However, even with them, I kept to myself.

I had been constantly a person who pretended to be happy. But that person gradually faded and became a snob, who always looked serious and sad. I did not talk to anyone unless the topics were academic concerns.

But these chosen friends were persistent. They forced themselves upon my indifference, exerting sincere effort to get to know me better. Surprisingly, I caved in to their indulgences without knowing how and why.

I willingly told them of my problems, desires and even the people I like in class. I also told them about my experiences with my barkada and how we spend our time together, which would embrace both serious and lighthearted discussions and goings-on.

They, as well a I, realized that regardless of my large and contorted physique, there was this soft and good natured person that was deserving of a good and happy life.

It was pleasantly relieving to realize that I am free from my old self. Then on, I became eager to look forward into what could come in my path.

Now, even vacations will not be wasted because of my indifference to people, who care for me. As long as I have friends, I will always be grateful with what life could throw at me because it will only tell me how blessed I am with these people.

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Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for giving us friends to accompany us in paths we choose. We thank You for letting them be our shoulder to lean on, and companions who could listen to us. We ask that You strengthen our bonds with these people. Amen.

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