BACK then, I availed myself of the services of a school bus even when our home was just a 10-minute walk away from high school.

Back then, I thought commuting from our residence in Makati to Ayala was tedious when in fact travel would only take a 20-minute jeepney ride. Funny how I only trusted taxi cubs to take me around places.

But when I entered college and went beyond the comforts of our city, España in Manila did not even seem so distant, too.

Truth be told, as you grow up, your world gets smaller—and you get tougher. It gets smaller to the point that one does not mind going home very late amid the possibilities of being jammed in traffic, or worse, held up.

Coming onto my third year in the University, I finally mastered the art of being fearless (if there is such a thing). I did not grumble on our late class dismissals, which was usually at nine in the evening.

***

And then I delved into something I was not familiar with; still, I tried just to see if things would work out well.

Expecting nothing, the “we” happened. He took me in warmly and introduced me to new faces, brought me to new places, and made me try new things outside my comfort zone. He also showed what his life was all about, especially his work as a journalist. And gradually, I came to know him deeper.

I met new friends because of him; the type friends who I know will always stick around. More than that, I got to sit around prominent people, like famous artists and athletes.

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I have gone to places I wouldn’t go to before it if wasn’t for him. He took me in every nook and cranny of UST, up to the Main Building’s tower. He took me to countless events in Manila and even to the beautiful shores of Panglao.

In return, I took photographs of and for him, a skill I didn’t think I had. A greenhorn in the field, I took photographs no matter how tiring it was, no matter how much sweat I had to break. He made me love this art called photography.

Although I struggled with the insecurities of having to match up with the photographs he took, everything turned out well between us. I loved working with him.

In my first two years, I got so hooked to him that I made sure I was always around. I spent a lot of time with him to the point that I gave up all my free times for him as he made me happy, giving me something to look forward to.

But as with all relationships, we had to reach some pebbly point. My fondness for him put a limit to my horizons; I had arrived at a point in which I had to choose between him and another.

And here was when my yearning for a life outside his arms began.

I wanted to get back to people that matter more—my long-time friends and, of course, my family.

And so our relationship faltered; the “we” still existed, but our growth had stopped. But the thing was, no matter how I pushed him away, there were times that I just saw myself running toward him. He in return, tirelessly welcomed me with open arms, probably with hopes that the “we” would be the same again. I also tried to bring back everything to how it used to be. But it just didn’t happen.

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While I finally had the chance to visit him again after my graduation last March, I got to realize that although I had taken him for granted, he been with me through thick and thin.

Undoubtedly, our being together had marked a significant shift in my life and contributed highly to who I am now.

Then a job offer came sooner than I expected. This fueled the start of a new life for the both of us. And as I slowly walked away from him, I felt a myriad of emotions—of sadness, a tinge of regret, a bit of nostalgia, some happiness, and maybe relief, too.

***

Perhaps, that just how life is; when you get the hang of, or be familiar, with some things, you have to have the courage to get out of your shell and try other things because when you get out of school, the world will never be the same again. It isn’t small and safe as there is a jungle that is waiting—that jungle is in a new world, and that world is in an ambiguous galaxy. I guess all I’m saying is that: big things await us in a big world.

***

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, “V.” I will never say goodbye because I will always be with you as you are always there for me. Once a ‘V’ staffer, always a ‘V’ staffer!

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