6:29 pm

Dear J,

I have a secret to tell you. I’m beginning to see cracks on my friendship with this place. This only means one thing: my friendship with LB is getting old.

I can still remember my first day here. I arrived via jeep. The night before, on dusk, I arrived at Calamba and got whatever sleep I can at my girlfriend’s family house. They lent me the couch and I remember feeling happy reuniting with my girkfriend and people in general after almost a year of separation.

We dropped off Demarces and walked toward --- Street. A friend of mine was staying on a compound owned by Tita Edna, a retired UP employee who was able to buy several properties just outside UP. She rents most of them except her three floored house. But you would see her often on her unassuming duster. Truth be told, she is poor. All her money goes to her young son, I heard about my age, who almost died of cancer. He won only to be taken away a few months after I arrived by a worse kind of Covid.

I told Tita Edna I would be staying just for a couple of days while I decide where to stay. I spent the rest of that day walking around LB looking for houses.

That was a time of strict lockdown. If you could only see the dorms at that time. They looked like abandoned buildings, UPLB a ghost town. I talked to an owner once. He was ready to gave me what he said was his lowest rate in his entire career in business: a meer 3000 for a room. He showed me where the room was: on a three-floor building with no one not a single one currently occupying. I’ll let you hook into my internet he said. Just add 1 k.

Financially, this was a good deal. But c’mon, by myself? I left Pangasinan because of loneliness. I can’t have more of that here.

Seeing that Tita Edna’s deal was almost similar and that I was surrounded by others, I decided to stay in Tita Edna for two months before finally moving into my current apartment.

That first week, thst first month, I met friends I first made online, got invited to events, tried the restaurants. This was saying hello to Elbi

That was 2021.

Next year would mark my third year here. I’m almost like a junior, therefore, old. The walks have been repetitive as well as the sights. Even if I pride myself of being appreicstive of ordinary thingd repatedly, I cannot escape this human tendency.

(While writing this i had to stop because an elder woman who called me Kuya asked for directions of how to grt out of UP. something I easily gave away. Another sign thst this place has grown old in me.)

Therefore, the need to look for new reasons to stay.

The first time I ever prayed after 10 years was to a friend who died.

Now I’ve started to pray to my God.

Of course God knows whever each bird falls down. He has the dna of these things. In a way