Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Last 5 minutes of a friend

The words just lingered there. The once bright luminescent glow of my cellphone held an eerie aura of dread. "Chad, Carl died last night," it read. I frantically pushed the scroll down button a dozen times believing, and given that Carl himself was a witty comedian, it was just some sort of joke. It wasn't.

I've only known this friend for only a year. "Bai, one year nata nagkaila!" he jokingly texted me last June. He preempted that message with the celebration of a patron saint in Ilo-Ilo - the day we met for the first time on a trip to Boracay with a group of friends. I wouldn't forget that trip because, aside from the fact that it was poorly planned, the locals held a custom to hurl small plastic bags of water at passing vehicles. Being a very wacky kind of person myself, he, along with the rest of the new friends I found on the trip just had the chemistry to get along. We spared no expense of beating ourselves silly with various wits of humor.

It would have been one week ago yesterday that I last saw him alive. I was inconsolable when I heard that, after calling my friend who gave me the gory details, he died of 25 stab wounds in his body. The killers spared no expense in inflicting the maximum amount of pain on my helpless friend. The news counted the stab wounds under 20 but that was based on visible ones and not the ones found after autopsy. Medico-legal officers stated that whoever did it, did it in a stab and twist motion. His organs were chopped into pieces even before they were able to take them out. The extent of his physical damage goes on and on than I care to imagine. Me being a very curious person in nature, by stock knowledge I already knew that these guys systematically tortured him.

Now if you read through my blogs you'd probably call me a hypocrite given my violent nature but my sorrow is not over how he died but how I chose to spend my last time with him.

I was in a hurry to leave that evening when I bumped into him exiting the elevator. I wasn't really in a mood to stick around since my girlfriend was already in bugging me to go to her and go home. For some brief pause, I had the gut feeling to just come along for his smoke break. We chatted about everything and anything. Topics like: How he sold his car because he didn't want it and how he'd rather commute than use his own means of transportation. It's never dull to talk with him. 5 long minutes. My girlfriend was already calling me on my phone but I just ignored it. What is 5 minutes for a friend? A friend is a friend.

I would never imagine that a few days later I would learn the painful way that those 5 minutes would be our last. That's what ate me the most. I don't know if it was sorrow or gratitude that took me because the thoughts lingered that I could have said "no" when he invited me for a break but I didn't. After all this time that I invited him to a night out with the gang, he declined. 5 minutes was all he gave me. I don't regret taking his offer. The rest of the people we knew didn't get that opportunity.

In the one year we knew each other, Carl was indeed a good friend. Extremely confident and intelligent, he commanded a sense of trustworthiness and a sense of responsibility in everything he does.

To you, Carl, I thank you. For giving me 5 minutes to spend with you. I hope wherever you are now, you can appreciate that brief moment I chose to hang out with you. Too bad you never did get to give me that free lunch. hehehehe..

Justice will prevail.

1 comment:

Lemski said...

You know what, I really don't know Carl personally, only when we get together in Toastmasters meetings or bump along the streets or in cyberspace, but I know all along that he's such a good person. Until now I always believe that no person deserves such kind, much more him. He still has so much to live for. But there are reasons things happen, and it's always for the good. I just hope that wherever he is right now, he finds the kind of peace he wasn't able to get here and that he'll look after those he left behind--friends and families. Most of all, I long and pray for justice. We're lucky to have met him. :)

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