Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Hello dear readers, There’s lots of happenings this month of June.  First of all, congratulations to all the graduates this year!  You have made a milestone in your life by getting your diplomas.  But it doesn’t end there.  You have to move on and continue on your next journey.  For Kinder graduates, you move on to [...]

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Page added on September 22, 2016

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Erwinism: Friends, Elegies, and Time

By Erwin Maramat

It was a blustery morning in ’91 when I first met Red. The leaves, each with the life of its own, recklessly surfed the breeze in search for a final resting place where the aging season can bid its farewell and adorn them with dews to capture the failing sunlight one last time in our schoolyard. I was half the size that I am now back then. It was a struggle to stay in my shoes without me being swept by the wind. However, it wasn’t the first time, not just by the wind anyway. No, I usually get my daily dose of fist vitamins courtesy of Dr. Bully who is assiduous in making sure that I get plenty of it and that I’m off my feet whenever I stray in his path. I wanted to formally shake the hands of his parents for raising such a fine kid—always reliable, and always a sweet little Satan. Yes, it was one of those morning when you can find a painful map imprinted on my face in the form a bruise. Thanks to that cartographer from hell.

I was still shaken when a hand reached out to me. I couldn’t make out his face as the sun shone behind his head like a halo. As soon as he pulled me up, I found a smile that will be eternally infused with all that I am.

“Are you okay?”

“I am just a bit banged up that’s all.”

“You shouldn’t let him do that. Why don’t you talk to one of the teachers? If you can’t I’ll be more than happy to tell them.”

“No, don’t worry about it.”

“Name’s Red, how about yours?”

“Erwin.”

His hand dove into his bag searching for something. He pulled out a student handbook and handed it to me. He told me to read it and learn to protect myself without lifting a finger.

It was that day that I decided to keep him for life and the rest is history. Red was my best friend, not to say that he isn’t now, but that is something that I will tell you a little later. We went to school together. We had lunch together. We went home together. We were in a band together. For many years it was that way, until we fell in love with the same person together and I thought that togetherness has to end. I found his good looks disturbing as I was not endowed with it, but that smile on his face was then something I despised. I told him it was the end of our friendship and that a stray dog is taking his place—it was cruel of me, but I was in my teens. He cried and said we are brothers, and I told him that I’m not falling for a cliché, so we parted ways.

Fast forward, I remember falling in depression. I was at the verge of ending it all. This time I was bullied by circumstance and again his hand reached out to me. I was thankful that he was in my life again. We were older, and for our audience, we could have been wiser, but not me. He saved me and kept saying don’t give up; don’t give in. I smartened up and then we lost contact with each other. We got caught up with the different lives were living back then. I kept telling myself, “Don’t you give up on me! Red’s right. He did find the right words to instill hope in me and he was always right.

Whenever life gave me lemonades I just didn’t suck it up, I put up a lemonade stand, I wrote down my pain and sold it as a story, that’s what I’ve learned from Red. He was my hero, but time was suddenly a space in between and I have no idea were he was, Facebook was still young so we never got the chance to really spend time at least exchanging pleasantries. I wanted to tell him how his idea of not giving up has changed my life, but never really had the chance.

I was working one day, when one of our best friends called me up and broke the news: Red was gone for good. I couldn’t believe it; he took the easy way out. The world felt silent for me that day. My heart was shattered into pieces and all I think of was the question: “Now, who’s going to reach out to pick me up when I get swept again?” I came rushing only to find he was the one who gave up.

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