Ties that bind

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 2, 2015 - 10:00am

Why do relationships last? Are the threads that bind them strong as steel, warm as the sun’s rays, and soft like the threads in a silk cocoon?

Whatever the stuff these threads are made of, you can be sure they exist, for why do people remain wrapped in relationship for keeps? And they’re not even married!

1. The BFFs

It was friendship at first sight for this couple. A provinciano, he was so taken by the ambience of the cosmopolitan restaurant where his “org” was holding a reunion that he asked to interview its PR.

He remembers the moment he first laid eyes on her — her long hair was still damp from a shower and she looked absolutely fetching in an apple green shirt. They had everything in common and nothing in common at the same time. He was the son of farmers and he says he played with mudballs while she toyed with rocks — those of the multifaceted, sparkling kind — while growing up in her parents’ manor.

Yet they shared a sense of humor, an unpretentious way of conversing, and a deep caring for others. They were easygoing externally, but were both deep and introspective. One was the H2 and the other was the O. They had chemistry.

After the interview, they lost touch. Those were the days before cell phones. And he probably didn’t even have a landline in his boarding house while she had a virtual switchboard in hers.

One day, he lost his job. He was devastated that he was going to return to his barrio a loser, when he was his parents’ Achilles and Hector rolled into one. (But he’d rather be “Darna,” he laughs.)

On his way to the LRT station to take the train to oblivion, his eyes were suddenly drawn to the woman selling tokens. It wasn’t because of her looks, for he wasn’t into girls.

It was her blouse. It was apple green.

It brought back memories of the PR girl-cum-heiress whose friendship he fell for at first sight. How do we explain the crazy things we do when we take a gamble on a relationship, when we court the favor of the universe, and we put our faith in God’s mercy?

He called Ms. Apple Green on her Beeper 150. He remembers the number to this day even if he has forgotten his. His message: “Hi! I hope you still remember me. I’m depressed. I need a friend. Please beep me at _____ where I can please call you.”

In an instant she replied with a phone number. He dialed the number and after only half a ring, she picked up. “Hoy, anong balita? Nasaan ka?” she answered. It wasn’t syrupy sweet, like she had missed him. It was casual, as if they had known each other for decades and had only talked that morning.

The farmers’ son said he was in Lawton.

“Where’s that?!!!” the heiress shrieked.

But she found him. It turns out, her father was also looking for him as the promdi had written the best article ever on the family’s restaurant. An hour after their Lawton rendezvous, he became part of her family. They asked him to move in with them, as the 1 ½-hour daily commute (one way) from Barrio Gulod in Cabuyao, Laguna was too taxing on the lanky writer’s health.

“What, me, move to Dasmariñas Village?” he almost fell off the front steps of his new family’s manor.

Twenty years and several boyfriends later (mostly his, he admits, as he has remained true to his gender preference) he and the girl in the apple green shirt are still best friends.

On Aug. 23 this year, writers Büm Tenorio Jr. and Christine Dayrit marked their 20th anniversary as a couple.

Best. Friends. Forever.

2. In good times & bad

Mark and Karl (not their real names) were high school best friends in the early ‘80s, when the volatile political situation polarized families and organizations. Mark’s family was with the opposition. Karl’s family was a so-called “crony” of Ferdinand Marcos, who had ruled the country for almost 20 years.

And then came EDSA and the tables were turned in the blink of an eye. Karl’s family had to flee the country, and in their haste brought only their most basic necessities.

Mark and Karl were athletes, and together they had several track and field medals and trophies. But Karl had to leave his most precious medals and trophies behind.

One day, out of the blue, Mark got a call from Karl requesting if he could go to their sequestered home and retrieve some personal belongings, plus the prized trophies and medals. No one knows how Mark went past the PCGG but he was able to bring Karl’s trove of awards (plus some yearbooks) home. Mark’s family didn’t have a driver but his mother hired one just to drive Mark to Karl’s former home.

After five years and the political situation had somehow cooled down, Karl returned to Manila. None of his cousins came to pick him up at the airport as he had asked them to. At the last moment, they chickened out, not wanting to be associated with him. He was now a social leper, shunned even by his flesh and blood.

Karl went to a payphone and took a chance. He dialed Mark’s number, not knowing if his friend, who was now on the right side of the political fence and well connected, would like to be even seen with him.

“Karl, stay right there, I’m going to get you,” Mark assured Karl after the latter nervously called him up.

Not only did Mark pick up Karl from the airport, he invited Karl to stay with his family as he had nowhere to go. Mark’s parents were now politically color-blind. Their home’s guest room became Karl’s home until he had found his bearings. And acceptance from his former friends.

Several administrations and one more EDSA Revolution after, Mark and Karl are still friends. They stood as Best Men in each other’s weddings. They were godfathers to the other’s firstborn.

They are still not always on the same side of the political fence, but they are always on each other’s team.

Bach vs. Beatles

The Women’s Board of St. Luke’s Medical Center reprises the Manila Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) sold-out success — Bach vs. Beatles. If you missed its summer concerts, you have one more chance to enjoy this rare musical gem, which brings together the timeless masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach and the greatest hits of The Beatles.

Bach excelled at counterpoint — two superimposed independent lines of music, which make sense by themselves, while blending seamlessly with one another. In keeping with Bach’s Baroque counterpoint style, the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Asia’s first symphony orchestra, has received standing ovations for its ingenious mash up of Bach classics and The Beatles favorites. Highlights of the performance are its unique concertos of Lady Madonna, Michelle and A Hard Day’s Night.

Delight in Bach vs. Beatles on Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m., at the Henry Sy Sr. Auditorium of St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City.

The Women’s Board is a non-stock, non-profit organization,  which raises funds to help indigent patients of St. Luke’s Medical Center.

(For tickets and reservations, call the Women’s Board office at 723-0101 local 3313, 0917-8974527 or e-mail May at mayb927@gmail.com.)

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com.)

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