I received news lately that a very good friend of mine died. She was a young ballerina with big dreams within her reach. After a performance in Maryland, as she was crossing the street, a car hit her and her colleagues.
I feel like a car has hit me, too, at speeds a speedometer can't read. I feel both numb and hurt. Masakit. I will heal. We will all heal, as we all must after such tragedies. Life does go on for us, the living. Your memory and what you mean to me, us will forever remain. But, until time heals the pain, I will mourn for you, Mary.
You were one of my best partners. Our tandem had presence. It was easy to dance with you on stage because you gave of yourself completely. Together, we would be lost in our characters, the music, and the steps -- living and breathing the dance. The first time we partnered was for Teacher Tinnie's Modern Choreo. There was only a small partnering bit, but after that there were so many. Sayaw Pandirigma. Teacher Jun's Skirt Dance. No Exit. Rhapsody in Blue. Lattice. The Astor Piazzola Tango set. I will never forget how your mom and my mom both concluded after one show that when we danced together, there was magic.
Pre-dance, after-shows, between classes and just in our own time, we always ate. We did love to eat. Turtle pie at Coffee Bean. McDo, Coke Float and Fries. Tita Susan's Mango Crepe. Spaghetti. Turon. Any brand of Chocolate even the inexpensive Goya Chocolate. Chocolate Cake. The Choco log at Country Style (Yes, we had more than our fair share of Chocolates). It became a part of our pre-show routine to go to the others dressing room looking for sweets. Sometimes, you'd come to me. Sometimes, I'd go to you. But we never failed to look for food.
I remember how, when lounging at your house, you, vida and mcCoy decided to pluck all my chest hair out. Hahaha! That hurt until I was numb and was really funny. We were all laughing. Again, we ended up laughing when, mid-bathing, you, vida and I ran out of the three bathrooms at your home because there was no more water. There was only half a pail of water left. We had to make do with that. Grabe yung tawa natin nun. You loved to laugh, Mary. Your eyes would grow wide and your grin made others laugh with you. You loved to joke, muck around and have fun. We would hang at steps, BP, the mall, dressing rooms, UP, your home, etc. and we would always have a grand time. Even if you were just watching your anime as I read, we had a great time. We had lots of adventures. Your 18th debut celebration. Our audition for HK APA. Kilig moments at UP. Going to Baguio. Accompanying Cyril to POI and then walking back to April's condo to watch the PNAB rehearsal. My Discovery Suites racket where they colored our hair blue. The Gabby Barredo exhibit. Looking for costumes at Makati Cinema Square. Our various overnights and parties. Watching movies and ballets. Eating, again... Hehehe!... And all those others that could fill a chest of memories.
You knew how to have a great time. But you were my friend because you also had substance. You weren't just a girl in the world. You had brains, heart, and passion. You loved your family, friends, and teachers. Unlike me, you were very vocal about this. You were a university and college scholar at UP and made sure you got good grades. You would work on your roles with passion and ferver. Always testing how far you could go. We could talk about life and love for hours on end. Even though I missed you, I was really happy you were in the States to realize your dream. We shared the dream, didn't we? To dance for others and touch lives through our art.
I was looking forward to seeing you this May. I was hoping that Steps would have us partner again. I was looking forward to your jokes, your kwento's and your company. Now, I am glad I was able to tell you a few weeks ago that I miss you and that I love you. Yes, Mary, I will mourn for you. And I will remember you. But I will also rejoice because you are in heaven. There is no better place to be than there.