Here on Earth

Bucketlist Item: checked!

Summer time brings old friends to life! It’s hard to say “no” when old friends joined together in an FB group chat to plan for a summer getaway.

It wasn’t the best time when I had a mini-reunion with my high school friends; it was in a wake. We all went together in one evening to pay a visit to the late mother of one of our friends, and while we’re supposed to be all solemn, we cannot help but feel glad to see each other again after a number of years. We know we have so much to talk about, and we need to plan a trip so we can make new memories together.

I must say this trip made a lot a of “firsts” and realizations for us.

It’s best when It was not planned.

We know we’re busy rascals. And things and decisions might change if we plan the trip weeks or months from that evening, so I made a wild decision: Let’s make it this coming Saturday.

They complained. But I insisted, and they eventually agreed.

We haven’t decided on the destination or how to do it, but we all committed ourselves to our agreed date. It was a bit risky and can be too spontaneous for us, knowing we usually plan our trips for a couple of weeks or even months. But we need to do, what we ought to do. We cannot delay this any longer.

Adulthood

It’s been years since we last got together, and a lot of things happened in between the years. One of my friends now has his own family, another one now has four kids, my friend’s little girl is now in her teens, and a lot more. We are officially adults since years ago, but things are more different now.

I guess, as much as we didn’t talk about it,  pushing through with the plan was one of our #squadgoals in high school – to still hang out with your high school friends after 20 years. We’re no teenagers anymore, and our issues, from teachers, to grades are now about work responsibilities, family life and other adult problems that maybe somehow we looked forward to be discussing together years ago.

Unwritten bucket list item/s.

Our trip surprisingly pushed through on April 21. We met at 2:30 a.m for a convoy of three cars. There was an assigned “head”, “body” and “tail” for the cars. It was fun to be laughing at your friend’s driving skills as the “head” would drive in a zigzag pattern, forcing his way in between trucks and cars, leaving a “snake trail” for the “body” and “tail” to follow.

I cannot helped but feel a mixture of warmth and nostalgia. How, I remember one of my friends commenting “why didn’t we just had one big car, instead of driving separate ones?” I agreed to her sentiment, I mean, just imagine how much gas were spent in those three running cars, which would travel for almost 12 hours. But I recall saying, “this could be one item off our bucket list, to travel in our own cars someday, going to one destination.”

Yes, I guess it was one of our unwritten and undeclared bucket list items. We were products of public high school, who used to ride a tricycle or even walk (if we lost a peso for our fare) just to go to school. We used to be contented with a few pesos as our daily school allowance, trying to make the most of it, paying for our food and incidental expenses. We experienced different levels of financial hardships, and once in our younger years we made a promise that someday our lives will be easier. That someday, those things we dreamed about will happen in real life. Twenty years later, most of us are driving their own car, with their own family, working in a stable company, with our own careers to sustain our livelihood. Maybe it took a long time for us to really experience the “success” we all aspired for, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve come a long way from where we were before.

We made a stop in one city from our destination to have our breakfast at McDonald’s. There, as we alighted the vehicles we get to meet the wife, the teenage daughter, the 7-year old goddaughter, basically everyone in our trip. It dawned on me how old we are now, how time really flew by.

We used to chase each other’s tricycle back in high school, while throwing shades and silly mockery to each other, now, personal cars are bringing us to our destination. Yes, we still throw shades and crazy comments to each other, but I guess, that thing we cannot erase from our lives. We became friends because of it.

We’re one BIG FAMILY.

We’ve known each other since we’re 14 years old, and as we grow older, our numbers almost doubled – counting the better halves and the offsprings.  We encouraged everyone to bring their wives, girlfriends, and even the kids, we love meeting them and making them part of our growing “family”. It’s a delight hanging out with everyone.

Memories are worth looking back on.

No memory will ever be too old to be remembered and talked about. In fact, the older a memory gets, the fonder it can be to remember. We talked about old loves, failures, crazy high school memories, unforgettable teachers, almost everything! I just realized that we never get tired of recalling high school stories, we talk about those each time we see each other! And we even laughed harder each time, too.

Those goodbyes.

We stayed in Nagsasa Cove, Zambales, for two days and one night. We pitched tents, cooked food, burned our toes in the raging heat of the sands, and swam in the beach. It was a laid back trip, I must say. We spent afternoons talking, teasing each other, and in the evening, for those of us who can stay a bit later we continued to reminisce our younger years.

On the second day, we once again did a convoy, passed through Subic Bay Freeport Zone to catch a dinner. After our dinner in a Japanese buffet restaurant, it was bye-bye time. Before we ride our vehicles, everyone shared quick hugs and kisses, we parted ways with promises that we will do another of this trip again.

I guess I must be the only one who felt the bittersweet goodbyes. We rode our respective vehicles and took our own preferred speedy routes. I am never the clingy friend, but I guess spending a couple of days with your friends, away from the stressful calling of the city will always be something hard to say goodbye to. That goodbye is an another beginning of a stressful week ahead.

Another new set of memories worth remembering was just added in our memory box, which I hope even in busy days, we will never choose to forget.