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ONE PERSPECTIVE that has always been taken for granted is the thought that at one time in the past, you have shared significant moments with people who are not in your present now. Among these may have been former schoolmates, neighbors, or teammates with whom a stream of unforgettable experiences once hugged your old days without much letup.

While estrangements during some of these relationships might have been stressful, for others among us, the process of slowly drifting apart only seems like a natural occurrence. Take the end of each school year as one example. Leaving classmates behind for the summer almost always leaves little effect as each of us sets off for home, hometown or the promise of a faraway vacation. 

In a sense, these brief gaps are like little rehearsals to that actual time when, come graduation, there is now a semblance of finality that is involved, and the next step means leaving your comfort zones. As the next stage after school begins, stressful or not, one’s interaction with new sets of people, some of whom will eventually become new friends, will prove to be the seamless segue that leaves yesterday behind. 

It is here where the old peels away, as though it’s time for a new paint job on ones’ life. By then, most of those significant moments with people in the past will have just become mere memories to reminisce about. This ‘finality’ is sealed further when what comes between you and people in your past is the permanence of death. As a Beatle once said, all things must pass, and during some pensive moments, you wish to make light of it all and hope that it was merely gas.

Thereafter, during meditative moments, one realizes that there’s a sense of connectivity that’s involved. As the present becomes past, everything else after that falls in the same bin of the past. Nowhere else. This menagerie of past faces, places, along with happy and bad moments but significant nonetheless, constantly evolves with each passing day. Sadly, however, not everything in it is remembered because memory, too, fades, and like time, it is fleeting.

During one rare Sunday when an old friend and I visited an Ecoland tennis club, a much ‘senior’ senior had approached us with his own bucket-full of recollections as though he were summer’s representation of the ghost of Christmas past. When the three of us had finally established our six degree of separation and the ritualistic run-down of who’s who in our past, it was he who eventually blurted out, it’s a small world after all. 

Though not surprised, I had to agree. Davao, in the past, may have been a much smaller place where everybody knew everybody. Yet, connectivity extends much further. I remember him being frail and thin for a tennister back in the eighties. Who would have thought, in those years until yesterday, he had met with some people of my past, and now, like a time traveler, he’s coming back to remind me they shouldn’t be forgotten easily?

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