SABBATICAL NOTES. 7 JUNE 2014. SATURDAY.
Vagaries of life, or putting closure to a death.
THIS IS for Amer Amor.
You do not know this but so many people you have touched were touched by your life.
On May 30, at the Omai Khan by the Carlone Inn right off the University of the Philippines Baguio campus where you spent 10 fruitful year of your youthful life, I had a dinner with Dr Elizabeth Calinawagan.
We talked about many things, and then our talked segued into those that were not part of the agenda of our meeting.
Briefly, we talked about Dr Beth's incoming retirement, her work at your university, and the good things she wanted done for linguistic justice, the advocacy we are doing.
We talked of our incoming 9th Nakem International Conference as well, and the many possibilities by which we could turn things the way these should be turn rightfully and fairly for our peoples.
I was told that you have stayed in Baguio long enough that you have picked up Ilokano comfortably, speaking like the way Baguio folks would speak that city's lingua franca.
I got it from some other sources, not from Dr Beth, Amer.
I started learning your language, and I have gone past 'Dai ka magpararibok.'
Which was not enough to respond to your taking up my father's language, which was my first language as well.
Out of the blue, I mentioned you.
Yes, to Dr Beth while we were taking our desert. I had that rich and creamy cheesecake, with a spoon of blackberry completing the visual feat. Dr Beth had a slice of apple pie.
'You know Amer?' she asked, surprised.
'Yes.' I looked at her. She has gotten so pale in the subdued light of the restaurant. 'He was my student in a creative writing class. Looks like on short story.'
'He was renting my faculty unit.'
'Yes. And his things are still in my unit.'
'How our lives intersect, Dr Beth!'
'It is so. I did not know you knew him too!'
'He was my student 10 years ago. Or perhaps more. At UP Diliman. One of my most brilliant students.'
'A good man. So young. And he had so much promise.'
'What a waste.' And I remembered what was happening to the Philippines, and the many rotten people in the homeland, the people who refuse to go extinct, resurrecting all the time, reinventing themselves, or passing on the same rottenness to their offspring.
'I left his things as he left them. But I talked to him on that day I went to my faculty unit where he was staying. He was seldom around since he decided to live more and more in Sorsogon where his family's resort is located. You know you have to talk to people who have gone beyond, tell them what is in your head, ask them not to bother you. Which I did to Amer. After that, I felt at peace.'
'I wrote to him, telling him I would want to spend some time in his family's resort. I wanted to write there, perhaps finish some chapters of the novel I am working on.'
Later on, we called it a night.
But the night was young. And we will always have you in mind.
BAG/30 May 2014