I rarely go out on Sundays because to me, they’re the kind of days where you would rather stay at home and just snooze in bed, listen to some oldie songs and watch some crappy film to pass the time than do any other thing in the world. I kinda think that Sundays were made to be like that- a day where people have the right to be lazy and nobody gets mad at them for doing so because everyone else is just so busy being lazy.
However, whenever I feel the urge to go out on a Sunday, I make sure that it’s gonna be a worthwhile activity. I have often spent them hanging out at the city’s cinematheque and watch some really awesome films from other countries or at times, our very own classic films. Or perhaps, I would pass by Booksale and check out the books I wish I could afford to buy and finish reading. And of course, the most typical thing I do on Sunday afternoons is going back to Miag-ao to start cramming for the things that I have to do for the new week coming. I love the travel via the public jeepneys or buses. In one way or another, I find the geographical distance of our home to Miag-ao very well calculated- it’s not that short nor is it that long. It’s the kind of distance good enough for you to listen to your playlist and let your thoughts be bothered by the simplest things you see all throughout the ride.
Anyway, there was this one Sunday I spent with my best friends at Jaro, Iloilo. I felt like something inside of me ignited. It’s not the grand kind of spark inside me, it was rather a soft blow. Somehow like telling me to remember some stuff that I have left behind through the years as I grew up. I have seen too many familiar faces all in one afternoon and I do not understand why I feel weird about it.
The first familiar face was at the jeepney going to our destination. It was my Journalism teacher back in my summer classes during fourth grade. She was very modest still. With a knee-length skirt and a long-sleeved polo blouse, I can tell that she just came from church service and off to go home and do her own set of lazy stuff. She was talking to her companion about President Aquino’s latest speech to the people regarding the pork barrel scam. As much as I want to listen to their opinions (which I assume are intelligent ones since they both work for one of the leading local newspapers here in Iloilo), I cannot help but notice how my teacher’s manner in expressing her thoughts remains to be full of conviction and confidence still. I have noticed that back when I was in fourth grade but I suppose that I have ended with such conclusions because as a fourth grader, I have considered people who are older than me or held such an authority over me as very strong-willed people. But during that Sunday, at that jeepney, as I listened to her, now as a college student, I have realized that she was worth all my first impressions of her. Or rather, she has maintained her stand in my perception of an empowered woman.
I didn’t greet her during that jeepney ride though. I suppose that she can’t remember me nor my works back then anyway.
The second familiar face there was of my PE teacher back in high school. It wasn’t her though. She was some manager at Jollibee. Or perhaps some other employee attaining a higher position than the other workers. My confidence was oozing during that time and I cheerfully pointed at her while telling my friends, “Hey, it’s Ma’am.”
She looked at me with utmost disgust in her face. Her thoughts might have gone from “Who the heck is this kid pointing at me claiming that I’m her teacher.” to “I wish you could just leave right now cause I was totally distracted and I’m in a middle of a meeting. So, back off.”
Upon realizing that she wasn’t my teacher, I released myself on the couch. Giggling. Yet my heart was beating so fast. It must have been the adrenaline rush from that roughly 15-second awkward pointing and staring at each other. I let myself wallow in embarrassment after. Yet and yet, I regret nothing.
When we were about to leave the fast food, another familiar face showed up. It was my brother’s best friend at med school. She has often visited our house during fiestas or whenever she and my brother had something to work on. She was simply, one acquaintance that I get to see every other time fate permits us.
And the last familiar faces during that day were the faces of my best friends. That Sunday marked our last chance to hang out this sembreak. I would often feel happy during these dates however with this one, I felt the seep of depression while we were walking in some unfamiliar place with a lot of unfamiliar faces around us. As we talked about our commonly repeated conversations about anything under the sun, I cannot help but miss them. I’m missing them when they are not around and I’m missing them when we are together. The familiar faces that I have considered closer to me more than the other friendships I’ve established are already growing old. Perhaps the depression that sank deep inside of me that time wasn’t really about sadness. It was more of fear.
I am pretty much afraid of the time that they’ll be merely familiar faces to me someday, too. Because at this time when everything seems to be moving at a fast pace, you’ll easily be left behind once you keep on remembering. The past is something to be visited just once in a while, not something that you should worship.
I am pretty much confident that what we have is something that will last. With the bizarre of crazy things that have happened during the time that we were apart, we are still able to catch up with each other’s lives as if nothing ever happened in between the time we left each other and the time we were back together. The same laughter, smiles, and voices were still there only with older faces carrying them.
And that was the last time we were complete so far. Of course I’m looking forward to the next time we’ll be complete again. And that is on Christmas break- roughly one month away.
And so it is that Sundays are lazy days and familiar faces are faces of once loved, still loving or will always be loved people.