This week alone, three people I knew died.
The first was my student, Joey Carlos, who was the brightest boy in my Lit 13 class last semester. He was quiet, but would always give the wisest answers in class. He also wrote well, dissecting every story with scalpel-like sharpness.
The second was my writer-friend, Rene Villanueva. I saw him last a month ago, when we were watching ENDO at the UP Film Center. He was thin and did not look too well. I sat beside him and told him he was my favorite writer in Filipino, and his eyes lit up. But in my bones I knew that Rene -- who had survived a heart bypass, a stabbing, the shocks flesh is heir to -- would not stay too long with us.
The third was a man I met only briefly, Monico Atienza, whose book won a National Book Award from us in the Manila Critics Circle. He survived Marcos's dictatorship but not the debilitating effects of sickness.
Krip Yuson texted me to ask if I want to join PLAC to go and visit Adrian Cristobal. I remember Adrian as jovial. He would pinch me on the arms, the waistline, every time he saw me. The rest were scandalized, but I just smiled and told him, If you pinch the right waistline, you should also pinch the left.
When Joey's father asked me why was that his son, all of 18 and kind and extremely bright, left us early, I told him, Sir, I am sorry I do not know what to say. In spite of the tons of books I have read, I have no answer.
But I wished that those who have stolen from us -- whether of elections or of our taxpayers' money -- would be the ones dead. But I am sure the gods of karma have something in store for them, in their own time.