Gone and John | Stranger Friends

Ma found an old photo of the neighborhood kids.

I believe it was taken during a party. I was in a purple polo shirt. I stood in the middle. I am certain that it was not my party. It wasn’t taken at our house. We were all on the street, including the babies and their nannies. We were really young. We were all small. And it’s a proof of us being there.

But now all that has changed.

For certain, all of us have grown up. And a good number of us moved away. Pat, April, and Ito went back to the province. Shane and her little brothers finally have a house of their own. JL and Ace sold theirs. Ivan, his sisters, and their families could no longer fit in their little place. Who remains? We’re still here. And so is John.

John became one of my first friends in the village. We’ve been neighbors since our family moved here in the 80s. And all through the first half of the 90s, we and the rest of the gang were tight. But that bond loosened when, one by one, kids left with their families. High school and college happened. Back then, I’d still see him by their gate with the family dog. He’d shoot back a look. But never a stare nor a smile.

Now, we’d acknowledge each other’s presence by not getting in the way, all in done with speed and silence.

Somehow, years ago, I believed that I could never let a friend go without protests and objections. Turns out I could. And I did it all without realizing it.

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