There are things in my heart of which I know are true. Though I still remember bits of vividly, some of it has started to fade away. And so, I write to remember it. I write so that it may remain perpetual in my memory.
The year was 2002. I was 13 years old. Back then, I was an active kid. I was joining every workshop that I could get my hands on. I studied writing, reading, art and nature. And that was where the trouble has started.
At my dad’s workplace, they used to hold mountain climbs for the children of the employees. I bugged my dad to let me join until he finally caved in. I was so excited.
We went to Tanay, Rizal. Remember, this was 2002. We didn’t have smartphones. Nokia 3210 wasn’t even a hit yet. All I had was this jurassic Nokia phone which had an antenna protruding out of it. And so, I didn’t have any pictures of the place. I don’t even know the name of that mountain. Or if it even existed today.
There were a lot of kids that joined the activity. We were divided into different teams. As I was the eldest in our team, I was assigned as the leader. I got ahead and got the names of my members. And that was when I saw her.
You know the feeling when you meet someone then time seems to go in slow motion? I swear that was what happened when I met her. Her name is Martha. I was a year older than her. If I remember correctly, she was from Antipolo. I busily chatted her away pretending I was just getting important info but I was just eager to speak with her.
And so, we started to trek towards our base camp. The trek wasn’t so hard. Especially since back then, I didn’t have hypertension to worry about. And also, I was busy chatting with her. I don’t exactly remember our conversations but I’m sure it was child stuff. After 2.5 hours of hike, we reached our camp. We started to build tents and got ourselves settled.
As night came, everyone was eager to get some sleep. Our team slept in one tent. Which means, I slept beside Martha. Remember, we were kids back then. So no malice guys. Haha. She was fast asleep. And so, I turned to the other members of the team. There were a couple of kids age 6 and 7. They told me that since Martha and I were the eldest, they were going to call us Mom and Dad. And then I died from “kilig”. Fine. I am a hopeless romantic idiot. I went to sleep with a sheepish grin.
When the next morning came, we started to pack up our things. I was getting gloomy as I know that I won’t meet this people again. We started to trek back to our starting point. At the middle of the hike, rain started to pour which added to my gloomy disposition. After everyone got on the bus. The long ride home started.
And now, 11 years has passed. I sometimes still wonder. How are the other guys doing? Where is Martha right now? Heck, I don’t even remember her surname anymore. Let alone her face. All I have is this picture taken from the base camp. Without this I would have wondered, was it real? Or was it just a part of a dream?