It was the first activity after orientation. You were in red. Those days, you were still crazy about wearing polo. And that day, or night, as it was called the unity night, despite it being a physical activity, you still wore that red, uncomfortable polo. Back then you already had a set of acquaintances, or friends if you may. Excluding your 3-year-dorm-mate-2-months-roommate, you had 4: a guy with round cheeks, a tall guy with glasses, a pudgy girl, and a thin girl with long hair and muscular arms. At that time, you thought twice about attending the event but the two girls asked you to do so. And so you did.
The venue was at a roof top of some old building with tiles that reminded you of your dorm, a year back. You entered the long and relatively narrow room as people beamed at you and you searched for those 4 familiar faces. Then you heard someone call out "papa bear!" Back then, maybe as a joke, the 2 girls called you papa bear. They can't call you by your cool name since an older person had the same and it quite confused you. So as a compromise, you just accepted whatever they called you. Then, you approached the one or two who called you and got to chat. Then you smiled. You always smile. You always laugh. Then the thin girl with muscular arms said with an intent of mockery that you looked like that certain Filipino actor when you smile. And you smiled again. The people around you nodded and exclaimed in agreement. And that was when they started to call you by his name. That name you carried on for 5 years.
In two months or so, you'll stop hearing people calling you that name. That name you somehow didn't like and didn't use anywhere else since it reminded you of your family's previous driver who died of TB, or something. Well, at least, when you're there with those people who call you that, you stop thinking of anything else, like you were a different person in a different country, in a different time, maybe even on a different world. And you liked that world. Somehow, you can't accept that you're going to leave that world. That's why you stopped attending classes, that's why you wanted to stay on Friday nights even if you don't have anything to do the next day. That's why you kept bugging people that you don't want to go back to your dorm just yet and spend some time playing some game you really aren't consistent with. That's why even if your class on Tuesdays is at late in the afternoon, you still insist on going back there at Monday. Well, honestly, it's your fault. If you had taken the effort of getting another subject on that intriguing summer term, you wouldn't have had to sign that contract which you wouldn't have breached.
Now, you won't get to attend those nights where the food is free and there are new folks to toy around with. You won't get to join them people going to the mall, going to that place where there is an arcade thing and lots of restaurants, and call centers, with people who talk in awful english accents, going to some other places, walking around campus late at night, buying some food at that fast food center where everyday, the food is the same, and where plates on tables attended or otherwise vanish as fast as when those guys in white shirts pass by. And certainly, you won't be able to invite them to dine outs, jogging, strolling, computer gaming, PS3 gaming, videoke singing, drinking, isaw eating, tambayan chatting, beach house food buying, frutti froyoing, East Wooding, Bannappleing, and what not. And you'll start missing them people, them groups of people. Those whom you could eat out at rickety food stalls across katipunan or across C.P. garcia; those whom you play computer games with at that cheap computer shop where it smells like old rags or something; those whom you play computer games with at that expensive computer shop where the C.R. reeks; those whom you play that very expensive band game with; those whom you could easily invite at videoke nights; those whom you could invite at drinking nights; those whom you go to the mall with; those whom you could stay at the tambayan with even without talking; those whom you could invite to spend on stuff that isn't a meal, perhaps a couple ounces of sour ice cream, or maybe a glass of tea, or coffee, or a plate of cake, or some other sweet stuff; those you can invite without offering a treat or something; those who invite you; that whom you hadn't had a single anything out with; those whom you could talk about anything from tampons to food, from video games to political crap; and more. You know you'll miss all those and you can't deny it.
But now, or maybe 2 months from now, I'm gonna close the door on you. In front, if not behind. People around me will stop calling you, except maybe if I'll come across that old housemate. So for all those who called you, "kuya", "koy", "koya" or just plain you, one week, just one week. I'm me again, and will be missing a lot of you.