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Raven’s one of my first few and real friends in the working world. She had the advantage of a previous working experience, in another country in fact. But here in Manila, that advantage was not in any way imposed or boasted of. She was a good companion in every sense: never pedantic, never tried too hard, never lied her sentiments. Moody, as she would admit herself. But never unreasonable or unfeeling. In the few years I’ve known her, we’ve shared some incredible highs and truly forgettable lows, learning the contours of a young adult’s emotion, and shaping our lives by trial and error.

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Now she’s off to another country, an arid, desert state, to brave the uncertainties, quite literally. She’s starting a new life with a new family, embracing the changes I always feared, taking chances and making commitments for love. Before she even steps foot on a plane, I already miss her. And I have been missing her since we’ve taken separate ways. While in the last year or so we didn’t spend as much time together as working together could afford, we’ve kept in touch and managed to squeeze between our delinquent schedules, time to catch up, time to talk, time to restore the warmth of friendship.

I envy her, not in a selfish manner. I envy the new life she has ahead. It’s the kind of envy which brings with it an overwhelming happiness, and a heart-warming admiration. At such a young age, she’s been toughened by experience, and quite obviously, made wiser. People are quick to judge women who take control of their lives, or are presumptuous enough to label them patronizingly as feminists or begrudgingly as whores who make mistakes. Raven is none of those, and she will never be one of those. What she is, is a brave young woman who is self-aware, and who never concedes in her desire to be respected.

I think what I would miss most would be the conversations – those random, spur-of-the-moment existential queries; our questionable middle-class angst; the never ending inside jokes; our heartless disdain towards certain sectors of humanity; our love for music (she has introduced me to many new bands never in my life did I imagine I would listen to). Raven is a smart and sensible young lady; feisty at times but also self-aware; opinionated but certainly not an asshole. She’s got spunk. She’s really one of the boys, more than anything else. But she’s also a girl who isn’t afraid to swoon, or make use of her womanly powers.

Seeing her leave is a bit of a heart break. Of course, modern technology affords as such amenities like Skype or Facebook, and a slew of geography and time zone collapsing avenues for communication. But I’ll miss hearing her talk and laugh, or vent and cry, and let the sound of her voice truly reverberate in the surrounding air. And yet I also accept she has made tough choices which will only transform her; choices which are best not just for her, but also for her future, and the future of her growing family. It’s been a whirlwind ride for her, but she knows how to enjoy the ride.

I do believe she will be a great mother. More than smarts, Raven has a compassionate heart, one that can take life’s beatings with some muscle. And I am quite certain she knows I love hear dearly as a friend, no matter what the circumstances, distances, time zones, and language barriers. I truly wish her the best, and hope to see her soon with her child. And I hope to take the things I’ve learned from her and apply them in my own life, so I can face my own fears with a little more spunk and attitude.

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