I was feeding Isabel her dinner today when the phone call came.
An old buddy had suddenly passed away.
When you hear such things, your brain throws up the most memorable thing about the deceased in your memory.
For my friend, it was circa 1994, Marina Bay under the hot sun, when he swore to reclaim our pride and prove the worth of our dragonboat team. He was awfully angry that day, but then again, so were we.
We had grown up together since 1989, and he was part of our core group of buddies who were destined to grow old and still gripe together.
He was always the most dashing of the lot, and it always seemed that his looks would pave his way. But life’s not like that and things always turn out a little differently that we expect.
I’ve said before that eulogies should include the good and bad of a person, but what happens when you don’t remember the bad?
What do I remember now?
We whispered funny jokes to each other when we were doing our 110th pushup at the ACJC running track. Sweat was so freeflowing then.
NCC days….He would be doing his 10th pullup at the bar while I struggled to do my first.
The flight of stairs at Lower Block, ACS, when we used to change out of our starchy NCC uniforms and stuff them into cheap sports bags.
Sitting around in the stuffy NCC room, only because it was a room of our own.
Us cleaning the grounds of the new SAFTI MI during our first week of torture in OCS. I went up to him and said, “I really want to get out of this horrible course.” He replied, “Why? It’s okay what.”
Strutting our stuff in various scenarios – holidays in Hong Kong, wearing the No. 2 ceremonial uniform during our OCS graduation, becoming champions at our sport.
Those overnight stays at Wong’s house. Talking with the buddies in the dark of the night, and talking about girls of course.
Bumping into each other at many media events and wedding dinners. We never got to talk much as adults, but buddies never forget how to share a good joke.
Be happy in God’s hands now, my old friend.