On this day, ten years ago, I was sitting alone at my favorite coffee shop (coz there’s a really cute barista, Carlo, who I used to bat eyelashes with), was having a smoke, savoring my coffee, and just basking in my newest achievement: passing the auditions for the university chorale with the prospect of being sent of to Paris to sing in the summer. I just left the auditions a few minutes ago and I still had a silly grin on my face.

As I looked dreamily at the passing mall-goers, a familiar voice called me from behind. “Hey Beaum!” I turned around in my chair to to return Sarge’s greeting. He used to put the moves on me a couple of semesters back but didn’t really get far. That day at the coffee shop, he walked towards me with a giant of a friend behind him.

“Beaum, this is Butler. Butler, Beaum.” Butler was wearing an all-white uniform so I guessed he was a medical student of our university.

Sarge and I continued to exchange a pleasantries but since the conversation seemed to be taking quite a while with them standing, Butler asked Sarge if he’d rather just have coffee there instead of walk all the way to McDonald’s at the other side of the mall to get a sundae. When Sarge agreed, Butler turned to me and asked my permission if they can join me just to make sure they were not intruding. I immediately agreed. It was nice to have company. Heck, I would have agreed to party if they asked since I was in such good spirits.

Sarge went to the counter to order. When Butler was left alone with me, he apologized for their sudden intrusion. He explained that Sarge just underwent a seizure on the dental chair (so Butler was a Dentistry student, not Med) while he was performing a procedure and it took the best part of his afternoon. After resuscitation, Sarge returned to his old jolly self and wanted to get ice cream. There was a McDonald’s just close by, but he wanted to go to the other McDonalds branch which is waaaay further. Butler, feeling responsible, agreed to accompany him, as long as he gets to drive Sarge back home to make sure he gets home safe.

Coffee in hand, Sarge trotted back to our table and we resumed asking how each other was. I proudly announced that I’m the newest member of the Chorale. I told them I would be in school that day if not for the auditions. They suckered me into giving them a “sample.” I sang a few bars of  ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables. Of course they praised me for it, but hey, what else do you do when you force somebody to sing for you in the middle of a coffee shop in a mall, right?

I ran out of smokes. Butler offered to buy me a pack since he’ll be getting himself one too. I agreed. He came back with a pack of menthol, my flavor and brand.

After a few minutes of friendly chatter, I excused myself to first go to my driver to give him dinner money. It almost 7PM anyway. I got my bag, got up the table and walked out the mall.

A some meters away from the door, I heard somebody shout my name. I looked back to see Butler running towards me. “I wasn’t able to get your number,” he panted. I was looked confused because I did say I was coming back. “Uhm, I’m not yet leaving. I’ll be, uh, coming back.” I looked at him quizzically. “Oh, ah… well, I thought… oh… okay.” He turned and walked back to where he came from.

He did get my number after I returned, sent me a text message an hour and a half after we went our separate ways… and I replied.

Today we celebrate ten years of friendship, love, fights, loss, and trust.

Today he told me he didn’t hear me say I wasn’t coming back so he ran to catch me. As per his claim, he stopped hearing and started falling at ‘On My Own.’


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