There are so many people now in our village whom I will not be able to see and speak with anymore.
I took a stroll around the neighborhood and I couldn’t hold myself not counting how many of them had passed away. The houses seemed telling me, “I have one dead here.” “Me, I have two.”
It was very sad why I didn’t see and talk with them more when they were still able to be seen and talked with.
Many of them departed while I was in Metro Manila, Pampanga, or out of the country. Or to a place that surprised me it was existing.
Now, I was walking in a very familiar place. The small, quiet village where I grew up. Many people here that I knew since I was little are absent today.
They are absent in their houses permanently. In their houses that when you doorbell they would happily open the gate and would welcome you with much Filipino hospitality.
I was looking at each houses.
That was a big, beautiful house which was once occupied by two court judges. It housed only one now.
The other one was a two-storey house. A rich, influential man was once living there with his lovely family.
An affluent, close friend of mine was in the other house on the same block.
Then, in a humble, unfinished house was another close friend. He was a working student; working as a janitor of a high school in the urb and studying in the university just at the back of the high school.
He lived his life with much simplicity. I admire that.
He came to attend Church gatherings riding his old, inexpensive mountain bike.
A young, quiet person. Smiling person.
These people, young, aged, rich, poor are now dead.
[image: “The Mourners”, by Ivan Roxas. Oil on canvas, 4×3 ft.]