I haven’t written like this in a long time. Unfortunately, most of the time I would spend these days would be buried in books or notes, studying anatomy or physiology or histology or biochemistry. If ever I do write, it would be nothing like the lofty writing I used to do back in high school and first year college. But for Joey, I’d always always be ready to dust off the cobwebs of my writing cogs, and write. And maybe, in remembering, it would be as though Joey’s right here with me giving me a hug.
I just read this article on Time recently about parental favoritism and how the roots of sibling rivalry seem to be enmeshed around it. The article says that nearly all of parents had favorites, whether it be the eldest or the youngest, the most awarded and decorated or the most malambing. It’s just that most parents are very adept at hiding this fact, and will deny having a favorite child even with a gun pointed point blank between their eyes.The article even goes on that although it is to some extent advantageous to the favorite, he or she also has to bear with the snide of the envious siblings who unfortunately weren’t as blessed with skill or convenient timing of birth.
Without denial from anyone, Joey was perennially the favorite in my high school class, which in all extents and purposes pretty much a family to me as well. During his wake, our fourth year teacher Mrs. Chee Kee unabashedly said as much: “Joey was my favorite.” Funny thing is, there was none of the smirk or snide or envy or jealousy among us brothers. Rather, there was among us a universal consent. Joey was apparently everyone’s favorite.
And how could he not have been? He was as nice a guy as I have ever, ever met, amid the varied faces I have come across my whole twenty-two years of existence. He was the kind of guy who leaves an indelible mark and an irreparable dent on your soul, if only because of his niceness. Constantly, in troubling situations that demands a pressing decision, I find myself asking WWJD. Not to think any less of Jesus, I mean I really look up to the guy and am a believing Catholic. But personally, my WWJD actually means What Would Joey Do? Because invariably, the thing that Joey would do would be what was good. And I’m sure it would have been what Jesus ultimately have done anyway. He was the kind of person who would be as close to a personal Jesus for me.
It’s this niceness of his that I miss a lot about him. And I really do miss him. I recall an instance where I introduced my girlfriend, Abbey, to him and his gravestone in Loyola Memorial. And as I sat there above the long patch of grass that covered what was his body (he was tall, see), I just started crying for the simple fact that I missed him, my friend, my brother.
Although the tears hardly ever fall anymore these days, it doesn’t take away the fact that I miss him terribly. But just the same, I’m picking up the pieces, as are all of those lives that Joey has irrevocably touched and have been forever pierced by his passing.
Last night, my good friends, classmates, brothers with Joey, raised our glasses of Jose Cuervo, for a certain Jose Carlos. As the tequila burned through my throat and deep into my chest, I clenched my eyes and remembered the warmth of his hugs.
I’ll always remember you Jocarlos. And I’ll be seeing you again some day.
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