I am lucky to have friends who had my back and Wela was one of them. It is only fitting to write about her today, her special day. So let me tell you how awesome Wela is.
1. She is one of my longtime friends. Our friendship spanned 32 years and counting. We first became friends when we were seatmates in grade 4. Both our mothers accompanied us on our first day of school and sat us together after telling us that we are cousins.
This is her grade 4 ID picture which I kept. I did not even have a copy of my own ID picture but I have hers with dedication from her.
2. She taught me how to draw Garfield and we would create different cartoons featuring Garfield. I need a lot practice now. Hahaha!
3. She is a true friend through and through. Even though I betrayed her, she saved me from embarassment. And that mistake was forever in my conscience. Yes, 32 years of forever apologizing to her. So here’s the story: We had a classmate who kept on teasing us. I can no longer remember what it was about. It was recess and we were hanging out at the terrace of our classroom. When recess was about to be over, I went inside and Wela followed leaving our classmate behind, oblivious that the class was about to start. I had the brilliant idea of closing the door with him locked out in the terrace (which should not be a huge deal because he could always knock and ask to be opened. Duh! There were at least 30 other classmates inside who could hear him.) So I told Wela to lock the door. The classmate started crying. The teacher heard the crying and asked me, “Katrina, what is that all about?” I answered, “Ma’am, it was Wela.” (I feel like Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus.) Wela then answered, “Sorry, Ma’am.” And she then opened the door. My heart sank and I carried the guilt all these years. Wela acted like it never happened- that I did not betray her. I do not know what nice things I did to her all those times that she still kept me as her friend.
4. She was my high school penpal along with our friend, Shirly. I studied in a different school in high school. I would always look forward to reading her letters whenever my mama visited me in my school. I lost all her letters when mama did some spring cleaning while I was away for college. I remember her drawing of her cheerleading uniform in one of her letters.
5. She was my college dorm mate. I was glad we went to the same university. We really did not hang out a lot because she spent her weekends with her relatives in Bulacan while I stayed in the dorm but it was comforting for me knowing that I have my childhood friend just two rooms away from me.
6. Wela was my officemate. For more than a year, we worked in the same company. We were both busy with our respective jobs. We may not look like close friends at work but unbeknownst to many, Wela was my voice of reason. She would get emails from me whenever I am upset at something work-related. She would share her thoughts on the matter and made me feel better. Wela made work meetings a lot better just because she was there. ( I hated meetings because I had processes I had to run on my computer that I need to monitor.)
I was sad when she left for another job because her leaving felt like losing an ally. When she broke the sad news that she was resigning, she also told me she found love. She made me forget the bad news by bringing happy news.
7. Wela was there during my saddest birthday and made it a little better. It was 2009. My father was bedridden for a month already. He just suffered his worst side effects from oral chemo. Celebrating my birthday was the last thing on my mind. Wela came in the afternoon and brought me flowers and brownies. Even for a few minutes, I was happy to celebrate my birthday.
8. Wela is a great poet. I am lucky and blessed to receive two poems from her. You can read her poems about me in this post and this post. These poems are few of my treasured possessions that no one can take away.
9. Wela is a great mother to Lui and wife to Kit. She makes sure she spends time with them that we already understand whenever she misses many of our get-together with friends.
10. Wela makes sure to drive me home whenever we spend time together. Even if it is difficult to navigate the narrow road to my house, she drives me home anyway. Thank you, Wela!
I am really blessed to have a friend in Wela. I love you, Wela. Happy, happy birthday! Thank you for your friendship! Mwah!
Note: I swiped some of the photos from her Facebook account.