“Bench” Friends Forever

Do you still remember your barkada in high school? How cool it was to name your group in those days? It’s funny and silly thinking about it now. I can’t even understand why it was so “in” to have your group known in one name before. I’m not sure if it was only in the province, but in the school I attended in Pangasinan, this tradition seems to be alive up to this day. And yes, I am writing this because I was (or still) part of a “named” barkada—we were called Bench.

My sister and I moved to the province to live with my Lola when I was fourteen. I transferred to a public high school and I met my barkada in junior year. I don’t know how it started and why the group was called “Bench” or maybe I’m just too lazy to remember. Ours was a big group (19-20 members, I think). We even have a designated number for each member (I know, it’s so baduy but we were teenagers!) We’re quite a weird bunch of people. You would even wonder why we became friends. We were a mixture of everything—a beauty queen, a lesbian, a gay, an artist, a writer, performers, tomboyish girls, mean girls, some are leaders, others are officers of the batch, and thank God a straight guy.

High School graduation pictures. I took this from my scrapbook. Ah. Memories. We look young and innocent. (Inosente daw? Booo!)

You’re probably wondering why I suddenly wanted to talk about them now. Well, I saw today’s date and memories flooded my head. December 17 is our group’s special date—works as an anniversary—a date to remember how we became “Bench” friends. When I saw the calendar and counted, I realized how long we had this friendship. Ten Years. We’ve been friends for ten effing years!

I haven’t seen most of them for the past three years. I’m also not the person who constantly keeps in touch. Heck, I’m not even sure if all of us still remember that they were once part of this group. Because of our number, you wouldn’t expect us to be close to everyone and it’s a fact that there would be small groups in a big group. That was expected in Bench. The members have their best friends in the group. You know what’s funny? I never had someone to call a “best friend” from Bench. Thinking about it now, I never really had any best friends apart from my childhood best friends that I don’t even have communication now. Ever since I had a bad experience with my childhood best friends, I never wanted to limit myself to a “best friend”. Why would I do that if I can be everyone’s friend? I may not have a best friend but I have close friends. The good thing with having a close-knit group is that even if you don’t see them and talk to them everyday, you know the friendship is there. That is what Bench for me is.

I know I had been a ghost in the group or a mushroom perhaps since I moved in Manila. I don’t always go to our reunions because I don’t go home. When I’m online, I’m too busy with other things that I can’t even say hi even if someone from the group pings me. I don’t join the online group discussions. I don’t interact. It gives some the notion that I don’t care. But the truth is I know what is happening. It’s just that sometimes I get so mean to even bother because I don’t want to burden myself with childish issues. And I am not the type to butt in with issues I’m not part of. Hindi ako sabatera eh. I also believe that the people involved in whatever rift will work it out. That’s how big my faith is with this group.

I am asking myself again why I am writing this. Is this a shout out? Maybe. A far cry? Probably. A wake up call? Could be. A reminder? I think so.

We had ten wonderful years of friendship. Let’s not throw it away. We can work this out. And guys, you may not always hear from me but I am always here. I will always be a Bench. No matter what. As I often say, I am just a text or an email away. (I’ll try to reply at once. I promise. Hahaha.)

Cheers to ten years of friendship! Let’s have another ten years, yes? And let’s celebrate when I get home for the holidays!

Photo Credit: ShanaTalks, Elaine Sison

Miss A. Talks
Miss A. Talks (4)
Rave and rants of everything under the sun.


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