I just thought of my dear friend and brother, Oscar Ofiana Jr. or OJ and Clubber Lang as we fondly call him. Let me share an entry in my journal that described how I and the rest of our friends felt when OJ left on Feb. 5, 2004.
Countdown: T-minus Two Days
It was noodle night. Sogtanghon for all the friends. After that, consumption of two bottles of Emperador as a send-away gift to OJ. Tonight was full of laughter, years of friendship in review, and having a great time. Nobody dared say anything about OJ’s leaving. As everyone makes their way to parting ways, I saw OJ’s smile and the usual non-verbal banter we have over Ely’s [alleged] new-found love. Still connected with him—and it made me happy.
The Last Walk. Everyone is still not saying a word about OJ while walking towards the terminal where OJ shall board the usual jeep to go home. The only difference this time is that it is a one-way ride.
Final Handshakes. Everyone gave OJ a hug and their goodbyes. As OJ hugged me twice, floodgates opened. It suddenly sank—I won’t be seeing my brother anymore and it made me cry even more. As the jeep drove away, I suddenly remembered the line from the movie “Someone Like You”: There is something sad about someone leaving you. As you see him walk away and the distance between your bodies becomes bigger and bigger until there’s nothing left…but empty space.
Countdown: T-minus One Day
Dissecting Sadness. Everyone prepared their letters for OJ to be placed in one of my innovations: the ISP Memory Box. It was a bittersweet journey. I got to relive my friendship with OJ. I cannot imagine that I have witnessed the blossoming of my brother into a fine young man. I have been there at every smile and heartache. I am glad that I have been part of his life. I just hope he could find a way to strengthen our friendship even more and see him evolve.
OJ’s Jen. Seeing Jen cry after writing “Dear OJ-comma” was something that I would never ever want to see again. I could not fathom the pain and the heartbreak. I felt her sadness—the thought of losing someone you love. The process of convincing herself that she accepts the reality of things was painful to watch. One minute your life is filled with happy Kodak moments and the next thing, a dark cloud seems to linger and threatens you of gloomy days ahead. I pray for her strength—and OJ’s too.
Countdown: T-minus 11 Hours to the Flight of the OJ-Siris
In the office waiting for OJ’s call was met with anticipation from my end. My brother actually decided to make a last call—and I was flattered and honored. But as I looked at the clock, it was 11:15 a.m. I thought, maybe OJ spent his last minutes with Jen. So, I just sent him a bon voyage text message.
Unlikely Surprise. Minutes after I sent the message, Kay informed that someone was looking for me. I thought it was one of our emotionally dysfunctional clients seeking counseling. Lo and behold, it was OJ! My brother decided to give me a last visit. I was very honored. (Commercial Break: I just cried typing this portion. Okay to continue…) He gave me a shirt as a remembrance. The whole time we were talking, I was tryin to hold back the tears. I was successful for awhile but when it was really time for him to go, we shook hands one last time, hugged, and I lost it. I cried so hard. I waited for myself to calm down. When it was time for him to go board the jeep we flagged down, I gave him a pat on the shoulder. I will never forget the pat he gave me on my hand and the smile he gave me. My brother just gave me my best memory of him. As the jeep drove off, I know everything is going to be fine.
I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to cross paths and be friends with extraordinary people. It makes living life so damn worthwhile.