Me and my cousin rarely get together (which might seem surprising, especially since I technically just live two or three-odd cities away), but when I do somehow find an excuse to visit it’s inevitable that we’d share a few glasses of red wine together. He wasn’t a lightweight, but like his father, my uncle, he never really gets to go out and actually drink much, so after three or four glasses he looked particularly flushed. I was no better, of course, as it’s been a good three years since I left the company of my heavy-drinking supervisor, and two cups (yes, I used a cup) was enough to give me a pleasant buzz. No more jack-and-coke or vodka crans for this girl, no sir.
It was during this border state between lucidity and drunkeness that we’d normally start talking about… anything actually. My cousin, at the best of times, was very reserved. Okay, that’s not quite right; he’s really a bit of a goof, but he has some trouble opening up to people who aren’t a) relatives, or b) people whom he’s interacted with regularly for more than a two-month period. Even then there are things that he keeps close to his chest, stuff like his non-existent love life for example, and any inquiries about those issues, at best, will only get a blank look from him as a response.
With a little alcohol though…
During our most recent ‘wine-tasting session’, aside from the usual topics (age, love, and career), my cousin surprised me by suddenly wondering a girl that he met back in high school. He wondered about where she was now, and whether or not she was happy with her life. Even in his half-drunken state, he sounded rather wistful, so I asked him if it was his girlfriend or something. He gave me a big hearty laugh in response; no, he replied, she was just a schoolbus-mate, someone who was a year younger than him in grade.
He did fess up to having a crush on her though, but nothing really came of it, since he was still in his ‘awkward dork’ period at the time.
I asked him if he ever tried finding her on Facebook, and he gave a shrug in return. Apparently he tried, but couldn’t find her name in any of his searches. Either she doesn’t use the social media service (not likely, and we Filipinos pretty much jumped on the Facebook bandwagon en masse), or she probably no longer even uses her old surname anymore. I mean, think of it: at 29, she’s likely married by now (don’t look at me like that, I’m the outlier, not your average example of a hot-blooded Filipina). She might not even be in the country at this point.
He gave me another shrug, and said that it was an idle thought. I didn’t believe him of course.
His sudden mention of that old crush of his made me wonder about some of the other people I knew. While I don’t use Facebook as much as my sister, I have tried to keep in contact with some of the people I went to high school with. Still there are people who just… vanish, I suppose, despite all evidence pointing to that person being one of those who actually had a shot of being someone important, whether through dint of skill, intelligence, or social status. Like a classmate of mine, a girl I really looked up to, who was everything I wasn’t: intelligent, charismatic, and very pretty.
Incidentally, she was my cousin’s first love. But that’s a story for another time.
I’d like to think that she’s somehow managed to become successful in whatever field she majored in, living a better life than the grind I’m currently experiencing, but I can’t help but wonder sometimes. Like my cousin, I ask the usual questions to myself, but could find no answer. Not even in the sloshing wine remaining in my cup that day.