Tito Bernie

Bernardito Noval, 61

By A. Mabini

This is for my dear friend Rhea and her loving family.

What can you say to someone with a broken heart? I am normally confident in my ability to comfort a friend in difficult moments but as I paid attention to the sorrow of my dear friend, I suddenly felt absolutely insecure in my ability to offer her solitude and peace for her grieving heart.

It has been a decade since we first met, and when I think of the moment I can only remember the warmth of her friendship. And as I got to know her parents, I immediately understood that we are all truly a reflection of our parents’ characters. I am certain that your late father took pride in that, my friend. And if I can hold your heart and caress it with the same subtlety and warmth that your parents showed us when they took us in during the blackout of 2003, I would feel…quite frankly, useful. But as it stands amiga, I offer my grieving heart so it can grieve with yours, a lifelong friendship that I hope would never fade, and my hopes that somehow these words will ease your heartache.

I am not worried about you; I have grown to know you as the solid individual that you have become. I am excited to see what your children will become. Your kids may not know this right now, but they are lucky individuals who have and will get to experience the genuine care of a loving mother.

To your beautiful mother who has fed me over and over again with delicious Pilipino food and with sincere love, I am sorry for your loss. Bog-at akong dughan para sa emong kasakit ante. I pray that you may always remember the long life ahead. The years and years of mothering that your children still need despite their age. Raising your grandchildren and teaching them life lessons you have accumulated in all 18 years of your existence. The love your loved ones look from you in difficult moments like this. And finally, there are still plenty of occasions to cook and feed me and my fat cheek girlfriend your delicious cooking.

Rhea, Jaja and I will remain faithful to our friendship. And in this moment of uncertainty for you and certain difficulty, I hope to express our genuine care and love for you, dear friend.

It is my hope that one day, you may find peace in your gentle heart again.

A. Mabini was born in Davao City and raised in the Bronx.

One Comment

  1. Wen B. Otto wrote:

    Lovely article. Continue the great work.

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