Arnold's body lied peacefully inside his white casket when I saw him yesterday. He died last Monday, June 25, after losing a battle to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare viral infection that causes the immune system to turn against the body. He was a batchmate from highschool. Through our batch's yahoogroup, I was able to get the shocking news of his death.
I rarely interacted with Arnold during highschool since we were in different sections. But after I talked to his wife Marlyn at the wake, I found out that Arnold and I were not that different.
His wife mentioned that they never really had a big fight or tampuhan throughout their almost 10-year marriage ('almost' since their wedding-anniversary was last Thursday ---Arnold was a couple of days short). He let his wife stop working so that she can concentrate on bringing up the kids. They only want to go abroad for vacations, not to migrate since they both love the Philippines. He was a caring son as well since he'd setup webcam chats with his parents in the US at least once a week so that they can also see their apo.
As Marlyn continued to relate their story, I can't help but wonder all those similarities. It could've happened to me. It just goes to show that life is really short. We're just passing thru this world and, like it or not, no one gets out of here alive.
I asked Marlyn if she has made plans on looking for work. She answered, "Alam ko na kelangang kong maghanap ng trabaho pero di pa ngayon kase nasa mourning [stage] pa ako. Alam ko na wala na sya pero di ko pa matanggap na wala na sya."
I was just silent. I wouldn't know what to say after that. I guess there was no need to say anything. Arnold is gone. Marlyn has to move on.
Before I left, I handed her my business card and told her that if she needed anything, she can give me a call and I will try to help. There are job openings in my current company so if she decides it's time to look for work, she can consider my offer as a last resort.
I left the funeral chapel and dropped by my parents' house for a late lunch and dozed for a quick nap. I left around 3:30pm and, as I was driving at EDSA in front of Megamall, I phoned up the missus, realizing that I've missed her and my boy for those few hours especially after hearing Arnold&Marlyn's story.
"I think I know what we'll have for merienda and I know you'll agree," I said.
I took them out to Magnolia Cobblers and Splits. I guess life, like that 3-scopped banana split that I ordered, should be cherished while it's there.